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tv   [untitled]    May 31, 2012 11:00am-11:30am EDT

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post, the joint blog post by the department of commerce, ambassador revere, danny wiesner in the white house was excellent. i can't improve upon his answers, but as i said in my opening remarks, it's a great threat. >> commissioner, according to communications daily today, g.g. sewn from public knowledge said we have to be a little careful not to hold up multistakeholderism as a coin, close quote. ultimately, the u.s. government has to serve as a back stop to these efforts, and it's government's role to make the decisions and enforce the principles that are developed. do you agree that it's government's role to make the decisions about how the internet operates and to enforce them? >> i can't speak for miss sewn, but to answer your question directly, no. i think we need to reinforce the multistakeholder model in the absence of state action. >> ambassador resevere? >> i think we agree once again that we want very much to keep the multistakeholder model as
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the front and center basis on which we engage in that. >> aren't many of the proposals attempts to regulate the internet as if it's the old-fashioned telephone service? is it certainly feels like that to some of us. >> yes, and then some. perhaps with the regulation of contents and applications, as well, which would go well beyond the old phone service regulation of yore. >> i guess i would add it's important to understand these contributions that come in are things that have the kinds of implications in many instances that commissioner mcdowell mentioned in his testimony. but a lot of them are probably also motivated or principally motivated by by an effort to preserve or reinstate the kinds of arrangements that existed under the days of voice-grade
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international telephone service. and these are -- these are very possibly in many instances sincerely presented not intending anything any more than that for the reasons the commissioner mentioned, these are probably also mistaken in terms of efforts to find new approaches to regulation. >> and, in fact, i thought your testimony was very well done and raises some of these points just how insidious they can be and yet look as if they're not problem creating. what do you see as the most troubling small changes, if you will, that have been proposed? >> well, certainly the arab state proposal -- the arab states' proposal is very troubling. a small definition nal change, maybe hoping no one would notice, that all of a sudden swallows the internet that expands the itu's jurisdiction tremendously. again, it could be something that comes through the phone numbering issue or some other issue. i mean, it seems almost every week there's a new issue or a
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new angle or a new front that's opened up, a new argument that's tested. so it could be any number. >> all right. i have no further questions. with that, i'll turn it over the ranking member of the subcommittee miss eschew for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman and ambassador verveer and commissioner mcdowell.minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman and ambassador verveer and commissioner mcdowell. thank you not only for being here but for your very strong knowledgeable voices and advocates on this issue. as well. ambassador verveer, you mentioned in your testimony that many other governments have joined with the united states in pursuing an outcome that would limit the itu's involvement in internet governance. can you tell us what the extent of this collaboration is and how are these governments, other governments working with the u.s. to achieve this goal? because it seems to me that we
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have a lot of people, a lot of countries, a lot of states, nation-states, that are -- let me put it in a more positive way -- don't share our view of the internet and how it operates and how it should continue to operate. so how is our collation doing? and can you do a little bit of a dive on telling us where you think we are with other countries, which is so important? and then i'd like commissioner mcdowell, maybe you can give us a wicket 101. how many are going to vote? is there a time frame around this? is it discussion that begins this year and extend for the next 24 years? they only meet once -- the last time they met was almost a quarter of a century ago. so i'd like to -- i think maybe the committee, if -- maybe some already know.
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i'm not so sure i understand how the itu actually is going to work when we show up. so if you could handle that one. but let's go to ambassador verveer first. >> yes. representative eshoo, the principal activities to this date in terms of preparation for the conference are being undertaken in regional groupings of which there are six. our regional grouping of the americas involves something called c-tell. the europeans operate under something called sept. and there's the asia pacific entity among other places. i think it is a fair surmise, a fair summary, that in those three regions you have largely consistent set of views about how we should proceed. that is to say that we don't -- we don't want to see the treaty conference become the occasion for any kind of intergovernmental control of the
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internet. now, we will, in our preparations with the leadership of our new head of delegation, terry kramer, we will engage in a graeme bilateral discussions, as well, by kind of an alogy, or head of delegation and deputy head of delegation dick baird engaged in about 50 bilateral discussions leading up to the conference itself. so we are very actively engaged in discussions with friends and with those who may have different opinions. and that's going to continue on right up to the conference itself. >> where would you say we are? are we in -- is there still a split? is there a consensus that comes around our view more than other views of this, of the regions that you just mentioned? >> yes. i think one way to describe the
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state of the activities at this point would be to think of this conference as potentially having two tracks. the first track would have been an effort at direct regulation of the internet, something that was a source of concern a year and more ago but i think is less a source of concern now. the only really direct effort that i'm aware of to accomplish is that was a proposal by the russian federation to create a framework, an entirely new framework for the negotiation of entirely new regulations. that effort has been turned back, i think, successfully. >> that's very good news. i want to get to commissioner mcdowell. thank you. >> when it comes to the process, the department of state actually takes the lead. it's a treaty negotiation. >> how many are on a team? are there votes? is it ho 40 people? >> there are 193 member states of the itu.
