GOP chairmen ask administration to reconsider ICANN transition

GOP chairmen ask administration to reconsider ICANN transition
A group of Republican committee chairmen on Thursday wrote a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Secretary of Commerce Penny PritzkerPenny Sue PritzkerThe Hill's Morning Report - Sanders steamrolls to South Carolina primary, Super Tuesday Biden's new campaign ad features Obama speech praising him Obama Commerce secretary backs Biden's 2020 bid MORE asking them to reconsider ceding control of the group in charge of internet domains.
 
Control of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) is set to move to an international governing body on Sept. 30, when the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers’s (ICANN) contract with the U.S. National Telecommunications and Information Administration expires. ICANN currently manages the IANA.
 
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The Thursday letter called on the Lynch and Pritzker to “reconsider the Administration’s current plans to transition the IANA functions.”
 
“The transition of the IANA functions to the global multi-stakeholder community is a serious, groundbreaking, and potentially unalterable action,” the GOP chairmen wrote.
 
Signing on to the letter were Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee Chairman John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneGOP senators voice confidence over uphill Senate battle Senate GOP hedges on attending Trump's convention amid coronavirus uptick Finger-pointing, gridlock spark frustration in Senate MORE (R-S.D.), Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyTrump administration to impose tariffs on French products in response to digital tax Big Ten moves to conference-only model for all fall sports Republicans considering an outdoor stadium for Florida convention: report MORE (R-Iowa), House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.), and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob GoodlatteRobert (Bob) William GoodlatteUSCIS chief Cuccinelli blames Paul Ryan for immigration inaction Immigrant advocacy groups shouldn't be opposing Trump's raids Top Republican releases full transcript of Bruce Ohr interview MORE (R-Va.).
 
 
The speech was a part of his larger initiative that includes the Protecting Internet Freedom Act, which is aimed at stopping the U.S. from relinquishing oversight of IANA. 
 
“We have closely examined the arguments for and against the proposed transition, including concerns about whether the transition could enhance the role of authoritarian regimes in Internet governance,” the letter read. 
 
“In particular, we have heard from witnesses testifying to concerns that important accountability measures have yet to be fully fleshed out, tested, or proven, because they will not have been implemented prior to September 30, 2016.”
 
The chairmen also expressed concern with the possibility of ICANN changing jurisdictions from its current location in California, potentially to one in an autocratic country. 
 
Though it the letter had not been released yet, in a pro-transition conference call earlier on Thursday, experts dismissed many of the claims listed in the Senators letter. 
 
They said that while they expected California remain as ICANN’s home, changes in jurisdiction wouldn’t affect the organization. 
 
They also said that they believed the transition would mitigate influence from autocratic governments and reduce potential motivations for countries fed up with the idea of U.S.-managed internet to establish their own domestic internet networks.