Mehrens: No Internet giveaway in omnibus

Dec. 9, 2014, Fairfax, Va.—Americans for Limited Government President Nathan Mehrens today issued the following statement urging House negotiators not to include in the omnibus bill section 1090E of an earlier version of the National Defense Authorization Act (the “DOTCOM Act”), which authorizes the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to give away the Internet to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) upon submission of a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on the transition:

On May 22, the House authorized the Internet giveaway in an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act upon submission of a report by the GAO on the transition of Internet governance. Doing so provides the very Congressional authorization for the Internet giveaway that the President desperately needs in return for very little.

“Fortunately that version of the defense bill did not pass the Senate, so at the moment the President has no authority to perform the transition. But if the DOTCOM Act is included in the omnibus bill, that will change, and even if the GAO says that the transition is a bad idea, there will be nothing to stop the Department of Commerce from performing the giveaway anyway.

“Rather than giving the President the authority to give away the Internet, appropriators should include the Sean Duffy amendment that was included in the House-passed Commerce appropriations bill that defunds the giveaway altogether. There is simply no excuse for members to give away Internet governance in return for a GAO book report.”

Attachments:

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d113:h.r.04435:

SEC. 1090E. NTIA RETENTION OF DNS RESPONSIBILITIES PENDING GAO REPORT.

(a) Retention of Responsibilities- Until the Comptroller General of the United States submits the report required by subsection (b), the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information may not relinquish or agree to any proposal relating to the relinquishment of the responsibility of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (in this section referred to as the `NTIA’) over Internet domain name system functions, including responsibility with respect to the authoritative root zone file, the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority functions, and related root zone management functions.

(b) Report- Not later than 1 year after the date on which the NTIA receives a proposal relating to the relinquishment of the responsibility of the NTIA over Internet domain name system functions that was developed in a process convened by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers at the request of the NTIA, the Comptroller General of the United States shall submit to Congress a report on the role of the NTIA with respect to the Internet domain name system. Such report shall include—

(1) a discussion and analysis of–

(A) the advantages and disadvantages of relinquishment of the responsibility of the NTIA over Internet domain name system functions, including responsibility with respect to the authoritative root zone file, the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority functions, and related root zone management functions;

(B) any principles or criteria that the NTIA sets for proposals for such relinquishment;

(C) each proposal received by the NTIA for such relinquishment;

(D) the processes used by the NTIA and any other Federal agencies for evaluating such proposals; and

(E) any national security concerns raised by such relinquishment; and

(2) a definition of the term `multistakeholder model’, as used by the NTIA with respect to Internet policymaking and governance, and definitions of any other terms necessary to understand the matters covered by the report.

Interview Availability: Please contact Americans for Limited Government at (202)744-4427 or at media@limitgov.org to arrange an interview with ALG experts including ALG President Nathan Mehrens.

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