VILNIUS, LITHUANIA— A measure authored by Congressman Chris Smith (R-N.J.) to protect people’s freedom on the Internet passed an international economics, science and technology panel Wednesday.
Smith, the Ranking Minority Member of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, (U.S. Helsinki Commission) secured passage of the measure during the third day of the meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Parliamentary Assembly (OSCE PA) in Vilnius, Lithuania.
The measure calls on the 56 countries of the OSCE to support laws that allow the free flow of information online and to work to deter information technology companies from cooperating with repressive regimes seeking to monitor personal information of Internet users
“Undemocratic regimes need to understand that freedom of speech and freedom of information do not end once people go online. We must work to prevent authoritarian countries from turning private Internet service providers into their allies in repression,” Congressman Smith said.
The resolution will now be considered for inclusion in the Assembly’s final document to be known as the Vilnius Declaration, which will help set policy for the OSCE in the year ahead. Parliamentarians from the 56 participating OSCE countries will vote on the Declaration Friday.