States step in to stop Obama from giving away internet since Congress failed to do its job

The U.S. is set to cede control of some of the Internet’s key systems on Saturday but four states are suing to stop it.

The Republican attorneys general of Arizona, Oklahoma, Nevada and Texas have asked a federal court to stop the Commerce Department from ceding control of ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.

ICANN sets the rules and mechanisms for settling disputes and has run the domain name system, DNS, since 1998, the Associated Press reported.

Congress failed to block the transfer this week by passing a temporary spending bill, which also approved the transfer, to avoid a government shutdown.

The move by the attorneys general is a last-ditch effort to keep ICANN, a nonprofit, in American hands.

If the AGs move is not successful ICANN will be run by international stakeholders including an industry committee, technical committee, telecommunications experts, Internet users and a government advisory committee.

“Trusting authoritarian regimes to ensure the continued freedom of the internet is lunacy,” Ken Paxton, Texas Attorney General, said in a statement. “The president does not have the authority to simply give away America’s pioneering role in ensuring that the internet remains a place where free expression can flourish.”

The lawsuit claims that the move violates the property clause in the Constitution that prevents the federal government handing over government property sans the approval of Congress, not that that’s ever stopped President Obama before.

Sen. Ted Cruz, who has fought against the ceding of ICANN, told it’s “a profound disappointment” and called the move “dangerous and indefensible.”

“Protecting free speech online should be an issue that brings Republicans and Democrats together,” he said in the statement. “It’s an issue the American people overwhelmingly agree with and they expect us to defend internet freedom. That didn’t happen in the Senate’s continuing resolution and I think that was deeply unfortunate.”

Fox News’ Lou Dobbs took the issue head on:

Carmine Sabia


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