The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), an organization led by conservative lawyer Jay Sekulow, has been pushing a debunked conspiracy theory about President Obama planning to give away control of the Internet to enemies of the United States.
The conspiracy theory began when the U.S. Commerce Department announced last week that oversight of the Internet would shift from the Los Angeles-based Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to an international non-profit group in 2015, reports MediaMatters.org.
According to The New York Times, this transition plan was planned to happen as far back as 1998.
Politico.com reports that the U.S. Commerce Secretary has said control of the web will not be transferred to countries hostile to the U.S. such as China or Russia.
However, the ACLJ has gotten over 113,000 signatures on its petition that shouts, "Don't Let Dictators Control the Internet: Keep the Web Free."
Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.) hopped on the conspiracy theory train and told WorldNet Daily, "There are real authoritarian governments in the world today who have no tolerance for the free flow of information and ideas. What possible benefit could come from giving the Vladimir Putins of the world a new venue to push their anti-freedom agendas?”
“Giving up control of ICANN will allow countries like China and Russia that don’t place the same value in freedom of speech to better define how the Internet looks and operates,” claimed Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.)
Rep. Blackburn said that she wanted the Internet to be "fully privatized," which means the web would be corporate-owned.