Greg Walden's bill to advance internet freedom approved by U.S. House5/15/13
Greg Walden’s bill to advance internet freedom approved by U.S. House
Unanimous vote sends strong signal to the world that the U.S. opposes efforts by authoritarian regimes to subvert the Internet
WASHINGTON – The U.S. House of Representatives today unanimously approved bipartisan legislation (H.R. 1580) written by Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) that affirms it is the policy of the United States to promote a global Internet free from government control.
“The Internet is possibly the most important technological advancement since the printing press. Governments’ hands off approach has enabled the Internet’s rapid growth and made it a powerful engine of social and economic freedom. This bipartisan bill is designed to combat recent efforts by some in the international community to regulate the Internet, which could jeopardize not only its vibrancy, but also the benefits it brings to the world,” Rep. Walden said on the House floor during consideration of the bill (click here to read Rep. Walden’s full statement).
Last Congress, a similar measure unanimously passed the House and Senate. In light of continued international efforts to regulate the Internet, members voted today to make it official U.S policy, rather than merely a sense of the Congress.
Rep. Walden is chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, and this legislation has been a priority for the subcommittee this year. Earlier in the year, the subcommittee held a joint hearing with the House Committee on Foreign Affairs on the subject.
“Just as international opponents of internet freedom are redoubling their efforts, so must we. That is why the hearing we held focused on draft legislation elevating the language of last year’s resolution from a sense of Congress aimed at particular treaty negotiations to a generalized statement of U.S. law,” Rep. Walden said.
Last month, this legislation was approved unanimously by the House Energy and Commerce Committee after Rep. Walden made changes to accommodate concerns from Democratic members of the committee. After passing the House, it now goes to the Senate to be considered.
On April 10, Rep. Walden penned an op-ed in The Bulletin arguing that Congress must “walk the walk” on internet freedom. Click here to read that op-ed.