Part of the platform the Republican party adopted Tuesday night included language to protect Internet freedom, something that lawmakers and interest groups on both sides of the aisle have been calling for in recent months.
Several groups that lobbied against the online piracy bills known as the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP (Intellectual Property) Act have petitioned Republicans and Democrats to affirm a commitment to the open Internet as planks in their party platforms, and lawmakers such as Reps. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) have made similar cases to party leadership.
The Republican plank is focused on removing regulation around technology businesses, as well as language that would protect personal data online from the government.
“We will ensure that personal data receives full constitutional protection from government overreach,” the platform reads, “and that individuals retain the right to control the use of their data by third parties; the only way to safeguard or improve these systems is through the private sector.”
The platform language also says that the party will “resist any effort” to move Internet governance away from its current multistakeholder model in favor of international or “intergovernmental” organizations.
There has been some discussion of handing more control of the Web to the United Nations, as The Washington Post reported in May. The proposal is being championed by China, Russia and some Arab states but has gathered vocal critics from technology companies such as Google, Microsoft, Verizon and Cisco, who say such a plan would create financial risks to their businesses.
The GOP platform also specifically criticized the Federal Communications Commission, saying that the agency’s net neutrality rule and other regulations show the Obama administration is “frozen in the past.” The platform proposes that the federal government inventory its spectrum to discover how much of it could be auctioned to the public.
“With special recognition of the role university technology centers are playing in attracting private investment to the field, we will replace the administration’s Luddite approach to technological progress with a regulatory partnership that will keep this country the world leader in technology and telecommunications.”
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