New America Experts Emphasize Human Rights Considerations in Congressional Testimony on Global Internet Governance

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WASHINGTON, DC – Testifying before a House Communications and Technology Subcommittee hearing today on “Ensuring the Security, Stability, Resilience, and Freedom of the Global Internet,” Carolina Rossini – Project Director with the Internet Governance and Human Rights Program at the Open Technology Institute at New America – will support the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) proposal to transfer key Internet domain name responsibilities to the global multi-stakeholder community.
 
In her testimony, Rossini will emphasize the importance of employing an international human rights framework in Internet governance and underscore how the NTIA proposal could help the Internet remain a space for freedom of expression.
 
“We welcome NTIA’s announcement that it intends to transfer the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions to the global multi-stakeholder community and support the guiding criteria that NTIA articulated for that transition,” said Rossini, in a statement issued before the testimony. “The NTIA proposal demonstrates moral and political leadership by the U.S. in addressing the challenges of Internet geopolitics."
 
Human rights and free expression organizations have been following the NTIA announcement closely, and several prominent groups submitted a signed letter to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology in advance of today’s hearing. In the letter, the groups express support for the NTIA proposal and ensuring that the Internet remains a free and open global platform for the exercise of citizens’ rights throughout the transition. Signatories to the letter included the Open Technology Institute, Public Knowledge, the Center for Democracy & Technology, Freedom House, Human Rights Watch, and Access.
 
“The Commerce Department's decision to begin the long-promised transition of basic administrative Internet functions to a global multi-stakeholder body is a smart, strategic move intended to undermine countries like Russia and China that are pushing for a more government-dominated Internet," said Kevin Bankston, Policy Director of the Open Technology Institute at New America. "The DOTCOM Act, which seeks to block the transition in the name of human rights, would ironically empower nations that do not respect human rights and that are using the United States' historic role in the Internet's management as an argument for the United Nations to step into Internet governance. We share the DOTCOM Act sponsors' goal of a free and open Internet, but the bill actually threatens that goal and plays into the hands of those who want to use the Internet as an instrument of political control rather than preserve it as a global platform for free expression."
 
To read Carolina Rossini’s prepared testimony, please click here.
 
To read the letter submitted by the human rights and free expression organizations, please click

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