Expressing Sense of Congress on Governance of the Internet

Floor Speech

By:  Mary Bono Mack
Date: Aug. 1, 2012
Location: Unknown


Mrs. BONO MACK. Mr. Speaker, I thank my dear colleague for yielding me the time.

Today, if you browse the Internet and enter the search words ``Russia, China, human rights violations,'' you'll get back nearly 300 million hits. Think about it. Five simple words, 300 million hits.

In the future, how many of these stories will you actually be able to read if Russian President Vladimir Putin and China's Communist Party are allowed to exert unprecedented control over Internet governance?

Here are two words you should Google: ``Good luck.''

As the United States prepares to take part in the World Conference on International Telecommunications in Dubai, we need to provide the delegation with a clear and unmistakable mandate: Keep the Internet free of any and all government control.

At the WCIT discussions, a new treaty on Internet governance will be debated. Most worrisome to me are efforts by some countries to provide the U.N. with extraordinary new authority over the management of the Internet.

That's bad enough. But unlike the U.N. Security Council, the U.S. will not have veto power to prevent censorship or despotic actions which could threaten freedom everywhere. To prevent this from happening, I introduced House Concurrent Resolution 127.

I want to thank my cosponsors, Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Upton, Ranking Member Waxman, Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Walden, and my good friend and the Ranking Subcommittee Member Eshoo for their strong bipartisan support in this effort. I also want to commend Senator Rubio for championing this critically important cause in the Senate.

In many ways, this is a first-of-its-kind referendum on the future of the Internet. For nearly a decade, the United Nations has been angling quietly to become the epicenter of Internet governance. A vote for our resolution is a vote to keep the Internet free from government control, and to prevent Russia, China, India, and other nations from succeeding in giving the U.N. unprecedented control over Web content and infrastructure.

Last year, e-commerce topped $200 billion in the U.S. for the first time and is up 15 percent so far this year. We also continue to lead the world in online innovation, creating millions of jobs and bolstering our economy at a time when we really need it.

These proposed treaty changes, which have been going on in secret, could have a devastating impact worldwide on both freedom and economic prosperity. If this power grab is successful, I'm concerned that the next Arab Spring will instead become a Russian Winter where free speech is chilled, not encouraged, and the Internet becomes a wasteland of unfulfilled hopes, dreams, and opportunities.

We cannot let this happen. I urge my colleagues to vote ``yes'' for this resolution, and say ``no'' to online censorship by foreign governments.


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