Attorneys General in Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma, and Nevada filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday night to stop the Obama Administration from ceding U.S. Government trusteeship of the Internet to an unregulated and nongovernmental international body. The lawsuit challenges the Constitutionality of the transfer and alleges violations of the First Amendment.
The lawsuit seeks a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to block the Federal Government’s plan to relinquish authority over the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (“ICANN”) on October 1, 2016. ICANN is the not-for-profit entity responsible for the technical coordination of the Internet’s domain name system (DNS).
In March of this year, ICANN submitted a proposal to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to transfer control of ICANN functions to a global Internet community.
The suit involves the Federal Government’s stated plan to abandon NTIA’s option rights under its contract with ICANN, cancel its cooperative agreement with Verisign, Inc.; delegate its authority to approve changes to the Internet’s root zone file; and otherwise take steps to cede U.S. government trusteeship over functions that it has deemed are “vital to the stability and correct functioning of the Internet,” without statutory authority to do so and in violation of the Property Clause of the U.S. Constitution and the First Amendment.
Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton also joined the suit.
The action was filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas.
The lawsuit names the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), the U.S. Department of Commerce, Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, and Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information and Administrator for NTIA Lawrence Strickling as Defendants.