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ICYMI: President Obama's Oct. 1 Internet Handover Draws Broad Opposition

September 26, 2016

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Unless Congress acts this week, President Obama will cede U.S. oversight of the Internet to ICANN, an international organization composed of multinational corporations and more than 160 foreign countries, including Russia, China, and Iran. The president’s radical proposal, scheduled to take effect on October 1, jeopardizes free speech online and has been widely denounced by conservative and grassroots leaders and Members of Congress

The most recent group of leaders to join the coalition of Internet handover critics include former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner Ajit Pai, FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly, and Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint. Read what they are saying below:

Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton:
“But because it’s entirely a U.S. government proposition with U.S. people involved, the Internet has been free and open. If, as the Administration wants to do, it’s transferred to an international body, I will predict right here: within 10 years it will come under the control of the United Nations, and the Internet as we know it will end because there are governments around the world that are already doing everything they can to prevent a free and open Internet in their countries, and it will extend to ours in due course.” 

FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai:
“When it comes to Internet governance, I do not believe the transition should take place on October 1. Getting it right is far more important than getting it done right now, and additional time to consider the merits of the transition would benefit all stakeholders.”

FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly:
“We should also dispense with the notion that the IANA functions are merely perfunctory or meaningless.  If that is the case, then why is there even a dispute or a demand that the U.S. ‘relinquish control’?  Why exactly should we disrupt the current highly-successful functioning of the Internet as it exists today if the IANA functions are meaningless?  Whether it’s actually technically important or just psychosomatic to the international community, the IANA functions and maintaining oversight over them are a valuable tool to leverage proper behavior, thereby preventing rogue regimes from harming the operations and oversight of the Internet.”

Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint:
“Once the U.S. lets the contract with ICANN end, there is no going back. The future of the Internet is too important to risk on a half-baked proposal. A free and secure internet is not just the concern of Americans, but of people across the world, especially those living under despotic regimes. Congress must think long and hard about allowing Obama to give away the internet—because right now, that’s what he’s on track to do. Congress has the power to stop this.” 

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