The AFL-CIO has called on its members to sign a petition opposing a United Nations bid to regulate the Internet.
“A group of giant Internet corporations and countries, including China, Egypt and Saudi Arabia—countries that already impose heavy restrictions on internet freedoms—have put forward proposed regulatory changes to the UN World Conference on International Telecommunications,” the group explained in an email.
“Internet governance decisions should be made in a transparent manner with genuine multi-stakeholder participation from civil society, governments, and the private sector,” the email added.
The AFL-CIO says it is standing in solidarity with international labor unions.
“We call on United States government, the International Telecommunications Union and its member states to embrace transparency and reject any proposals that might expand ITU authority to areas of Internet governance that threaten the exercise of human rights online.”
The position may come as a surprise since the AFL-CIO formerly supported legislation to regulate the Internet, which came in the form of the Stop Online Privacy Act, known as SOPA.
The issue will come up at the week-long UN World Conference on International Telecommunications held in Dubai. Large telecommunications firms have largely supported regulatory action, while big Internet companies Google and Microsoft staunchly oppose it.
In a unanimous vote, the House of Representatives passed a resolution to “keep the Internet free from government control,” while Google has launched a separate anti-regulation campaign.
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