Congress passes resolution condemning U.N. Internet "takeover"

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In response to a set of Internet eavesdropping standards recently adopted by the International Telecommunications Union, Congress has voted unanimously(!) in favor of a resolution which opposes any sort of U.N. Internet "takeover". Finally, something which American legislators seem to all agree on: opposing International governance of the Internet.

Resolutions are typically more of a "statement" than actual law-producing agreements; however, since the same resolution was passed in September by the Senate, the will of U.S. legislators is clear: the U.S. will oppose U.N. measures to govern the web.

Incidentally, European Parliament members passed their own, similar resolution last month which stated, "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".

ITU's adoption of controversial standards for implementing Internet eavesdropping techniques, like Deep Packet Inspection and decryption, alarmed proponents of a free and open Internet. Germany was one such country who opposed the U.N. telecommunications body's proposal, insisting the ITU "not standardize any technical means that would increase the exercise of control over telecommunications content, could be used to empower any censorship of content, or could impede the free flow of information and ideas."

Deep Packet Inspection can be utilized to identify -- although not necessarily reveal -- the contents of encrypted traffic. More disturbingly though, are the ITUs plans to allow ISPs to decrypt traffic. How this would (or could) be done is unknown, but if such ITU standards become widespread enough between private and public organizations, decryption of communications under certain conditions could become possible at the ISP level.

Even though U.S. lawmakers seem overwhelmingly opposed to a U.N-controlled Internet, increased domestic oversight by means of government and private industry appears to be much more favorable. Seemingly, items like empowering sitting Presidents to initiate Internet blackoutswarrantless surveillance, PIPA, SOPA and CISPA hit news headlines every few months.

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