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United Nation disconnect: Saving the Internet

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Contact Colin McNickle (412-320-7836 or cmcnickle@tribweb.com).

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Friday, Dec. 28, 2012, 8:58 p.m.
 

In a refreshing change of pace, the Obama administration, which typically offers a sympathetic ear to entangling United Nations' treaties, walked away from an attempt to control and censor the Internet.

The United States and 54 other nations abandoned the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) confab in Dubai after the U.N. agency, egged on by China, Russia and other dictatorships, pushed through an Internet regulatory resolution in the early morning hours, according to The Wall Street Journal. This, after ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Toure promised that any decisions would be made by “consensus.”

That would be consensus by autocracies that fill Turtle Bay and have no love for an unfettered Internet that threatens their despotic control.

And while Team Obama gets points for abandoning the U.N.'s attempted Web wrangle, far more credit goes to Google, Verizon and other Internet companies that kept close tabs on the conference and flagged this putrid play. They pressured U.S. conference ambassador Terry Kramer to defend a free and open Internet, which included an online petition organized by Google that attracted more than 3 million supporters.

And for good reason: The agreement “violates key principles and undercuts the framework that has contributed to (the Internet's) success,” writes The Heritage Foundation.

ITU critics say the U.S. should quit the agency. Far better for the U.S. to simply quit the U.N.

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