NCUC Proposes Amendments to Protect Free Expression in Domain Name Policy at ICANN

By |June 2nd, 2007|

ICANN's Non-Commercial User's Constituency (NCUC) introduced 5 proposals to amend the draft GNSO recommendations for a policy to introduce new generic top-level domains (gtlds). NCUC's amendments are intended to provide some recognition of respect for freedom of expression rights in the GNSO recommendations. NCUC proposes that ICANN keep the core neutral of national, regional, moral, and religious policy conflicts. The current draft GNSO recommendations would not permit a controversial or offensive word to be included in a top-level Internet domain name and would expand the rights of trademark owners on the Internet.

Free Expression Threatened by Policy to Ban Controversial Ideas in Domain Names

By |May 30th, 2007|

ICANN’s current proposal for evaluating new top-level domains will result in massive censorship on the Internet, since controversial or offensive ideas will not be allowed in a top-level domain. And the proposal vastly expands the rights of large trademark holders to control the use of language on the Internet, well beyond what US or international trademark law grants to trademark owners. ICANN’s historical practice of deferring to the intellectual property lobby in setting global domain name policy has consistently provided ammunition to those who would question ICANN’s legitimacy and its ability to govern in the global public interest. ICANN will continue to grapple with a perception of illegitimacy, particularly from the developing world, as long as it operates for the benefit of narrow special interests, while disregarding fundamental freedoms in its policy development process. For ICANN to remain the appropriate international forum to be entrusted with managing the Internet’s root server, ICANN must stick to its narrow technical mission and keep the core neutral on national policy issues.

ICANN Board Vote Signals Era of Censorship in Domain Names

By |April 2nd, 2007|

"While Friday's vote was specific to the application for a .XXX domain name space, the Board Members' vote signals their position as to whether they are comfortable with ICANN expanding its mission to become a regulator of online human behavior. By voting to turn down the .XXX application for public policy reasons, the Board indicated it will go beyond its technical mission of DNS coordination and seek to decide what ideas are allowed to be given a voice in the new domain name space. Unfortunately, it looks like it will be impossible for any idea that is politically or culturally controversial to be permitted a new domain name space by ICANN. ICANN is setting itself up as an institution of censorship and subordination to the conflicting goals of governments...."

Milton Mueller & Bruce Tonkin Discuss Censorship and New gTLD Policy

By |April 2nd, 2007|

>>MILTON MUELLER: And I think that's tragic, that you are basically saying -- you are creating a political process of censorship. You're sort of abandoning 300 years of liberal ideology about freedom of expression and saying that we are going to decide what is allowed to be uttered at the top level based on an alleged universality that doesn't exist. And I would just remind you that one of the ways that we ended several centuries of religious warfare was not by deciding which religion was right; it was by the principle of tolerance, which allowed all the religions to exist and separated state power from expression and conscious and belief. And that's, I'd suggest, a direction we have to go. ....

ICANN Board Member Susan Crawford’s Remarks on Vote to Prevent .xxx Domain Name Space Application

By |April 2nd, 2007|

Excellent comments on new gTLD process: "... I note as a side point that such a requirement in the U.S. would violate the first amendment to our Constitution. But this content-related censorship should not be ICANN's concern and ICANN should not allow itself to be used as a private lever for government chokepoint content control by making up reasons to avoid the creation of such a TLD in the first place. To the extent there are public policy concerns with this TLD, they can be dealt with through local laws. ... We should be examining generic TLD applicants on the basis of their technical and financial strength. We should avoid dealing with content concerns to the maximum extent possible. We should be opening up new TLDs. ..."

ICANN Government Advisory Committee (GAC) Principles for New GTLDs

By |March 28th, 2007|

"The purpose of this document is to identify a set of general public policy principles related to the introduction, delegation and operation of new generic top level domains (gTLDs). They are intended to inform the ICANN Board of the views of the GAC regarding public policy issues concerning new gTLDs and to respond to the provisions in the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) process ...."

ICANN New gTLD Policy Up for Debate in Lisbon: Censorship and National Sovereignty at Issue

By |March 22nd, 2007|

One of the most hotly contested issues at ICANN is the current draft proposal regarding the introduction of new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) and its impact on free expression and national sovereignty. While the latest draft proposal would no longer allow a single country to block a new gTLD string application for non-technical reasons, it would allow any group of nations to block an application for a new top-level domain for non-technical reasons. The proposed gTLD policy is still a recipe for censorship and an attack on national sovereignty. Why should the restrictions in one country be imposed upon citizens of another country? No one has even attempted to provide a justification for that.

Sample Letter to Govt Advisory Committee (GAC) Member on Proposed New gTLD Policy

By |March 22nd, 2007|

I am writing to you because I am concerned about the GNSO draft final report on the Introduction of New Generic Top-Level Domains, GNSO PDP-Dec05, released 16 March 2007. This proposal contains several troubling provisions involving criteria and processes to select which text strings will be accepted as new gTLDs. These provisions will threaten the national sovereignty of individual nations by allowing other countries to block new gTLD strings that are perfectly lawful in another country.

Sample Letter to ICANN Board Member on Proposal for New gTLDs

By |March 22nd, 2007|

I am writing to you because I am concerned about the GNSO draft final report on the Introduction of New Generic Top-Level Domains, GNSO PDP-Dec05, released 16 March 2007. The policy proposal contains several troubling provisions involving criteria and processes to select which text strings will be accepted as new gTLDs. If accepted, the policy will create an enormous work-load burden and legal liability for ICANN in order to decide which new gTLDs to accept. It is also a recipe for censorship since it would give GAC power to prevent strings for non-technical reasons.

GNSO New TLDs Committee Draft Final Report -Introduction of Generic Top Level Domains

By |March 16th, 2007|

... The section sets out the principles, policy recommendations and implementation guidelines the GNSO Council’s Committee on the introduction of new top-level domains has developed through its policy development process. The development of all elements of the Committee’s work has been done in close consultation with an ICANN staff team who have provided advice on policy, operational and legal matters for the Committee. ... Recommendation 6 - Strings must not be contrary to generally accepted legal norms relating to morality and public order.