On April 10th, the DOTCOM Act passed out of the House Communications Subcommittee on Communications and Technology. This is the first step in getting a crucial piece of legislation to the floor for votes.
The DOTCOM (Domain Openness Through Continued Oversight Matters) Act, authored by Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) and cosponsored by ten members of the full Energy and Commerce Committee, would require the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to research the proposal of relinquishing control of the Internet Assigned Number Authority (IANA). This proposal has made many lawmakers and users of the internet skeptical and the DOTCOM Act is a way in which this proposal can be handled carefully as a quick decision without proper research can prove to be disastrous.
Some members of the Senate have written a letter to Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information Larry Strickland from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) voicing their concerns over the proposal the relinquish control over the Internet. In the letter they cite a report by the GAO from 2000 which said that “it is unclear if the Department [of Commerce] has the requisite authority” to do such a thing.
Considering what has been advanced in the House, it is time for the Senate to propose something similar to the DOTCOM Act. A decision a serious as this should not be rushed. Oversight over the Internet is crucial for the U.S. to retain as it is important to both security and free speech. The NTIA has proposed that this power to be relinquished to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) which opens up the possibility for an autonomous group having power over something as vital as the Internet. The potential negative outcomes of this proposal have been enough to warrant further research and the DOTCOM Act will facilitate that.
Click here to urge your Congressman to Support the DOTCOM Act!