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OECD: An International Internet Watchdog?
The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has released a Communiqué on Principles for Internet Policy-Making that is "designed to help preserve the fundamental openness of the Internet while concomitantly meeting certain public policy objectives, such as the protection of privacy, security, children online, and intellectual property, as well as the reinforcement of trust in the Internet."

The principles espoused in the Communiqué have the potential to be influential in the US on issues ranging from intellectual property protection to net neutrality.

The OECD principles seem uncontroversial as they embrace ideas such as "Promote and protect the global free flow of information" and "Promote the open, distributed and interconnected nature of the Internet." There is, however, already significant opposition to the OECD document.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is one of over 80 NGOs in the Civil Society Information Society Advisory Council (CSISAC) which have opposed the Communiqué. EFF said that they "agree with much that is in the Communique" including "policies for fostering the open Internet, individual empowerment" and "evidence-based policy-making."

EFF and other groups are concerned, however, that "the Communiqué over-emphasizes protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights at the expense of fundamental rights and freedoms."

Intellectual property protection has to be an essential component of any internet policy framework. Any society which turns its back on protecting the work products of its creative communities, and the businesses which support their development and dissemination, will see its most valued resources wither away. On the other hand, IP protection should not be used as a screen to block legitimate modes of expression and the free flow of ideas.

The principles in both the OECD Communiqué and the CSISAC Statement should be thoroughly ventilated before any federal agency incorporates or relies on them in a regulatory proceeding. Evidence-based policy-making is rule of thumb that should be broadly applied.

See OECD Communiqué on Principles for Internet Policy-Making

See CSISAC statement

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