Congress must act this summer to keep U.S. oversight and protection intact.
It’s make or break for the internet as we know it. Unless Congress acts this summer, the Obama administration will end U.S. protection of the internet, handing authoritarian regimes the power they have long sought to censor the web globally, including in the U.S.
The battle lines were drawn last week when the Obama administration backed a plan submitted by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or Icann, to free itself in September from the U.S. oversight that has kept the internet open since the 1990s. In response, bills were introduced in the Senate and House to block the Obama internet surrender.
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The administration falsely spins the U.S. role as “largely clerical.” In fact, U.S. control over Icann and the root zone of the internet though a Commerce Department contract stops China, Russia and others from interfering with the engineers, developers and others who operate the open internet. The administration delayed ending its internet oversight by a year to find protections, but Icann’s 346-page plan falls far short.
Instead of shielding the internet from governments, the plan gives governments new powers. Authoritarian regimes would gain greater influence over the Icann board, and for the first time governments would have a vote on bylaw changes, removal of the board and the budget.
The Obama administration knows that the new internet-governance plan offers nothing like the guaranteed open internet under continued U.S. control. In a lame defense of the plan, Commerce official Larry Strickling last week told the Washington Post, “At the end of the day, this whole system is built on trust.”
Trusting China and Russia to leave the internet alone takes Obama administration naïveté to a new level.Read the rest of the story HERE.
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