A summer whose entertainment headlines were dominated by Taylor Swift and her blowout concert tour just…
CFIF on Twitter CFIF on YouTube
Event Ticket Purchases: The Proposed BOSS Act Would Empower Biden’s Rogue FTC and Make Matters Worse, Not Better

A summer whose entertainment headlines were dominated by Taylor Swift and her blowout concert tour just came to an end.  Unsurprisingly, a significant number of those headlines centered upon the ongoing public policy debate over the consumer ticket purchase experience, along with varying and differing calls for reform.

Unfortunately, some of that discussion served to introduce terribly ill-advised proposals that would only make the industry and American consumers’ enjoyment of it far worse.

To be sure, the genesis of the problem underlying various reform proposals is the issue of predatory ticket resellers who engage in harmful practices that hurt fans as well as the artists themselves.  As just one illustration, resale ticket prices at StubHub alone have increased over 100% since…[more]

September 26, 2023 • 07:25 PM

Liberty Update

CFIFs latest news, commentary and alerts delivered to your inbox.
Captain America, Barack Obama and Surrender of U.S. Internet Authority Print
By Timothy H. Lee
Thursday, May 26 2016
If you're wondering at this point why it's suddenly a good idea to surrender U.S. oversight of the open Internet, you're not alone.

In the new blockbuster "Captain America: Civil War," which I highly recommend to anyone debating whether to see it, the Avengers team splits over whether to surrender themselves to United Nations authority. 

After an Avengers operation to capture a terrorist in Lagos, Nigeria, results in collateral damage to innocent bystanders, the U.S. Secretary of State and the U.N. inexplicably blame Captain America and his team instead of the terrorist whose devices killed the civilians.  The Secretary, who resembles John Kerry whether by design or coincidence, subsequently presents them with a written demand that they either agree to U.N. oversight or face prosecution.  The Avengers immediately split into opposing six-person sides, one led by Iron Man who inexplicably favors U.N. command and the other led by Captain America who recognizes the inherent peril of that scheme. 

Without offering any spoilers for those who have yet to see the film, Captain America obviously maintains the superior position. 

Beyond thrilling summer entertainment, the film presents a timely analogy for real-world events. 

Specifically, Barack Obama similarly believes that it's a good idea to end United States government authority over the worldwide open Internet. 

Back in 2014, Obama's Commerce Department announced its intention to relinquish control over the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the nonprofit organization that manages Internet names and addresses, as well as the technical means by which users connect to servers and websites across the Web.  By way of background, ICANN has maintained that authority since 1998, after University of Southern California scientist Jon Postel passed away after handling those duties following the Internet's creation in the U.S. 

The Obama Administration assures us that the surrender wouldn't empower tyrannical foreign governments like Iran, North Korea or Cuba, but that's precisely the result its scheme would have.  Among other things, foreign governments would obtain power to determine ICANN's composition, and individual citizens and groups would possess no legal standing to protest.  Remember, this is the same Obama Administration that promised, "If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor." 

If you're wondering at this point why it's suddenly a good idea to surrender U.S. oversight of the open Internet, you're not alone.  After all, what is wrong with the Internet that surrendering control to the "international community" would somehow fix? 

The answer is obvious: nothing at all.  Few innovations in human history match the Internet's two-decade record of improving and revolutionizing innumerable aspects of our lives. 

More fundamentally, what positive achievement during Obama's eight years in office suggests that he has earned the benefit of doubt in managing international affairs such as this?  When he says, "Trust me," what foreign policy success justifies his request? 

The answer is just as obvious:  nothing at all.  There is not a single theater of the world where conditions today are better than when Obama entered office, nor is there a single significant place where America's interests are better protected today than they were on January 20, 2009. 

Accordingly, this latest scheme would merely extend the Obama Administration's failures to the Internet, opening the door to censorship and degradation of the online experience as we know it. 

Fortunately, Obama's plan has been postponed and can be permanently stopped.  But that requires continued vigilance from Congress and the American electorate. 

For the third straight year, the House of Representatives passed an appropriations bill that prevents termination of ICANN's current authority.  And on the Senate side, Senators Marco Rubio (R - Florida), James Lankford (R - Oklahoma), Mike Lee (R - Utah) and Ted Cruz (R - Texas) are leading the campaign to stop Obama's plan in its tracks.  Senator Cruz points out that the Constitution's text prohibits any transfer of government property without the consent of Congress.  Because ICANN adds hundreds of millions of dollars to the U.S. Treasury each year, it constitutes government property and therefore cannot be unilaterally surrendered by Obama before he leaves office. 

Accordingly, Obama's plan to surrender Internet authority to the dangerous "international community" is subject to both Congressional and judicial interruption.  It's just as bad an idea as the hypothetical Avengers surrender to the same type of international authority, but it's up to Congressional leaders and American citizens to halt it. 

Related Articles :
Notable Quote   
"The Biden administration recently issued yet another outlandish immigration action, but most Americans likely did not realize it. I'm talking about the Department of Homeland Security's decision to extend and 'redesignate' Temporary Protected Status for more than 700,000 illegal aliens from Venezuela that the Biden administration has already allowed into the U.S. For many Americans, this may sound…[more]
— Chad Wolf, Former Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security and Executive Director of the Center for Homeland Security & Immigration at the America First Policy Institute
Liberty Poll   

Should any sitting president publicly pick either side in a private labor dispute?