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Lawmakers Goodlatte, Grassley Raise Legal Concerns Over NTIA’s Internet DNS Oversight Transfer Plan

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cybersecuritySen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Virginia) have asked whether the National Telecommunications and Information Administration‘s plan to transfer oversight of the internet domain name system to a multi-stakeholder community complies with the Constitution.

NTIA might relinquish ownership of a U.S. property without Congress authorization if it follows the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers‘ proposal to privatize the management of Internet Assigned Numbers Authority’s functions, the lawmakers said Monday in letter to Lawrence Strickling, NTIA assistant secretary for communications and information.

The agency extended a contract with ICANN in August 2015 to manage IANA’s DNS Root coordination, internet protocol address and other IP-related functions while the transition work is underway.

Grassley and Goodlatte added NTIA commissioned outside studies and allocated staff time to support the transition, which they say violated the fiscal year 2016 omnibus spending bill that prohibits the agency from use of funds provided in that legislation to support the IANA transfer.

The lawmakers asked NTIA to explain issues surrounding the transition plan such as its impact on free speech and human rights as well as the possibility that foreign governments might limit internet freedom.

NTIA was also urged give answers on Constitutional and legal concerns as well as its views on a possible Congress vote on the IANA functions transition.

Grassley and Goodlatte want NTIA’s response by July 22.

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