Recently, the Obama Administration has decided that it is our nation’s best interest to relinquish control of the Internet Assigned Number Authority (IANA). This decision means the United States would no longer be able to ensure the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) would be free of influence from countries that notoriously promote internet censorship. Countries like that blatantly violate the fundamental rights of free speech that we value so much. It is not beyond the realm of possibility that this decision could mean the end of free speech on the Internet. Such a decision is irrevocable and control of the internet cannot be taken back once relinquished.
“As an organization, ICANN is rapidly pursuing a plan to “internationalize” away from its California headquarters and into foreign countries where governments are eager to censor those portions of the Internet that may voice disagreement with their oppressive regimes. Just last year, ICANN announced it was opening a “regional hub” in Istanbul, home to a government long understood to censor Internet content. We learned just this week that Turkey’s Prime Minister bragged about blocking his citizens from accessing Twitter, in order to prevent them from viewing content adverse to his administration.”
The Obama Administration is trying to pass this off as step towards open internet but it may actually work against that goal. This decision to hand over a major national asset to a global organization without oversight is the height of irresponsibility. As it stands, ICANN exhibits behavior that should be deemed as reckless and poses the potential of vastly changing the landscape of the internet from what we know it as today.
To read more about ICANN and the coalition letter sent to the Senate and House Judiciary Committee signed by Digital Liberty’s Katie McAuliffe, click here.