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European Parliament opposes expanding UN internet regulations

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Ethernet / Internet (stock)
Ethernet / Internet (stock)

The European Parliament has come out against changes that could expand the UN International Telecommunication Union's oversight of the internet. A newly issued resolution warns that "the ITU, or any other single, centralised international institution, is not the appropriate body to assert regulatory authority over either internet governance or internet traffic flows," and raises concerns that some of the proposals could undermine the free flow of online information. Any new regulations, the resolution says, should make certain that "freedom of expression and assembly... are respected and the observance of free market principles, net neutrality and entrepreneurship are ensured."

The ITU has been discussing an update to its 1988 telecommunications treaty since earlier this year, and leaked documents suggest that it's interested in adding internet-specific provisions, some of which would condone countries filtering their internet or attempting to charge for accepting traffic from major websites. The US government, Google, and several internet advocacy groups have already officially opposed it, with "father of the internet" and Google Chief Internet Evangelist Vint Cerf arguing that it could "dramatically limit free expression on the web." The ITU will discuss updating its regulations over the first half of December in Dubai.