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Open Internet Coalition Asks For Appointees To Support Internet Freedoms

December 3, 2008 ,

The innovation platform put forward by the Obama-Biden campaign was spot on. Its first item was the “protect the openness of the Internet.” We agree with that sentiment and want to support the Obama Administration in achieving its policy goals.

That’s why the Open Internet Coalition sent a letter of support to the Obama transition team with the recommendation that Administration make appointments to support openness across the government.

While Net Neutrality is certainly one key part of the platform, it is not the only part. We have to make certain that the institutions of government are prepared to implement an openness agenda, and respond appropriately to threats against openness.

That’s why we in the OIC stress appointments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Justice Department. We want the FCC to enforce aggressively openness principles, and affirmatively to promote the concept through rulemaking as well.

That’s why we included suggestions for the proposed new Chief Technology Officer (CTO). That’s why we included a mention of the U.S. Trade Representative. The current Administration has pushed the semi-secret anti-counterfeiting treaty – the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). From what we know about it, there is a decided anti-Internet flavor to it.

It has been reported that Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA) is the leading candidate to be the new U.S. Trade Representative. As he is from southern California, Becerra is naturally friendly with the movie industry, sponsoring legislation to protect film production jobs. We hope that if Becerra is nominated and confirmed to the post, he will take a long look at this treaty process and will do away with the anti-Internet items reported to be in there at Hollywood’s suggestion.

Finally, yes, we would like legislation prohibiting unreasonable discrimination. That’s a common term in law, has been in the Communications Act, and would simply return the state of telecommunications law to where it was before the FCC reversed it in 2005. We don’t think that’s too much to ask.