Sense of Congress on Governance of the Internet

Floor Speech

By:  Steve Scalise
Date: Dec. 5, 2012
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. SCALISE. Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the gentlelady from Tennessee for yielding and for her leadership on this issue.

As has been noted, right now, in Dubai, an arm of the United Nations is considering trying to take international control over parts of the Internet. If you look at the struggling economy we have right now in the United States, one of the few bright spots is the telecommunications industry. One of the reasons--as a computer science major, I would argue that one of the reasons that the telecommunications and technology industry has been so successful even in a tough economy is because the government hasn't figured out how to regulate it and slow it down.

And yet here you have a proposal by the United Nations, coming out of the United Nations, to interfere with that multistakeholder organization which has been and allowed this industry to be so successful and allowed the Internet to shape and dramatically improve so many people's lives. So many of the things we can do today and all of the conveniences that have been added through great new aps and great new technology have come from this multistakeholder governance of the Internet. And yet here you have the United Nations try to step in.

And let's be real clear about who some of these countries are that want to do this and what they're intending to do if they are successful. Countries like Russia and China are leading this. Some of the Arab nations right now where you see uprisings, and many of those uprisings, by the way, have been brought through social media, through an open and free Internet where people can come together in cyberspace and hold their leadership accountable and in some cases rise up against oppressive governments, and those governments would like nothing more than to be able to shut that down by taking over control of the Internet.

I know it's been brought up before by the gentlelady from Tennessee and others, but I think it's important to know that Vladimir Putin, when he was meeting with the ITU Secretary-General said his goal, the reason that he and others like China are pursuing this, is to establish international control over the Internet through these new ITU rules.

And so while these discussions are going on in Dubai, I think it's critical that this piece of legislation is something we can arm our supporters with, those who stand up for Internet freedom, to say it is the United States Congress' bipartisan agreement that we want to maintain that freedom. We don't want United Nations control over the Internet.

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