ICANN oversight

“Nations that do not value free speech and in fact seek to stifle it — is in violation of the Constitution and should be stopped.”


U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) Photo by CNN

The IANA Transition debate has resulted in the US Senator frantically making efforts to ensure that this does not happen. On September 28, U.S. Senators. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), along with Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), Chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet, sent a letter to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) requesting an affirmative determination of whether the Obama Administration’s plan to transfer U.S.  oversight of the Internet violates the Constitution.

Sen. Cruz said:

“Under Article IV, Section 3 of the Constitution, Congress has the exclusive power ‘to dispose of and make all needful rules and regulations respecting the territory or other property belonging to the United States.’ If the contract governing U.S. oversight of the Internet is indeed government property, the Administration’s intention to cede control to the ‘global stakeholder community’ — including nations like Iran, Russia and China that do not value free speech and in fact seek to stifle it — is in violation of the Constitution and should be stopped.”

This reminds of the African status where the African Union has severally been accused of curtailing a .africa applicant with the intention of managing the .Africa domain without proper mandate and against international rules.

The disagreement over the .africa domain it pits DCA’s Sophia Bekele against the Africa Union Commission and it got to the level where in April 2014 during the ITU “Girls in ICT” day, Sophia Bekele who had been invited to Addis Ababa by the ITU‘s Regional Office for Africa to deliver a speech during this year’s day event held on Thursday April 24 at the AU headquarters was blocked from speaking through its Infrastructure Commissioner who was meant to speak after her in the pretext that “she (Bekele) has a dispute with them (AU).”

According to the programme, Ms Bekele was to deliver her speech after the opening remarks by ITU’s Regional Director of Africa Andrew Rugege as well as Bethelhem Tilahum, MD, soleRebels. Bekele was to be followed by Dr Elham M.A. Ibrahim, AUC Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy.

Such actions show how far power that is not well and democratically managed could be used to stifle any competitive growth especially in developing countries

The letter by Cruz and team is being sent at a time when efforts by both the Administration and Congress, via the DOTCOM Act, are underway to facilitate the transition of U.S. control over the Internet without an affirmative vote from Congress. In another action to protect U.S. control of the Internet, Sen. Cruz recently filed the DOTCOM Act as an amendment to the highway reauthorization bill the Senate considered in July. Cruz’s amendment is identical to the original version of the DOTCOM Act being considered by the Senate with one exception: it would require Congress to have an affirmative up or down vote on the Obama Administration’s plan to give away the Internet.