Republicans continue to oppose US' ceding Internet oversight to ICANN

(Credit: Wikimedia Commons / Coolcaesar)ICANN in California

Despite expert opinion to the contrary, Republicans remain adamantly against the Obama administration's plan to relinquish oversight of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN, the body that manages the architecture of the Internet.

Bills to stop or slow down this move have been filed by several House Republicans who are concerned about the plan by the Department of Commerce to cede its oversight in favor of ICANN, which manages the domain name and IP address systems that make it easy to navigate the Internet.

Administration officials say the government does little more than rubber stamp decisions made by ICANN, and hopes to end the relationship when the contract next expires in September 2015. The commerce department has oversight of ICANN through a contract established in 1998 and renewed every three years.

The administration plans to turn the oversight role over to a new coalition of nonprofit organizations, engineers and companies, a set-up similar to how other technical aspects of the Internet are governed.

Assistant Secretary of Commerce Lawrence Strickling said it is "crystal clear that we will not accept a proposal that replaces the (Commerce Department's) role with a government-led or intergovernmental solution."

Some House Republicans worry repressive governments or the United Nations could gain more influence over the Internet, despite assurances from the administration and Internet experts that this won't happen.

Several House Republicans led by Rep. John Shimkus of Illinois and Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee introduced a bill, the DOTCOM Act, to require a full review by the Government Accountability Office before the administration can proceed with the transition.

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