FCC Commissioner on Internet Oversight Switch: ‘If You Cherish Free Expression,’ ‘You Should Be Worried,’ This Is ‘Irreversible’

AP Photo/Susan Walsh
On Wednesday’s “Sean Hannity Show,” FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai (R) stated that the plan to “essentially give up the US oversight role…of the Internet” to ICANN is something that should worry anyone who cherishes “free expression, and free speech rights generally,” and could potentially cede oversight of the Internet to “foreign governments who might not share our values.” He further stated that such a move is “irreversible.” Pai said, “This proposal is to essentially give up the US oversight role that it’s had for the last 20 years, basically for the entire commercial lifespan of the Internet to a company called ICANN, which is an international organization, which includes a number of foreign countries. And, it’s an unprecedented move, and one that, as Mr. DeMint pointed out, is irreversible. Once we give up this oversight role, we can’t get it back.” He added that Internet oversight is a case of, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Pai further stated, “[I]f you cherish free expression, and free speech rights generally, you should be worried, I think, when there’s — this oversight role’s going to be ceded to potentially, foreign governments who might not share our values.” Follow Ian Hanchett on