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DOTCOM Act sails through House commerce committee

Congressman John Shimkus (R-Illinois)

The DOTCOM Act, a bill that would give Congress oversight over the Administration’s decision to relinquish its control of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) to ICANN, the global multi-stakeholder organization that manages the address system on the Internet, sailed through the House commerce committee in a voice vote.

Originally authored by Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.) last year and reintroduced in February, the committee worked on a compromise that made it a slam-dunk in a five-minute session Wednesday morning with kudos coming from both sides of the aisle.

Instead of putting the IANA transition to ICANN on hold for a year until Congress approves it, the bipartisan compromise gives Congress 30 days to review the National Telecommunications and Information Service’s report certifying that the transition proposal from ICANN meets the Administration’s critieria before turning over the key domain name functions.

“[The Domain Openness Through Continued Oversight Matters Act] assures there are effective safeguards are in place,” said communications and technology subcommittee chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.). “There is a role for Congress to play in this transition…. without replacing the process in place.”

ICANN’s transition plan, currently under discussion, will be central to ICANN’s upcoming meeting a few days in Buenos Aires, beginning June 22. The earliest the U.S. could turn over the functions would be this September. If the plan isn’t finalized and approved at that meeting, it will move to ICANN’s next meeting, in October in Dublin.

A Senate version of the House bill was introduced last week in the Senate commerce committee by chairman John Thune (R-S.D.) and Sens. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).