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Obama To Hand Off Control Of The Internet On October 1st

Obama plans to hand off control of the Internet to “foreign authorities” on October 1st.

Lawrence E. Strickling, an NTIA (National Telecommunications & Information) administrator wrote that without any “significant impediment”, the transition will occur October 1.

Let’s look at this rationally and clear-headed. This transition relates to DNS servers which are essentially the Internet’s directory of IP addresses to call upon. The handling of the directory of IP addresses is no longer going to happen under American authority and instead be handled by “foreign authorities”? Who exactly are these “foreign authorities” – and why does no one know? Boy, this sounds like a good idea!

For an administration touted on transparency and change, things are looking a little bit veiled right now.

Will the US Constitution matter on the lands wherever these “foreign authorities” taking control of our Internet govern? The directory of the web’s IP addresses will be in another country – will they have to follow the first and most important amendment to our US Constitution; our right to free speech?

These are important questions that must be addressed and answered immediately. We understand that ICANN is an independent organization and strictly regulated but the lack of transparency and discussion arouses suspicion. We know little to nothing of the technicalities behind what’s happening  and the blanket term of “foreign authorities” does not ease fears. Obama has casually usurped the Internet for years now. SOPA, PIPA, ACTA, CISPA; his track record on Internet regulation is not pristine.

Worryingly, this transition was only brought to light a 1 1/2 months before implementation. There are many red flags and if we do not address them – do not even pause – to consider them, we’d be foolish.

What I’m proposing isn’t extreme – just an alarm that we need more details and specifics about the transition. As it stands, the update on the transition from the NTIA is brief and vague.

Strickling ends the update as follows:

“We appreciate the hard work and dedication of all the stakeholders involved in this effort and look forward to their continuing engagement.”

Stakeholders? Does that mean the bottom line is money? I think everyone has learned that when the bottom line is money, the only people getting negatively effected are me and you – the everyday, average American.

We have a month and a half before this takes effect. We must demand transparency and stop this from happening at all if it hinders free speech and expression online.

Spread the word, demand transparency.

UPDATE: REGATED has received a guest e-mail, correcting several things in this article. The best measure, I think, is to share the full e-mail and let the record be set straight:

“Hello, I ran across the following story on Regated by Jon Hall:  I’m wondering if you would be willing to update it? Being somewhat familiar with the background of the IANA transition, there seems to be some confusion/inaccuracies. The article seems to be mainly based off this press release by NTIA

Information on the transition can be found at the NTIA review here:

https://www.ntia.doc.gov/files/ntia/publications/combined_iana_stewardship_transition_assessment_report.pdf And the initial proposal here: https://www.icann.org/en/system/files/files/iana-stewardship-transition-proposal-10mar16-en.pdf Starting with the title: “Obama plans to hand off control of the Internet to “foreign authorities” on October 1st.” I note nowhere in the release does the phrase “foreign authorities” appear. The Regated article seems to use the quoted phrase 5 times (including the title), but that phrase does not appear on the press release, the proposal, or the proposal review — therefore who is being quoted? “Privatized” could have been used, considering the IANA transition is about removing the DOC’s (limited) oversight role over IANA and replacing it with international government/technical stakeholder/interested corporation oversight. Quoting the Regated article: “The handling of the directory of IP addresses is no longer going to happen under American authority and instead be handled by “foreign authorities”? Who exactly are these “foreign authorities” – and why does no one know?” The US government’s authority as it regards to DNS is currently extremely minimal: “NTIA’s role as the historic steward of the DNS via the administration of the IANA functions contract is limited and clerical in nature. NTIA has no role in the management of Internet numbering resources or Internet protocol parameters functions. For the root zone management function, NTIA verifies that ICANN followed established policies and procedures in processing change requests, and then authorizes implementation of those changes by the root zone maintainer, Verisign. NTIA’s role does not involve the exercise of discretion or judgment with respect to such change requests.” (Source: Proposal assessment report) According to that, the NTIA is only certifying that the processes are being followed. They do not control anything.

