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Republicans advance “embarrassing” DOTCOM Act

Kevin Murphy, April 10, 2014, 19:15:14 (UTC), Domain Policy

Republican US Congressmen today voted to advance the DOTCOM Act, which would add a delay of up to a year to the IANA transition.

The Communications and Technology Subcommittee voted 16 to 10, split directly along party lines, to advance the bill to the next stage of the US legislative process.

The bill (pdf) has been changed since last time I reported on it. For ICANN, the change is for the worse.

It would now block the National Telecommunications and Information Administration from approving ICANN’s proposal for an NTIA-free future for up to one year while the Government Accountability Office prepares an analysis.

In the first draft, that delay would begin at the moment the bill hit the statute books. Now, the clock starts when the proposal is made.

Democrats on the subcommittee, who had four amendments shot down by the Republican majority during a markup session today, said the bill makes a mockery of the multistakeholder process they all profess to endorse.

Ranking member Anna Eshoo noted that Democrats supported a GAO report, but did not want the NTIA’s hands tied.

She reminded her opponents that they had all voted for a bill in 2012 — shortly before the International Telecommunications Union met for its WCIT conference — affirming the United States government’s commitment to multistakeholder management of the internet.

“Today you are unraveling exactly what you voted for,” she said, accusing Republicans of seeing “black helicopters” and a “conspiracy” by President Obama to give the internet to authoritarian regimes.

“It’s a source of embarrassment for a committee that has for the most part operated in a very respectful bipartisan way,” he said.

Republicans in response said that it is not unreasonable to request a GAO report, to help them understand the possible consequences of the IANA transition.

Rep John Shimkus, the primary sponsor of the DOTCOM Act, said that the forced delay was needed to give the bill “teeth”. Without it, he said, the GAO report could come after the IANA transition has already taken place.

In a concurrent hearing elsewhere on Capitol Hill, ICANN CEO Fadi Chehade was busy explaining to a different committee why he could not support the bill.

The DOTCOM Act would give the impression that the US government does not take the multistakeholder model seriously and does not trust ICANN, he said.

While Republicans may feel like the bill will keep the DNS root out of the hands of Russia and China, what they’re actually doing is giving those nations fuel for their power grabs in government-led international fora such as the ITU, in other words.

The DOTCOM Act is not yet law. It still has to go through the full House (Republican-controlled) and Senate (Democrat-controlled) and be signed by President Obama (China-controlled) before it hits the statute books.

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Comments (20)

  1. Aaron Strong says:

    “While Republicans may feel like the bill will keep the DNS root out of the hands of Russia and China, what they’re actually doing is giving those nations fuel for their power grabs in government-led international fora such as the ITU, in other words.”……………..Democrats Advance “Embarrassing” Arguments……

    • Kevin Murphy says:

      Did you watch that video I recommended, Aaron?

      • Aaron Strong says:

        I did not watch a video. What video?…………..You are making this a partisan issue when it is clearly bipartisan. Polls show that the majority of Americans agree with the Republicans that authored the bill. Bill Clinton, the Democrat “Guru”, has spoke and sides with the Republicans. The only ones making this “political” are some politicians and bias media….America stands united on this issue………………….”TEAR DOWN THIS WALL!”

  2. KD says:

    It is interesting this is called the DOTCOM act, but is about all gTLDs.

    Great quote… “It still has to go through the full House (Republican-controlled) and Senate (Democrat-controlled) and be signed by President Obama (China-controlled) before it hits the statute books.”

  3. “…and be signed by President Obama (China-controlled) before it hits the statute books”.
    - domainincite.com

    Can you a elaborate a little on the above? Is the President controlled by China?

  4. Mr. Murphy,

    The UK can never join the Euro without a vote in parliament in “good conscience.”

    I believe the internet is even more important than that, so why should Congress not thrash it out thoroughly? What is one year? It’s taken UK over 2 decades to decide on joining the euro, a multi-stake holder of some sort.

    Do you understand where I’m coming from in that analogy? It’s not exact, but similar.

    • Kevin Murphy says:

      I understand where you’re coming from.

      Consider this:

      In November the ITU will meet (http://www.itu.int/en/plenipotentiary/2014/Pages/default.aspx) to decide on its policies. It’s the biggest deal in the ITU calendar, happens once every four years.

      Last time the ITU had a big meeting, in 2012, it came a gnat’s dick away from asserting its authority over the internet’s naming and addressing systems, because of Russia and China et al.

      It’s reasonable to assume that these Bad Guys will try something similar this year.

      The difference this year is that everyone hates America because it’s been caught red-handed acting like an authoritarian regime itself. The Snowden revelations.

      That means the US is on a diplomatic back foot when these talks begin.

