Corker, Colleagues Seek Answers From Administration On Internet Transition

Thursday, April 03, 2014
Senator Bob Corker on Wednesday joined Senators John Thune (R-S.D.), Marco Rubio (R-Fl.) and 32 of their Senate Republican colleagues in sending a letter to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, seeking clarification regarding the recent announcement that NTIA intends to relinquish responsibility of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority functions, the system for assigning website addresses, to the global multistakeholder community.
 
“With the Internet playing an increasingly critical role in providing economic and educational opportunity for Americans as well as powerfully promoting liberty abroad, the United States must ensure the Internet remains free and open, and out of the hands of foreign governments or bad actors,” Senator Corker said.

 
The letter expresses strong support for “the existing bottom-up, multistakeholder approach to Internet governance,” and cautions that we “must not allow the IANA functions to fall under the control of repressive governments, America’s enemies, or unaccountable bureaucrats.”
 
The letter goes on to say, “The global community of Internet stakeholders should act deliberately and transparently as it formulates a possible proposal to transition the IANA functions to a nongovernmental entity. The multistakeholder model of Internet governance and the IANA functions are far too important for this process to be rushed or to be done behind closed doors.”
 
Among other things, the letter asks the administration to “explain why it is in our national interest to transition the IANA functions,” whether this transition can take place unilaterally “without an Act of Congress,” and how NTIA will ensure “the IANA functions do not end up being controlled, directly or indirectly, by a government or inter-governmental entity.”
 
Senators Thune, Rubio, and Corker were joined by Senators Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), John Barrasso (R-Wy.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), John Boozman (R-Ar.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), Dan Coats (R-In.), Tom Coburn (R-Ok.), John Cornyn (R-Tx.), Mike Crapo (R-Id.), Ted Cruz (R-Tx.), Mike Enzi (R-Wy.), Deb Fischer (R-Ne.), Chuck Grassley (R-Ia.), Orrin Hatch (R-Ut.), Dean Heller (R-Ne.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Jim Inhofe (R-Ok.), Mike Johanns (R-Ne.), Ron Johnson (R-Wi.), Mark Kirk (R-Il.), Mike Lee (R-Ut.), John McCain (R-Az.), Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Jerry Moran (R-Ks.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Ak.), Rob Portman (R-Oh.), Jim Risch (R-Id.), Pat Roberts (R-Ks.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), David Vitter (R-La.), and Roger Wicker (R-Ms.).
 
Full text of the letter is below:
 
The Honorable Lawrence Strickling
Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information
National Telecommunications and Information Administration
U.S. Department of Commerce
1401 Constitution Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20230
 
Dear Assistant Secretary Strickling:
 
We write concerning the recent announcement by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) that it intends to relinquish responsibility of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions to the global multistakeholder community.  In its announcement, NTIA also asked the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to convene stakeholders and develop a proposal to transition the role currently played by NTIA.
 
We strongly support the existing bottom-up, multistakeholder approach to Internet governance that has led to immense prosperity and empowerment for individuals around the world.  The current approach has helped to define the open Internet, which has allowed the private sector to deliver technology and services that have changed our lives for the better.  In 2012, many of us were leaders on S. Con. Res. 50, a resolution that reinforced the U.S. government’s opposition to ceding control of the Internet to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), an arm of the United Nations, or to any other governmental body.  As you know, S. Con. Res. 50 unanimously passed both the Senate and the House of Representatives, a rare instance of bipartisan agreement on such an important topic.
 
In announcing the intended transition, NTIA committed that it “will not accept a proposal that replaces the NTIA role with a government-led or an inter-governmental organization solution.”  We agree that any such proposal would be completely unacceptable.  Replacing NTIA’s role with another governmental organization would be disastrous, and we would vigorously oppose such a plan.  We must not allow the IANA functions to fall under the control of repressive governments, America’s enemies, or unaccountable bureaucrats.
 
The global community of Internet stakeholders should act deliberately and transparently as it formulates a possible proposal to transition the IANA functions to a nongovernmental entity.  The multistakeholder model of Internet governance and the IANA functions are far too important for this process to be rushed or to be done behind closed doors.
 
Because this issue is so important to the future of the Internet and for the protection of American values and interests, we request expeditious responses to the following questions and requests for information about the proposed IANA transition.
 
·         A 2000 report by the U.S. General Accounting Office stated that “it is unclear if the Department [of Commerce] has the requisite authority” to transfer control of the IANA functions to a private entity.  Please provide us with the Administration’s legal views and analysis on whether the United States Government can transition the IANA functions to another entity without an Act of Congress.
 
·         Please explain why it is in our national interest to transition the IANA functions to the “global multistakeholder community.”
 
