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SYS-CON UK Authors: Salvatore Genovese, Jamie Matusow

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Internet Society Testifies Before U.S. House of Representatives on Internet Policy and Internet Freedom

The Internet Society today announced that Sally Wentworth, Senior Manager of Public Policy at the Internet Society, testified before the Communications and Technology Subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives' Committee on Energy and Commerce at a hearing entitled, "Fighting for Internet Freedom: Dubai and Beyond."

Wentworth joined other witnesses to provide testimony on the current state of global Internet policy and the future of Internet freedom in the aftermath of the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT). In December 2012, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) convened the WCIT in Dubai to open a 1988 treaty called the International Telecommunication Regulations. Member States reviewed and revised the treaty text to redefine agreements between countries to facilitate global telecommunications into the future. The final treaty, which included language that could have a lasting impact on the Internet’s infrastructure and operations, was controversial enough that 55 nations, including the United States, declined to sign it.

Prior to the WCIT, the Internet Society and many in the Internet community, expressed concern that some ITU Member States could seek to leverage these telecom treaty negotiations to establish greater governmental control over the Internet. The Internet Society also cautioned that some government proposals would threaten the viability of the successful, existing global multi-stakeholder model for Internet policy development.

In her written testimony, Ms. Wentworth stated, “In the aftermath of WCIT, considerable uncertainty remains as to whether and how the new International Telecommunication Regulations will be implemented and to what extent the lack of consensus will negatively impact global communications networks going forward. What is certain is that WCIT is one piece of a much longer narrative. At the heart of this narrative is a very basic question over the role of governments in a technology space that is fundamentally borderless. It is a question of how to implement policy – either at the national or international level – in a way that is consistent with a need for global interoperability and accessibility, consensus among all stakeholders, economic growth, and on-going innovation.”

Ms. Wentworth noted that WCIT presents a call to action for members of the global Internet community to focus their efforts to improve and expand the multi-stakeholder model of Internet governance so that it continues to serve the needs of all users across the globe.

To read Ms. Wentworth’s written testimony, visit: www.internetsociety.org/doc/WCIT_hor_testimony

About the Internet Society

The Internet Society is the trusted independent source for Internet information and thought leadership from around the world. With its principled vision and substantial technological foundation, the Internet Society promotes open dialogue on Internet policy, technology, and future development among users, companies, governments, and other organizations. Working with its members and Chapters around the world, the Internet Society enables the continued evolution and growth of the Internet for everyone. For more information, visit www.internetsociety.org.

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