Pre-2016 Press Releases 31 May 2012

Internet Society’s Sally Wentworth Testifies Before U.S. House of Representatives on International Internet Regulations


Expresses concern on pending international proposals that pose a potential threat to the innovative, collaborative, and open nature of the Internet

[Washington, D.C. and Geneva, Switzerland – 31 May 2012] – The Internet Society, the world’s trusted independent source of Internet leadership, announced that Sally Wentworth, Senior Manager of Public Policy at the Internet Society, testified today as an expert witness before the Communications and Technology Subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Energy and Commerce at a hearing on “International Proposals to Regulate the Internet.”

Wentworth joined other witnesses to provide testimony on the pending international proposals to regulate the Internet via changes to the International Telecommunications Regulations (ITRs), a 1988 treaty that currently governs traditional telecommunications. The United Nations International Telecommunications Union (ITU) will hold the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) in December 2012 and enable the 193 Member States from across the globe to review the ITRs and modify the treaty.

The WCIT has drawn increased attention from the global community, as some ITU Member States have proposed amendments to the treaty that would impact the global Internet architecture, operations, content, and security. Wentworth noted that some government proposals would threaten the viability of the existing global multistakeholder model for standards-setting and Internet policy development, and may seek to apply legacy telecommunications regulations to Internet traffic in a manner that could lead to a fragmented, less interoperable global network.

Additionally, the Internet Society is concerned about the decision-making process at the WCIT meetings. In her written testimony, Wentworth stated, “From a process standpoint, the Internet Society is concerned that these major decisions are being made in a purely intergovernmental setting and will therefore lack the broad range of input and collaboration that are the hallmarks of multistakeholder policy development. It is not simply that the treaty negotiation process excludes nongovernmental stakeholders from decision-making, but that it dramatically limits the extent to which participants from industry and civil society can even be meaningfully heard.”

Founded in 1992 by many of the same pioneers who built the Internet, the Internet Society champions public policies that support the free and open Internet, and facilitates the open development of standards and protocols in support of the Internet’s technical infrastructure. With more than 55,000 members and 90 Chapters around the world, the Internet Society serves as a global resource for technically-vetted, policy-based, and ideologically unbiased information about the Internet.

The Internet Society does believe that the WCIT can produce thoughtful, worthwhile policy developments that advance the mission of the ITU and the ongoing expansion of global communications, without imposing dangerous and unnecessary burdens on the Internet. Wentworth commented, “Many ITU Member States, including the United States, have shown that they understand the value of the Internet and its unique multistakeholder model. Those delegates are in a critical position to advance an agenda at WCIT that respects the Internet and its global contributions, while continuing to support the pro-competitive policies that have been so successful since the ITRs were first negotiated in 1988.”

To read Ms. Wentworth’s written testimony, visit:

About the Internet Society

The Internet Society is the trusted independent source for Internet information and thought leadership from around the world. With its principled vision and substantial technological foundation, the Internet Society promotes open dialogue on Internet policy, technology, and future development among users, companies, governments, and other organizations. Working with its members and Chapters around the world, the Internet Society enables the continued evolution and growth of the Internet for everyone. For more information, visit


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