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House panel condemns U.N. Internet regulatory plan

Kenneth Corbin | June 21, 2012
In unanimous vote hailed by tech industry groups, committee members call on the Obama administration to resist efforts to empower United Nations with global Internet oversight authority in negotiations later this year.

Business Groups United Against U.N. Oversight

Nevertheless, business groups representing members of the technology sector have spoken out in growing alarm about the prospect of even a nominal expansion of U.N. oversight. Groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Cable and Telecommunications Association and the Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA) have lined up in support of Bono Mack's resolution.

In a statement, SIIA President Ken Wasch praised the committee's action this morning "for defending the Web from control by international bodies that could threaten today's reality of Internet freedom."

"While many government agencies, especially law enforcement and national security departments, would agree that their jurisdiction extends to actions on the Internet, the real worry is how governments and international agencies that are hostile to Internet freedom could interpret and apply these broad principles," Wasch added. "The proposed code of conduct could be used to limit the ability of individuals and firms to exchange legitimate Internet traffic across borders and create significant digital trade barriers."

Steve Largent, president and CEO of CTIA, the principal trade group representing the wireless industry, echoed that sentiment, commending the lawmakers for their "strong statement in favor of a free, unfettered Internet."

"We hope that policymakers here and abroad rally to the notion that the way to advance broadband access and deployment, and the political and economic freedoms broadband can support and advance, is by keeping the heavy hand of government off of the Internet," Largent said.


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