The United States will officially be giving up control of the Internet on October 1st of this year, the Department of Commerce confirmed this week. The move, which is less than two months away, will be handing over the full authority, that the government has had over the U.S. created commodity since its creation 18 years ago, to a nonprofit multi-stakeholder entity.
President Obama has been pushing to turn over control of ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, to an international body, and to privatize the Internet’s domain naming system (DNS) for years. Obama, who believes the internet has become a global entity and somewhat of a universal right, has received backlash from Republicans who see turning over U.S. control of the Internet only empowers dictatorial countries to increase censorship.
Though the Obama Administration normally advocates for the municipalization of almost everything, they have been hellbent on privatizing the control of the world wide web. The move would essentially take control away from the United States, the creators of the life changing technology, and give equal control to international businesses and governments around the world, including some of the most oppressive like Iran, Russia, and China.
The administration and its supporters claim the decision will have no effect on billions of internet users and their Internet browsing experience will remain the same. Opponents, however, argue that users will feel the changes when the long-term effects of the exchange come into play.
Ted Cruz, Republican Senator from Texas and former Presidential Candidate, has been very outspoken about his disapproval of this administrations attempts to move this process along and acknowledges that not only is it immoral, it is likely illegal.
“The Obama administration does not have the authorization from Congress,” Cruz said at a Heritage Foundation event on internet freedom. “And yet they are endeavoring to give away this valuable, critical property. To give it away with no authorization at all. That ought to trouble all of us.”
“When it comes to basic principles of freedom, letting people speak online without being censored—that ought to bring everyone together,” Cruz said at the event. He also added that “we built the internet and America maintains it as free for all. We don’t use it in an imperialist manner to impose our views on others. We maintain it as an oasis of freedom.”
The Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information at the Department of Commerce, Lawrence Strickling, wrote in a statement Tuesday, “For the last 18 years, the United States has been working with the global Internet multistakeholder community to establish a stable and secure multistakeholder model of Internet governance that ensures that the private sector, not governments, takes the lead in setting the future direction of the Internet’s domain name system.”
He also added that, “this multistakeholder model is the key reason why the Internet has grown and thrived as a dynamic platform for innovation, economic growth and free expression.”