Sen. Schatz Slams Effort to Delay IANA Transition

Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) says blocking the U.S. handoff of oversight of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), which deals with domain names, to a multistakeholder model is "shocking" and an attempt to "restrict the freedom of the Internet."

Fellow senator Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) has major issues with the transition, has backed a bill to block it absent congressional approval and is holding a hearing on the issue Wednesday (Sept. 14) in the Senate Judiciary Committee's Oversight Subcommittee--Cruz is chairman of the subcommittee.

In advance of the hearing, Schatz released a statement saying that Cruz's effort to "delay or stop" the transition—the U.S. contract is set to expire at the end of this month—"flies in the face of the U.S. business and tech communities, our international partners, and those who created the internet, who all are united in supporting concluding this transition in order to preserve the internet as we know it—an open and global platform for free speech, innovation, and commerce."

Tech companies and ISPs generally support the transition so long as that does not mean ceding control to countries like China or Russia, which the Obama Administration says isn't going to happen.

While Cruz has suggested Congress has to sign off on the transition, the Government Accountability Office said this week that was not the case.

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.