Although the Commerce Department and the Obama Administration have announced plans to transition the Internet’s address system to the International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a House subcommittee panel passed a bill yesterday to prevent that from happening until there is an investigation. The bill is referred to as the “Domain Openness Through Continued Oversight Matters Act of 2014” or DOTCOM Act.

The purpose of the bill, according to its text is:

[t]o prohibit the National Telecommunications and Information Administration from relinquishing responsibility over the Internet domain name system until the Comptroller General of the United States submits to Congress a report on the role of the NTIA with respect to such system

The bill asks the Comptroller General to prepare a report which addresses, among other things, the pro’s/con’s of transfer, any national security concerns, and a definition of the term “multi-stakeholder model”. Of these, the multi-stakeholder model question is probably ┬áthe easiest item to address – there is a Wiki page for the term.

Partisan politics aside, the bill puts the spotlight on the Obama administration to explain its decision and view that ICANN is ready to take on the responsibility (symbolic or real) that will come with being the actual “backstop” of the Internet and its proper/fair administration.