GOP Leaders to Administration: Reconsider Domain Name Handoff

House Republicans aren't ready for the U.S. to hand over the oversight of internet domain names to a multistakeholder model.

The U.S. contract to oversee the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is due to expire at the end of this month per the Obama Administration's desire to turn over authority to an international group of stakeholders.

Republicans have said that could lead to bad actors getting control of the internet, although some Democrats have also expressed concerns about the handoff.

In a letter to U.S. attorney general Loretta Lynch and commerce secretary Penny Pritzker, House and Senate Republican leaders said too many questions remained unanswered about the hand-over, including accountability inside ICANN, antitrust questions, and the legality of the U.S. relinquishing its current role.

"We call on you to address the questions and concerns detailed above and to reconsider the Administration’s current plans to transition the IANA functions on October 1, 2016.”

Signing on to the letter were Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chair of the Commerce Committee; Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), chair of the Judiciary Committee; Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), chair of the Energy & Commerce Committee, and Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.