D.C. Continues to Weigh In on WCIT
Genachowski, Eshoo applaud U.S. for refusing to sign treaty
By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 12/14/2012 5:42:31 PM
FCC chairman Julius Genachowski, who had been in Dubai in the first days of the treaty conference, called it regrettable that the discussions there "turned to the creation of a new layer of international Internet regulation, instead of focusing on the need to spur global growth through the expansion of international telecommunications networks. The U.S. and a substantial number of other like-minded nations simply could not sign such a treaty."
That had always been the U.S. delegation's fear given some initial proposals by countries like China, Russia and Syria on Internet governance. The U.S and its allies -- Canada, notably, but eventually over 50 countries that did not sign the treaty -- were concerned of expanding the purview of the telecom treaties to Internet issues like security or spam or access, for fear that would translate into government, rather than multistakeholder-governance and potential content censorship.
"Our global policies must ensure a virtuous cycle of innovation and investment, driven by a free and open Internet," said Genachowski in a statement. "The Internet has thrived over the past two decades thanks to the free flow of data and information, and the multistakeholder model of Internet governance.
"We will remain strong and vigilant advocates for a free and open Internet. I thank Ambassador [Terry] Kramer, FCC staff and the rest of the U.S. delegation for their hard work and tireless efforts at the WCIT."
Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), who joined with Democratic and Republican lawmakers to pass a resolution last week backing the U.S. Administration position on keeping Internet language out of the treaties, added her support for the U.S. decision not to sign, a decision joined by more than 50 other countries according to the State Department. Eshoo's district includes computer and Web companies who were concerned about the ITU trying to get more involved into the 'net.
"In order to sustain the Internet's continued growth and unfettered access, we cannot allow the overly burdensome regulations agreed to in Dubai become the norm," she said. "I commend the U.S. delegation for taking a stand in the name of a free and open Internet by not agreeing to the proposed resolution. They are joined by many other ITU member countries, as well as industry and civic leaders around the world who are committed to defending the longstanding principles that have made the Internet such a success story."
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