Tuesday, November 16, 2004 - The Progress & Freedom Foundation Blog

WTO Regulating the Internet?

Has the FCC opened the door to international regulation of the Internet by the WTO? Former FCC commissioner Harold Furchtgott-Roth believes so. In a piece in today's New York Sun (subscription required) , he discusses the FCC decision on Vonage, praised here, that declared its Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service to be interstate, if not international in nature. There's no question the FCC made the right move in preempting states from micromanaging Internet traffic. But perhaps preempting state regulation has enabled international regulation, Furchtgott-Roth argues. Citing a recent WTO ruling that U.S. law prohibiting Internet gambling was an anti-trade move against Antigua and Barbuda, he says the WTO can seize on the FCC ruling as precedent for ruling on any U.S. law affecting the Internet, such as restrictions on drug purchases. "With an international Internet, the strength and threat of WTO regulation can only grow," he writes. The WTO shouldn't "be given a privileged position of operating above and beyond the reach of legitimate American laws."

posted by Patrick Ross @ 9:23 AM | The FCC , VoIP