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FCC Commissioner Delivers Warning on Threat to 'internet Freedom'

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Robert McDowell

Federal Communications Commission Commissioner Robert McDowell answers a question during a meeting with editors and reporters of The Washington Times on Dec. 19, 2011.

Credit: Rod Lamkey Jr./The Washington Times

The United States is not ready for the battle over whether the Internet will remain free from government regulations or fall under the control of emerging global powers, says the U.S. Federal Communications Commission's Robert McDowell in an interview.

"The proponents of Internet freedom and prosperity have been asleep at the switch," McDowell says.

The International Telecommunications Union, a 193-member United Nations agency, will meet in December 2012 to renegotiate the 24-year-old treaty that handles international oversight of the Internet. Many countries want more governmental control and management of the Internet's availability, financial model, and infrastructure. Countries such as China, Russia, Brazil, South Africa, and India believe the United States has too much power in the current system.

"Thus far, those who are pushing for new intergovernmental powers over the Internet are far more energized and organized than those who favor Internet freedom and prosperity," McDowell says.

He is working with other U.S. government officials to stop other countries from challenging the viability of an open Internet. McDowell warns that a bad treaty, which would only need a majority to pass and which the United States could not veto, would lead to a new set of problems for liberalization and competition-based policies for the Internet.

From Washington Times
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Abstracts Copyright © 2011 Information Inc. External Link, Bethesda, Maryland, USA 


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