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How — if at all — should the internet be regulated at the international level? At AEI on Wednesday, Ambassador Terry Kramer began a discussion of this question with an overview of the US recommendations for the upcoming World Conference on International Telecommunication (WCIT-12), namely a non-prescriptive, multi-stakeholder framework designed to largely maintain the status quo of limited government involvement.
While the US delegation to the conference is united in its commitment to this framework, in the international arena, there are numerous counterproposals from countries like China, Russia, India, and Brazil. Ambassador Kramer therefore stressed the need for international outreach and careful thinking as WCIT-12 draws closer.
Panelist Fiona Alexander of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration reiterated the importance of the multi-stakeholder model, underscoring the panelists' unanimous commitment to this approach. Ross LaJeunesse of Google also drove home the potential practical outcomes, noting that failed negotiations could be "a real threat to the net as we know it today." With control of the internet itself at stake, LaJeunesse emphasized that we risk losing not only a valuable technological tool, but the biggest force of cultural understanding and awareness that exists today.
The World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT-12) will convene in Dubai on December 3, 2012, to discuss expanding the role of the International Telecommunications Union — an agency of the United Nations — in regulating various aspects of the Internet, including standard setting, regulation of broadband providers, cybersecurity, and speech.
The conference’s US delegation, led by Ambassador Terry Kramer, is united by its desire to maintain the current framework, which is based in large measure on multi-stakeholder organizations. Join Ambassador Kramer, other members of the US delegation, and a panel of distinguished experts from the government and Internet industry as they discuss the key issues at hand and outline the US position in advance of the upcoming conference.
If you are unable to attend, we welcome you to watch the event live on this page. Full video will be posted within 24 hours.
Terry Kramer, US Delegation, World Conference on International Telecommunications
Fiona Alexander, National Telecommunications and Information Administration
Leonard Cali, AT&T
Ross LaJeunesse, Google
Robert McDowell, Federal Communications Commission
Jeffrey Eisenach, AEI
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Fiona Alexander is the associate administrator (head of office) for the US Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA) Office of International Affairs (OIA). As the executive branch agency responsible for advising the president on telecommunications and information policy issues, NTIA is committed to the continued growth of the Internet. In her role as associate administrator for OIA, Alexander oversees and manages NTIA's activities related to the Internet's domain name system as well as NTIA’s involvement in international information and communications technology discussions in venues such as the International Telecommunication Union, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Telecommunications Working Group, the Inter-American Telecommunication Commission, the International Telecommunications Satellite Organization, and the International Mobile Satellite Organization. She is also a key member of the Department of Commerce’s Internet Policy Task Force and helps provide strategic guidance with respect to online privacy, copyright protection, and cybersecurity, in addition to co-leading the work on the global free flow of information. Alexander was NTIA’s lead negotiator for issues related to Internet governance in the context of the United Nation’s World Summit on the Information Society as well as the Affirmation of Commitments with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). In addition, she was a key member of the US team that worked on the OECD’s Internet policymaking principles. Before joining NTIA, Alexander was a senior consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton.
Leonard Cali serves in AT&T’s External and Legislative Affairs organization as senior vice president for global public policy. Cali is responsible for developing AT&T’s positions on public policy issues and leading the company’s international external affairs activities. He is based in Washington, DC, and is active in industry and community organizations, including in his role as AT&T’s representative on the executive committee of the United States Council on International Business, his seat on the board of directors of the National Association of Manufacturers, and in the chief regulatory officers group of the GSM Association. Before assuming his current role, Cali served as AT&T’s senior vice president responsible for wireless and international external affairs and also as AT&T’s vice president for law and director of federal government affairs, with responsibility for AT&T’s DC office. This work involved the company’s federal law and antitrust group and its federal regulatory, congressional, and executive branch advocacy teams. Earlier in his career, Cali served in a variety of positions in the AT&T law and public policy group, where he was responsible for the development and advocacy of AT&T's policy positions on telecommunications competition and related matters. Before joining AT&T in 1988, Cali worked at the law firm Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft in New York City, where he focused on general commercial litigation matters.
Jeffrey Eisenach has served in senior positions at the Federal Trade Commission and the Office of Management and Budget. As a visiting scholar at AEI, he focuses on policies affecting the information technology sector, innovation, and entrepreneurship. Eisenach is also a managing director and a principal at Navigant Economics and an adjunct professor at the George Mason University School of Law, where he teaches Regulated Industries. He writes on a wide range of issues including industrial organization, communications policy and the Internet, government regulations, labor economics, and public finance. Eisenach has also taught at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government and at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute.
Terry Kramer has worked in telecommunications for 25 years. For 18 years, he worked for Vodafone Group PLC/AirTouch Communications Inc. Kramer also spent several years leading and advising small, growing technology companies. In June 2012, President Obama appointed Kramer to serve as ambassador and head of the US delegation for the World Conference on International Telecommunications, which will be held in December 2012 in Dubai. This role will focus on leading a delegation of US government, industry, and civil society representatives to negotiate a treaty on international telecommunications and Internet policy. Kramer is also an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the Harvard Business School, a lecturer and faculty adviser for the Global Access Program at the University of California–Los Angeles’s (UCLA)'s Anderson School of Management, and also sits on the boards of Envivio Corporation, the Harvard Business School California Research Center, UCLA's department of economics, and the World Affairs Council of Northern California.
Ross LaJeunesse is global head of free expression and international relations at Google and leads the global team responsible for advancing the company’s work on free expression and open Internet issues, as well as Google’s relationships with international organizations. He previously served as Google's head of public policy and government affairs for the Asia-Pacific region. Before joining Google, LaJeunesse was deputy chief of staff and senior adviser to California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. There, he developed and executed the governor’s policy agenda, overseeing a broad range of issues from education reform to economic development. Before his appointment in the Schwarzenegger administration, LaJeunesse was chief of staff to California Controller Steve Westly, the state’s chief financial officer. LaJeunesse began his career as an assistant to US Senate Majority Leader George J. Mitchell and later served as Senator Edward Kennedy’s chief adviser for reinventing government, as well as national and community service issues.
Robert McDowell was first appointed to a seat on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) by President George W. Bush and was unanimously confirmed by the Senate in 2006. When he was reappointed to the FCC on June 2, 2009, McDowell became the first Republican to be appointed to an independent agency by President Barack Obama. He was unanimously confirmed by the Senate on June 25, 2009. During his time at the FCC, McDowell has worked to help consumers in the communications marketplace enjoy the benefits of more choices, lower prices, and useful innovations through increased competition. One of his top priorities is working to provide opportunities for the construction of new delivery platforms that will bring about such competition. McDowell brings nearly 16 years of private sector experience in the communications industry to the FCC. Before joining the FCC, McDowell was senior vice president for the Competitive Telecommunications Association (CompTel), an association that represents competitive facilities-based telecommunications service providers and their supplier partners. There, McDowell was involved in advocacy efforts before Congress, the White House, and other executive agencies. He has served on the North American Numbering Council and on the board of directors of North American Numbering Plan Billing and Collection Inc. Before joining CompTel in 1999, McDowell served as the executive vice president and general counsel of America's Carriers Telecommunications Association.