WASHINGTON, DC – The House Communications and Technology Subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR), today approved legislation to protect the future of the Internet. Last year, the administration asked the International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to convene a multistakeholder group to explore ways to transition oversight of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) to the Internet community. Currently, the United States oversees the Domain Name System as part of a contract with IANA.
Authored by Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL), H.R. 805, the Domain Openness Through Continued Oversight Matters (DOTCOM) Act, ensures that Congress continues its oversight role over the administration’s work to transition its Domain Name System authority from the United States to the global Internet community.
“From the day that the administration announced the intent to transition the IANA functions, this subcommittee has been committed to oversight of the transition process and ensuring that there are appropriate safeguards in place to improve the odds of a successful transition and preserve the Internet we are all committed to protecting,” said Walden. “We continue to have a strong interest in avoiding the potentially harmful outcomes of this transition, and this is an important step toward that goal.”
“Though we have supported the multi-stakeholder community from the beginning, our support cannot and should not be blind. We must ask the hard questions to ensure that we are taking the responsible route to a successful transition,” added full committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), “I applaud the work of NTIA, ICANN, and the multi-stakeholder community to come up with guidelines for an acceptable proposal. But that can’t be the end of the work. We have an important role to play before the transition is complete.”
“The stakes for this transition are high, and the DOTCOM Act will help to make it a seamless one for billions of Internet users around the world. This revised legislation reaffirms our commitment to a responsible IANA transition that protects a free and open Internet, while ensuring that NTIA also adheres to these principles. I look forward to seeing this bill advance through our committee and the House, and I urge the Senate to take up this thoughtful, bipartisan solution quickly,” said full committee Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ).
“This has been a longstanding bipartisan movement on this transition,” concluded Shimkus. “This has always been about oversight and our proper role – having oversight of NTIA – this is a big deal.”
The subcommittee approved a bipartisan amendment to the DOTCOM Act, that:
- Requires the administration to submit to Congress a report certifying that the transition plans meet the United States’ objective of global Internet openness;
- Requires NTIA to certify that changes to ICANN’s bylaws that the multistakeholder process has required as conditions of the transition have been implemented;
- Provides safeguards designed to make ICANN more accountable to the Internet community; and
- Gives Congress 30 legislative days to review NTIA’s report before NTIA is permitted to relinquish its role in IANA.
The amendment and legislation were approved by voice vote. To read text of the legislation and amendment, click here. An archived webcast is available at the same link.