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they each have one vote, no reto power. don't matter how many people are in your country. still the same vote. >> kind of like the senate. >> i'll stay out of the bicameral -- >> i know. i know. >> but the idea of every 24 years on the one hand is accurate. on the other hand, this is actually almost an annual issue. there's some other conference, you know, that's almost every year if not several conferences per year. so the itu has many different conferences. for instance the world communicationings conference the ambassador talked about was this past january and february. but we need to look beyond this december. i want to make sure the committee and everybody listening understands it's not just about this december. this is just the latest vignette in this drama. we have to remain vigilant for years to come. there will be more meetings, more possibilities for treaty negotiations in 2013, 2014, 2015 and on out. >> thank you. >> thank you.
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i recognize myself for questions. mr. ogden was supposed to be next, but since he's not here, i'll take his time. mr. -- or is it ambassador? verveer. >> either is fine. >> trying to get more up to speed on this. i'm concerned about the secretary-general toure and his relationships with russia and vladimir putin and then cup that will relationship with putin's comments where he is very blunt about his desires to regulate the internet and take control of the internet. so i ask you, is that an unfounded concern or fear that i have as this relationship -- when the secretary-general of
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the itu has this relationship, is it unfounded, is this relationship a concern, what steps are we taking to be able to counterbalance that relationship? >> well, my view is that the secretary-general is in fact a very effective and honorable international civil servant elected to this position and then re-elected unanimously at the last go-round. so he's very well respected. he has been very effective. and i don't personally have any serious misgivings about his ability to be fair and be helpful in terms of helping to see that the conference and the ongoing activities that commissioner mcdowell mentioned take place. he is a man who has a very strong personal connection with the united states.
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he lived here for 12 years working for intelsat. >> he has family here? >> two of his children are u.s. citizens and i believe resident here. and so i think he exemplify, i believe, a very decent international civil servant in what is a very important and frankly very complicated job. he has to attend to the legitimate needs and requirements of the united states but also of the russian federation and china and every other of the 193 countries in the world. but i don't think we need to have anxieties about his integri integrity. >> all right. wasn't questioning his integrity, but that -- maybe his beliefs were close to what prime minister putin has expressed. and so, mr. mcdowell, do you have any concerns or fears about the relationship? >> i think that puts us behind the 8-ball so, to speak.
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i'll take ambassador verveer's analysis at face value. of course he's much more expert on that than i am. what's more important is looking at his background, looking at his public statements on these issues, many of which i've cited in my testimony among other things. >> good point. >> i think when you read them they speak for themselves. >> yeah. that's concerning. i don't know, mr. verveer, ambassador verveer, soon to be ambassador kramer, will you walk through your level of confidence in mr. kramer and what preparations he should be taking to make sure that we draw a hard line? >> sure. mr. kramer is a retired senior executive who had worked very extensively in the -- particularly in the wireless business. his career involved very significantly service initially
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in pacific telesis which then spun off his wireless business to a company called air touch which eventually was acquired by vodafone. mr. kramer, during almost all of this time, then, followed the progression of the company and the assets as they were sold. he spent a good many years of his career as a senior executive for vodafone. he spent about five years as i understand it in the united kingdom and in the netherlands involved in vodafone's extensive international activities. as a member of the executive -- he has been a member of the executive committee of the gsm association, which is the largest international wireless association, has spent some time since his retirement teaching at harvard, at the harvard business school, and he is about to undertake, i believe, teaching assignments at ucla at the business school there. he is a man of very considerable
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experience then in the international communications arena. i think it will prove to be something that's very, very valuable from our point of view. there will be a learning curve. we're embarking now in terms of helping -- >> my time's expired, but i'm worried about or concerned about whether the learning curve that we -- in the few months before december conference. i'll let somebody else ask ask that question. so at this time i recognize mr. markey. >> thank you. the inventor of the worldwide web urged us to, quote, make sure the web itself is a blank sheet, a blank canvas, something that does not constrain the innovation around the konner.
