Oregon Congressman Greg Walden appeared on Fox News last week to talk about legislation the Communications and Technology Subcommittee will consider today to protect internet freedom. The DOTCOM Act (H.R. 4342) would require the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to study the Administration’s proposal to transfer control of the domain name system that runs the internet from our Commerce Department to an international multi-stakeholder organization.
Walden is the chairman of the Communications and Technology Subcommittee, and a co-sponsor of the DOTCOM Act.
“I’m concerned because there are foreign countries led by some pretty sketchy people who have sought to take control of the internet from day one. They want to do it through a United Nations organization, and we can’t let that happen,” Walden said during the interview about the Administration’s proposal to transfer control of domain names.
“Part of what we’re taking up is legislation from my colleague John Shimkus and Marsha Blackburn that would say we have to have the GAO, the independent government audit agency, evaluate any proposal that the Obama Administration comes forward with. We’re going to take into account what it looks like in terms of national security, what it looks like in terms of internet freedom, what it looks like in terms of turning this loose because this is a very dangerous proposition,” Walden continued.
Walden warned of consequences of giving up control of internet domain names to another entity like the United Nations. “It’s really, really dangerous, if they just turn it over to another country, another government entity likes the United Nations. Now, they say they’re not going to do that, but you know, I could not get a good answer about what happens when you let go of the 64-page contract between the United States government and the nonprofit that runs this system now based in the United States, required to be based here, required to be under our laws. They could be set free, and then what happens?”
Last year, the U.S. House unanimously passed H.R. 1580, legislation written by Walden that affirms the policy of the United States regarding Internet governance and preserves Internet freedom. Walden hoped for similar bipartisan support on this legislation.
“We’ve had bipartisan—in fact, unanimous—legislation that I’ve sponsored that passed the House and the Senate the last Congress, passed the House this Congress, advocating for all these principles about multi-stakeholder process, internet governance, free from government interference, all of that. And so I would hope [Democratic members] would join us on this so that we get the facts before the Administration can take action.”