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Is the UN the Next Big Threat to Internet Freedom?

Is the UN the Next Big Threat to Internet Freedom?
Photograph by Mark Garten/UN via Bloomberg

Even as Internet-control bills such as SOPA and PIPA were making their way through the Senate and House of Representatives earlier this year (only to be short-circuited by public opinion), another potential firestorm was brewing just beneath the surface—one that is expected to erupt in a matter of months in Dubai. That’s because the International Telecommunications Union, an arm of the United Nations, wants very much to take over management of the Internet, a plan that will be debated by member nations in Dubai. On Thursday, a bipartisan group of U.S. congressional officials said they will resist this attempt with everything they have. But will it be enough?

A resolution released on Thursday by the members of the Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade Subcommittee called on the government (pdf) to implement a position on Internet governance that “clearly articulates the consistent and unequivocal policy of the United States to promote a global Internet free from government control and preserve and advance the successful multi-stakeholder model that governs the Internet today.” One member of the bipartisan committee, Representative Fred Upton (R-Mich.), said in a statement before the hearing that: