Republicans and Democrats mull positions on Internet freedom in party platforms

“As the Internet continues to become more integrated into virtually every aspect of our lives we must ensure that it remains free of unnecessary government influence and manipulation,” the text continues.

Issa’s proposed text also strikes a libertarian tone by stating that Americans “have a right to be secure in their intellectual property on the Internet.”

“It is [Issa’s] firm belief that Internet freedom, personal freedom and economic openness are intrinsic to the values of the Republican Party, and he hopes that they will be included in the party platform considered and ratified by delegates in Tampa,” an Issa aide said.

The California Republican’s draft text is one of several proposals on Internet freedom that will be considered early next week when the RNC’s platform committee meets to discuss what language will be included in its final party platform. Kirsten Kukowski, a spokeswoman for the RNC, said it will also weigh feedback received from other lawmakers, interest groups and people who submitted proposals on the RNC platform committee website.

Meanwhile, early drafts of the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) platform included text that advocated for Internet freedom globally, a source involved in the drafting process told the U.S. News & World Report. They did not confirm whether that text made it into the final version of the platform.

Requests for comment were not returned by the DNC.

The Democrats’ 2008 party platform touched on the subject, however. It stated that Democrats “will protect the Internet’s traditional openness and ensure that it remains a dynamic platform for free speech, innovation and creativity.”

The definition of Internet freedom has been somewhat of a fuzzy one in tech policy circles and differs slightly from group to group. For example, some Democrats and progressive groups consider net neutrality — a policy that calls on Internet service providers to treat all Web traffic equally — as a principle of Internet freedom. Republicans and some libertarian groups, however, staunchly oppose net neutrality rules and consider it unnecessary government regulation of the Internet.

That division was apparent earlier this summer when advocacy groups took sides on two rival Internet freedom declarations.


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