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Today, the House Communications and Technology Subcommittee approved new text for the DOTCOM bill initially designed to delay and even prevent the National Telecommunications and Information Administration from relinquishing the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority functions. The original text faced strong opposition, and today’s approved text represents a bipartisan compromise.
The new text forces the administration to meet new requirements before the National Telecommunications and Information Administration ends its ICANN oversight, a necessary step to complete the IANA transition process. Public Knowledge previously alerted Congress that any strong interference - including that implied in the original DOTCOM text - could derail the transition process. Today’s approved text is more aligned with the original path set for the transition process and sets a 30-legislative-day period for Congress to review the proposal.
The text approved today sets the following requirements:
- The NTIA must submit to Congress a report certifying that the transition plans meet the United States’ objective of global Internet openness;
- The NTIA must certify that ICANN has implemented any necessary changes to its bylaws;
- Ensure that safeguards designed to make ICANN more accountable to the Internet community are in place; and
- Give Congress 30 legislative days to review NTIA’s report before the NTIA is permitted to relinquish its role in IANA.
The following can be attributed to Carolina Rossini, Vice President for International Policy at Public Knowledge:
“Since it was first announced, we have welcomed the U.S. Department of Commerce’s proposed transfer of oversight and nominal stewardship over critical resources - the modest functions of top-level numbering and name assignments to the global multistakeholder community - if the appropriate conditions are met, as a fulfillment of many years of U.S. promises to the international internet community.
“We do not believe that any new law would be necessary to ensure that Congress maintains an appropriate watchful eye on the IANA transition. That is a process clearly open to all stakeholders. As with any other vigilant stakeholder, it is appropriate for Congress to ensure that the criteria for the transition are fully met.”