House panel approves bill on Internet domain transition

House panel approves bill on Internet domain transition
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A House committee passed a bill on Wednesday that would give Congress more oversight of the plan to give up America’s control of the Internet domain name system.

The Energy and Commerce Committee passed the DOTCOM Act by a voice vote after a brief hearing.

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The bill would give Congress time to review the proposed transition and require a Government Accountability Office audit of the transition.

“The active oversight by Congress adds another guardrail to this process and it demonstrates that the United States takes this transition very, very seriously,” said Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), who chairs the committee's communications and technology subcommittee.

Walden said that if the bill were signed, it could stop lawmakers from trying to limit funds for implementing the proposal.

The proposed transition would see the Department of Commerce end its longstanding relationship with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). Instead, ICANN would answer to a group of international stakeholders.

A European Union policy council said last week that it would support the transition.

Lawmakers have expressed concern that the organization is not ready for the transfer. Some supporters of the transition have indicated that it will not be completed by September — when ICANN’s current contract with the Department of Commerce expires.