Secretary addresses ICANN on Internet governance

“We come together at a time when Internet governance is as important as ever,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker at a meeting of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers on Monday in Los Angeles. “The fact is that we must do everything we can to protect and preserve this revolutionary platform that is the essential connector of people, economies, and communities across the planet.”

She cited initial DARPA investment and the efforts of individuals including Vint Cerf, Bob Kahn, Steve Crocker, Tim Berners Lee, and Marc Andreessen in developing “the most dynamic communications and connective platform that the world has ever seen.”

She cited the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) decision six months ago “to transition its stewardship role over the Internet Domain Name System to the global multistakeholder communities.”

She continued, “We all know that multistakeholder governance, and institutions like ICANN, are under intense and unprecedented pressure and scrutiny. Yet we are confident that the multistakeholder model offers the greatest assurance that the Internet will continue to thrive. And we must work together to ensure that the Internet remains an engine for economic growth, innovation, and free expression. We must continue to work hard to sustain multistakeholder governance, because it has enemies who want to reduce Internet governance to a meeting of governmental technocrats promoting narrow national interests.”

She commented on next week’s International Telecommunications Conference in Korea, which she expects will see proposals to put governments in control of the Internet. She added, “You can rest assured that the United States will oppose these efforts at every turn. We know that those interested in government control tend to be countries that censor content and stifle the free flow of information. We will be clear that these steps are contrary to our belief in the value of free speech—whether on the Internet, in society, in the public sphere—both here at home and abroad. We will remind all players—in each instance—that the multistakeholder model will preserve and protect a strong and resilient Internet.”

You can read the complete speech here.

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