House backs Bush on Internet stance

Federal legislators send letter of support to U.S. officials who are sparring with foreign counterparts over Internet governance.

Members of the U.S. House of Representatives said this week that the United States should resist international pressure to give up authority over key Internet functions amid a mounting feud over the issue.

In a letter to Commerce and State Department officials, the lawmakers said the Bush administration should retain strong oversight over the Internet domain name system, specifically the root servers that guide traffic to huge databases containing addresses for all the top-level domains, such as .com, .edu, and the country code domains like .uk and .jp.

"Given the Internet's importance to the world's economy, it is essential that the underlying domain name system of the Internet remain stable and secure," the letter said. "As such, the United States should take no action that would have the potential to adversely impact the effective and efficient operation of the domain name system. Therefore, the United States should maintain its historic role in authorizing changes or modifications to the authoritative root zone file."

The letter was signed by two Republicans and two Democrats, including Joe Barton, chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, and Fred Upton, chairman of the Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet. They addressed the letter to David Gross, U.S. coordinator for international communication and information policy at the State Department, and Michael Gallagher, head of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.

The European Union and other nations are demanding that the U.S. share responsibility for the domain name system, including decisions over adding and deleting new top-level domains, with the United Nations. The Bush administration has so for resisted them. Officials on both sides are set to meet about the issue next month at a U.N.-sponsored summit in Tunisia.

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