THE LEDE: The Obama administration is continuing a campaign to explain its recent decision to relinquish oversight of the technical side of the Internet’s Web address system.
On Friday, Commerce Department Assistant Secretary Lawrence Strickling will speak at the Hudson Institute on the department’s plans to step back from its current role in overseeing the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA). Fadi Chehade, CEO of the nonprofit tasked with developing a plan to transition this oversight role away from the U.S. government, will also speak at the morning event.
On Wednesday, Strickling and Chehade testified in front of the House Commerce subcommittee on Technology about the administration’s decision to carry through on its years-old plan to relinquish IANA oversight. While some — including Democrats on the subcommittee — say the move will lead to a more globalized Internet, critics worry the decision to step back will allow oppressive governments to impose restrictions on the free government.
Members of the House Commerce Committee, led by Vice Chairwoman Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Reps. John Shimkus (R-Ill.) and Todd Rokita (R-Ind.), introduced a bill last week that would prevent the Commerce Department from relinquishing its oversight role until the Government Accountability Office completes a review of the shift.
On Thursday, Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) took it one step further by introducing a bill that would prevent the U.S. government from relinquishing its oversight role without congressional approval. “The Internet Stewardship Act of 2014 would preserve this successful model from ever being changed unless the president persuades Congress that it is the right time to act through legislation,” Kelly said in a statement. “The power and reach of the Internet are far too important to liberty to ever be surrendered to forces that could potentially use their power to limit the Internet’s reach and suppress the free flow of ideas."