Executive Branch Questioned on Legality of Internet Transfer Work

Earlier this month, the Obama administration signaled support for a plan to relinquish U.S. oversight authority over the internet’s basic domain name structure. In addition to sponsoring NRB-backed legislation that would require the full Congress to approve any such transition plan before it is implemented, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.), along with Sens. James Lankford (R-Okla.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah), this week sent a letter to the Executive Branch inquiring about an “apparent violation of federal law” in this process.

Last year’s omnibus appropriations bill included a prohibition on any movement by the federal government to transition its oversight authority during fiscal year 2016, which ends on September 30. In their letter to National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) Assistant Secretary Lawrence Strickling (with David Smith, Acting Inspector General of the Commerce Department, copied) the senators and congressman wrote, “We believe that NTIA has violated that prohibition by funding projects whose only conceivable purpose is to facilitate the proposed transition of responsibility to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).” The legislators, therefore, asked the agency to provide information by next Tuesday about expenditures related to “reviewing, evaluating, planning, or coordinating the transition.”

The full text of this letter is available online here.

By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations

Published: June 24, 2016

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