Tomorrow’s Internet Handoff – 4 States Sue the Obama Administration

By Faye Higbee

Politico reported that Arizona, Oklahoma, Nevada and Texas have filed a lawsuit against the Obama Administration over the plan to hand off the Internet to ICANN tomorrow, October 1. ICANN has an-international group of stakeholders, and could end up under the auspices of the UN Telecommunications Union.

ICANN-  the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. We previously reported on this issue, but these are the latest developments.

Why are they handing it over?

Because the United States doesn’t want to look bad. Seriously.  Are they also trying to remove the “hot potato” of free speech from their purview of responsibility?

When the Internet became a global cyber power, the US started taking criticism over our control of the net. And since some US agencies such as the NSA and CIA used the net to snoop on people, the complaints about our control over it increased.

I’d say since we created it, we should control it. But other nations that don’t have the 1st Amendment may end up in charge.

“Trusting authoritarian regimes to ensure the continued freedom of the internet is lunacy. The president does not have the authority to simply give away America’s pioneering role in ensuring that the internet remains a place where free expression can flourish.” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton

Senator Ted Cruz introduced an amendment to the Spending Bill in an attempt stop the hand off, but it was rejected over fears of a government shutdown.

The Government Accounting Office has stated that it is not an improper transfer of US property.

The Commerce Department had limited ICANN’s control over the Internet while it was connected to the US.  Their international stakeholders will now all have a say, which could prove to be a bureaucratic nightmare. It opens the possibility that the company could end up under the auspices of the UN agency that oversees communications…which includes China, Russia, and Iran.

Intervention requested

In a letter to Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and Marine Commandant Joseph Dunford, 77 cybersecurity experts pleaded for intervention to stop the transfer.

“As individuals with extensive, first-hand experience with protecting our national security, we write to urge you to intervene in opposition to an imminent action that would, in our judgment, cause profound and irreversible damage to the United States’ vital interests…

Indeed, there is, to our knowledge, no compelling reason for exposing the national security to such a risk by transferring our remaining control of the Internet in this way at this time. In light of the looming deadline, we feel compelled to urge you to impress upon President Obama that the contract between NTIA and ICANN cannot be safely terminated at this point.” Excerpt from letter

The 77 signers included Assistant Secretary of Defense Frank Gaffney Jr., former Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Lt. Gen. William “Jerry” Boykin (Ret.), former Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl, former Director of the Defense Nuclear Agency Vice Adm. Robert Monroe (Ret.) and former Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Andrew McCarthy…and many others.

Timing – in the midst of terror and tension

It is the timing of this transition that worries many – at a time when national security is at risk from terror activity and other global tensions. Some officials have stated it would “restore credibility” to the United States.

If we want to “restore credibility” how about we stop financing terrorists? How about we stop the Clinton Foundation’s rampant corruption?

“Those who would give up a little essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” Ben Franklin