Thursday, August 2, 2012

McCaskill, Rubio Continue Senate Push for Measure to Prevent Foreign Regulation of the Internet

Efforts to prevent foreign regulation of the Internet gained traction today as U.S. Senators Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) sought to amend legislation in the U.S. Senate to include a bipartisan measure they have introduced aimed at blocking the United Nations or foreign governments from regulating the internet. The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed similar language today.

“We’re one step closer to further protecting Missouri jobs and business opportunities,” said McCaskill. “I’m continuing to work across the aisle to ensure we’re encouraging business growth and development, and that we’re not giving oppressive regimes more tools to silence democratic dissent by their people.”

“The United States must lead an international effort to prevent authoritarian governments and regimes from diminishing Internet freedom,” said Rubio. “An international regulatory regime goes against the very nature of the Internet and its purpose of sharing ideas and connecting people.”

Citing the potential impacts on internet freedom and on technology jobs in the U.S., McCaskill and Rubio are leading the Senate resolution to make clear that the United States opposes allowing any international body or foreign country to have jurisdiction over internet management or regulation. The resolution is supported by 33 U.S. Senators.

Non-profit, non-governmental entities currently regulate and oversee the Internet, keeping the global network out of reach of any one government or international body. However, recent proposals—including some by the governments of Russia, China, and Iran—would turn some of the most critical Internet functions over to the United Nations, which could negatively affect innovation and dramatically expand the power of foreign countries to limit or censor speech within their borders.

The U.S. House of Representatives today passed H.Con.Res. 127, the House companion to the McCaskill-Rubio resolution. 

The resolutions precede a December meeting of the International Telecommunication Union, the United Nations agency responsible for communication technologies. The conference is tasked with renegotiating the International Telecommunications Regulations, which provide a framework for global telecommunications and have not been amended since being written in 1988.

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