Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton—joined by Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, and Nevada Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt—filed a lawsuit last night to stop the federal government from giving away oversight over the internet to an international organization that lists several authoritarian regimes as advisors to its board.
Since its founding, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (“ICANN”) has been overseen by the U.S. Commerce Department. The government’s contract with ICANN, however, is set to expire on September 30 and the Obama Administration has announced that it plans to let ICANN become fully independent. As a result, authoritarian regimes like Russia, China, and Iran will now have the ability to interfere with what should be a free and open internet.
As the lawsuit explains, the Obama Administration’s decision violates the Property Clause of the U.S. Constitution by giving away government property without congressional authorization, the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution by chilling speech, and the Administrative Procedure Act by acting beyond statutory authority.
“Trusting authoritarian regimes to ensure the continued freedom of the internet is lunacy,” Attorney General Paxton said. “The president does not have the authority to simply give away America’s pioneering role in ensuring that the internet remains a place where free expression can flourish.”
To view a copy of the complaint, click here: https://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/files/epress/Net_Complaint_-_FILED.pdf