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July 12, 2016

GOP Draft Platform Blasts Obama for Putting 'Survival' of Internet at Risk

IPI expert referenced: Tom Giovanetti | In The News | Media Hit
  Washington Internet Daily

The 2016 draft Republican Party platform says Republicans don't want government to be a "meddlesome monitor" on tech policy and attacked the FCC net neutrality order and broadband policies generally. The Republican National Convention platform committee began meeting Monday in Cleveland, the site of the GOP convention beginning next week, to start debating the GOP draft platform.

"The survival of the Internet as we know it is at risk," the draft Republican document said, saying President Barack Obama "ordered" FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler "to impose upon the internet rules devised in the 1930s for the telephone monopoly. He unilaterally announced America's abandonment of the international Internet by surrendering U.S. control of the root zone of web names and addresses. He threw the Internet to the wolves, and they -- Russia, China, Iran, and others -- are ready to devour it."

The GOP rough draft lauded Capitol Hill Republicans who used legislation to "impede" Obama's plans to turn over the internet "to regulators and tyrants" and said the "fight must continue," reaffirming a 2012 platform pledge that the internet's "independence is its power." Republicans "will therefore resist any effort to shift control away from the successful multi-stakeholder approach of Internet governance and toward governance by international or other intergovernmental organizations," it said. "We will ensure that personal data receives full constitutional protection from government overreach. The only way to safeguard or improve these systems is through the private sector."

Institute for Policy Innovation President Tom Giovanetti tweeted that the 2016 draft GOP platform's language on "protecting Internet from taxation and regulation is INADEQUATE" and proposed language that IPI would prefer:

"Regulators and tax collectors, threatened by the disruptive Internet that empowers people and private businesses, are pushing for their powers to regulate and tax to grow in the same way, across borders and reaching every corner of the Internet. The Republican Party should consistently support Internet policies that allow people and private enterprise to thrive, without providing new and expanded powers to tax and regulate so that the Internet does not become the vehicle for a dramatic expansion of government power. Maintaining fundamental principles of limited government in an increasingly Internet-enabled world is a critical role for the party that puts people ahead of government bureaucracies and regulators."

Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., is platform chairman and named telecom as one issue in the draft platform. "We had lots of input," Barrasso said during the Monday meeting in Cleveland, referring to online feedback and meetings, with response from 155,000 "from all across the country." Amendments are under consideration early this week.

"We intend to facilitate access to spectrum by paving the way for high-speed, next-generation broadband deployment and competition on the Internet and for internet services," said the initial 58-page draft circulating Monday and posted by The Conservative Review. Public policies "should encourage the innovation and competition that are essential for an Internet of Things to thrive," it said. The draft said the government must do a better job of attracting technical personnel and managing broadband policy. "At the cost of billions, the current Administration has done little to advance our goal of universal broadband coverage," the draft said. "That hurts rural America, where farmers, ranchers, and small business people that need connectivity to operate in real time with the world's producers. Almost ten million people have given up wired broadband connections in just the last two years alone, and millions more have never been connected in the first place. We encourage public-private partnerships to provide predictable support for connecting rural areas so that every American can fully participate in the global economy."

The draft platform said the "Constitution is in crisis" and accuses Obama of directing regulatory agencies "to overstep their statutory authority," which the text says is enabled by Hill Democrats, and called over-regulation "the quiet tyranny of the 'Nanny State.'" It endorsed Hill efforts to require congressional approval for any rule or regulation imposing significant costs and advised Congress to "consider a regulatory budget that would cap the costs federal agencies could impose on the economy in any given year." It also included a cybersecurity section and lauded information-sharing legislation and encouraged exploration of "the possibility of a free market for Cyber-insurance."

The draft includes a section on liberty and privacy that notes increasingly sophisticated encryption tech. "These increased privacy protections have become crucial to the digital economy," it said. "At the same time, however, such innovations have brought new dangers, especially from criminals and terrorists who seek to use encryption technology to harm us. Not [sic] matter the medium, citizens must retain the right to communicate with one another free from unlawful government intrusion." It's too important for courts, and a GOP president and Congress "must listen to the American people and forge a consensus solution," the draft said. "The Internet must not become a safe haven for predators," another draft section said. "We applaud the social networking sites that bar sex offenders from participation." Also included is a section on intellectual property rights, calling it all the more critical to protect them in a digital economy and also an issue of national security. It named China among offenders of intellectual property rights and urges "strong action by Congress and a new Republican president to enforce intellectual property laws against all infringers, whether foreign or domestic."

Democrats who gathered in Orlando last week advanced an amendment to their 2016 Democratic Party platform draft, released last week, recognizing 5G, IoT and a need to hook up anchor institutions to free Wi-Fi. Mike Thurmond, a former state lawmaker from Georgia, proposed the amendment adding several sentences on telecom policy. The draft platform already included references to high-speed broadband (see 1607050058).

"Democrats will finish the job of connecting every household in America to high-speed broadband" and "increase internet adoption," the amendment said. Democrats will "take action" to help the wide deployment of 5G, it promised. "People also need a continuum of connectivity," Thurmond told the Democrats Friday at the meeting on the platform. After debate over the definition of IoT, with some confusion from participants and presiding Gov. Dan Malloy, a Democrat from Connecticut, the amendment was accepted with few objections.


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