GOP platform adopts Internet freedom plank

In the run-up to this week's Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., a group of tech trade associations, advocacy groups and lawmakers called on the GOP to include language in their party platform that commits to protecting Internet freedom. A coalition of trade associations that represent major technology companies urged both Republicans and Democrats to adopt text in their party platforms that would discourage a United Nations agency from asserting more control over the Internet.

The trade associations warned that foreign governments are expected to submit a proposal at a conference in Dubai this December that attempts to give the United Nation's International Telecommunication Union (ITU) more authority over the Internet. China, India and Russia are among the countries that reportedly back such a plan.

The GOP platform makes clear that Republicans would reject any proposal that gives the United Nations "unprecedented control" over the Internet, stating that "international regulatory control over the open and free Internet would have disastrous consequences for the United States and the world."

The Republicans also plan to combat domestic regulations that would threaten new innovation and protect the survival of outdated technologies.

"The Internet offers a communications system uniquely free from government intervention. We will remove regulatory barriers that protect outdated technologies and business plans from innovation and competition, while preventing legacy regulation from interfering with new and disruptive technologies such as mobile delivery of voice video data as they become crucial components of the Internet ecosystem," the platform says.

It also commits to protecting people's privacy online and personal data.

"We will ensure that personal data receives full constitutional protection from government overreach and that individuals retain the right to control the use of their data by third parties; the only way to safeguard or improve these systems is through the private sector," according the platform.

Following a wave of online protests against the Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect IP Act earlier this year, lawmakers have been eager to tout their support of Internet freedom so they don't stoke the ire of Internet activists a second time.

Democrats are also considering Internet freedom language in their party platform for the party's upcoming convention next month.

Both parties are quick to voice their support for Internet freedom, but don't always see eye to eye on its definition. For instance, Republicans are staunchly opposed to net-neutrality rules, while Democrats argue that they are necessary to protect the openness of the Internet. 

This post was updated at 8:57 p.m.