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Stop Obama From Surrendering the Internet

The House is trying to block an Obama plan to cede control of the Internet. 

Internet1by Peter Roff

By a vote of 229 to 178, the U.S. House of Representatives Friday moved to block the Obama administration from carrying through with plans to give up control of the Internet to a private corporation originally chartered by the federal government to oversee the domain name system.

Acting on an amendment to the Commerce, State, and Justice appropriations bill offered by Wisconsin Republican Rep. Sean Duffy, the House threw a monkey wrench into plans announced earlier this year by the head of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, which is part of the Department of Commerce, to end its contractual relationship with ICANN – the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers – that guarantees the U.S. a say in how the global information and communications tool is managed. Continue reading


Obama’s Internet Folly

bobby jindalby Gov. Bobby Jindal

It was an act generations from now will regret: The country that invented the Internet unilaterally decided to give it away — jeopardizing the freedoms of billions of citizens the world over in the process.

Last month, the Obama Administration’s Commerce Department announced it would transfer control of the Internet’s essential functions from the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a Los Angeles-based non-profit, to the “global Internet community.” It is unclear exactly who or what will replace ICANN, but one thing is certain: the successor organization won’t increase online freedom, openness, and transparency. Continue reading


The House agrees that the Internet should remain American

Internet GovernanceFrontiers of Freedom Praises the House of Representatives for wisely agreeing  that the Internet should remain under the authority of the United States

May 30, 2014, Washington, D.C. – George Landrith, President of Frontiers of Freedom, and Peter Roff, Senior Fellow, at Frontiers of Freedom commended the U.S. House of Representatives for passing by a vote of 229 to 178 an amendment offered by Rep. Sean Duffy to the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) funding bill that would block funding for the administration’s plans to relinquish control of the Internet and give it away to the international voices that push the hardest to obtain control of it.

Landrith remarked:

The House did the right thing. Anyone who reads news that might be deemed offensive by Russia’s Putin or Iran’s Rouhani should be cheering. There is nothing that improves on the Internet by giving control of it to an unspecified UN-like organization that will include the world’s despots and those with a track record of censuring and punishing opposition views.  Continue reading


Putin wants to control the Internet and Obama wants to let him

Internet World Wide Webby George Landrith

Beginning in the 1960s, shortly after the Russians shocked the world by launching Sputnik, America launched its drive to put a man on the moon. While we were racing towards the moon, we were also developing the Internet. It started out as a military project, but transitioned to academic use and then to public use. By the earlier 1990s, we began to see the Internet that we now know as the world’s largest and most accessible source for information — the world’s mega-library.

You’ve likely heard that the Obama Administration plans to surrender US control of the Internet to some international entity. Russian President Vladimir Putin has made news recently by expanding his control into Crimea and Ukraine and now he has his sights on the Internet. In Crimea and Ukraine, Putin has taken advantage of Obama’s projected weakness in foreign policy. Now he is licking his chops as Obama has announced he will give away control of the Internet to “international stakeholders.” Continue reading


Coalition Letter Opposing Giving Control of the Internet to UN-like Group

Coalition Ltr 032014 Continue reading


Michelle Obama Is Lecturing the Wrong People About Internet Freedom

Obama MichelleThe first lady should aim her ire a little closer to home.  The first lady should be informing her husband about the merits of Internet freedom. 

by Peter Roff

First lady Michelle Obama went all the way to China to lecture the Chinese on the need for free and open access to the Internet, going so far as to declare it a “universal right.” As the U.K.’s Guardian newspaper reported Saturday, Obama told a crowd of about 200 students mostly from the United States that “it is so important for information and ideas to flow freely over the internet and through the media. My husband and I are on the receiving end of plenty of questioning and criticism from our media and our fellow citizens, and it’s not always easy. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.”

Obama went on to say that, “When it comes to expressing yourself freely, and worshipping as you choose, and having open access to information – we believe those are universal rights that are the birthright of every person on this planet.”

Unfortunately, she was talking to the wrong people. Not because her audience was not composed of those who could influence the behavior of the Chinese government (being mostly from the United States), but because the person who most needs to hear that message right now is her husband. Continue reading


Both Left and Right agree that giving away governance of the Internet is an awful idea

icannOn the Left:  Former President Bill Clinton

At NewsMax, Sandy Fitzgerald writes:

Former President Bill Clinton objects to the Obama administration’s plan to give up the United States’ control over online domain names and addresses, saying that the country’s agencies have done a good job keeping the Internet free and open.

“A lot of people who have been trying to take this authority from the U.S. for the sole purpose of cracking down on Internet freedom and limiting it and having governments protect their backsides instead of empowering the people,” Clinton said during a panel discussion sponsored by the Clinton Global Initiative, reports ReCode.net. Continue reading


Coalition Letter Opposing Giving Away Control of the Internet

Internet Coalition Ltr 032114Dear Chairmen and Ranking Members:

With last Friday’s late afternoon announcement that the Obama Administration plans to relinquish U.S. accountability measures over ICANN, the organization that administers the Internet, there are now serious concerns that the United Nations, or individual foreign governments, or some new multinational organization will obtain control of the Internet. No good can come of this. There is nothing wrong with the Internet that can be cured by handing over control of it to the likes of Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong Un, or Hassan Rouhani.

