A House committee voted along party lines Thursday to delay the Obama administration’s plan to give up authority over the Internet’s address system.
The bill, the DOTCOM Act, now heads to the full House for consideration.
Republicans fear the administration’s plan could allow Russia, China, or other authoritarian regimes to seize new powers over the Internet and even censor websites.
Their legislation would require that the Government Accountability Office study the issue before the Commerce Department could give up its contractual authority over the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers — the nonprofit group that manages the technical procedures that allow computers around the world to connect to websites. The transfer of authority over ICANN to the “global Internet community” is scheduled to take place next year.
Rep. Greg Walden, an Oregon Republican, said the transition is “extremely important to the future of the Internet.”
“What we’re saying is can we just stop a minute and get GAO to take a look?”
He argued that once the U.S. gives up its role in Internet management, it will be impossible to ever get it back.
But Democrats argue the plan is just the latest step in the U.S. government’s longtime support of the “multi-stakeholder” model of Internet governance, in which decisions are made by an array of nonprofits, companies, academics, and engineers.
“I don’t know where these suspicions have come from that there’s some black helicopter something or other in this,” said Rep. Anna Eshoo, a California Democrat.
The Democrats argued that the bill would undermine U.S. efforts to promote Internet freedoms around the world by making it appear that the U.S. wants to have control over the Internet.
The Republicans on the Energy and Commerce Committee defeated a Democratic amendment that would have still called for a GAO study without stalling the Internet power transfer.
The Obama administration announced its formal opposition to the DOTCOM Act earlier this week, and its chances in the Senate appear slim.
What We're Following See More »
President Obama has announced another round of commutations of prison sentences. Most of the 58 individuals named are incarcerated for possessions with intent to distribute controlled substances. The prisoners will be released between later this year and 2018.
The Daily Beast has unearthed a piece that Donald Trump wrote for Gear magazine in 2000, which anticipates his 2016 sales pitch quite well. "Perhaps it's time for a dealmaker who can get the leaders of Congress to the table, forge consensus, and strike compromise," he writes. Oddly, he opens by defending his reputation as a womanizer: "The hypocrites argue that a man who loves and appreciates beautiful women (and does so legally and openly) shouldn't become a national leader? Is there something wrong with appreciating beautiful women? Don't we want people in public office who show signs of life?"
An aide to Mitt Romney confirmed to the Washington Post that the 2102 GOP nominee will not attend the Republican convention this year. He joins the two living Republican presidents, George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush, as well as 2008 nominee John McCain in skipping the event. Even among living Republican nominees, that leaves only Bob Dole who could conceivably show up. Dole did say in January that he'd prefer Trump to Ted Cruz, but his age (92) could keep him from attending.
In a long-awaiting new rule, the Food and Drug Administration will ban sale of all tobacco products—including e-cigarettes—to those under 18. The rule takes effect in 90 days. It's part of a larger package of regulations that "gives FDA authority to regulate—but not to ban—all tobacco products, from e-cigarettes to cigars and hookahs." Meanwhile, California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed a bill on Wednesday that would bump the legal age to buy all tobacco products from 18 to 21.