FEBRUARY 4, 2015

NTIA's Strickling acknowledges Congressional prohibition on Internet transfer

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FAIRFAX, Va.—Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning responded to comments by Department of Commerce Assistant Secretary Lawrence Strickling on January 27 to the State of the Net conference's session, "Internet Functions in Transition: Is the US and the World Ready?" where he said, "we will not use appropriated funds to terminate the IANA functions contract with ICANN prior to the contract's current expiration date of September 30, 2015" and "If the community needs more time, we have the ability to extend the IANA functions contract for up to four years."

"We applaud Assistant Secretary Strickling for acknowledging Congress' explicit prohibition in the omnibus on transferring Internet governance to ICANN this fiscal year.  And we urge him to extend the contract by four years to allow sufficient time to allay any concerns over the potential transfer and not jeopardize the free and open Internet. It is clear that the transfer is not ready for primetime lacking both Congressional approval and certainty over the multistakeholder process.

"Extending the contract is not only the easiest thing to do, but given Congress' clear prohibition on performing the transition prior the contract's expiration, is the only thing to do.

"Americans for Limited Government urges the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, which Strickling heads, not to attempt to find a cute way of getting around the Congressional prohibition. It is not, as Strickling said, 'up to the community to determine a timeline that works best for stakeholders.' The omnibus requires the agency to inform Congress by August 17 what its decision regarding the IANA functions contract will be. After Strickling's statement, there had better not be a head-fake, for example, by simply allowing the contract to expire and transferring ownership of the IANA functions completely to ICANN without prior notice or Congress' assent. That would be deceptive, unwise, and unconstitutional, since only Congress can transfer government property."

To view online: http://getliberty.org/.

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