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:

CCIA Files Comments With NTIA On International Internet Policy Priorities

Washington — The Computer & Communications Industry Association praised the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) for its interest in prioritizing work on international internet issues in comments filed today. CCIA’s comments focused on how the US government could best promote the internet as a platform for free expression and commerce. CCIA recommended that NTIA…

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CCIA Presents Recommendations And Hosts Stakeholder Event, As EU And US Leaders Agree On Digital Cooperation

Brussels — Senior officials from the U.S. Government and the European Commission meet in Brussels today to agree on a blueprint for digital cooperation.  In advance the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA) has prepared ten recommendations on how to boost our transatlantic digital economy and restore trust. The heads of the EU and U.S.…

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CCIA Expresses Concern Over Florida Proposal to Regulate Internet Content Sites

Washington – This week Florida legislators are considering proposals that could undermine core principles that have helped keep the Internet open and free.  They would force website owners and operators to publicly display their name, address, and telephone number or e-mail address if they make available commercial recordings or audiovisual works, and failure to do…

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