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4/10/2014
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It's wise to look carefully down the road when there is no turning back.

In this case, it has to do with the Internet.

The Obama administration plans to cede the U.S. government's last bit of oversight over the Internet.

Congressional Democrats don't seemed concerned. Congressional Republicans aren't as laissez faire.

Because of the partisan split, it sounds like one party has been the benefactor of better communication in regard to the move. The one that doesn't feel as comfortable wants more information. The Republicans are seeking that information, proposing a study to see how the release of U.S. oversight will affect Internet control.

The main concern is whether other governments will be able to take control of the Internet.

It seems like a good question. At the very least, Congress — both sides of the aisle — should know the answer to it before the administration proceeds.

A bill in the House would require the Government Accountability Office to study the administration's controversial proposal and issue a report before Obama moves ahead with relinquishing oversight.

The oversight at issue is that of a Los Angeles-based nonprofit called the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Number (ICANN). ICANN, which is controlled by the United States, manages some of the most important aspects of the Internet, including the domain name system and IP addressing.

The government contract with ICANN ends in September 2015, and Obama doesn't wish to renew it. The U.S. Department of Commerce would like to convene "global stakeholders" to come up with a transition plan. But what the transition would be to hasn't been explained.

Given the importance of ICANN's contribution to the Internet, it really would be wise to review Obama's intentions in regard to ending U.S. oversight. It shouldn't rub Obama wrong; it might reinforce his idea. And, it might alleviate other Americans' concerns.

If it does neither, then it was the right thing to do, and the United States can continue its oversight.