Technology

GOP seeks strategy against Obama Internet move

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) isn’t giving up on his effort to stop the Obama administration from transferring control of functions vital to the internet to an international governing authority by Oct. 1.

Ahead of a hearing designed to draw attention to the issue on Wednesday, Cruz released a list of 20 lawmakers in the House and Senate on Tuesday who also oppose the transfer. The list includes Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Reps. Sean Duffy (R-Wisc.), Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Mark Sanford (R-S.C.).

{mosads}Cruz is seeking to get Republicans to back his call for including language in a government-funding measure that would stop the transfer of oversight of the domain name system which is central to how consumers reach websites.

On the Senate floor last week, Cruz derided the transition, saying that it “poses a significant threat to our freedom” and that “it will empower countries like Russia, China and Iran to be able to censor speech on the internet.”

But it is unclear how much support Cruz is building. His press release did not say whether all of the lawmakers listed would back adding the internet language to the must-pass spending measure. The resolution must be approved by Congress by Sept. 30 to prevent a government shutdown.

In the hearing, Cruz plans to “investigate the possible dangers,” that he argues could result from the transition.

Hearing witnesses include individuals whose organizations are directly involved in the transition: Lawrence E. Strickling, an official at the National Telecommunications And Information Administration (NTIA), and Göran Marby, head of the Internet Corporation For Assigned Names And Numbers (ICANN), the organization in charge of the domain name functions through a contract with Strickling’s agency.

It’s not clear just how much support there is for Cruz’s position in his own party.

While a number of Republicans said they had reservations about the transfer, key Republicans have not yet echoed his fervor in calling for absolutist language to be added to a continuing resolution.

In a letter last week to Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, the chairmen of the House and Senate Judiciary and Commerce committees asked for a delay in the transfer and for the administration to reconsider its position.

Senate Commerce Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.), Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), House Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.), and House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) said “important accountability measures” need to be put in place to protect the internet’s domain name system from global control.

While safeguards have been set up, the four chairmen said they needed to be properly “fleshed out, tested, or proven.”

Thune told reporters on Tuesday he and other senators were working to coordinate with Cruz, though he acknowledged not all senators might back demanding changes in the continuing resolution.

Members of the Senate, in particular, are looking to leave Washington soon to return to the campaign trail.

“We’re working trying to coordinate with Cruz and others who have concerns about the transition,” Thune said Tuesday, insisting that his efforts were not in conflict with Cruz’s.

“I think that right now we all want that on September 30 that transition does not occur because we don’t think it’s ready yet. He may have a different endgame than we do, but right now our objective is the same.”
 
Tags Bob Goodlatte Chuck Grassley John Thune Marco Rubio Mike Lee Orrin Hatch Penny Pritzker Sean Duffy Ted Cruz

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