      Good Guys (eg Brazil) were already talking about radical reactions to the Snowden revelations before this latest move by the US and ICANN to push the multistakeholder model. Good Guys and Bad Guys were aligning against the US.

      The fact that the US has its special relationship with ICANN has always been used by the Bad Guys to say “Oh look, America runs the internet” and use that as an argument to persuade Good Guys to join their cause.

      By removing itself from IANA stewardship, the US will be able to say “Aha, but we don’t run the internet any more, see?”

      That’s a winning argument.

      However, if DOTCOM passes, the Bad Guys will be able to say “Um, but didn’t your Congress just pass a law basically asserting its own authority over the DNS?”

      So the US loses the debate and the chance of the Bad Guys doing something that harms the interoperable internet and/or “internet freedom” increases.

      That’s why people think DOTCOM is dangerous. It could well do the exact opposite of what its proponents say they want it to do.

      • Murphy: “Last time the ITU had a big meeting, in 2012, it came a gnat’s dick away from asserting its authority over the internet’s naming and addressing systems, because of Russia and China et al”.

        Domenclature.com: The serious issue regarding the internet it’s not it’s nomenclature; ITU can adopt whatever naming structure it desires, we are more concerned with the governance, freedom, integrity, the core of the net. The apogee of the internet’s administration could be multi-staked, that’s proper that all these countries should have a voice in that, but not the nucleus of it’s security. Right now, under US oversight, one’s wit could lead them to the zenith of their imagination. That’s freedom.

        Murphy: “It’s reasonable to assume that these Bad Guys will try something similar this year.
        The difference this year is that everyone hates America because it’s been caught red-handed acting like an authoritarian regime itself. The Snowden revelations.
        That means the US is on a diplomatic back foot when these talks begin”.

        Domenclature.com: Let us be clear, the US Administration, this one, an in fact, all previous ones combined do NOT amount to the American people, and their constitution; you are obligated to look beyond the deeds of an administration, but focus on the people, the country, and their traditions, beliefs, customs, and their CONSTITUTION, that’s what matters; an judged by that metric, America is unassailable. Having said that, the revelation by Snowden is a problem, however, we’re not going to throw the baby with the bath water. This still the United States of America, God’s own country. The necessary fixes should be made to make the internet better, and more secure. No matter what anybody in the US does, including the President, it cannot diminish the core of the country itself. Try to understand that, Mr Murphy.

        Murphy: “Good Guys (eg Brazil) were already talking about radical reactions to the Snowden revelations before this latest move by the US and ICANN to push the multistakeholder model. Good Guys and Bad Guys were aligning against the US.
        The fact that the US has its special relationship with ICANN has always been used by the Bad Guys to say “Oh look, America runs the internet” and use that as an argument to persuade Good Guys to join their cause”.

        Domenclature.com The Snowden incident has nothing really to do with our concerns re the internet. It is history that the United states invented the internet, it’s reality, hence the reason why their permission is sought to move it. Think about it, why do you need the permission of the US to move the “Stewardship”? So, those “Good guys” can only talk, they can’t do anything. You see, in the International Arena, international relations in particular, there are no good guys or bad guys; that is not the metric to judge it. States are rational actors, who measure things by “interests”. They calculate things in terms of “relative gain”, that is the currency.

        Murphy: “By removing itself from IANA stewardship, the US will be able to say “Aha, but we don’t run the internet any more, see?”
        That’s a winning argument.
        However, if DOTCOM passes, the Bad Guys will be able to say “Um, but didn’t your Congress just pass a law basically asserting its own authority over the DNS?”
        So the US loses the debate and the chance of the Bad Guys doing something that harms the interoperable internet and/or “internet freedom” increases.

        Domenclature.com The US is not in the business of winning arguments. Frankly, anybody or country that doesn’t like the internet the way it is set up and governed should simply go open their own internet. I hate to be blunt, but that is the reality. As the internet is set up now, it avoids the trappings of a cabal because it involves responsible US oversight in the hands IANA/ICANN/ITU etc, but we definitely should not jump to the confusion of ‘too many’, by having all these governments, good and bad.

        Murphy: “That’s why people think DOTCOM is dangerous. It could well do the exact opposite of what its proponents say they want it to do”.

        Domenclature.com If Truth is derived at by quota, I would have given you this one so that you can be right in at least one, but unfortunately I still have to disagree, especially because of the foregoing.

        Thanks.

  5. gpmgroup says:

    The American constitution is an incredible creation which has served ordinary people probably as well, if not better than any other document in the world.

    Now I know all these academics and ICANN purists like the notion of a free and unfettered ICANN which they think they can influence, but how would an ICANN which is ultimately subject to the American constitution as a minimum for all its future decisions be surpassed simply by not having those checks and balances?

