Texas Sues Obama Administration To Block Handover Of Internet Oversight

The Commerce Department is preparing to cede control of the Internet’s domain name system to an international non-profit group. Ken Paxton and three other state attorneys general argue that would violate the Constitution.


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Texas and three other states are suing the Obama Administration, in an attempt to block the U.S. Government from ceding oversight of some of the Internet's core systems.

Attorney General Ken Paxton and his counterparts from Arizona, Nevada, and Oklahoma filed the suit in a federal court in Galveston. They asked the court to prevent the U.S. Commerce Department from relinquishing control of ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.

ICANN oversees the "domain name" system, which regulates the names and addresses of any site connected to the Internet. The Commerce Department is set to hand over control of ICANN to an international non-profit group on Saturday, October 1.

Sen, John Cornyn expressed his concerns in a conference call with reporters. "The uncertainty is who actually will make up the board of directors of this private entity and whether countries like Russia or China will have a disproportionate influence on controlling the Internet," Cornyn said.

Sen. Ted Cruz has long expressed similar objections. He attempted, unsuccessfully, to attach language blocking the transfer to a must-pass bill to fund the federal government.

The multistate lawsuit argues that ceding control of ICANN violates the Property Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which restricts the giving away of government property.

Trade groups representing much of the U.S. information technology sector support the transfer. They argue the shift has been worked out over nearly 20 years, with the help of industry, and that to disrupt it now would hurt both national security and the U.S. economy.

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Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew heads Houston Public Media's coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments across Greater Houston. Before taking up his current post, Andrew spent five years as Houston Public Media's business reporter, covering the oil...

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