In less than 24 hours, the Obama Administration is set to turn control of the Internet over to an international committee composed of countries with the worst records in attacking political speech and human rights.
On Wednesday, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, joined by three other state attorneys general, filed a lawsuit to halt the Obama administration’s plan to give 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, but that arrangement is set to expire on September 30. Upon its expiration, the Obama Administration has announced that it plans to let ICANN become fully independent—a move that would open up the possibility of authoritarian regimes like Russia, China, and Iran interfering with what has been a free and open internet.
Sen. Ted Cruz began the movement to stop the Obama administration from surrendering control of the Internet. Last week, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump lent his support to the measure and now even more are highlighting the fight.
In his lawsuit, Paxton argues that the Obama administration’s decision violates the Constitution’s by surrendering government property without congressional authorization and could chill citizens’ right to free speech.
“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.”
Since taking office last year, Paxton has sued the Obama administration more than a dozen times to fight back against the EPA, transgender bathroom requirements, Obamacare, and other issues infringing on state sovereignty and individual liberties.