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Obama Surrenders Control of the Internet
by Bradley A. Blakeman - NewsMax

In 2010, I sounded the alarm about the future of the Internet in a contribution for Newsmax entitled: “Obama Surrendering Internet to Foreign Powers.”

In that article I warned: “his administration, through the Department of Commerce, agreed to relinquish some control over IANA and their governance. The Obama administration has agreed to give greater representation to foreign companies and countries on IANA.

The key to the control America has over the Internet is through the management of the Domain Name System (DNS) and the giant servers that service the Internet.

Domain names are managed through an entity named IANA, the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority. The IANA, which operates on behalf of the U.S. Department of Commerce, is responsible for the global coordination of the DNS, IP addressing, and other Internet protocol resources.

In short, without an IP Address or other essential Internet protocols, a person or entity would not have access to the Internet.

In June of this year, ICANN announced that its intention now is to hand over the reins to a “multistakeholder” group.

In response to this surrender, in June Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Congressman Duffy, R-Wis., introduced “The Protecting Internet Freedom Act” to stop the unilateral giving away of America’s control of the Internet.

Cruz warns: “The Obama administration is months away from deciding whether the United States Government will continue to provide oversight over core functions of the Internet and protect it from authoritarian regimes that view the Internet as a way to increase their influence and suppress freedom of speech,” Cruz said in a statement. “This issue threatens not only our personal liberties, but also our national security. We must act affirmatively to protect the Internet and the amazing engine for economic growth and opportunity the Internet has become, and I urge my colleagues to support this legislation.”

Obama’s actions amount to one small step for internationalism and one giant leap for surrendering America's control over an invention we have every right and responsibility to control and manage.

What better country to protect the Internet than the United States?

We invented it, and we paid for the research and implementation that made it possible. We are the freest, most tolerant nation on earth, we believe in the fundamental right of free speech, and we practice a free market of commerce and ideas.

America has always been against censorship and has shared its invention with the world without fee or unreasonable or arbitrary restriction. The user fee to operate on the Internet is not one paid to the U.S. government; a consumer pays it to private Internet companies, who provide access to the Internet through servers for their subscribers.

The Obama administration's actions will set in motion a slow and complete takeover of the Internet by the United Nations or some other equally U.S.-hostile and unfriendly international body. And once it is gone, it will be gone forever.

As far as I am concerned, America is still the last best hope for a more peaceful and prosperous world and our president should not be looking for ways to weaken us. Rather, his job is to work to strengthen us and protect our nation's greatest asset our people's creativity and ingenuity.

We need all candidates standing for federal office to pledge that they will protect the Internet from foreign control and will insure America’s interest in it remains as is.

Ted Cruz: Obama Plan to Give Up Internet Control ‘Likely Illegal’
by Nicholas Ballasy

WASHINGTON — Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) called on Congress to stop the Obama administration from giving away control of the Internet without congressional authorization — a move Cruz said is likely illegal.

Since 1998, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a nonprofit organization that assigns domain names for the Internet and manages IP addresses, has operated under a contract with the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration. The NTIA plans to end its relationship with ICANN on Sept. 30.

“We built the Internet, and America maintains it as free for all. We don’t use it in an imperialist manner to impose our views on others, we maintain it as an oasis of freedom because we are a nation dedicated to principles that are reflected in the Bill of Rights and especially the First Amendment. What is going through the minds of Obama administration when they say, ‘Let’s just give it away?’” Cruz said during a Heritage Foundation event on ending the U.S. contractual relationship with ICANN.

“Who in their right mind looks at the Internet and says, ‘You know what we need. We need Russia to have more control over this.’ What is the thought process behind that? And I might note what the Obama administration is doing is also likely illegal. The United States Constitution prohibits transferring government property to anyone else without the authorization of Congress,” he added.

Cruz said the Obama administration should not “give away this valuable, critical property” without authorization in law.

“That ought to trouble all of us,” he said. “Where are the Democrats defending American interests? Let me encourage you to encourage friends on the left, there may be issues on which we disagree with, but free speech and Internet freedom ought to unite us all.”

