Washington, DC- The Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA), criticized the FBI’s use of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) process to further other, unrelated policy goals in reviewing the sale of Verio Inc. to NTT America. Those policy goals may include exerting pressure on the Japanese government to lower interconnection rates in Japan for U.S. based carriers or the FBI’s continued interest in assuring access to the Internet for purposes of wiretapping digital communications.

According to CCIA President Edward Black, “In taking this action the FBI runs the serious risk of frustrating the openness of Internet communications, infringing our civil liberties, and damaging our relations with important trading partners. In pursuing its narrow agenda, the FBI is making use of the CFIUS process to accomplish something that Congress did not contemplate when it approved the legislation.”

“The wonder of the Internet is it openness to all who seek to participate. Our government has established a general policy of open trade and in particular non-regulation of the Internet. At a time when we seek open markets abroad as well as at home, the FBI is using its influence to frustrate an opportunity to promote our open trade and Internet policy, and to threaten the fundamental rights of Internet users,” said Black.

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