Amid today's partisan rancor in Washington, it's good to see that in at least one area, politics stops at the water's edge.
Last week, a bipartisan coalition in Congress laid down a clear marker in opposition to growing calls for the United Nations to have more control over the global Internet. It's hard to get a more diverse (and knowledgeable) group than the members who joined together: Congresswomen Mary Bono Mack (R-CA) and Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Congressmen Fred Upton (R-MI), Greg Walden (R-OR) and Henry Waxman (D-CA).
These five represent more than just Democratic and Republican leadership on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which oversees this issue. They represent a growing chorus of members from all political divides uniting together in common opposition to a regulated Internet. They joined together to announce a resolution that calls for United States officials "to promote a global Internet free from government control and preserve and advance the successful multi-stakeholder model that governs the Internet today."
In December delegates from China, Russia, Brazil, India and other nations will come together at a conference in Dubai to push to give the U.N.'s International Telecommunication Union (ITU) more control over Internet operations. Current proposals would also give the U.N. more control over data privacy rules and allow foreign, government-owned Internet providers to set price controls.
The internet has flourished outside of government control. The private sector has fostered innovation and enabled educational, health and entertainment opportunities to reach people around the world.
In addition to Congress, U.S. officials are showing remarkable unity on this issue. The Obama administration has voiced strong opposition to any U.N. power grab.
Both officials warned against global Internet regulation. McDowell said the proposals would "imprison the future in the regulatory dungeon of the past."
Genachowski offered a similar warning, calling the prospective government regulation "devastating to the future of the Internet, including the mobile Internet."
Incidentally, that saying about politics and the water's edge was coined by the late Republican Senator Arthur Vandenberg, who worked closely with President Truman on foreign policy matters. Sixty years later, it's good to see officials of different parties speak with a single voice -- especially when the issue is so important to our future, and to our economy.
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