Cruz Kicks Off Internet Oversight Countdown with Subcommittee Hearing

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Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz today announced that he’ll hold a Senate subcommittee hearing to explore the “dangers” of an Obama administration plan to turn over technical internet oversight to a nonprofit just weeks before the plan is to take effect.

There are just 23 days left until the U.S. Commerce Department cedes oversight of the technical functions that make the internet work to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). But the plan is not guaranteed to go through, given that Republicans, led by Cruz, continue to fight it.

Cruz’s latest move is scheduling a Sept. 14 hearing of the Subcommittee on Oversight, Agency Action, Federal Rights and Federal Courts, which he chairs, to investigate the “possible dangers” of the transition plan, he announced Sept. 7.

Cruz recently launched a countdown clock site that ticks away the days, hours, minutes and seconds “Until Obama Gives Away the Internet” and urges Congress to stop the plan. He argues that it would, among other things, increase the power of foreign governments over the internet.  

The Commerce Department’s contract with ICANN, the nonprofit entity that performs the technical functions, is set to expire as of Oct. 1, barring any significant impediment. The department notified ICANN in an Aug. 31 letter of its rights to extend the term of the contract in case such an impediment occurs before the expiration date.