NTIA fails to produce Internet giveaway contingency plan

Feb. 18, 2015, Fairfax, Va.—Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning today issued the following statement condemning the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) response to Congress’ omnibus bill directive to submit a report due January 30 “regarding any recourse that would be available to the United States if the decision is made to transition to a new contract and any subsequent decisions made following such transfer of Internet governance are deleterious to the United States,” in which the agency stated it would only “revisit this question during the planning process and when evaluating the ultimate ICANN-submitted proposal to ensure that the final plan is not deleterious to the interests of the United States and its Internet stakeholders”:

“Rarely has Washington seen a more brazenly arrogant response from a bureaucrat to the U.S. Congress as in NTIA’s response to congressional prohibition of the Internet giveaway, including its failure to produce a congressionally-required agency contingency plan for administering the domain name system in case ICANN goes rogue. Based on the so-called ‘report,’ it is clear as day that NTIA intends to proceed with the Internet giveaway this year if the multistakeholder community is deemed prepared, despite a clear prohibition against doing so in the 2015 omnibus funding bill passed in December.

“This bureaucratic slap in the face to Congress and the power of the purse should be forcefully and unilaterally rejected by all members of Congress by forcing NTIA to renew the contract for at least a two-year period.

“Given numerous proposals by multistakeholders to reform the administration of ICANN — which will become a global monopoly for running the domain name system should the transition go through — Congress should engage in an aggressive investigation of NTIA’s oversight of ICANN and their actions to unilaterally turn over control of Internet governance to the organization without any clear authorization to do so.

“While Internet governance may seem archaic to some, no less than the constitutional protection of free speech rights afforded through the government contract for every single person who uses the Internet are at stake. Given the audacity of NTIA in failing to produce a contingency plan should Internet governance break down post-transition, Congress needs to shut down this process immediately.”

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