WCIT-12 plagued by network outage as U.S. House resolves to oppose UN control of Internet

As delegates at the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) affirmed Article 19 of the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights regarding freedom of speech, the U.S. House of Representatives made its own symbolic gesture, voting to adopt a resolution that calls on the U.S. government to oppose United Nations control of the Internet.

WCIT panel Toure

Dr. Hamadoun Touré (center) speaks at the WCIT-12 conference in Dubai. (Image source: ITU)

The unanimous, 397-0 vote on Wednesday was a rare bipartisan showing in a House normally starkly divided along party lines. The resolution was introduced by Senators Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).

The House resolution is just one of several official statements made opposing changes to the current International Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs). In October, the United States and Canada told the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) they would support only minimal changes to the current regulations. And in September, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee unanimously opposed the idea of letting the ITU take more control over Internet governance.

Meantime, the WCIT-12 conference in Dubai continued, though network outages on Wednesday at one of the ITU websites affected at least one major working group meeting and made it difficult for the public and media to access the WCIT homepage. Spokespeople for the conference confirmed the outage in a press release. While a definite cause for the downtime wasn't given, "Some hacker groups are claiming responsibility," the release said.

ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Touré spoke out against threats made against the conference by "cyber criminal" groups. "It is ironic that the very people who claim to be fighting for a free Internet are preventing those around the world trying to follow the event online from getting access," he said.

Network traffic was redirected to another backup website in a different region, the release said.

For more:
- The Hill has this story
- see this ITU release on the outage

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