Originally published: May 30, 2012
Last updated: May 30, 2012 - 10:15pm
Federal Communications Commission member Robert McDowell will tell Congress that there should be no doubt of the bipartisan resolve to resist effort by the International Telecommunications Union to expand its authority over Internet governance, a threat he said is real and "lethal" to Internet freedom.
In testimony before the House Communications Subcommittee, Commissioner McDowell will say that the ITU proposal is a threat, and an imminent one given the planned renegotiation next December of the 1988 treaty that insulated the net from economic and technological regulation. "What proponents of Internet freedom do or don't do between now and then will determine the fate of the Net, affect global economic growth and determine whether political liberty can proliferate," he argues. He says the most "lethal" threat may not be a frontal assault but an attack on the foundation via "seemingly innocuous expansions of intergovernmental power." McDowell says that has already begun through a form of double-speak. "While influential ITU Member States have put forth proposals calling for overt legal expansions of United Nations' or ITU authority over the Net, ITU officials have publicly declared that the ITU does not intend to regulate Internet governance while also saying that any regulations should be of the "light-touch" variety," says Commissioner McDowell. "But which is it? It is not possible to insulate the Internet from new rules while also establishing a new 'light touch' regulatory regime."
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