Recent attention from the U.S. Congress, as well as negative statements from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission Chairman Jon Leibowitz, have caused some to speculate that the U.S. government will intervene to either stop ICANN’s New gTLD Program or delay its launch, currently scheduled for January 12, 2012.
However, neither the U.S. Senate, whose Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation held a hearing about the New gTLD Program yesterday, nor the House of Representatives, whose Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a similar hearing next Wednesday, has the power to take such action. Rather, ICANN’s only oversight link to the U.S. government is to the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) division, which administers the IANA contract that ICANN holds.
In a statement issued yesterday, NTIA Assistant Secretary Strickling stated that the U.S. government will not stop or delay ICANN’s New gTLD Program. Specifically, he said:
“It is critical to preserving the model of Internet governance that has been so successful to date that all parties respect and work through the process and accept the outcome once a decision is reached. When parties ask us to overturn the outcomes of these processes, no matter how well-intentioned the request, they are providing ‘ammunition’ to other countries who attempt to justify their unilateral actions to deny their citizens the free flow of information on the Internet. This we will not do. There is too much at stake here.”
So there you have it.
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