A coalition of tech trade associations is calling on Republicans and Democrats to include language in their policy platforms that would oppose efforts to give a United Nations agency more control over the Internet.
The eight trade groups — including the Information Technology Industry Council and Telecommunications Industry Association — warn that foreign governments plan to submit proposals to expand the U.N.’s International Telecommunication Union’s (ITU) authority over the Internet at an upcoming conference in December. Those proposals are reportedly backed by China, India, Russia and other U.N. members.
The Republican and Democratic national committees should discourage that move by adopting language “embracing a free and open Internet” in their policy platforms at their upcoming conventions, the trade groups wrote in letters sent to the two parties.
“It is in the interest of all Americans, and people across the globe, to prevent those who wish to stifle the spread of democratic values or economic progress from interfering with the opportunities the Internet provides,” the letters state.
The tech groups are not alone: Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), advocacy group Demand Progress and others have asked Republicans and Democrats to include some sort of language in their party platforms that promotes preserving Internet freedom, but they did not specifically mention the ITU proposals. Republicans and Democrats are currently considering staking out positions on Internet freedom in their platforms.
The House passed a resolution this month by Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.) that urged the Obama administration to oppose efforts to give the ITU more authority over the Internet. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) introduced a similar resolution in the Senate, but it hasn’t seen action yet.