In the midst of a United Nations conference that may shape the future of the Internet, the U.S. House of Representatives voted unanimously to reject any significant changes to global Internet governance.
The House voted 397-0 in favor of a Senate resolution designed to show bipartisan support for the United States' delegation at the World Conference on International Telecommunications, or WCIT. The Senate passed the resolution in September.
WCIT's purpose is to update a decades-old treaty governing international telecommunications. However, some countries are taking the opportunity to propose radical changes to the current multi-stakeholder model. Russia, for example, wants UN member states to take control of Internet governance from private organizations such as ICANN.
"I think that we are all very, very proud that there is not only bipartisan, but bicameral support underlying this resolution, and there is complete support across the Executive Branch of our government," Rep. Anna Eschoo of California told The Hill. "In other words, the United States of America is totally unified on this issue of an open structure, a multi-stakeholder approach that has guided the Internet over the last two decades."
WCIT is one-country, one-vote and proposals require consensus to pass. Thus, many analysts don't expect the most radical of proposals to succeed.
The Secretary General of the International Telecommunications Union (which is hosting WCIT), Dr. Hamadoun I. Toure, argued earlier this week that the ITU "has always sought a multi-stakeholder approach." He added that some Internet issues, such as global broadband development and cybersecurity, ought to be discussed and debated at WCIT.
WCIT, being held in Dubai, began earlier this week and is now well underway.