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The threat to a free and open internet is real, and the Senate should take up a pending resolution (H. Con. Res. 127) opposing any government regulation of the internet as soon as lawmakers return from the August recess, Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.) urged in an Aug. 14 letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)
In the letter, Bono Mack pointed out that the U.N. International Telecommunications Union (ITU) will convene in Dubai in December for the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT). The conference is the forum where ITU member states will negotiate revisions to the International Telecommunication Regulations, a document last updated in 1988.
The House Aug. 2 approved H. Con. Res. 127, urging the Obama administration to continue working to implement the position of the United States on internet governance. The resolution said that the administration should clearly articulate the consistent and unequivocal policy to promote a global internet free from government control, and preserve and advance the successful multistakeholder model that governs the internet today.
Bono Mack, who introduced the resolution, urged the Senate to approve the measure.
“Time is running out, and we cannot afford to wait[,]” she wrote. “I believe it is imperative that Congress act immediately to provide the U.S. delegation with a clear and unmistakable mandate: keep the Internet free of any and all government control.”
Ambassador Terry D. Kramer, head of the U.S. delegation to WCIT, has said that the United States will oppose changes to the International Telecommunication Regulations that would restrict the free flow of content, impede the natural growth and evolution of the internet, or impose uneconomic pricing or transfer-payment obligations on internet content providers or backbone operators.
The first U.S. WCIT proposals said the United States would not support increased controls over internet governance or content.
“As a decentralized network of networks, the Internet has achieved global interconnection without the development of any international regulatory regime. The development of such a formal regulatory regime could risk undermining its growth,” the United States said.
The full text of the Bono Mack letter is online at http://pub.bna.com/eclr/bonofree.pdf.
The full text of H. Con. Res. 127 is at http://pub.bna.com/eclr/hconres127.pdf.
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