- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 3, 2014

Two Democratic senators have jumped aboard the Republican bandwagon to question the Obama administration’s plan to relinquish part of America’s control of the Internet to foreign sources.

The Commerce Department recently announced that the United States would not be renewing its contract to oversee the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICAAN) once it expires in 2015. Critics contend that Russia, China or another nation with sub-par free speech rights could possibly assume control.

“I think it’s a high burden to overcome to cede authority, so I’m looking forward to the discussion about what this world would look like and again, I’ll be open-minded, but I think the old system has a lot to say for itself,” Massachusetts Sen. Edward Markey, a member of the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, told Breitbart.

Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida said he likely won’t support the White House’s decision, either, Breitbart reported.

The two are the latest Democrats to join the growing band of detractors. Former President Bill Clinton said a week ago — along with Sen. Bob Menendez — that Mr. Obama should reconsider.

Republicans have been critical of the plan for weeks. Top House GOP members on the Judiciary and Energy and Commerce committees have called for hearings to probe the Commerce Department’s ICAAN plans, Breitbart reported.

Whoever controls ICAAN controls what domain names are allowed on the Internet. Commerce Department officials say the brouhaha has been blown up and that ceding control of ICAAN would not result in any free speech hit.

Lawrence Strickling, Commerce’s assistant secretary for communications, said the department has also drawn a red line in accepting any new overseer that might lead to government crackdown on Internet freedoms.



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