·         You have stated that NTIA believes “the timing is right to start the transition process.”  Why does the Administration believe now is the appropriate time to begin the transition, and what was the specific circumstance or development that led the Administration to decide to begin the transition now?
 
·         What steps will NTIA take to ensure the process to develop a transition plan for the IANA functions is open and transparent?
 
·         Will NTIA actively participate in the global multistakeholder process to develop a transition plan for the IANA functions, or will the Administration leave the process entirely in the hands of ICANN?
 
·         You have stated that NTIA “will not accept a proposal that replaces NTIA’s role with a government-led or an inter-governmental solution,” but NTIA has been silent on how it will ensure the IANA functions do not end up being controlled, directly or indirectly, by a government or inter-governmental entity.  What specific options are available to NTIA to prevent this from happening?
 
·         How can the Administration guarantee the multistakeholder organization that succeeds NTIA will not subsequently transfer the IANA functions to a government or intergovernmental organization in the future, or that such successor organization will not eventually fall under the undue influence of other governments?
 
·         NTIA asked ICANN to lead the transition process.  However, ICANN has a potential self-interest in increasing its own autonomy and reducing its accountability to other entities.  Some stakeholders have expressed concerns that ICANN may seek to control the IANA functions on its own, without oversight from anyone else.  How did NTIA determine that ICANN is the appropriate entity to lead the transition process, and how will NTIA ensure that ICANN does not inappropriately control or influence the process for its own self-interest?
 
·         Does NTIA believe ICANN currently is sufficiently transparent and accountable in its activities, or should ICANN adopt additional transparency and accountability requirements as part of the IANA transition?
 
·         Is it realistic to expect that an acceptable transition plan can be developed before the IANA functions contract expires on September 30, 2015?  Is there another example of a similar global stakeholder transition plan being developed and approved in just 18 months?
 
·         How will NTIA ultimately decide whether a proposed transition plan for IANA, developed by global stakeholders, is acceptable?  What factors will NTIA use to determine if such a proposal supports and enhances the multistakeholder model; maintains the security, stability, and resiliency of the Internet Domain Name System; meets the needs and expectation of the global customers and partners of the IANA services; and maintains the openness of the Internet?
 
·         Will NTIA also take into account American values and interests in evaluating a proposed transition plan? How?
 
As this process moves forward, we will conduct careful oversight on behalf of the American people to ensure that American values, American interests, and the open Internet are protected.  Your detailed responses to our questions and requests for information will aid in that oversight, and we thank you in advance for your personal attention to this matter.
 
Sincerely,

Bradley Square Mall Hosts Mommy And Me Kid's Talent And Fashion Show

Bradley Square Mall will host the  Mommy and Me Kid's Talent and Fashion Show on Saturday, Nov. 8, at 3 p.m. All participants must have a signed pre-registration form filled out and submitted prior to the event. Registration forms my be picked up at Guest Services, Ashton Manor or downloaded from  here. Registration forms are due by  Friday, Oct. 31 . (click for more)

SIGNIX Hires New Vice President Of Partner Development

SIGNiX , a company that provides secure and simple digital signature services announced the hiring of its new Vice President of Partner Development, Leonora Zilkha Williamson. Ms. Williamson will work to identify and target potential partners in a variety of industries.  SIGNiX has long been a partner-centric company that focuses on providing total solutions to software ... (click for more)

Additions And Improvements At Camp Jordan Arena Coming Soon

Additions and improvements are coming to Camp Jordan Arena in the near future. At the Thursday night meeting of the East Ridge city council, approval was given for buying new playground equipment. It will come from Gametime, a locally-based company. The VP of Marketing lives in East Ridge and made a proposal to set up the playground at Camp Jordan so his company could use it for ... (click for more)

Teenager Killed In ATV Accident Thursday Night

Damon Lee Jones, 15, was killed Thursday night in an ATV accident in Walker County. It was reported he was riding with a 17-year old, when they tried to enter a church parking lot, but ran into a cable barrier. The accident happened on Dunwoody Road in LaFayette. The other rider, identified as Timothy J. Wallin, was not injured.   (click for more)

Tom Dugan Was A Good Man

Tom was my boss for most of my 36 years at Carta.  At the ceremony where I was awarded my 30-year service award, Tom said, "Don disagrees with 85% of my decisions, but I wish I had 80 more employees just like him." This kind of indicates our relationship. When I asked him to help with my plans for a reunion for the group of Veterans that I served with in Vietnam, he quickly ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: A Veterinarian’s Horse Sense

I suspect you’ve heard by now that a doctor in New York City, who volunteers with “Doctors Without Borders,” just got back from the African nation of Guinea on October 17 – last Friday – and on Thursday tested positive for the deadly Ebola virus. Luckily, he came in actual contact with only a few people but he reportedly rode a subway, took a taxi, went on a three-mile run and ... (click for more)