Four conservative states take up Cruz’s failed crusade to block IANA contract expiration.
Attorneys General of four conservative states have filed a lawsuit (pdf) in an effort to block the U.S. government’s contract with ICANN for IANA functions from expiring tomorrow night.
The move comes after an effort led by some congressional representatives, including Ted Cruz of Texas, apparently failed to block the transition in a continuing resolution that keeps the federal government operating.
The suit was filed by the States of Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma and Nevada against the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), The United States of America, U.S. Department of Commerce, Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, and Assistant Secretary of Commerce Lawrence Strickling.
Given the tight timeframe, the suit asks for a temporary restraining order.
The crux of the states’ arguments is that letting the contract expire violates the property clause of the constitution as well as violates the first amendment.
Both of these arguments have been frequently put forth by opponents to the transition.
The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has already determined that the expiration of the contract is unlikely to constitute a transfer of government property.
The first amendment argument has been widely debunked. The IANA functions do not cover content, and this is usually regulated by governments within their own borders. The only way the IANA functions have been used to impact free speech in the past was, ironically, when the U.S. government temporarily blocked the addition of the .xxx top level domain name.
So what’s the danger? What if a local judge grants a restraining order that halts the process for a while? As Kieren McCarthy explains in DNW Podcast #103, it would empower governments to create an alternative to the existing naming system and its governance, ultimately resulting in more government control of the internet, not less.