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the wonderful thing about the internet, sir tim also reminded us, is that no one needs to ask permission to innovate, to get their voice heard, to launch a new service or a new business enterprise. that is the magic of the internet. the internet is the most level playing field for commercial opportunity ever invented. it is the most successful communication and commercial medium in history. it is the lifeblood of the world economy. now, last week, vince serf, who is going to testify on the second panel and was hired by both brannic and newman, along with several others back in the late 1960s to develop paekt which networked and eventually became known as the internet, he wrote just last thursday in "the new york times", "the decisions taken in dubai in december have the potential to put government handcuff ls on the net, to
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prevent that and keep the internet open and free for the next generation, we need to prevent a fundamental shift in how the internet is governed." do you think that can happen in dubai, ambassador verveer? >> i think it could happen, but i think it's very unlikely to happen. one of the reasons it's very unlikely to happen is many of the countries of the world are very alert to the kinds of concerns that sir tim mentioned in the hearing in 2007. the internet is enormously valuable to everyone in the world, and i think it is a fair surmise that almost all of the countries of the world are going to be very anxious not to do anything that might damage it. and of course that's a large part of the effort we're going to -- we have been and will continue to make is to point out that there are things that could damage it. >> what is the motivation in your opinion behind what china or russia might seek to accomplish if they were successful in what they had been
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proposing? >> both of those countries have a concept they call information security. their concept of information security is what we would call cybersecurity, a physical protection of their networks, but it goes beyond that to address content that they regard as unwanted. and i think, as much as anything else, that the base motivations that russia and china have involve regime stability, regime preservation, which for them involves preventing unwanted content from being made widely available in their countries. >> and commissioner mcdowell, how do you view this threat from china and russia and others that seek to retain regime stability and can only really pursue it through an international control of the internet? >> for those countries that are offering such ideas that are
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authoritarian, like the ones you cite, i don't think it's too stark to say their vision of the internet is to have a tyrannical walled garden. but i think there are a variety of motivations throughout the 193 member states who might find a number of things appealing, might be purely economic, state owned, telephone companies charging web destinations on a per-click basis. but for the chinas and russias and other authoritarian regimes i think it's too snuff out political dissent. >> we actually had to have a hearing here in 1987 when the federal communications commission was actually considering a proposal, would have per-minute charges up on the screen on the internet rather than all you can eat kind of a proposal, which we're glad we beat that back, back in 1987 so that we could have this chaotic, uncontrollable system
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that ultimately developed. so mr. ambassador, are you gratified by the response you're receiving from other countries in their alignment with the united states in resisting these proposals coming from totalitarian states? >> well, by and large, we are gratified by the responses that we've seen. we find that an awful -- a significant number of our allies have been prepared to step up to also oppose what we regard as fundamentally bad ideas. and i'm very confident that if we have the opportunity over the next six months to continue these discussions that we're likely to end up with what we will all find to be adequate -- >> are these countries joining us because of pressure from the united states or because they agree with us that the internet should retain this chaotic nature? >> i think in very many instances they do agree with us, that they see the value of the
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internet as a mechanism for economic and broader improvements. >> do you want to list a few countries that agree with us? >> surely. we find we get a good deal of support from japan in terms of activities in the asia pacific telecommunity. we find we get a good deal of support from not only canada and mexico but other countries in our hemisphere in terms of some of the proposals we make. many of the european countries are very well aligned with us in terms of the issues and values that we think are most important in terms of preserving. so we see, i think, very substantial support for the brood views that we have about the internet, which is, again, not to say that this is fully resolved. there's a great deal more work that needs to be done, both in connection with this conference and then probably into the indefinite future. >> congratulations to the obama administration on their excellent work on this.
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>> mr. sterns, you are recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. ambassador, with these 193 countries meeting in dubai, mr. markey touched upon it, the question was how many support us, how many votes are we short of having the majority to support our position, exactly? >> well, i don't think we have a count. it's very important to understand -- >> you don't have a count on it? you don't know? >> we don't have a -- >> we have a whip here that knows before any votes are taken what's happening. >> well, we don't -- if i can -- >> i'm a little concerned that you don't even know. i understand we're about nine votes short. do you think that's an accurate representation? >> no. >> is it more? >> i don't -- if i could explain. >> sure, sure. >> the conference will follow the itu traditions, which involve avoiding votes. that is, the conference will operate on the basis of a -- >> so there'll never be a vote. if you don't mind, i would like you to answer yes or no if possible just because i don't have a lot of time. will there be a vote in due by
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on this by these 193 countries? yes or no. >> i think it is very unlikely. >> there will be no vote. so we don't have to worry about who is for us and who is against us? >> we do have to worry about that because the -- >> okay. >> -- the -- first it's important to understand there are going to be many different contributions. >> understand. do they work on the basis of consensus where they have a sort of silent consensus and move forward without a vote? is that what happens? >> that is, in fact, what happens. >> okay. so there will be a vote but it will be a vote sort of secretly to a consensus. and based upon that a report will be written and that report will be issued, and that will be the heartfelt answer to the dubai conference. would that be a fair estimation what will happen? >> what will has been, there will be negotiations over individual proposals in terms of the international telecommunications regulations. those negotiations will yield presumably some agreement on words and phrases in terms of
