The Obama administration should put the brakes on a transition of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority away from U.S. control scheduled to take place at the end of the month, a regulator on the Federal Communications Commission said on Wednesday.
"The current model of Internet governance has been a tremendous success," FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai said in a statement. "Under American stewardship, the Internet has become an unprecedented platform for free expression, innovation, and democratization.
"That's why two years ago, when the Department of Commerce first announced its intent to relinquish its role in overseeing the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, I argued that the burden of proof was on those favoring this momentous change," Pai said. "When it comes to Internet governance, I do not believe the transition should take place on October 1."
Commerce is scheduled to hand IANA, a key agency responsible for overseeing Internet Protocol addresses on the Web, over to the international Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers effective Oct. 1. The action is aimed at killing the last vestiges of American control over the Internet, a move critics have argued could result in censorship by countries like Iran and China.
Pai, the FCC's senior Republican, has long warned of a growing effort by Democrats to use his agency as well as others, including the Federal Election Commission, to impose greater limitations on free speech.