WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) today penned an op-ed for the Houston Chronicle, strongly urging Congress to stop the Obama administration from giving away control of the Internet to an international organization akin to the United Nations. In the op-ed, Sen. Cruz affirms that the administration is not authorized to relinquish oversight of the Internet without the authorization of Congress. Cruz also contends that the president’s radical proposal would remove First Amendment protections from the Internet and empower authoritarian regimes like Russia, China, and Iran to censor speech online.
Following are excerpts of Sen. Cruz’s op-ed:
Cruz: Congress Must Protect Internet Freedom
By Sen. Ted Cruz
September 14, 2016
…The internet has been a transformational invention that has changed how we communicate, how we do commerce and how we live our lives. Texas was home to over 500 online-service companies in 2015 alone.
Because the internet was created here in America, the U.S. government has maintained the internet’s core functions to ensure equal access for everyone with no censorship. The government’s role isn’t to monitor what we say or to censor our speech; it is simply to ensure that the internet works properly.
But this could all change. The Obama administration is pushing through a radical proposal to take control of internet domain names and give them to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), an international organization that includes 162 foreign countries. If Obama’s proposal goes through, it will empower authoritarian regimes like Russia, China and Iran to potentially censor speech on the internet. These countries are not our friends, and their interests are not our interests.
It is one thing dealing with government organizations trying to stifle speech, but to hand over control of the internet, to muzzle everybody who uses the internet, is to ensure that what you say is only consistent with whatever is approved by the powers that be. That ought to frighten every American.
As members of the legislative branch, Congress should rein in this president and protect the constitutional authority expressly given to Congress to control disposition of property of the United States. To put the matter simply: the Obama administration does not have the authorization of Congress, but it is still endeavoring to give away this valuable, critical property without authorization in law.
The Internet is working. It lets us speak without restrictions. It lets us operate. It lets us engage in commerce. Why would this administration risk giving it up? If the Obama administration gives it away, it will be forever lost. Congress must stop it.
Read Sen. Cruz’s op-ed in its entirety here.