House Republicans Request GAO Examination of Administration Proposal Regarding the Future of the Internet

June 5, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC – A group of Republican House members today wrote the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) requesting an examination of the Obama administration’s recent proposal to transition Internet oversight to the global multi-stakeholder community. In March 2014, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), an agency of the Department of Commerce, announced its intention to transition oversight of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) root functions to the global multi-stakeholder community.

In the letter, the leaders express concern that the criteria for transition set forth by NTIA may not ensure that the Internet remains free and open in the absence of United States oversight. The members are seeking an examination of the proposed transition and its possible implications to U.S. national security, the potential for other governments to assume the U.S. role post-transition, and any additional concerns the GAO may have about the transition.

“A thorough and thoughtful examination of the NTIA criteria and the issues raised by the committee is essential to ensure the future of the Internet remains free and open from potential subversion from foreign governments,” said Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI).

The letter was signed by Chairman Upton, Subcommittee on Communications and Technology Chairman Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR), full committee Vice Chairman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), and Reps. John Shimkus (R-IL), Mike Kelly (R-PA), and Todd Rokita (R-IN).

Read the complete letter online HERE.

Background
In May, the Energy and Commerce committee advanced legislation authored by Rep. Shimkus, H.R. 4342, the Domain Openness Through Continued Oversight Matters (DOTCOM) Act of 2014, which would require a GAO study of the NTIA proposal before any changes are made regarding Internet oversight. Additionally, the House adopted an amendment to the must-pass National Defense Authorization Act that mirrored language from the DOTCOM Act and similarly requires the administration to wait until the GAO conducts its study before making any changes.

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