Before we get into our bracketology business, something in the Twitterverse just caught my eye. (Two fake words in one sentence – do try to keep up.) Two members of the House of Representatives have introduced HCR 114, which urges the United States to oppose any United Nations resolutions directed at regulating the internet.
House Concurrent Resolution 114
Sponsors: Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) @McCaulPressShop; Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) @JimLangevin
In September 2011, four countries (China, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan) indicated their intent to propose a UN resolution on internet governance. The proposal letter called for an “international code of conduct for information security,” and sought to place enforcement authority exclusively in the hands of governments.
There is a UN Agency currently tasked with information and communication technology issues – the International Telecommunication Union. These countries proposed that the ITU draft and administer a cyber “arms control” treaty that would allow governments to censor any activity on the internet that they deem dangerous to the state.
It is not lost on this author (or many others) that the some of the countries pushing for a UN resolution vesting control over the internet in government are countries with decidedly … let’s say “undemocratic” reputations. We can all say now that there would have been no Arab Spring without a free and open internet. Will there ever be such opportunity to organize again with oppressive governments exercising the control they seek? As Rep. Langevin said himself, the international approval of Internet censorship would be “a significant setback for anyone who believes free expression is a universal right.”
An interesting proposition, Congressmen. What do you say we direct this beam of reason regarding preservation of a free and open internet at our own legislative bodies as well?