Walden concerned by U.S. handover of Net control

House committee hearing focuses on oversight role

WASHINGTON - The House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, chaired by U.S. Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), held a hearing Wednesday on ensuring the security, stability and freedom of the global Internet.

Walden and other members of the panel sought answers regarding the Obama administration's proposal instructing the International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to explore ways to remove the United States from its oversight role of the Domain Name System.

Walden and other members expressed concern about any change that could leave the Internet vulnerable to power grabs from international governments and sought commitments that the administration would not permit any outcome that fails to protect the ideals of Internet freedom and openness.

"I cannot overstate the importance of freedom of the Internet from government control. Nor can I overstate the threat from foreign governments who seek to control, tax, censor, and otherwise impose their own agendas on the Internet," Walden said in his opening statement.

"We cannot allow institutions such as the United Nations or the International Telecommunication Union to insert themselves into the functioning of the Domain Name System. Make no mistake: threats to the openness and freedom of the Internet are real. Leaders such as Vladimir Putin have explicitly announced their desire to gain control of the Internet," Walden continued. 

For more information, or to watch the full hearing, click here.

Last year, the U.S. House unanimously passed H.R. 1580, legislation written by Walden that affirms the policy of the United States regarding Internet governance and preserves Internet freedom. H.R. 1580 is currently pending in the Senate.

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