04.01.2014 24

Can Obama give away the Internet without Congress?

Click here to urge Congress to stop the international Internet giveaway!

ProtectTheInternetBy Robert Romano 

Another bombshell in the U.S. Department Commerce Department’s March 14 announcement that it intends to transition control over the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) and the domain name system (DNS) to an as of yet unnamed international body: Commerce believes it can do so without any vote in Congress.

As revealed in the Wall Street Journal by L. Gordon Crovitz: “a spokesman for the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration said the agency reviewed this legal issue and concluded the administration can act without Congress but refused to share a copy of the legal analysis.”

That, in itself, is breathtaking. It is one thing for a governmental agency to assert authority over this or that, and another entirely for it to refuse to furnish a valid rationale for doing so.

Crovitz explained the importance of the question over the need for congressional authorization: “The Property Clause of the Constitution says Congress must pass legislation to effect a transfer of government property. Arguably the president could no more transfer the valuable control over the naming and domains of the Internet than he could give Alaska back to Russia.”

To be certain, Article IV of the Constitution states, “The Congress shall have power to dispose of … property belonging to the United States.” But does that include the IANA?

If so, it means Congress does not have a moment to lose. After all, giving away this key authority in Internet governance to an international body or a private foundation may not only give away a key congressional prerogative and constitute an egregious overreach of executive power.

The transition will also sacrifice any First Amendment protections that Commerce Department’s current contract with the Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) currently affords to users of the Internet. If administration of IANA and/or DNS later resulted in censorship, there would be no recourse in federal court to challenge it.

Therefore, whether Congress must approve the transition is a key question that must be answered. On March 27, Americans for Limited Government filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) requesting the legal basis for its plans to transition control over the Internet.

The FOIA request includes “All records relating to legal and policy analysis developed by or provided to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) that support its decision to ‘transition key internet domain name functions,’ including any analysis showing whether the NTIA has the legal authority to perform the transition.”

“The American people have a right to know why and on what legal basis, if any, the Commerce Department believes it has the power to transition control over key Internet domain name functions to an international body or to anyone else without a vote in Congress,” Americans for Limited Government President Nathan Mehrens stated.

At least one law professor has said there is actually nothing to legislate, reports Politico. “It’s not at all unusual that we’re starting this without Congress, because Congress really has nothing to say about it,” said Milton Mueller, a Syracuse University professor of Internet governance, adding, “this is not a legislative matter they control.”

So, does Congress need to sign off or not? If there is any case to be made, it would have to be as Crovitz stated, that the transition of IANA constitutes a transfer of government property.

Under the Commerce Department’s current contract with ICANN, which provides for the administration of the IANA on behalf of the U.S. Government, it states,  “All deliverables under this contract become the property of the U.S. Government.”

Those deliverables include “technical requirements for each corresponding IANA function,” “performance standards in collaboration with all interested and affected parties … for each of the IANA functions,” and “a fully automated root zone management system … [that] must, at a minimum, include a secure (encrypted) system for customer communications; an automated provisioning protocol allowing customers to manage their interactions with the root zone management system; an online database of change requests and subsequent actions whereby each customer can see a record of their historic requests and maintain visibility into the progress of their current requests; and a test system, which customers can use to meet the technical requirements for a change request; an internal interface for secure communications between the IANA Functions Operator; the Administrator, and the Root Zone Maintainer,” among other items.

As for the IANA itself, that presumably reverts to the Commerce Department upon termination of the contract: “the Government may terminate the contract for default.” The contract even provides for the possibility of IANA being performed by another entity: “In the event the Government selects a successor contractor, the Contractor shall have a plan in place for transitioning each of the IANA functions to ensure an orderly transition while maintaining continuity and security of operations.”

After all, how can Commerce terminate the current contract or award it to somebody besides ICANN unless Commerce itself retains the contractual rights to administer the IANA?

Granting that the government does in fact retain the power to administer the IANA upon expiration of the current contract in September 2015, does that in itself constitute that the authority is government property requiring congressional authorization to transition? Under the contract parts of the IANA functions are clearly government property that might be hard to separate from the authority, but ultimately it is a question that might have to be answered, if not in Congress, then in federal court. Certainly, it is not a question that to date has been adequately answered by Commerce.

Meaning, unless members of Congress very soon assert that they have a role in approving the transition of this key area of Internet governance, it will simply be handed to some unspecified international agency accountable to no one when the current contract expires.

Robert Romano is the senior editor of Americans for Limited Government.

  • sreynolds

    Yes, he can do whatever he wants apparently.

  • Mike Rowave

    Don’t question the messiah.
    Conform, Obey and drink the Kool-Aid

  • Sgt. York

    just who does this Ahole Obummer think he is? it’s owner is America so he needs congress or a vote from Americans to just give the internet away.He is a true Muslim kiss A$$

  • Obama is in dire need of an enema, which he will get when my big toe squirts water as I kick him in the butt.

  • 124andmore

    Who’s going to stop him? Boehner? O’Connell? They would both sell us out for a carton of cigarettes.

