WASHINGTON, June 18, 2017 – Internet freedom has declined worldwide for six consecutive years, said Stuart Brotman, a nonresident fellow at the Center for Technology Innovation at the Brookings Institution, citing Freedom House at a panel Wednesday.
The panel about global internet freedom under the Trump administration took place at Brookings. Besides moderator Brotman, the panelists were Jacquelynn Ruff, vice president of international public policy and regulatory affairs at Verizon, David Gross, a partner at Wiley Rein, and Sally Wentworth, vice president of global policy development at the Internet Society.
Gross said that internet freedom around the world is declining.
Even though we live in a partisan time, Gross expressed his hope that internet freedom would remain a bipartisan topic. Still, he would like the Trump administration to make “a clear and strong set of messages” about the topic.
“I suspect that when the history of this time is written, that we will be once again continuing down the same path, with some midcourse corrections as is always can be expected, to be committed to internet freedom in a more traditional sense,” Gross said.
Wentworth said governments across the world are getting more sophisticated with ways to shut down internet access. Many in the internet community are afraid that they will be silenced, she said. She agreed with Gross that he hoped the Trump administration would exercise global leadership on the subject.
The world is seeing increases in internet intrusion, Ruff said, but only because the internet is now required in everyone’s life. She said she hopes to see the Trump administration follow the Bush and Obama administrations in the area of internet policy.
(Photograph by Casey Ryan)