White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters on Thursday that ceding U.S. control of the internet to foreign governments is essentially a form of limited government.
Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Republican, and other concerned lawmakers are fighting to prevent the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a California nonprofit, from falling into the hands of a “multi-stakeholder” global body. A Commerce Department agency will relinquish oversight of ICANN on Oct. 1 unless Congress intervenes.
“[Mr. Cruz’s argument] doesn’t withstand scrutiny,” Mr. Earnest said, the Washington Examiner reported. “It also strikes me as a curious position for a self-described small government conservative to shut down the government to ensure that the federal government can continue to control the internet. It doesn’t make any sense.”
Mr. Cruz’s plan to thwart the White House’s plans hinges on his ability to attach a provision to a bill that keeps the government funded past Oct. 1. The Texas Republican’s protest has the support of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.
“The U.S. should not turn control of the internet over to the United Nations and the international community,” Mr. Trump’s national policy director, Stephen Miller, said Wednesday, CNN reported. “President Obama intends to do so on his own authority — just 10 days from now, on Oct. 1, unless Congress acts quickly to stop him. The Republicans in Congress are admirably leading a fight to save the internet this week, and need all the help the American people can give them to be successful.”
Critics of Mr. Obama’s plan warn that abdicating control over the domain name system and IP addressing will allow authoritarian regimes to erode freedom of speech. Advocates of the decision claim foreign nations will not be able to influence the kind of information that is shared beyond their borders.