  • Douglas Moore

    LOL Your toe squirts water? You’d better get that looked at and pronto! LOL

  • James in Texas

    The question……”Can Obama” is a joke! Of course he can. He has done everything he has wanted too and no one or nobody has stood in his way! Our Congress is the worst “bad joke” in the history of our Republic and the so-called Democrat Party is beyond being called anything that comes to mind. The DNC is the “new Mafia” and the GNC is just a Joke, Period. No, not the funny kind of joke, a bad joke that never goes away. Already they are working to destroy any Conservative or Constitutional supporter. They want another McCain, Graham, Bush as their standard-bearer. People like Rove intend to destroy the TEA Party side of the GOP and gracefully lose another dozen or so of national elections, just as long as they get to keep their position as “leaders” of the GNC!!!!

  • PMDavis

    This is just the continued effort to suppress any opposition against this administration and the other world dictators that want to take over. They are trying their darndest to find every loop hole they can to get around what’s legal and right. They are doing all this backdoor stuff to get our guns too. Once they take away communication and our way to defend ourselves, then they will really take over the country. One World Government is what it is called!

  • Alexander the Great

    Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration, need to be fired, first.
    Article 1 Section 8 paragraph 3 of the constitution only give congress the right to

    regulate commerce with foreign nations, & the internet is a a commerce engine of the USA.

    Here is one way to fix it:


  • Kreinhe

    Apparently he’s the Emperor and can do whatever he wants with government and private property.

  • Attila

    Problem is Obama has ignored the Congress, and the Constitution, and the American People since he was elected. No matter what the law says, Harry Reid and the Senate democrats support Obama in every treacherous thing he does to destroy our Country. If you stand back a look at all Obama has done, which will lead to the utter destruction of America, you can see the plan. The plan is to destroy America and had it over to radical elements of the Muslims. Remember he cancelled National day of prayer, Congress did not challenge him, they did nothing. Then he held a National Day for Muslims, in the WH. Again Harry Reid and the Senate democrats allowed no one to condemn this travesty. When all is said and done, Harry Reid, and most of the Senate democrats, must be tried as traitors, which they are without doubt.

  • jag57

    He would like to turn it over to either Muslims, or the UN terrorists; al Qaeda 1 and al Qaeda 2.

  • Busdriver Bill

    Where the Hell is Congress? They have the power to reign in this evil monstrosity of a president. They behave like spectators at a bull fight. Ole, ole! they shout. There must be one hell-of-a pile of dirty pictures in DC.

  • pduffy

    All of the ‘three-letter’ agencies, run by bureaucrats rule this nation, not congress. They do as they please, pumping out ‘regulations’ (laws without congress), and the POTUS gives them orders, or they just do it themselves. Congress can’t even muster the strength to stop the man sitting in the White House from changing laws by decree, so how will they stop him from giving away the internet, which does not belong to him in the first place?
    America is not a republic, or a democracy – it’s a bureau-cracy – government by un-elected bureaucrats which cannot be voted out. They are totally insulated from the ballot box or any other method to reign in their abuses.

  • Dominick Farruggio

    You can do all the crying and hollaring you want but nothing is going to stop him with words. He hasn’t hidden anything he said he wanted to do and the L.I.V. elected him twice the only way to stop dictators is the way they are doing it in captive countries by mass uprising and believe me if that were to happen those cowards in Congress and the Administration will scurry like rats. Until then it’s status quo.

  • Dominick Farruggio

    Obozo believes he’s above the law, yet he fears his wife who he can’t control. He fears Putin by giving into everything he wants, but he doesn’t fear the Congress, the Constitution or the Courts because whom of those three groups of cowards want to be the first one to impeach the first black President? Fear and Fear alone from the fear of being labled RACIST, ironically they were the ones who insituted that phrase to be politcally correct….and now the chickens have really come home to roost

  • Ryan

    You’re an idiot. While I’m no fan of Obama, he did not cancel the National Day of Prayer, nor did he hold a National Day for Muslims. Spend five minutes on google before you post arguments that are not true. Reposting lies and half-truths that you read on some fear-mongering blog adds nothing to the conversation. The truth is, that while the WH did not sponsor any sort of prayer day event that does not mean it was canceled. And while some Muslims chose to host a national Muslim day and claimed that Obama was their inspiration for it, that does not prove an endorsement by the President.

  • Death2Unions

    What is it about America being a Marxist State that Congress doesn’t seem to understand? All laws laws and rules are established by the Marxist in Chief and only him! Now pay attention or we will have to execute you!

  • Attila

    You have revealed yourself to be the real IDIOT here. And also you are probably a Muslim terrorist. If I could see you face to face I would show you a thing or two, maybe even 3 or 4. Anyway you are most assuredly an a– kisser for Obama. He did cancel the National Day of Prayer in May but since the planning and all the support for a National Day of Prayer has for some time been in May, it has the effect of cancelling. It will take some time to reschedule. But he did hold a Muslim Day of whatever in January 2010. So now loud mouth call somebody an idiot and if you do so to their face, which you do not have the guts to do, and you will get your just reward. IDIOT.

  • More criminal acts by the chief criminal.

  • Agree they are all quite worthless except for a very few .

  • VillageElder

    Can we keep the Internet and give B.S. Obumer away, instead?

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