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US reiterates resistance to ITU-Internet land grab

Lawmakers post the ‘no trespass’ signs

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American lawmakers and officials are continuing to give the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) the “hands off our Internet” signal ahead of a key meeting of the body late this year.

The united voices against the United Nations were heard at a congressional hearing on May 30, with representative Henry Waxman, congresswoman Doris Matsui, Philip Verveer of the US State Department, and Vint Cerf all warning against calls to put more Internet governance under ITU control.

According to AFP, Verveer told the hearing that “extension of intergovernmental controls over the Internet” would lead to “very bad outcomes”, including aiding censorship and repression in some countries.

Ahead of the December ITU meeting, countries including China and Russia are pressing for the agency to take on the role of governing the Internet. They claim that US “control” of the Internet leaves the developing world without a sufficient voice.

Cerf, now Google’s chief Internet evangelist, is quoted as saying that the success of the Internet “has generated a worrying desire by some countries’ governments to create new international rules that would jeopardize the network’s innovative evolution and its multi-faceted success”. ®

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