We commend the House Energy and Commerce Committee for quickly announcing that it will hold hearings. We urge the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation to do the same. It is important that the Internet continue to be a governed by principles that include free speech and press and the rule of law. If America leaves a vacuum on Internet governance questions, that vacuum will be filled by people like Putin who have zero commitment to free speech or press or to the rule of law. Continue reading


Don’t let Putin and Kim Jong Un take YOUR Internet! Sign the Petition!

FFinternetSign the Petition to keep the Internet in American hands and protected by the First Amendment.  We don’t need dictators governing the Internet!  Continue reading


Peter Roff on The Internet Giveaway

The World Wide Web and the Obama plan to give it away. It’s true. The last bastion of the ‘free’ free markets invented, owned and operated by the United States. This White House is poised to hand the keys over to the international community. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN, manages the World Wide Web under contract with the U.S. government. As of the fall of next year, that contract will not be renewed. Instead, ICANN will become a global organization, with no U.S. oversight.

Continue reading


ICANNT even: Why the US government giving up control of the Internet is a catastrophic idea

icannby Shoshana Weissmann

While you were opening your first beer after a long week’s work last Friday, the administration made an announcement that may forever change the Internet:

It declared plans to give up control of the Internet.

The Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration announced it will no longer oversee ICANN, the nonprofit formed by the U.S. government that, along with the Commerce Department, has managed distribution of domain names for the entire Internet since 1998. The announcement, when considering timing, surrounding circumstances, and foreign policy implications, reeks of sheepishness, irresponsibility, and naiveté.

“The bureaucracy buries news of which it is not proud with a release late in the day on a Friday afternoon,” accurately wrote Paul Rosenzweig in The New Republic. Continue reading


Handing Over the Keys to the Internet

Putin Russia Internet Big-Brother CensorshipIt’s nuts to cede control of the Internet to countries with poor records on free speech.

by Charles C. W. Cooke

If at least for the sake of variation, those charged with riffling through last Friday’s news dumps must have been relieved to find neither new Obamacare delays nor abandoned red lines hiding among the detritus. And yet, while the less technically proficient could have been forgiven for having missed it, an announcement just as vexing was waiting in lieu: that America was planning to give up control of the Internet.

At this point in the proceedings, one is customarily chastised by pedants who note impatiently that the United States does not really “control” much of the Internet at all — at least not literally. The Internet, our dogmatists record, is a wildly decentralized network of computers, servers, and services that are run by non-governmental agencies, individual citizens, and private businesses, and fleshed out by the enthusiasm and the creativity of civil society. They are right, of course. In its structure, the Web is a libertarian’s dream — an explosion of spontaneous order and of mutual cooperation that would have made Hayek blush. It don’t need no stinkin’ Man.

And yet, as with all good things, it does have some framework — a slim skeleton on which the meat and the gristle might be laid. As Forbes’s Emma Woollacott confirmed on Saturday, should the U.S. government go through with its plan, the responsibilities to be farmed out will include the administration of changes to the DNS’s authoritative root zone file — the database containing the lists of names and addresses of all top-level domains — as well as managing the unique identifiers registries for domain names, IP addresses, and protocol parameters. Continue reading


When U.S. Steps Back, Will Russia and China Control the Internet?

internet-censorshipSome fear foreign powers will fill the void.

by Brendan Sasso

The United States is planning to give up its last remaining authority over the technical management of the Internet.

The Commerce Department announced Friday that it will give the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), an international nonprofit group, control over the database of names and addresses that allows computers around the world to connect to each other.

Administration officials say U.S. authority over the Internet address system was always intended to be temporary and that ultimate power should rest with the “global Internet community.”

But some fear that the Obama administration is opening the door to an Internet takeover by Russia, China, or other countries that are eager to censor speech and limit the flow of ideas. Continue reading


Ex-White House tech chief: Internet giveaway ‘raises the stakes’ of Web governance

Internet1by Giuseppe Macri

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Friday decision to cede management of the Internet to the global Internet community ”raises the stakes” over the future of Internet regulation, according to a former chief White House tech policy advisor.

“The U.S. should continue to be resolute in its support for a free and open Internet,” former senior White House technology policy advisor Richard Russell told The Daily Caller. Russell also served as Senior Director for Technology and Telecommunications for the White House National Economic Council and U.S. Ambassador to the 2007 World Radiocommunications Conference during the George W. Bush administration.

“The Department of Commerce’s decision to transition away from its historical role as the keeper of the IANA [Internet Assigned Numbers Authority] contract raises the stakes when it comes to the future of Internet governance.” Continue reading


One way to respond to Putin: Don’t let him control the Internet

Obama Putinby George Landrith

Russian President Vladimir Putin has authorized, and his military forces have carried out, an armed invasion of a neighboring nation, Ukraine, whose sole transgression was wanting closer diplomatic and economic ties with the West. Despite wide condemnation of the unprovoked attack, Putin is unrepentant and China is now standing with Russia. As if the invasion wasn’t provocative enough, Putin also test-fired an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM). These are dangerous times.

While the administration’s response has been muted, there has been no shortage of suggested ways the U.S. could signal its strong objection — recalling our ambassador, imposing sanctions, removing Russia from the G8 and reverting back to the G7, sending an naval carrier group to the region, reconstituting plans to build a missile defense capability in Eastern Europe, and maximizing our own energy production to weaken Russia’s economy and its hold on much of Eastern Europe. These ideas have merit, but some are longer-term plans. It is not clear how the administration will respond to this crisis. Continue reading


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