The internet is open and uncensored thanks to oversight by the U.S. government, which provides this through the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or Icann.

As you probably know, President Obama is determined to cede this oversight to despotic regimes or perhaps the United Nations. This will mean that authoritarian regimes will gain more power to censor people living in them.

U.S. oversight expires at the end of this month.

The last hope for the internet to remain free is Senate and House Republicans who have vowed to fight to continue U.S. oversight and save Icann. Gordon Crovitz of the Wall Street Journal writes:

The leaders of the four congressional committees that oversee the internet—Sen. John Thune and Rep. Fred Upton (Commerce) and Sen. Chuck Grassley and Rep. Bob Goodlatte (Judiciary)—sent a detailed letter last week to Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and Attorney General Loretta Lynch: “This irreversible decision could result in a less transparent and accountable internet governance regime or provide an opportunity for an enhanced role for authoritarian nation-states.” They focused on several fatal problems with the Obama plan:

Several countries are committed to ending Icann’s status as a U.S. legal entity, which would invalidate its legal protections. “The matter of jurisdiction alone raises questions,” the legislators wrote. “These critically important jurisdictional issues cannot wait for resolution after the transition occurs.”

Icann’s monopoly over the root zone of domain names earns it hundreds of millions of dollars in annual revenues. Icann should not become an unregulated monopoly. “We have serious concerns about the ability to ensure that Icann would follow its own bylaws” absent oversight, the lawmakers wrote. An unregulated monopoly is more dangerous than a monopoly regulated by the U.S.

. . .

The Constitution says Congress must approve the sale of government property. The Icann contract is government property worth billions of dollars, yet the Obama administration has ignored the requirement to seek congressional approval. “Absent clear legal certainty, moving forward with the transition could have devastating consequences for internet users,” the legislators write, because litigation would create questions about who has authority to award and manage internet addresses.

The Icann system was created in the 1990s under the Bill Clinton presidency. When the Obama administration announced a plan to ditch it in 2014, former President Bill Clinton said this:

“A lot of people who have been trying to take this authority away from the U.S. want to do it for the sole purpose of cracking down on Internet freedom and limiting it and having governments protect their backsides instead of empower their people.”

As Crovitz points out, nobody has asked Hillary Clinton what she thinks about Icann.