WaterCooler, Tuesday! 9/13/2016 - Open Thread - Ted Cruz: Obama's Internet Freedom Giveaway

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Congress: “Giveaway of our internet freedom?”

Ted Cruz has introduced a bill to congress, Protecting Internet Freedom Act, aimed at stopping the non-profit international organization, ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) from absorbing IANA’s (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority) functions subsequently dissolving its current relationship with the U.S. National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) which is ICANN’s sole overseeing body for policies that affect internet activities in the United States.

The Obama administration is pushing through a radical proposal to take control of Internet domains and instead give it to an international organization, ICANN, that includes 162 foreign countries. If that proposal goes through, countries like Russia, China, and Iran could be able to censor speech on the Internet, including here in the U.S. by blocking access to sites they don’t like.  – Ted Cruz, Senate website

On September 30th, ICANN will become a conglomerate of countries and entities who will have an equal partnership in “helping preserve the operational stability of the Internet.” It all sounds very kumbaya, coming together as an earth project “to promote competition; to achieve broad representation of the global Internet community; and to develop policies appropriate to its mission through bottom-up, consensus-based processes.” Does any of that sound like something Russia, China or Iran would be interested in?

One other point. On their website, ICANN has enumerated reasons why the transition should be immediate.

1. Does the transition threaten Internet freedom?

No. The United States Government’s contract with ICANN does not give the U.S. any power to regulate or protect speech on the Internet. The IANA functions are technical – not content – based. The freedom of any person to express his or herself on the globally interoperable Internet is in fact enhanced by the transition moving forward. ICANN is not, has not been, and by its Bylaws cannot become, a place for regulation of content.

Allow me to counter that claim with a smidge of truth. This is how ICANN can control content and regulate speech.

Imagine if your website were to get shut down by your domain registrar. Thanks to a new requirement by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) — the governing body for all domain names — it could happen to anyone.  – Business News Daily, 14 February 2014

As I understand it, oversight will transfer from individual countries controlling their internet boundaries to ICANN.

The timely completion of the transition will help preserve the continued openness of the Internet by entrusting its oversight with those who have made the greatest investments in its extraordinary success so far – the volunteer-based multistakeholder community.

Who is this “multistakeholder community?” Heck if I know. There isn’t a link that whisks one away to a list of voting “community” members who will take over the “stewardship” of “the maintenance and procedures of several databases related to the namespaces of the Internet – thereby ensuring the network’s stable and secure operation.”

Understand that the NTIA is a government agency that reports directly to the Executive Branch: President Obama. He has Executive Branch authority and in an “Oh, so Obama way” used his authority to legally circumvent the public.

Even if Ted Cruz’s bill passed, Obama would likely veto it like he likes to do. It’s a valiant effort, nonetheless.

Happy WaterCooler, Tuesday, RedStaters! It’s RedStates ONLY daily open thread! It seems, at least to me, this whole taking the internet freedom away thing, is a big deal so not too much topic diversity above, but that’s where you come in 🙂 Enjoy!