The Obama Administration has decided to proceed with plans to privatize Internet governance, but a Washington-based think tank says the move is an “illegal, unconstitutional giveaway.”

“The NTIA should not take another step towards transitioning the Internet Assigned Numbers functions to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN),” said Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning in a statement on Wednesday.

“They are using prohibited funds right now that block the transition this year, violating federal law. That is because it is not only illegal to violate federal law, but to plan to violate it. These are reasonable grounds for Congress to ask a federal judge to enjoin NTIA from any further action, pending full hearing of the case.”

On Tuesday, the National Telecommunications & Information Administration announced plans to move ahead with the transition.

“On Friday, ICANN informed NTIA that it has completed or will complete all the necessary tasks called for in the transition proposal by the end of the contract term,” the NTIA said in a blog posting.

“NTIA has thoroughly reviewed the report. We informed ICANN today that based on that review and barring any significant impediment, NTIA intends to allow the IANA functions contract to expire as of October 1.”

The think tanks’ Manning said the decision is a “breaching of law.”

The tranisition has been “the subject of letters from House appropriators and the House and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairmen. These are serious charges. There would be little question of their standing to sue, as there is ample precedent for Congressional access to federal courts,” Manning added

“To stop the illegal, unconstitutional Internet giveaway, Congress must also reassert its Article One responsibilities to block the transition in the upcoming continuing resolution. Ceding the Internet’s domain name system to an unaccountable global monopoly is not an option.”

The NTIA defended the decision.

“The IANA stewardship transition represents the final step in the U.S. government’s long-standing commitment, supported by three Administrations, to privatize the Internet’s domain name system,” it said.

“For the last 18 years, the United States has been working with the global Internet multistakeholder community to establish a stable and secure multistakeholder model of Internet governance that ensures that the private sector, not governments, takes the lead in setting the future direction of the Internet’s domain name system. To help achieve this goal, NTIA in 1998 partnered with ICANN, a California-based nonprofit, to transition technical DNS coordination and management functions to the private sector. NTIA’s current stewardship role was intended to be temporary.”

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