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, Stakeholders Praise European Parliament’s Resolution Supporting the Internet Governance Forum and Online Freedoms

Brussels/Strasbourg — As the Internet faces threats from some regimes, which seek curb online freedoms and more governmental control, the European Parliament has today issued an important resolution in support of the open Internet, online rights, and an extension of the Internet Governance Forum’s mandate. A broad coalition of civil society and the Internet industry in Europe…

Read more

Outcome from the Net Mundial Global Meeting on the Future of Internet Governance

Going in, the business sector hoped for some consensus on both substantive Internet governance principles and a process roadmap for the future evolution of the governance ecosystem.   We were not disappointed.   Opportunities to speak from a microphone in the cavernous convention hall dwindled from 2 minute slots to 30 seconds each, but CCIA made good…

Read more

As the Internet Matures Globally, Building Engineers Stay on Duty and Mentors Are Wanted

Washington – As the US delegation prepares for NetMundial next week in Sao Paulo, many other attendees from around the world are welcoming the recent news about the US Government’s progress in transitioning ICANN functions to multistakeholder venues where participants from all continents are welcome.  Legacy US oversight of the root server and domain name housekeeping…

Read more

CCIA Supports House Resolution On Internet Freedom in Turkey

Washington – The Computer & Communications Industry Association praised a bipartisan resolution introduced by House members yesterday asking Turkey to stop blocking its citizens’ access to social media sites like Twitter and YouTube. The measure by Rep. Anna G. Eshoo, D-Calif., ranking member of the Communications and Technology Subcommittee, and three key members of the Foreign…

Read more

Tech Industry Praises Liberation of Internet Governance Functions from U.S.G.

Geneva/Brussels – The technology industry welcomes the news that the U.S. Commerce Department intends to complete the transition of relinquishing its control over key Internet addressing functions to the global multi-stakeholder community. This was a necessary next step in the evolution of the Internet and supports the current multi-stakeholder model of global Internet governance where…

Read more