The ‘transition’ is about removing that oversight role, and replacing it with community oversight. As to “Who exactly are these “foreign authorities” – and why does no one know?”, the oversight stakeholders are known. For ‘names’ (I.E., regated.com): “”The CWG does propose to discontinue NTIA’s current root zone change validation and authorization role, based on its determination that this role does not significantly contribute to the security or operations of root zone management or the DNS overall. However, with respect to NTIA’s role in approving changes to the architecture and operation of root zone management, the CWG proposes this role continue on the grounds that such changes are critical to maintaining the security, stability, and resiliency of the DNS. It proposes that the ICANN Board formally approve such changes, but that approval is to be based on recommendations of a to-be-formed standing committee responsible for ensuring the appropriate individuals and organizations with requisite skill and expertise are involved.”” This is the ICANN board: https://www.icann.org/resources/pages/board-of-directors For ‘numbers’ (8.8.8.8): “[The numbers proposal team] further proposs the creation of a Review Committee that will advise and assist the Number Resource Organization’s Executive Committee (NRO EC) in periodically reviewing the IFO’s performance and adherence to agreed service levels. The Review Committee will be comprised of community representatives from each region.” This is the NRO EC: https://www.nro.net/about-the-nro/number-resource-organization-executive-council The remainder of the article claims that this announcement came as a shock. “Worryingly, this transition was only brought to light a 1 1/2 months before implementation. There are many red flags and if we do not address them – do not even pause – to consider them, we’d be foolish.” This transition process was first announced in March of 2014: https://www.ntia.doc.gov/press-release/2014/ntia-announces-intent-transition-key-internet-domain-name-functions The proposal was announced on July 2015, with requests for public comments: https://www.ianacg.org/calls-for-input/combined-proposal-public-comment-period/ In June 2016 NTIA accepted the proposal:

https://www.ntia.doc.gov/press-release/2016/iana-stewardship-transition-proposal-meets-criteria-complete-privatization

A week ago ICANN announced it was on-track for creating the called-for oversight bodies: https://www.icann.org/news/announcement-3-2016-08-12-en Therefore, the statement “this transition was only brought to light a 1 1/2 months before implementation” is not true. It’s been a multi-year process. Anyway, please let me know when an update will be made to the article. Thanks!”

With my call for transparency, it seems there was tons of it – I just didn’t dig deeper than the first press release I found. I thank the e-mailer who brought all of my errors to my attention and for setting things straight.

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Jon Hall

Jon Hall is a reformed two-time Obama voter with a keen interest in world events. He covers US politics, corruption, tech interests and more.
  • Funky Alfonzo

    Where’s reddit on this one? Oh, they’re a bunch of teenagers who take their freedom for granted, they’d rather live in Sweden, right? And Google / Facebook / silicon valley, where are they like they were on SOPA? Oh, right, they benefit from open borders and free trade.

    • em2900

      Considering this is a minor internet governance change, the relevent reddit community is the rather low-flow /r/internetgovernance/

      The US government currently has no say in the content or running of DNS, except for confirming that ICANN’s rules are followed for changes: “NTIA’s role as the historic steward of the DNS via the administration of
      the IANA functions contract is limited and clerical in nature. NTIA
      has no role in the management of Internet numbering resources or
      Internet protocol parameters functions. For the root zone management
      function, NTIA verifies that ICANN followed established policies and
      procedures in processing change requests…”

      This transition is just about replacing the NTIA’s limited oversight role with interested stakeholders.

    • Dian_Cecht

      You do realize reddit is managed by a bunch of millennial progressive dooshes who attempt at every turn to omit and suppress any postings that are pro-Trump and anti Odungo, don’t you?

      • Michael Helweg

        Dian – You do realize that reddit is actually managed by a collection of users from across the globe and the simple fact is: the reason you don’t see a plethora of Pro-Trump postings is because most (not ALL) redditors actually think on a daily basis and do realize that Donald Trump is a racist, bigoted, close minded individual who could actually bring about world-wide economic, ecologic and financial ruin if he were to be projected into the office of the most powerful man on the planet — But I digress. This transferring of the managing of the DNS tables which the internet relies on to direct world wide internet users is not now of will not be in October, changed in some tremendous way that would allow for any one organization and or company to control or restrict one’s journey to the website of their choosing. What it will do when this change is in place is allow users to go about their tasks on the internet without the ability of the U.S. clandestine agencies to track and capture individuals’ so easily

        • Desmaris

          Here we go! You had to get it in there – but since you did, it’s only fair game that you tell us who and what Hillary is as well – and don’t forget to include the pending perjury charges against her for lying under oath at the Benghazi hearings, the hearing about her email scandal … and, oh yeah – that nasty little matter about her operatives getting caught cheating Sanders out of the Democratic nomination so she’d prevail. Then the investigation into the Clinton Foundation that’s commencing. You know, seems to me the stuff she’s neck deep in is a bit more serious than someone being called a bigot, wouldn’t you say?

  • Samerica

    WHERE IS ALL THE MEDIA ON THIS? Is this not proof BO is a inexperienced
    left wing progressive anti American nutjob? and the rest of the demoncrap party?
    Hellary has already done enough damage to security of the US and still she’s not
    in jail as BO and Holder and others should be for corruption and anti American
    policies! There is no excuse for this kind of reckless behavior. TRUMP! TRUMP!
    oh where’s Doc today? his mommy and daddy took away his crayons? cry baby.

