Luckily, the United States led the opposition to such proposals, making the case that a range of multi-stakeholder organizations with technical expertise can better make “agile, rapid-fire decisions.” Fifty-five other countries, including most of Europe, would not sign the revised treaty and instead advocated the importance of a multi-stakeholder Internet policy. But continued U.S. leadership will be needed to continue to fend off these ill-advised proposals and avoid an ideological battle over Internet controls.
As he awaits Congress’ approval to take the job as the top domestic Internet influencer, President Barack Obama’s nominee, Tom Wheeler, should be encouraged to recognize the significant role that this policy of deliberate self-restraint played in the Internet’s success. We must now strongly advocate for an Internet that can reach developing world communities without the burdens of high costs or bureaucratic barriers.
Those of us in the “fortunate forty” should ensure that the Internet remains available by encouraging those who govern to practice regulatory self-restraint — both for the sake of American citizens and for the global community.
Nancy Soderberg is a former deputy national security adviser and United Nations ambassador in the Clinton administration.