There is overwhelming opposition to President Barack Obama’s plan to hand over control of the Internet to an international advisory body, 41 percent against with 14 percent supporting, according to the Breitbart/Gravis poll of 1,493 likely voters released Friday.
“In addition to the high oppostion, the 44 percent who are unsure really means that many, many Americans are not following the story,” said Doug Kaplan, the managing partner of Gravis Marketing, the Florida-based firm that executed the poll. The poll carries a margin of error of 2.5 percent.
Kaplan said as a follow up, respondents, who were opposed to the handover were asked: “Is this an example of America’s weakening leadership in the world?”
Seventy-five percent of the likely voters who said they opposed the U.S. handing over control of the Internet said it was an example of “America’s weakening leadership in the world,” he said.
Under the Obama administration’s plan, the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration, which overseas the World Wide Web, intends to transfer stewardship of domain name system functions, formally known as Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.
An international consortium of non-government organizations and foreign governments, ICANN had been running the Internet for the Commerce Department, since 1998.
Inside the numbers of the poll, 61.4 percent of likely voters who said the economy was giving them serious anxiety also said turning over control of the Internet was a bad idea. The 32.1 percent of respondents who said the economy is great said the handover was a good idea.
Men were opposed to the Internet handover at 43.9 percent with 16.9 percent saying it was a good idea and 39.2 percent of men unsure.
Women also opposed the Internet handover at 39.4 percent with 11.8 percent saying it was a good idea and 48.8 percent of women unsure.
“It is a big deal, because it ends First Amendment protections over the web,” he said
“Right now, the only real protection that exists on the web is not from Facebook, Google, Yahoo or even Breitbart, but it is from the U.S. government contract with ICANN which means that ICANN cannot limit speech by arranging contracts with GoDaddy and others,” he said.
As long as ICANN is working under the cover of the federal government and the protections guarateed in the Constitution, the Internet remains free, he said.
Once the contract expires, there is nothing to stop ICANN from hiring Lois Lerner to take down all the sites that belong to the Tea Party or advocates for gun rights.
Manning said, instead of vowing to maintain the protections in the Constitution for Internet sites and users, ICANN has promised to abide by human rights established by the United Nations, which means the opposite of gun rights and legal protections for the unborn.
“China has already tried to pressure one domain name registrar to not allow about 20,000 words and combinations as websites under the .xyz domain under the threat that they would lose access to the Chinese market, so this is not hyperbole,” he said.
“The Internet is the modern day Guttenberg press, which is changing the world’s access to information and delinking the key functions of the Internet from basic First Amendment protections. [This] puts the whole idea of what the Internet is on life support,” he said.
When Congress returns from its summer recess, it will be interesting to see how the handover of the Internet plays out.
Of particular concern is the fact that as the Obama administration continues to work to hand the Internet over to ICANN, despite a specific rider in the federal budget for 2016 forbidding it:
“Sec. 539. (a) None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to relinquish the responsibility of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, during fiscal year 2016, with respect to Internet domain name system functions, including responsibility with respect to the authoritative root zone file and the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority functions.”