State wants U.N.'s hands off the Internet

State Department officials plan to lobby the United Nations to continue its hands-off approach to regulating the Internet on a worldwide basis.

David Gross, ambassador and coordinator of the State Department's international communications and information policy, said earlier this month that the government is negotiating with other countries to develop a definition of Internet governance ahead of a major United Nations summit in November.

Gross said the definition needs to strike a delicate balance, providing an appropriate amount of oversight while not restraining the private sector. 'I am very optimistic we will find the path forward ... [and] encourage the growth of the Internet,' Gross said at a briefing sponsored by the Advisory Committee to the Congressional Internet Caucus.

The U.N.'s Working Group on Internet Governance in June released a preliminary report on the issue, which will be discussed at the November summit in Tunisia.

Gross said he hopes debate over Internet governance does not overshadow the real crux of the summit'how to promote widespread Internet usage across the globe. 'It's a real challenge, but the stakes are high,' Gross said after his speech. The summit should focus on using and promoting'not regulating'the In- ternet.

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