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Republican Presidential Candidate Upset With ICANN CEO

Michele Neylon

Republican senator and US presidential candidate Ted Cruz is not very happy with ICANN CEO Fadi Chehade.

In a letter dated today, Cruz along with two other senators, have dropped some pointed questions for Chehade in relation to his involvement with a recent meeting in China.

"Given your assurance to preserve and prolong the free and open Internet, we were surprised and dismayed to learn that you have agreed to co-chair a high-level advisory committee for the World Internet Conference, which is organized by the Chinese government, while you serve as the Chief Executive Officer of ICANN under contract with the United States Government," says the letter signed by senators, Ted Cruz (R-Texas), James Lankford (R-Okla.), and Mike Lee (R-Utah).

The senators continued:

As you must know, the World Internet Conference is not a beacon of free speech. It has been heavily criticized by members of the press for refusing to allow China-based reporters for the New York times and Washington Post to cover the conference. Reporters Without Borders demanded international boycott of the conference, calling China the "enemy of the Internet." In addition, GreatFire co-founder, Charlie Smith, described foreign guests of the Conference as "complicit actors in the Chinese censorship regime and are lending legitimacy to Lu Wei, CAC and their heavy-handed approach to Internet governance. They are, in effect, helping to put all Chinese who stand for their constitutional right to free speech behind bars."

The IANA transition has been raised as an issue by some of the US presidential candidates, though Cruz himself doesn’t have a stellar track record on internet related policies as The Oatmeal highlighted.

Read the full Cruz-Lankford-Lee letter here.

By Michele Neylon, MD of Blacknight Solutions
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