The free flow of information is essential to Internet freedom.  Internet freedom is online freedom of expression in the 21st century and enables the dissemination of information and ideas that are the building blocks of economic growth and democracy.  Filtering or regulation by governments or private Internet access providers curtails the democratizing effects and economic benefits of the Internet.  CCIA has applauded Obama Administration efforts to combat censorship, filtering and invasions of online privacy by foreign regimes.  The U.S. State Department has undertaken a strategic dialogue with Civil Society that involves international NGOs and may become a new model for 21st Century diplomacy.  Nations valuing Internet freedom can also help promote it by working together in regional efforts.

Businesses and citizens alike possess limited tools to combat government censorship and demands for information. A strong and consistent U.S. Government position is essential so when foreign regimes attempt to strong-arm U.S. businesses regarding censorship, surveillance or possible facilitation of human rights violations, they may be exposed in the broader international business arena and among free trading partners. Government-to-government diplomatic engagement including multilateral efforts and social media engagement across diverse cultures are key to combating state-sponsored online abuses that are on the rise, including blog infiltrators, technical and physical attacks on citizens for their online speech, hijacking of personal accounts and pressure on intermediaries leading to voluntary takedowns of content.

CCIA’s View:

Multi-stakeholder forums such as the Global Network Initiative (GNI) and Freedom House can best advance the goal of Internet freedom by calling out Internet restricting nations from a human rights perspective, and promote the Internet as a tool of economic growth around the world.  Companies need a reliable rough consensus framework and guidelines of their own for response when an Internet freedom crisis occurs.  Government prosecution of Internet censorship as a trade barrier in violation of international trade agreements is also an appropriate way to improve the free flow of data across national borders.  By contrast, international governmental regulation of the Internet by the ITU, an agency of the United Nations, is not advisable, and would threaten to fragment and disrupt the global Internet.  That is why in 2012, Congress passed a unanimous resolution against ITU regulation of the Internet.

Most Recent Statements&Findings:

EU copyright deal will harm European online innovation and online rights

Brussels, BELGIUM —  Negotiators from the European Parliament, European Council and the European Commission this evening reached a political agreement to overhaul the EU’s copyright rules. The compromise text will now have to be formally approved by the European Parliament and EU Member States in coming months. The Computer & Communications Industry Association, public interest…

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House Committee Discusses Net Neutrality; CCIA Supports Strong, Enforceable Open Internet Rules

Washington — Two former FCC chairs appeared before the House Energy and Commerce Committee today to testify on the FCC’s repeal of its 2015 net neutrality rules. The Committee discussed the importance of nondiscrimination and internet access and what Congress should do in terms of legislation. Over the past decade, the Computer & Communications Industry…

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CCIA Urges European Parliament to Take Effective, Proportionate Approach to Tackle Terrorist Content Online

Brussels, BELGIUM — The European Council adopted a general approach on the draft Regulation on preventing the dissemination of terrorist content online today. This agreement importantly includes an obligation for all hosting service providers, big or small, to remove terrorist content within one hour from receiving a removal order from authorities. The European Parliament will…

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CCIA, Tech Trade Associations Raise Concerns About Europe’s Terrorist Content Online Proposal

Brussels, BELGIUM — The Computer & Communications Industry Association along with 8 other tech trade associations today sent an open letter to European Ministers of Justice and Home Affairs. The letter urges the European Council to take the necessary time to thoughtfully address outstanding concerns in the draft Regulation on preventing the dissemination of terrorist…

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EU Terrorist Content Proposal, Good Intentions But Risks To Online Rights And Europe’s Tech Sector

Brussels, BELGIUM — Today the European Commission presented its proposal for a regulation on ‘preventing the dissemination of terrorist content online.’ This proposal puts a range of new obligations on online companies which will disproportionately burden smaller European firms. The Computer & Communications Industry Association supports the EU’s goal of tackling terrorist content online.Hosting services…

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