On September 29, 2016, the attorneys general for Arizona, Oklahoma, Nevada and Texas filed suit in Texas Federal Court to stop the transfer of control of internet core functionality, such as DNS (Domain Name System) functionality, to ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers). States sue to stop internet transition
ICANN has authority to administer said functionality, denoted the IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority) functions, under a contract with the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). Provisions in this contract, denoted the IANA function contract, have allowed the US to retain control over ICANN’s administering the IANA functions. ICANN.
The current IANA function contract is set to expire on October 1, 2016, and with its expiration, the US will lose its control over ICANN’s administration of the IANA functions – the internet’s core functions. Id.
In their lawsuit, the attorneys general contend that the transfer of IANA functions lack Congressional approval, and are an illegal giveaway of US government property. They further contend that ICANN could revoke the .gov and .mil domains used by states, federal agencies and the military, thereby harming government and military preparedness. The lawsuit also argues that ICANN’s “current practices often foster a lack of transparency that, in turn, allows illegal activity to occur [ ]” and that ICANN, a multinational nonprofit, could act to “effectively enable or prohibit speech on the Internet.” States sue to stop internet transition In a statement, Texas AG Ken Paxton said:
“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.” Id.
The Commerce Department’s complete transition of IANA functions to ICANN has been ongoing since 2014. Waiting to file a lawsuit until two days before that transition takes place by the simple expiration of a contract is manifestly too little too late. I will give these states credit, however, in that at least they have tried to stop this move.
Of course it was Congress’s job to prevent this transfer. And Congress, again, punted, giving away the last real opportunity to stop this loss of internet control in its September 28, 2016 budget deal.
“… Senate lawmakers, fearing a shutdown, ultimately opted against blocking the internet governance transition as part of a budget deal brokered on Wednesday. The House, hours later, followed suit.” Id.
The House Republicans are, reportedly, contemplating their own lawsuit to stop this transition, but are as yet undecided. Id.
Contemplating. Heh. Schmucks. Whatsamatter guys? Tired of navel gazing? Next time do your job instead of running to the courts for failing to do your job.