The U.S. Dept. of Commerce has already put in motion the relinquishing of U.S. control of the Internet’s Domain Name System to a ‘privatized’ international body, which will occur in a few weeks, violating federal law.
The Washington Examiner reports that:
the feds are constitutionally prohibited from transferring federal property without approval from Congress. A coalition of 25 advocacy groups like Americans for Tax Reform, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and Heritage Action sent a letter to Congress making those points last week.”
The letter states:
Congress twice enacted appropriations riders prohibiting any use of taxpayer funds ‘to relinquish the responsibility of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration [NTIA] … with respect to Internet domain name system functions, including responsibility with respect to the authoritative root zone file and the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority [IANA] functions.’
“We agree that Internet governance should work from the bottom up, driven by the global comm- unity of private sector, civil society and technical stakeholders. But that “multi-stakeholder” model is fragile. Without robust safeguards, Internet governance could fall under the sway of governments hostile to freedoms protected by the First Amendment.
“If NTIA allows the contract to lapse, it will have violated federal law (31 USC § 1341(a)(1)(A). See also 31 U.S.C § 1350).”
In other words, Congress ordered a federal agency (NTIA) to not let a government contract lapse– especially one that includes the IANA function (comparable to an “Internet phone book”), which has been managed by a non-profit organization in California since 1998.
And the agency chose not to comply with what Congress mandated.
Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information and NTIA (National Telecommunications & Information Administration) Administrator, Lawrence E. Strickling, confirmed that “the NTIA intends to allow the IANA functions contract to expire as of October 1.
Because the agency did not comply with Congress, and failed to renew its contract before the end of this month, the government will be illegally allowing the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to take over management of the IANA function.
(ICANN is “the private (non-government) non-profit corporation with responsibility for IP address space allocation, protocol parameter assignment, domain name system management, and root server system management functions, the services previously performed by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA).”)
According to TechTarget, however, a completely different spin has been used to explain this transition. It writes:
Initial members of the ICANN board were chosen by the late Dr. Jonathon Postel, who headed IANA. IANA derived its authority under a contract from the U.S. government which financed the original research network, Advanced Research Projects Agency Network, from which the Internet grew.
“The need to internationalize the governing of the Internet (among other concerns) led the U.S. government to recommend the origin of ICANN as a global, government-independent entity to manage the systems and protocols that keep the Internet going.
“The U.S. government is essentially turning over control of the Internet to ICANN although domain name registration performed by Network Solutions, Inc. will continue to be under U.S. government contract for a limited time.”
But again, Obama and the Commerce Department do not have the authority to “turn over control of the Internet to ICANN.” It’s against federal law.
By turning over the very system the U.S. government created, it ends the U.S. government’s “historic role as a guarantor of Internet governance.”
ICANN will have sole authority as to “what new top-level domain names should be permitted;”which is essentially censorship.
And it puts the Internet’s domain under the control of a board whose members are not voted for by members of the public. Many of ICANN’s board members will either have their membership term renewed or be replaced at ICANN’s 2016 Annual General Meeting.