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the regulation. >> i understand. >> or agreements not to change them. >> just so we as legislators have an understanding, can you give me today how many votes we're short of a consensus? >> i cannot tell you with -- >> ten votes short? a hundred votes short? three? can't you give me a broad brush? >> i'm sorry to say -- >> okay. >> -- i think it's impossible to answer that question. >> mr. mcdowell, any comments you want to say on this? in fact, you might suggest what as a legislator and i and my fellow colleagues could do here based upon this evolving consensus where it appears we're nine votes short. >> actually, i think, also going back to the dialogue with congressman markey, it's important that this not be an issue of the united states versus -- >> i agree. >> we need to cultivate allies in the developing world. they have the most to gain from an unfettered internet and the most to lose if this goes forward. so that's where i think we need to be whipping up the votes, to
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use your term. >> is there anything that the fcc is doing right now that would impact this itu? >> yes. we have an international bureau that works on this and works closely with the state department. they are busy working with member states throughout the world. >> commissioner mcdowell, you mentioned in your extended testimony the potential outcome of a balkanized internet if pro-regulation nations are successful in december. could you perhaps expand on this and what would be the consequences for the united states and other countries? >> whether it's december or sometime in the future -- by the way, i would like to suggest to the committee that maybe we do a post wicket hearing at some point maybe early next year to see how things went and what is going to happen in the future. what i mean by balkanized internet, would there be countries that would opt out of the current multistakeholder model and thues this top-down regulatory regime, in which case, you know, the internet is a network of networks without borders. and it would really create an
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engineering morass. at a minimum, this would create chaos and confusion and economic uncertainty. that always leads to increased costs. in increased costs are always passed on to end-user consumers. that's at a minimum. at a maximum, we would see a willing of the proliferation of political freedom and prosper pi abroad, and we would also i think see innovation be snuffed out in the cradle. and we'll never know what innovations might not have come to fruition. the great thing about the internet is you just need access to a computer and an internet connection in order to create the next great idea, whether that's the next facebook. but that could come from the developing world. >> mr. ambassador, behides russia and china, what are the other top three or four countries that want to put this under the u.n. auspices? >> well, we see substantial efforts on the part of iran to do that. >> okay. >> there are certain arab states that --
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>> can you name the arab states? >> pardon me? >> can you name the arab states? >> well, there -- >> egypt? >> egypt has certainly taken some -- >> position. >> but not complete steps in that direction. there have been efforts, as well -- >> tunisia? >> i don't believe i would put tunisia in that category. >> saudi arabia? >> saudi arabia has again, as with egypt, has from time to time taken steps or taken positions that -- >> would it be fair to say that most of the mideast countries other than israel are supporting this? is that a fair statement? >> we see support from -- after a fashion, i suppose, from some of the arab states, yes. but i think the thing that's critically important to understand is that in terms of the genuinely hard-line opponents to the arrangements as we see them today, that they tend to be states that we've already mentioned, that otherwise there are subtleties and nuances that are substantial
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in terms of -- >> gotcha. my time has expired. i thank you, mr. chairman. just an odd coincidence or ironic that with the arab spring that a lot of these countries seem to want to put it into a monopoly type of human operation. thank you. >> thank you. gentlelady from california is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. ambassador verveer, i want to talk more about the wicket. you mentioned that the itrs have not been revised since 1988, which is about 25 years ago, and a lot's happened in 25 years. it's almost -- the comparison is worse than the tortoise and the hair. it's like we're at warp speed right now. and why did the itu decide to re-examine the itrs now? and do you anticipate that they'll want to examine again shortly? i mean, is there a schedule to
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do this? >> first, i think it's important to understand that there has been pressure to re-examine the itrs as existed for many, many years. the united states has taken the view over the years that it wasn't really necessary to do this. but finally in 2006, an overall decision was made that it would happen this year. the idea behind that i think more than any other is something that's been made plain at this hearing, which is that the world has changed so dramatically that it seemed like it was time to review the itrs. now, that said, the itrs themselves, which are only nine pages long, in fact do have a great many things that continue to be of value, could and should be preserved. there is no schedule beyond this upcoming conference to revisit the itrs on any regular basis.
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there have been some contributions or proposals that suggest that that might be valuable, but i think generally, again, this is not something that's achieved a great deal of momentum. >> well, once discussion begins, as it has, and the countries because of recent history have become involved in the internet and seen the positives as well as the negatives as far as some of the countries that really look toward censorship, isn't it possible this will be a continue progress says and we should be on alert now that this collaboration must continue because, as we know, technology just keeps rapidly expanding and we're not sure exactly what the next big thing is? so is there an opportunity -- and i suppose it is a multistakeholder process -- to open it up more, t

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