Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) and Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) today announced the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade, chaired by Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX), and the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations, chaired by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), will hold a joint hearing on February 5, 2013, to discuss efforts by some countries to expand international regulation of the Internet. In the 112th Congress, the House and Senate overwhelmingly adopted resolutions opposing efforts at the World Conference on International Telecommunications to regulate the Internet and its content. However, despite the United States' opposition, a number of countries agreed to provisions that recognize an increased role for the International Telecommunications Union, an agency of the United Nations, in Internet governance.
The subcommittees will also be discussing legislation to affirm that it is the policy of the United States to promote a global Internet free from government control. Legislative text will be provided in advance of the hearing.
Upon announcing the hearing, Walden and Royce stated, "The Internet has revolutionized technology and commerce, created jobs and promoted freedom. Regrettably, 89 of the ITU member nations adopted a new treaty that could lead to increased censorship on the Internet, and international efforts to regulate the Internet will continue. We are holding a joint hearing on February 5 to examine the United States' position going forward. Since its inception, the Internet has thrived in large part because of the government's hands-off approach, and we will continue our fight to ensure the global Internet remains free from government control."