Three Republican Congressmen have introduced a bill that would prevent the US government removing itself from oversight of the DNS root zone.
For a year.
The inappropriately titled Domain Openness Through Continued Oversight Matters (DOTCOM) Act is designed to:
prohibit the National Telecommunications and Information Administration from relinquishing responsibility over the Internet domain name system until the Comptroller General of United States submits to Congress a report on the role of the NTIA with respect to such system.
Basically, the NTIA would be barred from walking away from root zone oversight until an analysis of the advantages and disadvantages of the transition was published, which would have to happen within a year.
The report would also have to include a definition of “multi-stakeholder”.
The three Republicans who introduced the bill — Representatives Todd Rokita, John Shimkus, and Marsha Blackburn — either have no idea what they’re talking about, or they’re being intellectually dishonest.
Blackburn said in a press release:
We can’t let the Internet turn into another Russian land grab. America shouldn’t surrender its leadership on the world stage to a “multistakeholder model” that’s controlled by foreign governments. It’s imperative that this administration reports to Congress before they can take any steps that would turn over control of the Internet.
In the month of March alone we’ve seen Russia block opposition websites, Turkey ban Twitter, China place new restrictions on online video, and a top Malaysian politician pledge to censor the Internet if he’s given the chance. This isn’t a theoretical debate. There are real authoritarian governments in the world today who have no tolerance for the free flow of information and ideas. What possible benefit could come from giving the Vladimir Putins of the world a new venue to push their anti-freedom agendas?
This is hysterical nonsense.
Not only has ICANN no intention of allowing the IANA function to be controlled by foreign governments, the NTIA has explicitly stated from the start that no governmental solution would be acceptable.
The current expectation, assuming community talks proceed as swiftly as hoped, is for stewardship of the IANA function to leave the NTIA’s hands when the current contract expires in October 2015.
Even if the DOTCOM (really?) Act were to be passed into US law this year, it shouldn’t have any serious impact on the timing of the root transition.
With that in mind, the three-page bill (pdf) looks quite a lot like an extended press release, rather than a serious attempt to keep the root in US hands.