U.S. Tech Firms Urge Congress to Allow Web Domain Changeover

NET

Major technology companies, including Twitter, Facebook and Google, have released a letter in which they urge the United States Congress to support a plan for the government to relinquish control of the internet’s technical management to the global community.

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) plans to end its stewardship of the internet’s addressing system, known as the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), on October 1st, 2016, the letter read.

This authority would then shift to the global internet community, through the internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a private ­sector-led, multi­stakeholder organization to coordinate Internet addresses.

The U.S. Department of Commerce has primary oversight of the internet’s management, but some Republican lawmakers are trying to block the handover to global stakeholders, which include businesses, tech experts, and public interest advocates, saying it could destroy online freedom by giving voting rights to authoritarian governments.

Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, who leads the opposition against the handover, will hold a congressional hearing on Wednesday to review the transition, which he has criticized as a “giveaway of our internet freedom.”

A global, interoperable and stable internet is essential for our economic and national security, and we remain committed to completing the nearly twenty year transition to the multi­stakeholder model that will best serve U.S. interests, the letter read.

Other signatories to the letter include Amazon, Cloudflare, Yahoo and several technology trade organizations.