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Four states are suing to stop Internet domain system oversight transition

According to The Hill, Republican attorneys general in four states are filing a lawsuit to block the transfer of internet domain systems oversight from the U.S. to an international governing body.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt and Nevada Attorney General Paul Laxalt filed a lawsuit on Wednesday night to stop the White House’s proposed transition of Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions.

The state officials cite constitutional concerns in their suit against the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, U.S. government and the Department of Commerce.

On 14 March 2014, the United States government announced its intention to transition its role and responsibilities with regards to the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions. The United States Commerce Department National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) confirmed in August this year that it will hand over oversight of the internet domain name system root zone and other core internet infrastructure registries to the semi-private Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a non-profit organization that is responsible for coordinating the maintenance and procedures of several databases related to the namespaces of the Internet – thereby ensuring the network’s stable and secure operation.

“The Obama Administration’s decision violates the Property Clause of the U.S. Constitution by giving away government property without congressional authorization, the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution by chilling speech, and the Administrative Procedure Act by acting beyond statutory authority,” a statement released by Paxton’s office reads.

The attorneys generals claim that the U.S. government is ceding government property, pointing to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) review that “concluded that the transition does not involve a transfer of U.S. government property requiring Congressional approval.”

Texas SenatorTed Cruz’s previously warned that the transition could harm free speech on the internet by giving Russia, China and Iran a voice on the international governing body that would oversee internet domain systems.

Reina Ho

Reina Ho is a freelance reporter who focuses on censorship and information control in online space.

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