As a rare ‘black moon’ is set to rise this Friday night the United States, under Barack Obama’s “pen” will be surrendering control of the internet at the stroke of midnight tonight as well.
The US government is set to cut the final thread of its oversight of the internet, yielding a largely symbolic but nevertheless significant role over the online address system.
Barring any last-minute glitches, the transition will occur at midnight Friday (0400 GMT Saturday), when the US contract expires for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, which manages the internet’s so-called “root zone.”
When the agreement with the US Commerce Department runs out, ICANN will become a self-regulating non-profit international entity managing the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, the system for online “domains” such as .com.
US and ICANN officials say the change is part of a longstanding plan to “privatize” those functions, but some critics complain about a “giveaway” that could threaten the internet’s integrity.
Christopher Mondini, ICANN’s vice president for global business engagement, said the change will have no impact on day-to-day internet use, and will assure the global community that the system is free from government regulation and interference…
…it is worth informing the disinterested American people of a simple but very important point as Sen. Ted Cruz exposes:
1 question from Cruz and he shows why internet control should stay in the US.
Obama betrayed Americans one more time. pic.twitter.com/aKL4Iya7XQ
— America First! (@America_1st_) September 29, 2016
If any of the groups that make up ICANN see the organization veering away from its mission, Mondini said, “they can initiate measures to self-correct.”
Some US lawmakers who see risks with the model have sought to stop the transition, arguing it would allow authoritarian regimes to have greater control over the internet.
Republican Senator Ted Cruz has been seeking to block what he calls a “radical” plan to give away control of the internet.
ICANN “is not a democratic body,” Cruz told a hearing earlier this month.
“It is a corporation with a Byzantine governing structure designed to blur lines of accountability that is run by global bureaucrats who are supposedly accountable to the technocrats, to multinational corporations, to governments, including some of the most oppressive regimes in the world like China, Iran, and Russia.”
Heritage Foundation president Jim DeMint echoed that sentiment, saying in a tweet that President Barack Obama “wants to cede US control of our free, secure internet to foreign regimes who don’t value freedom of speech.”
Will tonight’s “black moon” phase be an omen of the darkness to come on the free and open internet Americans have come to enjoy and depend on?
And even more importantly, imagine the burden it will place on our national security.