Congressman Steve Stockman (R-Texas 36th) issued the following statement Wednesday after FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell testified to a joint meeting of the House Committees on Energy and Commerce and Foreign Affairs:
This week Federal Communications Commissioner Robert McDowell testified before a rare joint meeting of three congressional subcommittees.
Commissioner McDowell issued a stark warning. The right of Americans to freely access information is threatened by an international plan to place control of the Internet in the hands of the International Telecommunications Union.
In 2014 the ITU will hold a "plenipotentiary meeting" to draw up a new international agreement on Internet regulations and controls.
The likely plan, pushed by countries Russia, Saudi Arabia and totalitarian states like China and Iran would give an international body unrestricted control over the Internet, allow foreign phone companies to charge mandatory fees and create an international registry to track your use of the Internet.
Information is power, power to the people. Free minds require a free Internet. Not only are the free exchange of information and the free market in technology development in danger, so is your right to freely express yourself and access information.
As Commissioner McDowell testified before Congress, "allegations that these claims are exaggerated no longer have credibility."
The United States can and should take action to thwart this threat. President Obama's diplomatic appointees must make a free and open Internet a top administration priority.
Congress must adopt a bold and uncompromising position against further international controls of the Internet. As Commissioner McDowell testified, when the United States Congress speaks on Internet policies the rest of the world follows our lead.
I urge President Obama to make it clear any further international controls, regulations or fees over the Internet will not be accepted by the United States government. I urge Congress to speak with one voice against any ITU proposal to internationally regulate, control or charge for the Internet. Both President Obama and the Congress must recruit allies in the private and public sectors to lead an international campaign against international government control over the Internet.
As Commissioner McDowell notes, any compromise, dithering or failure to boldly lead on this issue cannot be accepted. Nothing short than the freedom of expression and the freedom to exchange ideas are under threat. I urge my colleagues to lead today.