Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) told Breitbart News on Tuesday that he has initial reservations about the Obama administration’s plans to cede oversight authority of the internet domain names to an international body.
“I haven’t had a chance to really be engaged in that, but I generally would have a predisposition against it,” he said.
Menendez is the third Democrat to speak out against such a plan, agreeing with former president Bill Clinton and Congressman Bill Pascrell (D – NJ) who told Breitbart News on Monday, “I haven’t come to any conclusion. I think it’s an interesting concept, but I don’t know if I’m supporting it. I’m not leaning in favor of it–right now.”
Recode.net reported last week that Clinton bucked the Obama administration and told an audience at a meeting sponsored by the Clinton Global Initiative last Friday, “A lot of people who have been trying to take this authority from the U.S. for the sole purpose of cracking down on Internet freedom and limiting it and having governments protect their backsides instead of empowering the people.”
The former president added, “Whatever you think our country has done wrong, the United States has been by far the country most committed to keeping the Internet free and open and uninterrupted.”
The Commerce Department announced on March 14 that it would relinquish control of the remaining domain names next year. In its place, a new system of global web governance would take over the system.
The Internet Corp. for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) oversees website domain names and is a nonprofit with an international chain of command of “stakeholders,” which includes governments, businesses, and others. ICANN, though, has been under a contract from the U.S. Department of Commerce since its beginnings.