Cruz has introduced the Protecting Internet Freedom Act in the Senate, which he said would stop the “radical” Internet transition to ICANN and ensure the U.S. government keeps its ownership and control of the .gov and .mil top-level domains.

“If that proposal goes through, that will empower countries like Russia, like China, like Iran to be able to censor speech on the Internet. These are not our friends,” he said. “Our legislation is supported by 17 groups across the country, advocacy groups, consumer groups, and just this afternoon, we heard it is receiving the formal endorsement of the House Freedom Caucus.”

Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.) introduced the House version of the legislation.

Cruz said the U.S. must fight to protect the Internet’s “amazing ability” to take power out of the “entrenched elites” and bring it to the people.

“You know, it wasn’t that many years ago that Dan Rather was a respected network news anchor until a bunch of bloggers in pajamas began fact-checking his stories and took down one of the biggest names in news,” he said. “That could never have happened prior to the Internet. That ability to research, to communicate, to get a voice out, to expand virally could never have happened prior to the Internet.”

Handover of US internet control to ICANN officially blocked in Republican policy
by Kieren McCarthy

China, Russia, Iran will 'devour' the web after IANA transition

The planned transition of the internet's critical technical functions from the US government to a technical body may come under further attack after the Republican Party officially agreed to block it on Monday.

The Republican Platform for 2016 [PDF] was formally approved during a chaotic first day of the party's national convention in Cleveland, and among its 66 pages of policy positions is its stance on "Protecting Internet Freedom."

In contrast to most of the document, the effort to move ultimate control of IANA from the US Department of Commerce (DoC) to non-profit DNS overseer ICANN is covered in largely hyperbolic terms.

"The survival of the internet as we know it is at risk," it begins. "Its gravest peril originates in the White House, the current occupant of which has launched a campaign, both at home and internationally, to subjugate it to agents of government."

It continues on in anti-Obama rhetoric: "He has unilaterally announced America's abandonment of the international internet by surrendering US control of the root zone of web names and addresses. He threw the internet to the wolves, and they – Russia, China, Iran, and others – are ready to devour it."

IANA is a department of ICANN, and it oversees the world's DNS, IP address allocation and networking protocols. It keeps the internet glued together. ICANN runs IANA for the US government under contract. From September 30, control of IANA will transition to fall entirely under ICANN's remit, removing the US government from the equation. The transition plan has been drawn up by the internet community over the course of two years and while it is far from perfect, the plan is backed by all sections of that community, from business to technical bodies to civil society and governments.

Some Republicans in Congress have however been opposed to the move, painting the long-planned transition as handing over control of the internet to foreign governments. Objectively, those fears are unfounded, although some are rightly concerned that ICANN is not sufficiently mature to take on the task.

US Congress would have to pass legislation to prevent the transition from occurring – something that is very unlikely in the current climate – so campaigners have been trying to delay the transition until after the elections in November in the hope that a Republican president is in place and can stop the move, or that Republicans take greater control of Congress and stop it there.

A big part of that move has been to restrict the ability of the DoC to spend any funds on the transition through riders attached to budget bills. However, as things stand, the current restrictions on the DoC will lift at one minute before midnight on the same day that the IANA contract terminates, leaving the government able to approve it one second later.

The Republican Party platform continues: "We salute the Congressional Republicans who have legislatively impeded his plans to turn over the Information Freedom Highway to regulators and tyrants. That fight must continue, for its outcome is in doubt."

It later notes: "We will therefore resist any effort to shift control toward governance by international or other intergovernmental organizations."

In order to stop the IANA transition at this stage, it will be necessary for an explicit additional freeze on funding to be passed and that is only going to be possible at this stage when Congress returns to work in September, which will be at the absolute height of election fever.

Will that happen? It's hard to know. But with the transition now included in the official platform, and with it represented in the extreme language of the internet's "survival," it is more likely than ever that there will be a last-minute drive to delay or kill off the transition. ®
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