Bob Barr

“Light touch,” indeed. It’s all about taxation and control. When was the last time Beijing used a “light touch” in quelling hints of political dissent? How light is Putin’s “touch” in making sure political adversaries are railroaded into long prison terms? And, if Syria’s Assad is “lightly” responding to political dissent in his country, what would a “strong touch” look like?

According to L. Gordon Crovitz, writing recently in the Wall Street Journal,proposals being considered by the ITU to regulate the Internet run to more than 200 pages; and include such measures as so-called “sender-party-pays” rules. Such requirements, if implemented, would diminish much of the Internet’s utility in providing a means for users to communicate from one country to another, because such international communications would be subject to a fee from the originating country to the receiving country.

As noted also by Crovitz, other countries pressing for Internet control want the ITU to be able to monitor Internet traffic through their countries; obviously as a means to censor such communications and identify “troublemakers.”

At a time when the United States ought to be openly and loudly condemning moves to control the Internet, the best the top State Department delegate to the Dubai conference reportedly could muster, was a meek excuse that the U.S. has to be measured in its criticism of the ITU’s power grab, because “we don’t want to come across like we’re preaching to others.”

With such namby-pamby representation as this, the Republicans in the Congress need to align themselves with the Internet Society, privacy advocates, and major tech companies such as Google and Facebook, and do what the Obama Administration is afraid to do -- quickly and forcefully act to protect the independence of the Internet from the grasping hands of international bureaucrats and totalitarian regimes everywhere.

Bob Barr

Bob Barr represented Georgia’s 7th district in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 -2003 and as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia from 1986-1990.