WASHINGTON (CBS DC) — On Wednesday, the House unanimously passed a Senate resolution that saw both Democrats and Republicans in agreement on rejection of United Nations control over Americans’ Internet.
Introduced by Sens. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Marco Rubio (R-FL), the 397-0 vote passed unanimously in the Senate, and comes as delegates are meeting in Dubai to revise a global telecom treaty that some argue would impose new controls on the Internet.
On the floor, California Democratic Rep. Anna Eshoo said both the White House and lawmakers were united against U.N. control of the Internet.
“I think that we are all very, very proud that there is not only bipartisan, but bicameral support underlying this resolution, and there is complete support across the Executive Branch of our government,” she said. “In other words, the United States of America is totally unified on this issue of an open structure, a multi-stakeholder approach that has guided the Internet over the last two decades.”
Digital media expert Dan Gillmor wrote in London’s Guardian newspaper that the conference is “seen widely in the internet community as a power grab by the U.N.’s International Telecommunication Union.
“The very idea that the ITU could obtain and exert major regulatory powers over the internet is a happy one only to dictators and others who believe the internet needs to be controlled,” he wrote.
Oregon Republican Rep. Greg Walden agreed that he was proud lawmakers could send a message to the U.N. and abroad that America is dedicated to Internet freedom.
“The 193 member countries of the United Nations are gathered to consider whether to apply to the Internet a regulatory regime that the International Telecommunications Union created in the 1980s for old-fashioned telephone service,” Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) said on the House floor.
Rep. Walden added that other countries must also consider whether to “swallow the Internet’s non-governmental organizational structure whole and make it part of the United Nations.” Walden added that representatives of the Federal Communications Commission and some Congressional representatives are attending the Dubai conference to, “keep an eye” on the discussion.