By Dustin Volz
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump opposes a long-planned transition of oversight of the internet’s technical management from the U.S. government to a global community of stakeholders, his campaign said in a statement on Wednesday.
Congress should block the handover, scheduled to occur on Oct. 1, “or internet freedom will be lost for good, since there will be no way to make it great again once it is lost,” Stephen Miller, national policy director for the Trump campaign, said in a statement.
Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, a former presidential primary foe of Trump’s who has refused to endorse the real estate developer, has led a movement in Congress to block the transition, arguing it could cede control of the internet itself to authoritarian regimes like Russia and China and threaten online freedom.
Technical experts have said those claims are baseless, and that a delay will backfire by undermining U.S. credibility in future international negotiations over internet standards and security.
Publicly proposed in March 2014, the transfer of oversight of the nonprofit Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN, is expected to go forward unless Congress votes to block the move.
A vote to delay the transition may come as an amendment to a temporary spending bill that Congress must pass by Sept. 30 to prevent much of the federal government from shutting down. Congressional negotiators on Wednesday were working to finalize an agreement on the spending package.
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton supports the Obama administration’s planned transition to a global community of technologists, civil society groups and internet users, according to policy positions available on her campaign website.
(Reporting by Dustin Volz; Editing by Sandra Maler)