Tags: Barack Obama | Obama | Internet Control | Opposition | Congress

Obama's Plan to Cede Internet Control Faces Opposition in Congress

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By    |   Monday, 27 Jun 2016 02:30 PM

President Barack Obama's attempt to globalize control over the Internet faces pressure from Republican congressional leaders.

"I think there needs to be, at least in the short term, a ripcord to pull so that we can fall back to the way things were in case we see some of these worst-case scenarios play out," Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, told the Washington Examiner.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, known as ICANN, has handled oversight of the Internet since the group began operating in 1998 under a U.S. government contract. The administration's plan would transfer control of ICANN to a group of international stakeholders, according to the Voice of America.

The plan, supported by Internet companies like Google and Facebook and service providers like Verizon, must be approved by the U.S. Department of Commerce before it can go ahead.

ICANN would remain a private, not-for-profit organization under the plan, and would still be involved in governing the Internet. But oversight of its operations would be conducted by an advisory group made up of international government representatives, businesses and researchers who could vote to approve any significant changes.

Proponents of the change note that in 2013, Edward Snowden exposed the mass surveillance of the Internet by the U.S. government, which caused an uproar in the international community over U.S. control over basic Internet operations.

Advocates say those concerns could be assuaged by the transition of ICANN oversight to a global governing body.

Fadi Chehade, the former ICANN chief executive, supported the move in a letter sent to U.S. senators, the Examiner reported. He called the transfer one of the "clearest ways to maintain a globally interoperable, stable and secure Internet."

Chedade continued, saying: "I share the longstanding belief that such freedom from government control over the technical functioning and interoperability of the Internet is best achieved as the United States leads by example."

But critics of the plan have raised concerns that relinquishing control to a body made up of international representatives could enable countries like China, Russia and Iran, who heavily censor the Web inside their borders, to extend their influence over information even in the United States.

In a letter addressed to Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, leading Republicans, including Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, noted that "ICANN's Beijing office is actually located within the same building as the Cyberspace Administration of China . . . The central agency within the Chinese government's censorship regime."

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President Barack Obama's attempt to globalize control over the Internet faces pressure from Republican congressional leaders.
Obama, Internet Control, Opposition, Congress
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2016-30-27
Monday, 27 Jun 2016 02:30 PM
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