McCaul, Langevin Lead Bipartisan Effort to Prevent International Internet Regulations
Congressmen Michael McCaul (R-TX) and Jim Langevin (D-RI), Co-Chairs of the House Cybersecurity Caucus, introduced legislation today urging the United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations to oppose any resolution that would allow regulation of the Internet.
China and Russia are leading efforts before the UN to seek such a resolution, under which the UN would give license to authoritarian governments to continue censoring the Internet and perpetuate their assault on individual liberties. H. Con. Res. 114 is consistent with the White House’s May 2011 International Strategy for Cyberspace, which calls on the United States to preserve, enhance and increase access to an open, global Internet.
“Any action taken by the United Nations to attempt to limit Americans’ right to free and open Internet content is unacceptable," said Congressman McCaul, who served as an advisor on cybersecurity on Speaker Boehner's High Tech Task Force. "The Internet’s current multi-stakeholder model has provided an unburdened environment for ideas and inventions to thrive. No single state should have control over content and information must be freely disseminated."
“The proposals by some nations to gain international approval of policies that could result in Internet censorship would be a significant setback for anyone who believes free expression is a universal right,” said Congressman Langevin, who co-founded the Cybersecurity Caucus with McCaul in 2008. “It must be made clear that efforts to secure the Internet against malicious hacking do not need to interfere with this freedom and the United States will oppose any attempt to blur the line between the two.”
Last week, Reporters Without Borders, in its annual report on Internet freedom and worldwide freedom of expression, listed 12 nations as “enemies of the Internet” including Iran, Syria, China, North Korea, Cuba and Uzbekistan.
In a September letter to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the Permanent Representatives to the United Nations from China, Russian, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, stated their intention to offer a UN resolution calling for an international code of conduct for information technology security, and stated that it is their belief that the governments of these countries should be able to control and influence public internet-related issues.
“Every member of Congress and the president can be in agreement that there is no area where the need for vigilance is more necessary than in preserving our First Amendment right to free speech and open access to information,” Rep. McCaul said.
Reps. McCaul and Langevin served as co-chairs of the Center for Strategic and International Studies' (CSIS) Commission on Cybersecurity for the 44th Presidency, which presented cybersecurity recommendations to President Obama just before he took office.