Internet Freedom enters the final draft of the GOP platform.
The Daily Caller reports that Internet Freedom language has been added to the final draft of the Republican Party platform, which still awaits final approval from party authorities.
The relevant passage in the platform reads: “We will remove regulatory barriers that protect outdated technologies and business plans from innovation and competition, while preventing legacy regulation from interfering with new technologies such as mobile delivery of voice and video data as they become crucial components of the Internet ecosystem. We will resist any effort to shift control away from the successful multi-stakeholder approach of Internet governance and toward governance by international or other intergovernmental organizations. We will ensure that personal data receives full constitutional protection from government overreach and that individuals retain the right to control the use of their data by third parties.”
The Daily Caller notes that this language is modeled on Ron and Rand Paul’s “Technology Revolution” manifesto from their Campaign for Liberty, which declares: “As a matter of principle, we oppose any attempt by government to tax, regulate, monitor, or control the Internet, and we oppose the Internet collectivists who collaborate with the government against Internet freedom.”
As I mentioned when first reporting on the “The Technology Revolution,” it delivered a sharp rebuke to Net Neutrality, a package of government controls designed to regulate the sale and use of Internet bandwidth – an effort bound to produce the elevated prices and reduced quality typical of all price controls. The GOP platform language is also nicely incompatible with Net Neutrality, and echoes the Campaign for Liberty’s assertion that “technology is evolving faster than government’s ability to regulate it.”
China’s ZTE Corp, which recently sold Iran’s largest telecommunications firm a powerful surveillance system, later agreed to ship to Iran millions of dollars worth of embargoed U.S. computer equipment, documents show.
The American components were part of an 8 million euro equipment-supply contract, dated June 30, 2011, between ZTE, a Chinese trading firm and a unit of the consortium that controls the Iranian telecom, Telecommunication Co. of Iran, according to documents reviewed by Reuters. ZTE is China’s second-largest telecommunications equipment maker.
The documents shed further light on how Iran obtains sophisticated American tech products despite U.S. sanctions on Iran. China is a major conduit. Reuters in March revealed an earlier deal between ZTE and TCI, which centered on non-American surveillance equipment but also included some U.S. tech goods. The latest deal, though smaller in scale, was much more reliant on U.S. products.
Beijing and Moscow have vetoed Western attempts to strengthen sanctions against Iran over its nuclear-development program. ZTE, based in the city of Shenzhen, is publicly traded but its largest shareholder is a Chinese state-owned enterprise.
According to the contract’s parts list, the equipment to be delivered from China included IBM servers; switches made by Cisco Systems Inc and Brocade Communications Systems Inc; database software from Oracle Corp and a unit of EMC Corp; Symantec back-up and ant-virus software; and a Juniper Networks firewall. The parts were intended for business-support services, including a ZTE billing system.
A spokesman for ZTE said last week in an email that “as far as we know” the company had not yet shipped any of the products. Asked if ZTE intended to do so, he emailed a new statement Monday that said: “We have no intention to implement this contract or ship the products.”
He also said ZTE decided “to abandon” the agreement after “we realized that the contract involved some U.S. embargoed products.”
The contract had made clear the American provenance of the goods: Its accompanying parts list, signed by ZTE, lists more than 20 different computer products from U.S. companies. Washington has banned the sale of such goods to Iran for years.
U.S. companies that responded to requests for comment said they were not aware of the Iranian contract; several said they were investigating the matter.
A spokesman for IBM said: “Our agreements with ZTE specifically prohibit ZTE from the transfer of IBM products to Iran. If any of IBM’s business partners are breaching our export compliance agreements, then IBM will take appropriate actions.”