WASHINGTON, D.C. – Leading members of U.S. Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.), subcommittee ranking member Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), and subcommittee chairmen Sens. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) today introduced S. 1551, the DOTCOM Act. The DOTCOM Act requires certifications, and an opportunity for congressional review to ensure that any transfer of U.S. involvement over the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) does not empower foreign powers to gain increased control over critical Internet functions. No transfer of authority could occur until after requirements of the legislation are complete.
“Since the IANA transition was announced, I’ve advocated for robust accountability reforms that empower the multistakeholder community over governments and international institutions,” said Thune. “This legislation is an important step forward in ensuring the Internet community has the tools it needs to keep the Internet open, dynamic, and free from state-control. Further, the DOTCOM Act establishes an important and appropriate role for Congress in this important moment for the Internet.”
“There is bipartisan agreement that Congress has an important oversight role of NTIA as it transitions the IANA functions to the global Internet community,” said Schatz. “This legislation is a symbol of our commitment to a successful transition and will help ensure that the Internet remains a vital engine of innovation and job creation for America and around the world.”
“We cannot afford to compromise the vital Internet functions Americans, businesses and organizations rely on daily during the IANA transition,” said Rubio. “This framework establishes the necessary safeguards to ensure that Internet freedom is protected and accountability is increased during the process. With congressional oversight, we can preserve Internet openness, promote individual empowerment and support technological advances without resulting unintended consequences.”
The new Senate DOTCOM Act is identical to companion legislation approved by the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Communications and Technology Subcommittee on June 10, 2015. S. 1551 holds the National Telecommunication and Information Administration (NTIA) to the IANA transition principles NTIA established when it announced the IANA transition in March 2014. The bill ensures accountability for protecting an open Internet as follow-up to continued oversight by the committee.
Click here for a copy of S. 1551, the DOTCOM Act