Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 22, 2014

U.S. Move on Domain Name System Continues to Draw GOP Caution

ObamaCare Hearing 23 102413 445x270 U.S. Move on Domain Name System Continues to Draw GOP Caution

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republicans are still trying to put the brakes — at least temporarily — on a National Telecommunications and Information Administration plan to relinquish its connection to certain key Internet domain name functions. “It would be irresponsible for Congress and the administration to ignore those hostile governments that have openly expressed their desire to seize and control the Internet,” House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton said in prepared remarks for a markup. “Once we transfer this role away, there is no going back.”


Some Democrats are pushing back. “I don’t know where these suspicions have come from, that there’s some black helicopter, something or other in this,” Anna G. Eshoo, D-Calif., has said.

\Shawn Zeller wrote in CQ Weekly last month that the Obama administration’s move is “more an effort to maintain the status quo than to create a different system of Internet governance” and that currently, broad interests provide “direction to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN, the nonprofit that has held the contract to manage Web addresses since 1998.”

NTIA has decided against renewing its contract with ICANN and instead wants to allow the nonprofit to manage those tasks within a “global multistakeholder” framework.

The head of the NTIA, Lawrence E. Strickling, has contended that U.S. authority has long been perfunctory, “but it’s unclear whether that’s true,” Zeller wrote. “What is clear is that the Obama administration has decided to exercise little control over ICANN, in hopes of fending off charges from other countries that the United States runs the Internet at their expense.”

The House Energy and Commerce Committee approved a bill Thursday that would block NTIA from making the transition until the Government Accountability Office reviews a plan to do so.

The issue of the NTIA transition came up at an Internet governance meeting in Brazil last month. Earlier this week, NPR’s Corey Flintoff  reported that Russian President Vladirmir Putin signed a law that will give that country’s government “much greater control over the Internet.”

  • pingpal

    Control of the Internet is a hot topic. Here, the story is about top domain names. In the FCC, there is a scuffle over who controls transmission rights on the Internet.
    Generally speaking, Internet purists want as little control as possible given to national entities that tend to act in their own best interests (and that of their politicians and influencers). Politicians want to extend their reach to this very valuable asset.
    Owning the means of transmission has not yet translated into control. Some want to change that and enable Internet Service Providers to charge based on usage. The ISPs also want to grant privileges in exchange for cash. They do it with consumers, but want to extend that to business at the expense of consumers.
    The principle that the Internet comes to people and businesses everywhere on the same terms is worth retaining. It is the only form of communication not dominated by business or government. Business and government have inherent advantages over individuals in many areas. By keeping the users of the Internet on equal footing with each other in terms of access and speeds addresses the some of the need for balance between these competing users.

    • annekimdc

      Sounds like you’re making a connection between this issue over the domain name functions and the issue of net neutrality?

      • pingpal

        Like the Internet, they are linked together.Control is not necessarily a bad thing, but the overriding concerns should be technical, not political or commercial.
        When control goes to political or commercial interests, the focus is on limiting one group in favor of another. Whenever an “other” group is created, that is a red flag.

  • YONATAN C

    THE REPUBLICAN SENATE NEEDS TO PASS THE LONG AWAITED UNEMPLOYMENT EXTENSION BILL, FOR THE 2.6 MILLION OF FAMILIES THAT HAVE BEEN WITHOUT BENEFITS SINCE LAST DECEMBER. SINCE LAST DECEMBER, MILLIONS OF FAMILIES HAVE FACED FINANCIAL RUIN, HAVE FACED EVICTION, HOME FORECLOSURES, PERSONAL BANKRUPTCY, AND HOMELESSNESS, WHILE THE REPUBLICANS CONTINUE PLAYING THEIR “PARTY POLITICS” IN THE SENATE. THE TIME HAS COME FOR THE “ELECTED OFFICIALS” TO START REPRESENTING THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, AND NOT THE XL OIL PIPELINE LOBBY INTEREST. THAT IS THE REASON FOR THIS FIVE MONTH DELAY AND BATTLE IN THE SENATE TO PASS THE EXTENSION BILL. THE REPUBLICANS HAVE BEEN HOLDING THE EXTENSION BILL AS “HOSTAGE” UNTIL THEIR “SPECIAL INTEREST GROUP” GETS THEIR OIL PIPLINE APPROVED. THE REPUBLICANS HAVE ACTUALLY ASSISTED WITH MAKING THESE UNFORTUNATE FAMILIES SUFFER, IN ORDER TO GET THEIR OWN BILL PASSED BY THE PRESIDENT. AS A “FORMER” REPUBLICAN, I CAN HONESTLY SAY THAT I WILL NEVER AGAIN VOTE FOR THEIR PARTY

  • Jon McCasper

    Collectivists are oblivious to the fact that civilization’s advance depends upon social processes that are free from centralized control.

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