The European Parliament has opposed the UN’s International Telecommunications’ Union’s attempt to take control of the web.
The ITU, a specialised UN agency, is largely expected to appoint itself guardian of the internet in an upcoming meeting. The European Parliament has taken the first official step toward opposing the move, and it told member states that they must act accordingly.
Pirate Party founder Rick Falkvinge reports on his blog how the Pirate Party MEPs Marietje Schaake and Judith Sargentini, both from the Netherlands, played a central role in raising awareness, resistance, and drafting the resolution – which passed with a majority.
Although Europe is mostly seen as progressive when it comes to protecting the internet – for example, a publicity shot showed MEPs cheering when ACTA was thrown out of Parliament, although their own electorate largely forced their hands – the skeptic could suggest it simply does not want a governing body which can act above it. For example, the enormously unpopular ACTA was quickly repackaged as CETA.
However, this resolution does state that the ITU, or any other single centralised international institution is “not the appropriate body to assert regulatory authority over the internet”. It also calls on member states to actively prevent changes to International Telecommunication Regulations which “would be harmful to the openness of the internet, net neutrality, access to creative content online and the participatory governance entrusted to multiple actors such as governments, supranational institutions, NGOs, large and small private operators and the internet public consisting of users and consumers”.
The Pirate Party considers the resolution a victory. Falkvinge quotes MEP Amelia Andersdotter as saying: “The resolution of the Parliament is a big success for internet users. This sends a clear and positive signal to the European Commission and the Member States”.