  6. Scott Pinzon says:

    Domenclature is exactly, perfectly wrong in saying that anyone who doesn’t like the current Internet should go start their own. The worst thing that could happen to all Internet users at large is for the Internet to splinter into a bunch of nation-defined Internets. Then instead of unfettered global innovation, each start-up, each person, would have to approach the Internet asking, “Hmm, should I use the US Internet, the Chinese Internet, the Russian Internet, the EU Internet, or the GoogleFiberInternet?” Imagine today’s typical search engine activity requiring three or more different sign-ons simply to find something.
    Also, FYI, the US Constitution has virtually nothing to do with this issue for two reasons: 1) What we are really talking about is merely a technical /procedural issue related to the NTIA, not American freedom; 2) The NSA has proven that they consider themselves completely above the Constitution and all its checks and balances, including the NSA granting itself the “right” to lie to Congressional oversight… So the Constitution provides not even a modicum of protection for global netizens.

    • Aaron Strong says:

      This subject has everything to do with the US Constitution!!……..I am feeling ill today and wont pick apart your comments. I will leave that to Domenclature, as he seems to be correct as well as the comment from gpmgroup…..

    • @Scott Pinzon @Aaron Strong

      Scott, I’ll take your last paragraph firs; the comment about the US Constitution was a continuation from a prior discussion with Mr. Murphy, whereby I was pointing out to him something I believe he is aware of, or should be, and that is that the discussion in congress at this juncture, regarding this issue, was at a procedural stage, not on at the substantive one, where Congress is determining who should have the power to decide the “stewardship”, including the proposed IANA transition; not the merits/demerits of the transition itself. Certainly the Congress, according to the US Constitution, article 1, section 1, gives the Congress that role. That is not subject to debate that is simply pointing out a fact. If it has to do with Congress, then it has to do with the Constitution, You may argue that the Constitution does NOT give them that role, or that it gives them the role, as well as others, such as the Executive, or/and the Judicial Branches, you would be wrong in both counts, but at least you won’t be wrong on the issue of the Constitution as well, as you are now. Look them up. American freedom is universal. Our forefathers believe that Freedom is from God, and applies to all mankind, and all nations. Even rights not delegated to the government inure to the individual! So, it’s not simply our NTIA, it’s comprehensive. If you think the NSA has lied to the Congressional oversight committees, bring it, the Constitution proscribes ways to punish those, and giving the internet to a chaotic, sovereign states, some of who “hates” the hegemonic stature of the United States, is not one of them. Mr. Murphy talks about the “Bad guys” teaming up with the “Good guys” to gossip about the United States’ control of the internet; well, that is a known phenomenon in international relations.

      ‘Bandwagoning, therefore, is a strategy employed by weak states. “The logic stipulates that an outgunned, weaker state should align itself with a stronger adversary because the latter can take what it wants by force anyway. Thucydides’ famous dictum, “the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must,” captures the essence of bandwagoning”‘. -Wikipedia

      The strong states in this case will be Russia, China and others.

      On the issue regarding my blunt comment that dis-satisfied parties should open their own internet, is meant to free the US from the blackmail of a perpetual threat of opening such splintered internet; you wanna open yours, you are free. Go ahead do it.

      There’s a reason why everyone wants to come to the US, and I’m sure it will translate into the US internet as well, should it come to that, most people will want to be on the US one, because it’s fair, transparent, capitalism, democratic, brave, innovative, WRITTEN CONSTITUTION… the people are sovereign, not kings, queens, upper class, religion, race, tribe, bloodline, just the people. No other country can say that.

    • Kevin Murphy says:

      Scott,

      When I suggested on Twitter a day or two ago that Domenclature might be a troll she was quite quick to come up with a counterargument to the effect that only people who have lost arguments accuse their opponents of being trolls.

      It seemed to me like a fair point.

      The only alternative to being a troll, however, is being a proper moron.

      So please bear that in mind if you respond to her.

      Kev

      • Mr. Murphy,

        I should first point out that I have adequate respect for the work you do on this blog, it seems very above the run of the mill ones out there, and it deals with serious issues, authoritative interviews, and an aura of maturity over all. Therefore, I take my time to address your comments, as well as the other respondents.

        So I deny that I am a troll.

        It could be that you’ve mistaken the subject matter with my comments. If you’re discussing a skunk, the comments will reference it’s odor, as well as stripe; just because, well, it’s a skunk. When the subject is roses, then, aroma.

        I am not trolling.

  7. Rubens Kuhl says:

    Besides Republicans, the americans posting about this topic are also embarrassing their fellow countrymen…

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