On the Verge of Victory: Is the Obama Administration Backing Down From Handing Over the Internet?


This morning’s Wall Street Journal has this encouraging report:

Less than a month after announcing its plan to abandon U.S. protection of the open Internet in 2015, the White House has stepped back from the abyss. Following objections by Bill Clinton, a warning letter from 35 Republican senators, and critical congressional hearings, the administration now says the change won’t happen for years, if ever.

“We can extend the contract for up to four years,” Assistant Commerce Secretary Lawrence Strickling told Congress last week, referring to the agreement under which the U.S. retains ultimate control over the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, known as Icann. If the administration makes good on that reassurance, it would punt the decision to 2019 and the next president.

This is excellent news, and demonstrates once again the power of our members (who’ve added more than 120,000 signatures to the ACLJ petition to keep the Internet free). When you speak out, you can mobilize Congress, and you can change even the Obama Administration’s policies.

But the victory is not yet complete. While the Administration is signaling that it intends to change course, we can’t rest until we know the relevant contracts are extended, and the Internet remains under American control.

In fact, later this week we may launch a new petition campaign, with a very specific call to action – demanding that the Commerce Department keep its word and extend its Internet contracts.

We are winning. Victory is close. We cannot rest, however, until the ink is dry.

David French is a Senior Counsel for the ACLJ. A Kentucky native, David is a 1994 graduate (cum laude) of Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts and a 1991 graduate (summa cum laude, valedictorian) of Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee. David has been a commercial litigation partner for a large law firm, taught at Cornell Law School, served as president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), and currently serves as a Senior Counsel at the American Center for Law and Justice. He is the author of multiple books, including A Season for Justice: Defending the Rights of the Christian Home, Church, and School and the upcoming Home and Away: The Story of Family in a Time of War.

Used with the permission of the American Center for Law and Justice.

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