09 September 2016

US Senator Cruz Attacks ICANN, Fadi Chehadé, IANA Transition (video)

US Senator Ted Cruz Urges Colleagues to "Stop Obama's Internet Giveaway"

Video above: U.S. Senator Cruz (R-Texas) took to the U.S. Senate floor Thursday, September 8, 2016, to give a speech against the Obama Administration's plan (and by implication, NTIA), to give away control of the Internet to an international body [ICANN] akin to the United Nations, singling out specifically, for criticism, ICANN's former President and CEO Fadi Chehadé:
“You look at the influence of foreign governments within ICANN, it should give us greater and greater concern.
“For example, ICANN’s former CEO Fadi Chehadé left ICANN to lead a high-level working group for China’s World Internet Conference. Mr. Chehadé’s decision to use his insider knowledge of how ICANN operates to help the Chinese government and their conference is more than a little concerning.
This is the person who was leading ICANN, the body that we are being told to trust with our freedoms. Yet this man has since gone to work for the Chinese Internet Conference, which has rightly been criticized for banning members of the press such as The New York Times and The Washington Post.

“But you know what, even reporters you may fundamentally disagree with have a right to report and say what they believe. And yet, the World Internet Conference banned them – said ‘we do not want these reporters here, presumably, because we don’t like what they’re saying.’ – which led Reporters Without Borders to demand an international boycott of the conference, calling China the ‘enemy of the Internet.’ Mr. President, if China is the enemy of the Internet, do we want the enemy of the Internet having power over what you’re allowed to say, what you’re allowed to search for, what you’re allowed to read online? Do we want China, and Russia, and Iran having the power to determine if a website is unacceptable, it’s taken down?
“I would note that once this transition happens, there are serious indications that ICANN intends to seek to flee U.S. jurisdiction and flee U.S. laws. Indeed, earlier this summer, ICANN held a global conference in Finland in which jurisdiction shopping was part of their agenda, trying to figure out what jurisdiction should we base control of the Internet out of across the globe.

“A representative of Iran is already on record stating, ‘[w]e should not take it [for] granted that jurisdiction is already agreed to be totally based on U.S. law.’ Our enemies are not hiding what they intend to do.

“Not only is there a concern of censorship and foreign jurisdictions stripping U.S. law from authority over the Internet, there are also real national security concerns. Congress has received no assurances from the Obama administration that the U.S. Government will continue to have exclusive ownership and control of the .gov and .mil top-level domains in perpetuity, which are vital to our national security. The Department of Defense, the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Marines all use the .mil top-level domain. The White House, the CIA, the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security all use .gov.
“The only assurance ICANN has provided the federal government regarding .gov and .mil is that ICANN will notify the government in the future if it decides to give .gov and .mil to another entity. So if someone is going to the IRS, or what you think is the IRS, and you’re comforted that it’s on a .gov website so that you know it must be safe, you may instead find yourself victims of a foreign scam, a phishing scam, some other means of fraud with no basic protections.
“Congress should not sit by and let this happen. Congress must not sit by and let censorship happen ..." (emphasis added, full speech embedded below)
For more on former ICANN CEO Fadi Chehadé's shenanigans in China at the World Internet Conference, see on Domain Mondo: After Wuzhen, Should ICANN President & CEO Fadi Chehade Be Fired?:
"... Beyond the embarrassment and distracting spectacle that Fadi Chehade has brought upon ICANN at a critical juncture in its IANA transition planning, there are 2 aspects of Chehade's Wuzhen fiasco at play here which should be of concern to the ICANN Board and the "ICANN community"--1. That Fadi Chehade continuing as ICANN CEO, even for a few weeks until March 12, 2016, puts at risk the entire IANA transition process, from ... alarmed Republicans and Democrats in Washington, D.C. ..."
The IANA stewardship transition is scheduled to become effective October 1, 2016, upon expiration of the IANA functions contract which ends September 30, 2016, as previously indicated by NTIA--see  NTIA Tells ICANN: IANA Functions Contract Will Expire October 1, 2016. In Washington, D.C., TheHill.com has reported that next Wednesday, Cruz plans to hold a hearing on "Protecting Internet Freedom" and that Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.) said Republicans in both chambers [U.S. House and U.S. Senate] were "discussing options" to "stop the transition from moving forward as part of a broader legislative package this month." See also: GOP chairmen ask administration to reconsider ICANN transition | TheHill.com Sept 8, 2016: "Signing on to the letter were Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.), Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.), and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.)." --UPDATE: See Senate & House Chairmen's Letter to Attorney General & Commerce Sec. and ICANN Answers Questions About The IANA Stewardship Transition.

Transcript (pdf) of Senator Cruz's full speech embedded below:



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