Committee Leaders Pledge Robust Oversight on Administration Announcement on Future of the Internet; Hearing Scheduled for First Week of April

March 18, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC – House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) today pledged to conduct aggressive oversight following the recent announcement by the Obama administration on the future of Internet governance. The administration is looking to engage the multi-stakeholder Internet community to investigate future models for administration of the Domain Name System (DNS). The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announcement asks the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to commence a process to determine what steps can be taken to move DNS functions into the multi-stakeholder model without jeopardizing the security and freedom that have fostered the Internet’s success.

“The Internet changed the world, and we must ensure the world does not change the Internet,” said Upton and Walden. “The Internet has thrived across the globe under the existing multi-stakeholder effort, and should serve as a guide for the future. We welcome a thoughtful discussion amongst Internet stakeholders on the Department of Commerce’s role in the DNS. But changes to the current model should be approached with a cautious and careful eye. The Energy and Commerce Committee has been at the forefront of the effort to preserve Internet openness and freedom. We will continue to conduct robust oversight to ensure that before any changes are considered we safeguard that no government or intergovernmental body takes over critical DNS functions. We have many questions, and look forward to a thorough examination the first week of April.”

Additional hearing details, the Majority Memorandum, a witness list, and witness testimony will be available here as they are posted.

Background

In May 2013, the House unanimously approved H.R. 1580, legislation to affirm the policy of the United States regarding Internet governance and to preserve Internet freedom. The bipartisan legislation, which was unanimously approved by the Energy and Commerce Committee, will promote a global Internet managed under the current multi-stakeholder governance model. Last Congress, a similar measure unanimously passed the House and Senate. In light of continued international efforts to regulate the Internet, the House voted in May to make it official U.S policy rather than merely a sense of the Congress.

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