EU officially opposes U.N. control of the Internet

The EU joins the U.S. and others in opposing a proposal that would let the International Telecommunications Union, a U.N. agency, take a strong role in regulating the global Internet.


Kevin Collier

Internet Culture

Published Nov 23, 2012   Updated Mar 3, 2020, 12:26 am CST

The U.S. isn’t the only global power that’s completely opposed to the idea of the United Nations claiming a stronger role in running the Internet.

The European Union passed a resolution Thursday that resoundingly condemns the U.N.’s International Telecommunications Union (ITU) proposal to assume regulatory control over much of the Internet’s infrastructure.

The resolution was co-authored by Internet activists like Marietje Schaake and the Pirate Party’s Amelia Andersdotter, both of whom played a large role in convincing the EU to overturn the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), considered one of the great threats to the Internet’s architecture in 2012.

In part, the resolution declares that the EU “[b]elieves that the ITU, or any other single, centralised international institution, is not the appropriate body to assert regulatory authority over either internet governance or internet traffic flows.”

The EU isn’t alone in its wariness of the ITU. A number of petitions, including a prominent one from Google, ask the ITU to reconsider. And in a rare unanimous agreement, both houses of the U.S. Congress, as well as President Obama, and both the Democratic and Republican parties, have similarly condemned the proposal.

Others, like “Father of the Internet” Vint Cerf, have cautioned people to note which U.N. countries are pushing for the ITU to claim such control, and why. Both Russia and China have proposed the ITU take a stronger role in cybersecurity, which can be defined broadly to censor the Web. Those two countries are notorious for blocking the Internet for their own citizens.

The ITU is set to meet about regulating the Internet in Dubai on Dec. 3.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

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*First Published: Nov 23, 2012, 4:53 pm CST