The plan by the U.S. Department of Commerce to relinquish its longtime oversight role over the Internet’s basic structure of Internet Protocol addresses and domain names to a private organization continues to receive attention in Congress. This week Republicans and Democrats on the House Energy & Commerce Committee struck a deal to amend and advance the Domain Openness Through Continued Oversight Matters Act (DOTCOM Act). The bipartisan compromise in this bill authored by Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) would require the Executive Branch to certify to Congress that the “transition plans meet the United States’ objective of global Internet openness” and it would give Congress 30 legislative days to review the Administration’s plan before it is carried out.
Rep. Shimkus, who noted his position is “trust but verify,” stated, “With these changes to the DOTCOM Act, we’ve reached a bipartisan agreement that gives Congress a proper oversight role without unnecessarily delaying or undermining the multistakeholder process.” He also added, “We only have one chance to get it right.”
Members of Congress have expressed numerous concerns about this hand-over of oversight authority, including the worry that a foreign government could attempt to fill the power vacuum and undermine Internet freedom.
By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations
Published: June 12, 2015