Why We Need The DOTCOM Act


House Poised to Vote on Legislation Today as Amendment to National Defense Authorization Act

The Obama administration announced in March plans for a process that could remove the United States, specifically the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration, from its oversight role of critical Internet functions. Members of Congress are concerned that this move could result in a clampdown on the openness and freedom of the Internet by authoritarian regimes in countries like Russia and China.

The Internet has flourished as a model of social connectivity and economic activity since its inception. To preserve freedom and openness as tenets of the Internet’s future, Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) introduced H.R. 4342, the Domain Openness Through Continued Oversight Matters (DOTCOM) Act of 2014. Co-sponsored by 10 members of the committee, the legislation requires that the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office study any potential consequences before NTIA may take action.

“The Internet has become the beacon of the free exchange of ideas, social engagement, and economic growth throughout the world and we must work to ensure those ideals are protected,” said Shimkus. “There is far too much at stake to rush this process or agree to a transition without a full understanding of the consequences. If the Internet’s core freedoms are lost, there is no going back.”

The DOTCOM Act was approved by the full committee on May 8 and is expected to be considered this afternoon as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act.