Republicans are seeing red following the Obama administration's decision to relinquish control of the Internet to the "international community." The move is "red meat for the base," former Republican California congresswoman Mary Bono told Politico, another club the party can use to hammer President Obama on foreign policy.
The United States has been in administrative “control” of the Internet through the Department of Commerce’s decade-long partnership with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which operates the Internet’s domain-name system. But the contract ends at the end of 2015, and ICANN is trying to free itself of U.S. ties, report Jessica Myers and Eric Mershon at Politico. In part, that's due to concerns about NSA surveillance revealed by Edward Snowden. On Friday, the department announced it would end its partnership with ICANN, allowing the agency to exist outside of U.S. government control.
Republicans see this as another mistake on the part of President Obama, for several reasons. The instability in and around Russia in particular has stoked the GOP’s deepest fears that the Internet — a key component of the First Amendment — could fall into the wrong hands. “We’re at a critical time where [Russian President Vladimir] Putin is proving he is capable of outmaneuvering the administration,” Bono said. “Anyone frustrated with the UN Security Council could take a look at this [proposal] and recognize potential problems." The UN is another worry, the constant, simmering concern that it will one day trump the laws of the United States.