Why Does Ted Cruz Want to Shut Down the Government This Time?

cruzIf you’ve been following his Twitter or press releases lately, you’ll know that Sen. Ted Cruz (remember him?) has a new crusade: trying to prevent Internet oversight from going global. The federal government is moving forward with its plan to move governance of crucial technical aspects of the Internet — including the master registry of domain names (Domain Name System, or DNS) — to an international non-profit group. Cruz co-sponsored, with Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI), the Protect Internet Freedom Act to ensure that the U.S. maintains control over these functions, and is now moving to block a short-term spending bill necessary to keep the government open through the end of the month. “If Congress fails to act, the Obama administration intends to give away control of the internet to an international body akin to the United Nations,” Cruz said last week. “If the proposal goes though, it will countries like Russia, China, and Iran to be able to censor speech on the internet, your speech.” Tech experts say his concerns are misguided. “[Cruz’s] technical theories about the registration of domain names — the “.net” and “.world” suffixes of internet addresses — have been discredited by engineers,” reports the New York Times. PolitiFact rated False Cruz’s claim that a UN-type body would assume control of the Internet. They write:
As of October 2016, the U.S. government is set to no longer have a contract to oversee certain internet-related duties having to do with all of us finding websites. The tasks will continue to be handled through a California nonprofit that’s been in place since 1998. Upshot: There’s no pending government handoff of control of the internet that we can see. Also, the member-countries of an advisory panel to the nonprofit’s board can only make a recommendation if every nation agrees; that’s not U.N.-like.

Taking a dramatic stand is a familiar Cruz gambit: The senator famously led a shut down of the federal government in 2013 in a futile attempt to defund Obamacare. But the Times notes that, unlike 2013, Cruz does not have enough support to actually halt the spending bill this time around. —
Sam Reisman (@thericeman) is a staff editor at Mediaite.

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