DNS management transfer raises ire of Republican lawmakers

The U.S. government approved the transition of managing the internet domain naming system (DNS) to an independent organization under ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) in October, drawing fire from conservatives who say the move could hinder national security.

A group of Republican lawmakers, including Sens. Ted Cruz (R. - Texas), Mike Lee (R. - Utah) and Rep. Sean Duffy (R. - Wis.) said in a letter to the Obama administration that the transfer of power to ICANN is a “planned internet giveaway.”

Conservative think tank groups also expressed a similar sentiment. 

Brett Schaefer, senior research fellow in international regulatory affairs for the Heritage Foundation, told The Wall Street Journal that the NTIA’s announcement is “a direct violation” of the current law.

Earlier this month, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration said it received a letter from ICANN telling them that the transition of all tasks would be completed by the Sept. 30 deadline. When the transition is complete, NTIA will allow ICANN to take over the contract to run the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA).

Lawrence Strickling, the head of the NTIA, said in a blog post that the transition “represents the final step in the U.S. government’s longstanding commitment, supported by three [presidential] administrations, to privatize the internet’s domain-name system.”

After facing pressure from other countries that claimed the U.S. had too much control over the global internet, the U.S. government first agreed to cede control of the DNS system organization in early 2014.

NTIA said in a separate post that “these calls for replacing the multi-stakeholder model with a multilateral, government-run approach will only grow louder if the U.S. government fails to complete the transition.”

Besides privatizing the DNS system, the structure will enhance ICANN's accountability as a fully independent organization that has to answer to a wide range of global stakeholders.

ICANN will hold its quarterly stakeholder conference with stakeholders on August 18 to talk about its work and the transition plan.

For more:
- WSJ has this article

Related articles:
ICANN to tell domain applicants if their names include potential issues
ICANN attracts organizations for new net domain program
ICANN's move to expand Internet domains draws criticism