by Brett D. Schaefer, James L. Gattuso, Paul Rosenweig, David Inserra
The Heritage Foundation
March 21, 2014
The Department of Commerce announced on March 14 that it will give up its last bit of control of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) in 2015. As is often the case with government decisions announced late on a Friday, this decision is controversial. The U.S. has exercised light oversight of ICANN since it established the organization and emphasized the need for a free and open Internet. Other nations do not share America’s perspective and have sought repeatedly to work through U.N. organizations such as the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) to constrain and censor the Internet. As the United States steps back from its formal role in Internet governance, these countries can be expected to intensify their efforts. If the Administration does not step up, Congress should require that key principles be followed in this transition to ensure the exercise of freedom on the Internet.