Reaction continued Friday to the U.S. decision not to sign
the WCIT-12 revised International Telecommunications Regulations (ITRs).
FCC chairman Julius Genachowski, who had been in Dubai in
the first days of the treaty conference, called it regrettable that the
discussions there "turned to the creation of a new layer of international
Internet regulation, instead of focusing on the need to spur global growth
through the expansion of international telecommunications networks. The U.S.
and a substantial number of other like-minded nations simply could not sign
such a treaty."
That had always been the U.S. delegation's fear given some
initial proposals by countries like China, Russia and Syria on Internet
governance. The U.S and its allies -- Canada, notably, but eventually over 50
countries that did not sign the treaty -- were concerned of expanding the
purview of the telecom treaties to Internet issues like security or spam or
access, for fear that would translate into government, rather than multistakeholder-governance
and potential content censorship.
"Our global policies must ensure a virtuous cycle of
innovation and investment, driven by a free and open Internet," said
Genachowski in a statement. "The Internet has thrived over the past two decades
thanks to the free flow of data and information, and the multistakeholder model
of Internet governance.
"We will remain strong and vigilant advocates for a
free and open Internet. I thank Ambassador [Terry] Kramer, FCC staff and the
rest of the U.S. delegation for their hard work and tireless efforts at the
Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), who joined with Democratic and
Republican lawmakers to pass a resolution last week backing the U.S.
Administration position on keeping Internet language out of the treaties, added
her support for the U.S. decision not to sign, a decision joined by more than
50 other countries according to the State Department. Eshoo's district includes
computer and Web companies who were concerned about the ITU trying to get more
involved into the 'net.
"In order to sustain the Internet's continued growth and
unfettered access, we cannot allow the overly burdensome regulations agreed to
in Dubai become the norm," she said. "I commend the U.S. delegation
for taking a stand in the name of a free and open Internet by not agreeing to
the proposed resolution. They are joined by many other ITU member countries, as
well as industry and civic leaders around the world who are committed to
defending the longstanding principles that have made the Internet such a
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