2016-06-10

Reaction to NTIA by Commerce Secretary, Senators & Congressmen

For background see previous post on Domain MondoNTIA's IANA Stewardship Transition Proposal Assessment Report.

UPDATE June 10: POLITICO.com"... The announcement also drew criticism from House Appropriations subcommittee on commerce Chairman John Culberson, who wrote to Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker to remind her of the provision in the current government funding bill that prohibits the NTIA from carrying out the transition. Rep. Mike Kelly also came out against NTIA's announcement, criticizing the agency for relying on an "exchange of letters" to ensure that the .gov and .mil top level domains remain under U.S. control. Energy and Commerce communications subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden had no comment ..."

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker issued the following statement Thursday regarding the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA) determination that the proposal submitted by the global Internet multistakeholder community [ICANN] meets the criteria NTIA outlined in March 2014 when it announced its intention to complete the privatization of the Internet’s domain name system.

“Today’s announcement marks an important milestone in the U.S. government’s 18-year effort to privatize the Internet’s domain name system,” Secretary Pritzker said. “This transition ensures that the Internet continues to flourish as a platform for innovation, economic growth and free expression. I want to thank the Internet’s diverse multistakeholder community, which includes businesses, technical experts, and civil society groups, for their dedication and hard work.”

"As part of this 18-year privatization effort, in 2014, NTIA said it would transition the U.S. government’s stewardship role of technical functions related to the Internet’s domain name system (DNS), commonly known as the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions, to the Internet’s global multistakeholder community." [end of Pritzker statement] Note: NTIA is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

On the other hand, the office of Ted Cruz | U.S. Senator for Texas issued the following press release:
Obama Administration Preparations to Give Away the Internet Violate Federal Law –  CRUZ, LANKFORD, LEE, AND DUFFY MAINTAIN INTERNET TRANSITION IS ILLEGAL – U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), and Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.) today issued a joint statement following the Obama administration’s announcement that the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers’ (ICANN) proposal to end U.S. oversight of the Internet is satisfactory. The members of Congress maintain that the Obama administration has violated federal law by undertaking preparations to give the Internet away to foreign governments.
“Today’s announcement by the Obama administration is a clear indication that it has flagrantly violated federal law,” Cruz, Lankford, Lee and Duffy said. “This is the latest step in a troubling series of steps that the administration has taken to relinquish its responsibilities, and it should send a concerning message to every American. If the United States relinquishes its supervision of the Internet—which it has nurtured from inception to become the greatest source of information in human history—authoritarian regimes could try to undermine the new system of Internet governance and thereby threaten free speech around the world. Congress must enact the Protecting Internet Freedom Act and continue to fight for a free Internet.
"In 2014, Congress enacted legislation prohibiting the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) from using any funds to relinquish its responsibility to oversee the key operating functions of the Internet. The administration has violated that prohibition by funding projects intended to facilitate the proposed transition of responsibility to ICANN.
"For example, in March 2016, the Obama administration awarded a contract to the Berkman Center at Harvard University to provide NTIA with an independent review and assessment of the transition. This contract was awarded under the false premise that Congress had ‘mandated the review prior to NTIA transitioning its stewardship of certain Internet technical functions to the global multistakeholder community, which is to be completed by June 30, 2016.’ But Congress never mandated this action."[--end of press release--]
Unless extended, the IANA functions contract between NTIA and ICANN will expire September 30, 2016.

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