The US is concerned that a discussion in the UN in December of last year is going to lead to a takeover and extreme censorship of the Internet. China, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Iran are all countries that had extreme Internet censorship proposals. The US believes these proposals would lead to a “virtual takeover”.
Both the Democrats and Republicans agree that the measures proposed were far too strict and that the ideas were “terrible ones”. Representative Fred Upton says that the new proposals could “allow governments to monitor and restrict content or impose economic costs upon international data flows”.
Robert McDowell, a FCC rep, says that the proposals given to him personally by foreign governmentswould “use international mandates to charge certain Web destinations on a ‘per-click’ basis to fund the build-out of broadband infrastructure across the globe.”
“Google, iTunes, Facebook, and Netflix are mentioned most often as prime sources of funding,” McDowell continued, and that many countries “don’t share our view of the Internet and how it operates.”
Today’s hearing had to do with the resolution that supports free and uncensored Internet. However, the main point of the summit in Dubai was to discuss the U.N.’s WCIT, or World Conference on International Communications. A set of established telecommunication regulations that were established 24 years ago are up for review because of recent technology jumps in wireless Internet. Some countries with a lesser appreciation for free speech have used this opportunity to propose measures against free information on the World Wide Web.
The US and its allies plan to stop these proposals in their tracks, but how they plan to do so is not clear at the moment. What is clear is that these proposals may “break the Internet by subjecting it to an international regulatory regime designed for old-fashioned telephone service.”