SF Bay Area Chapter Signs Civil Society Letter in Support of the IANA Oversight Transition

SF Bay Area Chapter Signs Civil Society Letter in Support of the IANA Oversight Transition

Alongside several other Civil Society organizations, the SF Bay Area Chapter has signed a letter of support for the IANA Oversight Transition. This letter was submitted to congress ahead of the congressional hearing entitled Protecting Internet Freedom: Implications of Ending U.S. Oversight of the Internet, which took took place on Wednesday, September 14.

The content of the the letter and signatories can be viewed below:

Civil Society Statement:

Statement in Support of Completing the IANA Transition on September 30, 2016

We, the undersigned, believe it is critical to the future of the Internet for the IANA stewardship transition to complete on September 30, 2016, with the expiry of NTIA’s contract with ICANN. Signatories to this letter include leading civil society organizations dedicated to defending freedom online.

We believe the best defense against foreign governments exerting control over the Internet is to finish the transition on time. Critics have suggested that maintaining the US Government’s role in IANA will somehow prevent attempts to censor the Internet, but the exact opposite is true. Any delay would signal to those who want to control the Internet that the US Government does not believe the Internet really works as designed. It would tell the world that the historic consensus that exists in support of the IANA transition is insignificant. And, it would discredit the US Government’s longstanding support for the multistakeholder Internet governance model.

Over the past two years, the organizations and individuals most invested in the smooth functioning of the Internet and the free flow of information online have come together to produce a transition plan to safeguard the Internet’s future. Executing this plan now is the best guarantee of the stability and security of the Internet. Reasserting US Government authority at the last minute would only fuel foreign governments’ attacks on Internet freedom and openness, both in inter-governmental fora and via technological solutions designed to fragment the single, globally interconnected Internet.

The IANA transition does not imply any Internet “give away.” Since the Internet’s inception, the US government has worked together with businesses, technologists, individuals, and civil society organizations to ensure that the Internet remains a tool that can bring about social, economic, and political change and further the realization of human rights. These are the same stakeholders that developed the transition plan’s detailed governance and accountability measures and stand by those measures today. To suggest that these same businesses, individuals, and organizations would agree to handing over the Internet to the UN or to nations that support a government-run Internet is simply not credible.

The Internet is revolutionary because it is a voluntary system. It works because the parties who run and oversee the infrastructure choose to work together and trust each other of their own accord. If the US Government does not keep faith with its commitment to the transition, that will undermine the trust that all of the parties have in the system. Such mistrust could lead to much more drastic changes to the Internet than merely letting the NTIA contract expire, as it is set to do.

Our organizations are dedicated to fighting censorship and defending freedom. We believe completing the IANA transition on time is imperative and urge members of Congress to do everything they can to ensure a successful transition on September 30.


Access Now
Center for Democracy & Technology
Greater Washington DC Internet Society Chapter
New America’s Open Technology Institute
New York City Internet Society Chapter
Niskanen Center
North American Regional Bureau, Internet Society
North Carolina Internet Society Chapter
Public Knowledge
Rebecca MacKinnon
San Francisco Bay Area Internet Society Chapter

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