Bill should probably be called “Protecting U.S. Control of the Internet”.
Senator Ted Cruz and Representative Sean Duffy introduced the Protecting Internet Freedom Act in Congress today.
The act would forbid the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) from allowing the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions contract to expire.
The internet community is currently working through a process of letting the contract expire and transitioning authority, essentially to ICANN.
A key benefit to no longer having perceived U.S. control is that other countries won’t try to “splinter” the internet.
Still, Cruz and Duffy say letting the contract expire could lead to regimes like Russia and China somehow taking over the internet.
That’s not possible the way the transition is structured. There are many stakeholders in ICANN, and governments are just one piece of it. Russia and China are just pieces of that piece.
It’s also a bit ironic that they’re concerned about countries censoring the internet. The best example of the U.S. government using its “veto” power was delaying the launch of .xxx. That was censorship.
Update: I think Michele Neylon sums up the issue well:
The entire thing is predicated on an intentional misinterpretation of both the US relationship with ICANN and the IANA functions, as well as a visceral rejection of any policies tabled by the outgoing Obama administration.