Naming group reminds Ted Cruz that the U.S. doesn’t own the internet.
ICANN has responded to Senator Ted Cruz’ continued questioning by not exactly answering his questions.
Cruz is miffed that the naming policy overseer engages with China, and questioned its former CEO’s agreement to work with China’s World Internet Conference. Cruz demanded answers to specific questions about this involvement.
Instead, ICANN Board of Directors Chair Stephen Crocker sent a four-page letter (pdf) stating that the internet is global. ICANN works with all countries and people of the world, and the U.S. is but one stakeholder in this, he explained.
This is the case today, even though the U.S. government has a special relationship through its contract to run IANA.
Crocker said its discussions with China are not different than those with other stakeholders. It’s also not different from other U.S. companies that do business in China:
ICANN does not endorse the views of any particular stakeholder, regardless of the organization’s engagement efforts, the composition of its advisory committees, and where it holds its meetings. In this sense, ICANN’s engagement with China as a global Internet stakeholder does not suggest any level of support for the nation’s government or its policies. Similarly, no endorsement of such matters could reasonably be inferred from the operations of the United States’ largest technology firms operating in China, including Cisco, Dell, HP, IBM, Intel, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Qualcomm and Uber. These firms, like ICANN, do not endorse the policies, laws, and regulations of China simply by operating there. As long as the U.S. Government has a policy of engagement with China, U.S. firms operate there without the insinuation that doing so makes them complicit in China’s censorship.
ICANN seeks to have genuine global engagement from all countries and all regions. With nearly 700 million Internet users, stakeholders from China, including its government, have an
understandable desire to participate at ICANN. And they have done so constructively. For example, members of China’s technical community have played an important role in the introduction of
Internationalized Domain Names (“IDNs”), or non-Latin scripts on the Internet. As a result of their efforts and those of many others from countries around the world that do not use Latin scripts, there are now more than 120 delegated IDNs in Arabic, Chinese, Cyrillic, Tamil, and Hebrew scripts, among others.
ICANN’s plans for engagement with China will continue in the same way we engage with other countries. ICANN staff facilitates the organization’s ongoing involvement with stakeholders through outreach, communication, capacity building, and education. This engagement is approved by the global community, including U.S. stakeholders, as part of ICANN’s five-year strategy and operation plans.