CALinnovates Hosts "Sticky WCIT: Is This the End of the Internet?"

Nov 29, 2012, 14:50 ET from CALinnovates

Panel discusses the upcoming global United Nations conference and its policy implications on the future of the Internet, the global economy, and Silicon Valley's prosperity

PALO ALTO, Calif., Nov. 29, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Internet and Silicon Valley companies are under threat by proposals to be discussed at an upcoming United Nations conference according to a panel of academics and tech experts, including U.S. Ambassador David Gross, convened yesterday by CALinnovates in collaboration with the Stanford Journal of International Law (SJIL) and the Stanford Law and Technology Association (SLATA) at Stanford Law School.

"We're not regulatory Usain Bolts," observed Panelist Larry Irving of the Irving Group, who argued that that the best approach to regulating the Internet is to avoid regulation because government rules can't keep up with the sprinting pace of evolving technology.  Irving is the former Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information with the National Telecommunications & Information Administration (NTIA).

Ambassador David Gross warned that international regulation of the Internet could suffocate innovation stating, "Predicting the future never works, especially for governments."  

Google Policy Counsel of Open Internet Patrick Ryan added, "A free and open Internet is the platform for free expression."  Ryan homed in on the importance of protecting Internet freedom, free speech and opposing increased censorship. 

CALinnovates Executive Director Mike Montgomery lauded the success of the event.  "We had a truly star-studded panel that came together in agreement that we must take action to protect the existing multi-stakeholder approach to regulating Internet services and infrastructure that has been critical to maintaining a free and open Internet, encouraging private investment, and supporting innovation and free flowing ideas.  I believe we succeeded in raising awareness about the implications of WCIT and in encouraging Silicon Valley leaders to pay close attention to and engage in global actions and federal policies regulating the Internet because it's a direct threat to Silicon Valley's prosperity and our nation's digital future."

James Wigginton of SJIL also commented on the event. "The Stanford Journal of International Law was honored to host the WCIT panel.  We hope the panel will generate serious discussion in Silicon Valley regarding international Internet governance." 

On April 11-12, 2013 SJIL will host a follow-up symposium in conjunction with CALinnovates to discuss WCIT's results and explore the role of international law in promoting cybersecurity.  Dr. Hamadoun Toure, Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union, will give the keynote address.  Updates regarding the April symposium can be found on SJIL's Facebook page:

This December in Dubai the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) will consider international rules governing the Internet.  At the conference, certain nations may advocate for International governance of Internet services and infrastructure that, if adopted, would result in international regulations that require compliance by member nations.  Other proposals being considered at the conference could also give individual governments more power over the role of the Internet in their respective countries.

To watch the video of the panel discussion, click here:

SOURCE CALinnovates