Jan 11

Past Event

Principles of Internet Governance: An Agenda for Economic Growth and Innovation

Video

Highlights

  • Preventing Balkanization of the Internet

    Darrell West: If every country follows its own principles regarding internet regulation, we could end up with a Balkanized internet that lacks the transparency and integration that are needed for effective online communication and transactions.

    Darrell M. West

  • Collective Action Will Help Protect the Internet

    Karen Kornbluh, U.S. Ambassador, OECD: The internet is a powerful tool and we need collective action to protect it and ensure that it’s available and accessible for everyone.

  • Writing Rules that Solve the Problems of the Internet

    Daniel J. Weitzner, Executive office of the President: Our focus needs to be on building the global mechanisms that keep the internet working well for everyone.

  • Standing Up for the Internet

    Lawrence E. Strickling, U.S. Department of Commerce: All internet stakeholders need to step up and stand up for those principles that will keep the internet open and accessible.

  • Not a Choice Between Anarchy and Ruin

    Robert Boorstin, Google: We don’t have to choose between anarchy and laws that will ruin the internet, the OECD principles provide the balance we need to make managing it work.

  • A Flow of Information

    Kathy Brown, Verizon: The internet is a vehicle of information, and information has to flow freely; it can’t be blocked.

  • Government Can Break the Internet

    Mark Cooper, Consumer Federation of America: What’s the greatest threat to internet growth and access? Government! Governments can really break the internet!

Audio

Brookings Multimedia content requires JavaScript. Your browser either doesn't have JavaScript or doesn't have it enabled.

Instructions to enable JavaScript.

Summary

At a Center for Technology Innovation forum on January 11, government and technology industry experts advocated for a voluntary, multi-stakeholder process as a way to implement the Recommendation on Principles for Internet Policy Making, adopted by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in December.

Leading the U.S. effort to establish these principles has been U.S. Ambassador to the OECD Karen Kornbluh, who delivered a keynote address reviewing how agreement on the recommendation was reached and the core values on which it is based. Following her remarks, Lawrence E. Strickling, assistant secretary for communication and information at the Department of Commerce, offered the Obama administration’s perspective on the next steps in constructing international policymaking principles that support the virtuous cycle of investment, access and innovation needed in today's economic climate. A panel of experts, moderated by Danny Weitzner, White House deputy chief technology officer, then examined how the OECD principles fit into broader international efforts.

“A heavy handed approach to regulation doesn’t work,” said Ambassador Kornbluh. “We need to work together to protect [the Internet].”

Kornbluh noted the most pressing challenges facing voluntary Internet governance are three-fold: balancing constituents’ concerns with a free flow of information, combating cyber-autocracies (like Iran and Syria) and recognizing the dangers of other leaders who wish to impose their own form of Internet governance and implement restrictions.
 
Calling the adoption of the principles a major technology policy achievement in 2011, Assistant Secretary Strickling, also administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, reiterated his belief that an international treaty would stifle innovation, noting that the Internet does not operate on the monopolistic system of the old telecom model.

Robert Boorstin, director of public policy at Google, praised the OECD’s set of recommendations. “When was the last time a group of governments got together and decided they didn’t want to govern something? This is a big deal.”

According to Boorstin, “Multi-stakeholder initiatives will succeed because we have no other choice.” Countries that are trying to control the Internet will ultimately fail because of economic concerns and because people are learning how to get around barriers through various means, he also asserted.

Kathy Brown, senior vice president of Verizon, argued for letting information and data flow freely across borders as a means to ensure that the Internet can develop and lead economic development, not just for the first world but also for developing countries.” Our job is to be persuasive to constituents…in the developing world that there is a new way to govern,” said Brown.
 
All panelists spoke about the challenge to Internet freedom around the world and the need to protect the Internet as it continues to evolve.
 
“The Internet is a work in progress and we want it to remain that way,” said the White House’s Danny Weitzner.
 
“We’ve now reached the quarter-life crisis of the internet,” said Mark Cooper, director of research at the Consumer Federation of America. Cooper noted that the OECD’s recommendations embrace a fundamental set of principles that allow the internet the freedom to mature, unobstructed by government regulations.

The event concluded with Weitzner’s summation: “What will make the difference is that people recognizing a set of ideas to gather around and there’s a way to make progress together.”

This event was live tweeted using the hashtag #TechCTI.

Event Agenda

  • Introduction

  • Moderator

    • Daniel J. Weitzner

      Deputy Chief Technology Officer for Internet Policy

      Executive Office of the President

  • Keynote Address

    • The Honorable Karen Kornbluh

      U.S. Ambassador

      Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development

  • Remarks

    • Lawrence E. Strickling

      Assistant Secretary for Communication and Information and Administrator, National Telecommunications and Information Administration

      U.S. Department of Commerce

  • How the OECD Recommendation Fits Into International Efforts

    • Robert Boorstin

      Director of Public Policy

      Google

    • Kathy Brown

      Senior Vice President

      Verizon

    • Mark Cooper

      Director of Research

      Consumer Federation of America

Details

January 11, 2012

1:00 PM - 3:00 PM EST

The Brookings Institution

Falk Auditorium

1775 Massachusetts Ave., NW

Map

For More Information

Brookings Office of Communications

(202) 797-6105