Hatch, Blunt call for more awareness on issues of Internet governance

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, chairman of the Senate Republican High-Tech Task Force, and Sen. Roy Blunt, member of the Senate Commerce Committee, introduced a resolution Tuesday to increase awareness of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s announced intention to transition its stewardship role over the Internet’s domain name system to the global community.

Hatch said:

If the United States is going to transition the stewardship of the domain name system to the global Internet community, we must ensure that stakeholders commit to abide by the strictest standards of transparency and accountability in internet governance. The Internet must be kept open and free from undue influence by any one government or organization. This resolution will raise awareness and encourage the public to engage in the conversation about this incredibly important issue.

Blunt said:

The rapid expansion of the Internet continues to drive economic growth and freedom of expression around the world. The United States plays a pivotal role in this development, including through our commitment to the bottom-up approach to Internet governance. The United States will not accept a proposal that violates our fundamental principles of Internet governance or replaces NTIA’s role with that of another government-led or inter-governmental organization.


The National Telecommunications and Information Association, a division of the U.S. Department of Commerce, holds a stewardship role over the domain name system by virtue of a contractual relationship with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN, a nonprofit incorporated in 1998 to manage and oversee some of the Internet’s technical underpinnings.

Specifically, the Association has contracted out the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority functions to ICANN.  These functions include the right and responsibility to assign domain names.  The Association’s contract with ICANN is set to expire September 30.  While the Association has not set a deadline for the ICANN functions stewardship transition to the global Internet community, it retains the option to extend the current contract – for up to four years – if specific conditions are not met.

On Feb. 8-12, ICANN will hold its 52nd public meeting in Singapore to continue discussions about the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority stewardship transition. The Hatch-Blunt resolution designates the week of February 8 as “Internet Governance Awareness Week.”  In particular, the resolution will focus on three specific principles to be considered during the week:

  • Increasing public awareness regarding the March 14, 2014, announcement by National Telecommunications and Information Association declaring its intention to transition its stewardship role to the global, multistakeholder community
  • Encouraging public education about the implications of the proposed transition
  • Calling the attention of the participants at ICANN’s next global meeting in Singapore to the importance of designing a transition proposal for the stewardship of key Internet functions in conjunction with accountability and governance reforms of ICANN

Submitted by the Offices of Sen. Orrin Hatch

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  • BIG GUY January 28, 2015 at 11:18 am

    Let’s see. Obama gave a speech in Cairo in 2010 to “reset” our relations with the Moslem world. Obama told Russian President Medvedev that he’d have “more flexibility after the 2012 election” and that he wanted to “reset” our relationship with Russia. Neither the Saudis or the Israelis, both long time allies, trust Obama anymore. Obama is sending Guantanamo Bay detainees back into the terror front lines as fast as he can. Obama swapped Bowe Bergdahl, a known deserter, for five Taliban leaders. Obama declared Syria’s Assad must go but now he’s sidling up to him as preferable to ISIS. This administration has been a non-stop international relations disaster.

    Now Obama wants to turn control of Internet domain names over to some international body that quickly will be politicized by Russia, Iran, North Korea and other “freedom-loving” countries. But just as the disasters above “reset” and “improved” our relations with the world, I’m sure this Obama move will greatly improve our international standing and respect. Why, I’ll bet ISIS and Boko Haram will lay down their arms in recognition of this gratuitous surrender of the world’s Internet freedom.

    Sadly, it will take a lot more than a proclamation calling for “awareness” on the public’s part to stop another international relations disaster from this administration, this time one that will hit every computer in this country.

  • BIG GUY January 28, 2015 at 1:02 pm

    How could I forget Iran? Obama started negotiating to terminate Iran’s nuclear weapons program in the fall of 2013 with a six month deadline. As an inducement to negotiate, Obama eased economic sanctions that were severely squeezing Iran’s economy. With no progress after six months, negotiations were extended for six more months to December 2014. And with no progress by then, they’ve been extended until June 2015. Congress can see the mullahs laughing behind Obama’s back while their economy recovers. Congress plans to pass new sanctions to start in July 2015 if a treaty isn’t concluded but to no one’s surprise, Obama threatens a veto.

    Does anyone believe that Obama can negotiate a meaningful treaty with Iran? Oh I forgot, Obama “reset” relations with the Moslem world and Iran will play nice now that he’s our negotiator. Prediction: Iran will test its first nuclear weapon in this decade and the Saudis will be close on their heels. Obama will have made the world a safer place.

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