Republicans and Democrats agree: UN should not control internet


U.S. CongressThe World Conference on International Telecommunications is to meet in December, and is expected to suggest that the United Nations take responsibility for international internet regulation. As one, members of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce said to forget about it.

H. Con. Res. 127 has been introduced Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-CA), chairman of the Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade, with support from a who’s who list of E&C leadership including Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), Ranking Member Henry A. Waxman (D-CA), Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR), and Ranking Member Anna Eshoo (D-CA).

Walden stated, “The Internet is the single largest engine of global change since the printing press. Non-governmental institutions now manage the Internet’s core functions with input from private- and public-sector participants. Weakening the multi-stakeholder model weakens the Internet, harming its ability to spread prosperity and freedom. As the U.S. delegation to the WCIT takes shape, I urge the administration to continue the United States’ commitment to the Internet’s collaborative governance structure and to reject international efforts to bring the Internet under government control.”

FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell testified at a hearing on the matter, and said, “As a matter of process and substance, patient and persistent incrementalism is the Net’s most dangerous enemy and it is the hallmark of many countries that are pushing the pro-regulation agenda. … In short, the U.S. and like-minded proponents of Internet freedom and prosperity across the globe should resist efforts to expand the powers of intergovernmental bodies over the Internet even in the smallest of ways.”

RBR-TVBR observation: It has become a strange and wondrous event when members of both parties come together so strongly in a matter of importance. It seems these days that only resolutions in the completely innocuous realm – hey, let’s declare this to be National Mustard Month! – can get bipartisan backing in Congress.

The takeaway here is noteworthy. The big internet debate in America is over the need for network neutrality regulation to assure an open and free internet. Although that debate will rage on, it is comforting to know that the debate is over how best to achieve freedom, not whether it should be achieved.