Friday, November 25, 2016

Morgan Griffith on Internet Management

From U.S. Representative Morgan Griffith (R-VA-9), this e-mail response to a recent petition came in a graphic format that was not easy to fit onto this page:

Thank you for contacting me regarding international control of the Internet. I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts.

I share your concerns about removing the last vestiges of U.S. control over the Internet. As an American invention under American control, the Internet has developed into the dynamic, free, and open global communication system it is today. I support an open and free Internet with minimal government regulation and there has been no real problem with America’s backstop role in managing the Internet. Thus, I oppose any transition from America’s responsibility.

As such, I recently joined some of my other colleagues in the House of Representatives in sending a letter to the Commerce Secretary urging the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to maintain its longstanding role with respect to the Internet domain name system and IP address allocations. As stated in the letter, we believe that federal law requires the NTIA to do so.

As you know, on March 14, 2014, the NTIA announced its intention to“transition key Internet domain name functions to the global multistakeholder community.”Before this transition, NTIA was responsible for managing the Internet’s domain name system (DNS), and it contracted with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a private non-profit corporation, to do so. NTIA asked ICANN to craft a transition plan so that a global entity can assume responsibility for managing the DNS. The ICANN Board formally accepted a transition plan on March 10, 2016, and NTIA approved this plan. On October 1, a California-based nonprofit of government and technology stakeholders assumed authority over the naming system.

Last year, I supported legislation by Representative John Shimkus (R-IL), which prevented the NTIA from relinquishing authority over the DNS until the NTIA submitted to Congress a report on the final transition proposal. In the report, the NTIA was required to certify, among other things, that the proposal maintains an open Internet and does not replace the role of the NTIA with a government-led or intragovernmental organization. I joined my colleagues in the House of Representatives in passing this bill by a vote of 378-25 on June 23, 2016. While this bill was not passed into law, on June 9, 2016, NTIA sent a letter to Congress giving notice that it completed a report concluding that the transition plan meets the criteria set forth by NTIA when it announced its intent to privatize the domain name system. Specifically, according to NTIA, the transition plan would maintain the openness of the Internet and meet the needs of global customers. The report also provided assurances that“.gov,” “.mil,” “.edu,”and“.us”domains would not be affected.

Additionally, Representative Sean Duffy introduced the Protecting Internet Freedom Act (H.R. 5418), which would block the NTIA from releasing control of the domain name system until granted permission by statute. The Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information must also certify that the United States government is guaranteed sole ownership of the“.gov”and“.mil”top-level domains.

The United States must vigorously defend open access to information and the constitutional right of its citizens to free speech. Please know that I will continue to monitor this issue closely.

For more information on what is happening in Congress, please visit my website at If I may be of further assistance to you on this, or any other issue, please feel free to contact me in my Washington, DC office at (202) 225-3861. I remain 

"[Sincerely yours, Morgan Griffith]