With the Democratic and Republican conventions a few short weeks away, Internet advocates across the country are pushing both parties to adopt official positions on Internet freedom for their policy platforms.
Numerous groups lobbied against the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) earlier this year (which may have allowed companies to share user data with the federal government), and in July, a coalition of more than 100 cyber liberties groups and Internet advocates drafted the “Declaration of Internet Freedom” consisting of five baseline principles for guiding Internet legislation.
Earlier this week, one such advocacy group, Demand Progress stated:
Also in preparation for the conventions, Representative Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) recently submitted the draft of a text on Internet freedom for inclusion in the party platform at the RNC. It reads:
We believe that all Americans have a right to participate where and how they choose on the Internet…They have a right to create, grow, collaborate and benefit from what they create…As the Internet continues to become more integrated into virtually every aspect of our lives we must ensure that it remains free of unnecessary government influence and manipulation
Following the SOPA blackout and similar backlash against CISPA, the arguments around internet freedom are gaining traction in Washington, and there is word out that both parties will consider taking official stances on the issue during the next few weeks.
US News reported that Kirsten Kukowski, a spokesperson for the Republican National Committee, went on record saying: “Internet freedom and net neutrality will be among the issues discussed as the RNC decides on its official platform before this month’s convention.” In addition, an unnamed contributor involved with drafting the Democratic National Committee platform says “early drafts included language that advocated Internet freedom globally.” The source couldn’t confirm whether or not this provision will be in final platform set for the DNC.
From the campaign money trail, it looks like Republicans have a slight lead in capturing support from the tech community at large. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, 54% of the $4 million that Silicon Valley-based PACs have donated have gone to Republican causes and candidates. Intel, Microsoft and Facebook have all given more to GOP PACs, while Google and Oracle have given more Democrats.
Despite growing awareness on the subject, deciding what “Internet Freedom” actually entails from a policy perspective has proved difficult thus far for both parties to agree on. Democrats are focused on net neutrality which ensures that Internet service providers cannot interfere with content, applications and services of users’ choice, whereas Republicans oppose net neutrality and see it as unnecessary government regulation of the Internet.
Adopting official stances is crucial, especially at a time when the Internet itself is fueling political conversations and measuring voter sentiments for the upcoming election.
The SOPA blackout may have been a wake up call, but as more and more new cases emerge — the Megaupload extradition for example — the law must continue to play-catch up to the evolving tech industry without clear legislation surrounding open access and internet freedom.
- Democrats Consider Officially Supporting Internet Freedom; GOP to ‘Discuss’ Issue (usnews.com)
- VP Pick, Paul Ryan, Has (Mostly) Been A Friend To Technology (techcrunch.com)
- Advocacy group urges parties to include Internet freedom in platforms (thehill.com)
- Obama and Romney need to weigh in on net neutrality (arstechnica.com)
Want the rest of this article? Please visit original source!