04:55 GMT +315 October 2019
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    Tech Giants Urge US Congress to Speed Up Internet Handover to Int’l Agency

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    As the Obama Administration prepares to cede America’s control of the internet, major tech companies have written a letter urging the president to follow through.

    Currently overseen by the US Department of Commerce, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is used to coordinate internet domain names across the globe. Washington has vowed for years to cede control of ICANN to an independent global oversight committee, and is set to do so next month.

    "NTIA [National Telecommunications & Information Administration] has thoroughly reviewed the report. We informed ICANN today that based on that review and barring any significant impediment, NTIA intends to allow the [Internet Assigned Numbers Authority] functions contract to expire as of October 1," NTIA Assistant Secretary Lawrence Strickling wrote last month.

    There remain a number of vocal opponents to the plan, including Texas Senator and former presidential hopeful Ted Cruz.

    To voice their support for the transition, tech giants including Google, Facebook, and Twitter wrote a letter to the US Congress on Tuesday.

    "A global, interoperable and stable internet is essential for our economic and national security, and we remain committed to completing the nearly twenty year transition to the multi stakeholder model that will best serve US interests," the letter states.

    "The Internet is defined by its inclusiveness and openness. Those critical characteristics are reflected in the work that…went into the drafting of the transition."

    Other signatories to the letter include Amazon, Yahoo, and Cloudflare.

    The global community has long supported the transition, as well as current ICANN head Fadi Chehade.

    "I feel the proposal will lead us to a global, independent, neutral, well-governed organization,” he said last year. "I’m never comfortable, but I am optimistic and I believe that all interests are now aligned…Everybody sees that this makes sense."

    Senator Cruz has argued against the plan to “give away the Internet” and create an environment so that "countries like Russia, China, and Iran could be able to censor speech on the Internet."

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    Tags:
    Internet governance, NTIA, Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), Fadi Chehade, Lawrence Strickling, Ted Cruz, United States
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