The following statement from Paul Lekas, Senior Vice President, Global Public Policy, Software & Information Industry Association.
The Declaration for the Future of the Internet (DFI), signed today by the United States and 60 partners worldwide, presents a vision for a global Internet and a democratic approach to technology. SIIA fully supports the commitments of signatories to advance “a future for the Internet that is open, free, global, interoperable, reliable, and secure.” We support the DFI’s call to promote an Internet that protects human rights and fundamental freedoms; promotes global connectivity; promotes inclusivity and affordability; fosters trust in the Internet environment; and advances multi-stakeholder internet governance. The Internet, and the broader online environment, must be a means for equitable economic prosperity, innovation, and communication, with safeguards for individual privacy and a backbone that ensures safety, security, reliability, and resilience.
We call upon the U.S. government and DFI partner states to take action to realize the DFI principles. Today, the proliferation of data localization regulations and the globalization of authoritarian technology policy threatens individual privacy and liberty, cross-border communication, the freedom of information, economic opportunity, and innovation. The DFI is not self-reinforcing. DFI partners must take concrete steps to realize the DFI vision through domestic laws and regulations, multi-stakeholder agreements, and engagement with civil society and the business community.
The United States must do its part to turn the DFI principles into concrete actions that can shape the global Internet environment. This starts with passing a federal privacy bill that provides critical protections for individuals and predictability for U.S. business. The U.S. government should also advance concrete measures to address the threats of “digital authoritarianism” by increasing its efforts to promote technological standards that comport with democratic values, advance multilateral and multi-stakeholder initiatives to combat disinformation, support a free and open digital ecosystem globally, and pursue measures around accessibility.