Niskanen Center Committed to Protecting Online Freedom From Onerous Government Regulations

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Niskanen Center has signed on to a new coalition—Internet Independence—that advocates a “hands-off” approach to regulating the Internet.

The coalition—led by TechFreedom—seeks to keep the Internet “free and open” as a platform for innovation and entrepreneurial experimentation. “We stand on the precipice of significant change in how the Internet is governed,” said Ryan Hagemann, the Niskanen Center’s Civil Liberties Policy Analyst. “On one side lies a future where the Internet remains an open platform for the free exchange of ideas and continues to benefit individuals seeking to enter new markets with minimal barriers to entry. The other side is a future in which government regulators at the FCC are empowered to rule over what has hitherto been among the most significant achievements in human history. Why fix what isn’t broken?”

The policy platform of the Internet Independence coalition rests on six pillars:

  • Permissionless Innovation: Individuals should not have to ask permission before embarking on new and innovative experimentation, free expression, and new ways of living in the digital world.
  • Competition: We should promote robust competition amongst Internet Service Providers (ISP) in order to benefit consumers.
  • Consumer Protection: Citizens of cyberspace should be protected from online fraud and abuse with tools already available to the government and private actors.
  • Access: As more people come online in the coming decade, it is important to continue encouraging investment in new ways of providing access to those who don’t yet have online access, while incentivizing efforts to continue upgrading current networks.
  • Separation of Net and State: Government regulations standing in the way of deploying new means of Internet service—such as fiber optic cables and high-altitude drone delivery mechanisms—should be eliminated. In short, government should not run broadband networks.
  • Privacy: Efforts to curtail government surveillance must continue. The government should not be infringing on the Constitutional rights of Americans in cyberspace any more than in the world of atoms.

“It is fitting that our allies at TechFreedom chose July 4th as the day to unveil this new coalition effort,” said Hagemann. “The Internet has proven to be among the most significant technical achievements in human history. This technological revolution did not come about by simply connecting computers to one another. It came about by connecting individual human minds. Bringing together individuals and organizations that might otherwise never have had a chance to work together to socialize, innovate, and create will continue to generate benefits. So long as it remains free, open, and independent, the Internet will continue to be an immense force for good, both in terms of human expression and creativity and explosive economic growth.”