The conservative firebrand, whose delegate count in the Republican presidential primaries was second only to Donald J. Trump, released a powerful video Monday laying out the case for blocking President Barack Obama’s plan to withdraw the United States from its privileged status with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) – the supreme arbitrator in Internet naming and policy disputes – upon the stroke of midnight Sept. 30.
“Foreign governments are already planning to takeover ICANN and move it overseas, so that it not only escapes U.S. law, but in effect turns it into a mini-United Nations,” said Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who filed legislation to immediately block the plan: the Protect Internet Freedom Act with a companion bill in the House, sponsored by Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI).
“Congress has been unwilling to affirmatively act to prevent this giveaway,” the senator said.
The heart of the problem is that since the Internet was created in the United States with official and unofficial support from the federal government, the feds have had what amounts to a “founder’s share” of influence over ICANN, a California-based non-profit. The relationship with the federal government is facilitated through an agreement with the Commerce Department.
The Obama Administration’s plan is to let the relationship between Commerce and ICANN expire at the end of the fiscal year, which leaves other members of ICANN’s governing boards to operate the Internet absent the United States.
Cruz said countries such as China, Russia, and Iran – which have no traditions or protections for free markets or free speech – are poised to take advantage of the Internet to the detriment of their own people and to Americans.
“America built the internet and we shouldn’t be giving it away to our enemies,” Cruz concluded.
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