Fortunately, Russia and China haven’t “taken over the internet” yet.
A new report from Politico reveals that the new head of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, David Redl, told Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee that he’d look into ways to reverse the U.S. government’s decision to end its IANA contract with ICANN. Cruz and Lee both opposed the NTIA’s decision to end the contract.
The goal of ending the contract — which was the original long-term plan when ICANN was formed — was to make the rest of the world less concerned about U.S. control of the internet. The move could help avoid causing other governments to splinter the internet or, more likely, call for governance of the DNS to be handed to an international group like the International Telecommunication Union.
But Cruz was concerned that relinquishing this control could lead to China and Russia taking control of the internet, which is a far-fetched claim.
When it came time for Redl’s confirmation he told senators that he believed what was done was done with regards to the IANA contract. Cruz put a hold on the nomination and Redl eventually assuaged Cruz’s concerns.
But how? That concerned Democrat Brian Schatz, who placed a hold on Redl to figure out what kind of deal he struck with Cruz.
According to Politico, Redl promised Cruz and Lee that he would recommend convening a “panel of experts to investigate options for unwinding the transition.”
My guess is that this promise was a way to assuage Cruz’s concerns while knowing that a panel would suggest not making a change.