WASHINGTON – The Energy and Commerce Committee approved legislation Thursday authored by U.S. Rep. John Shimkus (R-Illinois) to maintain U.S.-led management of basic Internet functions until the Government Accountability Office (GAO) studies proposals to replace longstanding U.S. oversight.
“The global Internet has run smoothly for 25 years because U.S. oversight ensured authoritarian governments had no control over the Internet beyond their own borders,” Shimkus said. “Until the administration can guarantee that will remain the case under the oversight of international stakeholders, we should not surrender our oversight role.”
Shimkus introduced the DOTCOM Act in response to the Obama Administration’s recent proposal regarding the future of the Internet. The administration’s proposal instructs the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to explore ways to remove the United States from its oversight role of the Domain Name System (DNS) and replace it with a so-called "multistakeholde"’ governance model.
“My bill is a simple good government bill. Trust but verify. Since we only get one chance to get this right, we have to make sure the Obama Administration doesn't just rubberstamp whatever proposal ICANN comes up with. Oversight is important, especially with this administration,” Shimkus added.
The DOTCOM Act is supported by Americans for Tax Reform and similar concerns over relinquishing the U.S. role in Internet governance have been raised by former President Bill Clinton, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Walls, former Democrat FCC Commissioner Julius Genachowski, and the Heritage Foundation.