A joint effort by U.S. Senators Claire McCaskill (Mo.) and Marco Rubio (Fla.) aimed at blocking the United Nations or foreign governments from regulating the internet is gaining bipartisan steam in the Senate after a U.S. House committee approved a similar measure last week.
Citing the potential impacts on internet freedom and on technology jobs in the U.S., McCaskill and Rubio are leading a Senate resolution to make clear that the United States opposes allowing any international body or foreign country to have jurisdiction over internet management or regulation. A strengthened version of the resolution was introduced today, with the backing of Senators John McCain (R-AZ), John Kerry (D-MA), Jim DeMint (R-SC), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Mike Johanns (R-NE), Tom Udall (D-NM), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and Mark Warner (D-VA).
Non-profit, non-governmental entities currently regulate and oversee the Internet, keeping the global network out of reach of any one government or international body. However, recent proposals-including some by the governments of Russia, China, and Iran-would turn some of the most critical Internet functions over to the United Nations, which could negatively affect innovation and dramatically expand the power of foreign countries to limit or censor speech within their borders.
"Protecting jobs and business in America is something that cuts across party lines, and is exactly the spirit of cooperation we need if we're going to solve tough problems," McCaskill said. "The technology sector is a true bright spot in our economy today, and now is no time to impose international regulations that could restrict growth. And beyond the economic impacts, I'm not interested in giving oppressive regimes an even greater ability to restrict what their citizens can see, hear, share, and communicate."
Similar resolutions have been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives, affirming that the United States should preserve, enhance, and increase access to an open, global internet.
The resolutions come ahead of a December meeting of the International Telecommunication Union, the United Nations agency responsible for communication technologies. The conference is tasked with renegotiating the International Telecommunications Regulations, which provide a framework for global telecommunications, and have not been amended since being written in 1988.