On March 14, 2014, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) had announced its intent to transfer its stewardship on IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority) functions to an international multi stakeholders community. This transition process (known as ‘IANA Transition’) should take place on September 30 next and is the result of many years of work by the ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), by various US government bodies and by the IANA. The objectives of the transition are to have the Internet managed by several entities instead of only one, and specifically not by governments or international organisations such as the UN or the ITU.
US Senator Ted Cruz blames this new Internet governance body for serving the interests of anti-Free Speech countries such as Iran, Russia, China, etc. But this is wrong, since the new body which will be in charge from September 30 onwards is a multipartite one, in which no single member will be able to take the lead (‘Who controls the Internet? Ted Cruz’s fantasy vs. the reality’).
Actually, Ted Cruz’s crusade is purely political because of the November 2016 US Senate elections. A delay in the Internet transition process might well benefit the countries opposed to the multiparty stakeholders system (Iran, Russia, China, etc.) who recommend a solution under auspices of the United Nations. It is difficult to see how Free Speech could possibly benefit from such a situation.