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Ted Cruz leds campaign against US internet group handover

Republican Presidential aspirant Ted Cruz is leading a group of US Congressmen in a last attempt to halt the planned transition of iternet naming group ICANN to an independent organisation, outside US government control.

The handover is expected to take effect from 01 October, but four Congressional chairmen have asked the Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and Attorney General Loretta Lynch to stop the process. 

They are concerned that the new ICANN organisation lacks accountability and will not be subject to anti-trust controls, and claim the government should have sought Congress’ approval before handing over the contract to manage the internet naming system.

In response, leading tech companies including Amazon, Google, Facebook and Twitter sent their own letter to Congressional leaders, The Register reports. They want the transition to proceed and called on Congress not to intervene. 

The opposition to the planned independence of ICANN is led by Senator Ted Cruz, who claims the US risks leaving the internet in the hands of authoritarian regimes if it allows ICANN to adopt its new international governance structure.

Cruz called a Senate hearing for 14 September on the matter.

Senator John Thune said lawmakers are also planning to introduce a budget bill that would block funding to the government if it goes ahead with the handover, Reuters reports. 

By 15 September, the US is contractually obliged to notify ICANN formally whether it will go ahead with the transition.

According to opinions from the US Government Accountability Office, President Barack Obama may take the final decision to sign off on handing over ICANN’s management. 

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