U.S. officials to further discuss possible UN plans for Internet takeover

Josh Peterson Tech Editor
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United States officials are expected to take further action next week to address the threat of a U.N. takeover of the Internet.

The House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology is scheduled to hold a hearing Thursday to discuss the various international proposals to regulate the Internet, which are backed by Russia, China and several former Soviet satellite countries. India and Brazil are also on board with the idea of reforming the “multi-stakeholder process” that currently regulates the Internet.

The ostensible purpose of the proposals is to update the international telecom regulations, which have not been revised in more than a decade.

FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell — who has been sounding the alarm about this potential Internet takeover since early December 2011, as previously reported by TheDC — will testify as a witness during the House hearing.

David A. Gross, former U.S. Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy, and Sally Shipman Wentworth, Senior Manager for Public Policy of Internet Society, are also expected to testify.

On Tuesday, McDowell and Richard Beaird, Senior Deputy United States Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy, will discuss the various proposals with a separate panel, hosted at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. by the Free State Foundation, a Maryland-based free market think tank.

The proposals would amount to creating a separate “ITUnet” that countries would join, Scott Cleland, a member of the United States Department of State Advisory Committee on International Communications and Information Policy, previously told TheDC.

Such a move would “provide political cover” for authoritarian regimes to take over their national Internet, Cleland said.

McDowell recently told members of the Senate that the State Department could name a head of the U.S. delegation to the conference in Dubai in the next coming weeks, TheDC previously reported.

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