    • em2900

      Hello,

      Internet governance is rather arcane, so I can see how people can be confused and overwhelmed trying to follow it. This transition has been known and was announced starting in march of 2014: https://www.ntia.doc.gov/press-release/2014/ntia-announces-intent-transition-key-internet-domain-name-functions

      The actual transition is rather mundane — just replacing the NTIA’s limited approval of certain arcane DNS changes with community/interested-stakeholder oversight. Please see my root comment for more information.

      • Desmaris

        I venture to say that your claim that Internet governance being arcane has little to do with the confusion you say people experience in trying to “follow it” …. the confusion is there because
        your explanation is confusing; and hardly the type of information that the average layman could decipher, no? Let’s face it: the whole fiasco isn’t meant to be understood by the average American, right?

  • em2900

    Information on the transition can be found at the NTIA review here: https://www.ntia.doc.gov/files/ntia/publications/combined_iana_stewardship_transition_assessment_report.pdf

    And the initial proposal here: https://www.icann.org/en/system/files/files/iana-stewardship-transition-proposal-10mar16-en.pdf

    The US government’s authority as it regards to DNS is currently extremely minimal: “NTIA’s role as the historic steward of the DNS via the administration of the IANA functions contract is limited and clerical in nature. NTIA has no role in the management of Internet numbering resources or Internet protocol parameters functions. For the root zone management function, NTIA verifies that ICANN followed established policies and procedures in processing change requests, and then authorizes implementation of those changes by the root zone maintainer, Verisign. NTIA’s role does not involve the exercise of discretion or judgment with respect to such change requests.” (Source: Proposal assessment report)

    As to “Who exactly are these “foreign authorities” – and why does no one know?”, the oversight stakeholders are known.

    For ‘names’ (I.E., regated.com): “”The CWG does propose to discontinue NTIA’s current root zone change validation and authorization role, based on its determination that this role does not significantly contribute to the security or operations of root zone management or the DNS overall. However, with respect to NTIA’s role in approving changes to the architecture and operation of root zone management, the CWG proposes this role continue on the grounds that such changes are critical to maintaining the security, stability, and resiliency of the DNS. It proposes that the ICANN Board formally approve such changes, but that approval is to be based on recommendations of a to-be-formed standing committee responsible for ensuring the appropriate individuals and organizations with requisite skill and expertise are involved.””
    This is the ICANN board: https://www.icann.org/resources/pages/board-of-directors

    For ‘numbers’ (8.8.8.8): “[The numbers proposal team] further proposs the creation of a Review Committee that will advise and assist the Number Resource Organization’s Executive Committee (NRO EC) in periodically reviewing the IFO’s performance and adherence to agreed service levels. The Review Committee will be comprised of community representatives from each region.”

    This is the NRO EC: https://www.nro.net/about-the-nro/number-resource-organization-executive-council

    This transition process was first announced in March of 2014: https://www.ntia.doc.gov/press-release/2014/ntia-announces-intent-transition-key-internet-domain-name-functions

    The proposal was announced on July 2015, with requests for public comments: https://www.ianacg.org/calls-for-input/combined-proposal-public-comment-period/

    In June 2016 NTIA accepted the proposal: https://www.ntia.doc.gov/press-release/2016/iana-stewardship-transition-proposal-meets-criteria-complete-privatization

    A week ago ICANN announced it was on-track for creating the called-for oversight bodies: https://www.icann.org/news/announcement-3-2016-08-12-en

    The transition has been publicly known and discussed for years.

    • Desmaris

      Like; your entry did little to make any of it understandable. You stated: “The US government’s authority as it regards to DNS is currently extremely minimal:” – but the government apparently has adequate authority to put the Internet in other hands, so I would hardly call that “minimal,” no?

    • Desmaris

      Since you seem to be knowledgeable about this issue, can you just answer the question that Fair Dinkum asked above with a yes or no answer? Will this institute censorship?

  • Fair Dinkum

    I just want to know if this is likely to result in internet censorship, especially of politics.

  • Desmaris

    This article is a fine example of “Doublespeak.” What the heck is the bottom line here? How is it that Obama has the authority to place the Internet into the hands of a foreign country? Who exactly owns the Internet now, and who will have ownership of it once it is transferred?

  • elgavilansegoviano

    …..The SOB Muslim Traitor, should have been Impeach and thrown in Guantanamo jail a long time ago, the Damage the Bastard have done to USA is irreparable…….Vote for DONALD TRUMP!!,…