ICANN Go-Ahead on GTLDs with “String Criteria” of “Morality and Public Order”

By |July 1st, 2008|

"There has been wide coverage of ICANN’s decision this week to adopt a new process for creating new global Top Level Domains (gTLDs).... Civil libertarians supporting Susan Crawford’s line argue that if governments are able to pressure ICANN into prohibiting .jihad (which has perfectly non-violent meanings in Islam as well as the terrorist connotations it has recently acquired in the West), then can a prohibition on .falun-gong be far behind? ..."

ICANN Board Approves Censorship Policy for Domain Names Based on Morality: 2 Board Members Speak Against It

By |June 26th, 2008|

Today in Paris the ICANN Board passed the GNSO's controversial recommendations to censor top level domains based on notions of "morality and public order", and broadly defined "community" wishes. However, 2 ICANN board members, law professors Wendy Seltzer (on behalf of the At-Large Internet Users) and Susan Crawford, made very powerful and compelling statements to protect free expression on the top level of the Internet. Hopefully Professor Crawford is right and this harm can be mitigated through narrowly tailored implementation.

NCUC Statement on “Domain Name Tasting” ICANN Policy Issue

By |December 7th, 2007|

"The Final Outcomes Report of the ad hoc group on domain name tasting suggests a growing trend of registrants exploiting ICANN’s Add Grace Period (the “AGP”) to receive a full refund on the cost of registration by canceling their domain name registrations within five days. The AGP may have been adopted upon the assumption that all commercial uses of a domain name would require registration for a period longer than five days. Certain registrants, however, have discovered that they can profit from repeated use of extremely short-term registrations through the use of pay-per-click advertising or otherwise. A coordinated response by ICANN may be appropriate to close this loophole. This response, however, should not be disproportionate to the problem nor stem from any misconception of the issue...."

IP Justice Statement on “GNSO Improvements” at ICANN

By |November 5th, 2007|

ICANN’s Board Governance Committee Report (BGC), in attempting to achieve the laudable result of greater inclusiveness, effectiveness, and efficiency conceives a near total restructuring of the GNSO and its processes. It proceeds from an assumption that any voting inherently inhibits the process and proceeds to find the most dramatic route to eliminate any vote. While many of the BGC Report’s recommendations would certainly improve the effectiveness of the GNSO, the report does not adequately consider the values inherent in the vote of the GNSO Council and the dangers of forcing consensus in all cases....

Explanation of NCUC’s Votes on WhoIs at LA ICANN Meeting – “Halloween Vote” on WhoIs

By |November 4th, 2007|

NCUC strongly supported Motion #3 because it provided a mechanism to spur uncompromising parties to the negotiating table on Whois in good faith. Without a mechanism to bring to the negotiating table parties who already have what they want, there is no incentive to voluntarily agree to any changes to the status quo with whois. NCUC continues to believe that “sun-setting” the non-consensus policy of Whois is the best course of action for the ICANN Board and the GNSO. There is no legitimate rationale for retaining policies that lack the broad support of the ICANN community, such as Whois. Whois never held a consensus position within the GNSO and it is a tragic mistake to continue with such a non-consensus policy, particularly when ICANN has been warned by national and regional data protection commissioners that Whois violates a number of national laws and international agreements. Reform of Whois is badly and immediately needed to protect the privacy rights of Internet users, bring ICANN into compliance with international law, and remove the legal risk on Registrars and Registries for violations of law imposed by ICANN contracts....

ICANN Board Discusses Policy to Censor New Domain Names: Public Encouraged to Attend LA Meeting and Voice Concerns

By |October 28th, 2007|

ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, holds its 30th International Public Meeting in Los Angeles from 29 October through 2 November. ICANN is the private corporation set up by the US Commerce Department to manage the assignment of Internet domain names and numbers in 1997. An important item on the meeting’s agenda is a proposed policy to allow for the registration of new Generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs, such as “.com” or “.net”). On 6 September 2007 ICANN's Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) Policy Council voted to approve this policy and sent it to the Board of Directors, who may vote on it during this meeting. The Keep The Core Neutral Coalition (KTCN) opposes several recommendations in the GNSO’s final report that threaten freedom of expression, and urges the Board to either reject the policy, reject specific recommendations, or to refrain from voting on the policy until its harmful ramifications are addressed.

IP Justice Comments on GNSO’s New GTLD Committee Recommendations: Proposal Would Create a Private Tyranny of Illegal Censorship and Illegitimate Authority at ICANN

By |August 30th, 2007|

"IP Justice supports the introduction of new generic top-level Internet domain names as quickly and as broadly as possible. However, we are deeply concerned about recommendations put forth by the GNSO New GTLD Committee (and ICANN) for evaluating applications will stifle free expression on the Internet. The recommendations would create a policy of censorship on the Internet where controversial and offensive ideas can be banned at the top-level, despite numerous longstanding national and international freedom of expression guarantees. The illegitimate system of governance proposed by the recommendations violates the sovereignty of nations and the civil rights of Internet users. ICANN usurps the rights of states to decide what ideas may be expressed within their borders and who is entitled to express them. ICANN and its proposed expert panels have no legal authority to decide what ideas people may express. Nor does ICANN or its experts have any legitimacy or authority to adjudicate competing legal rights. The proposal makes a mockery of democracy, since these structures exist entirely outside of legitimate lawmaking institutions ..."

Netizens Encouraged to Weigh-In on Free Expression Concerns at ICANN

By |August 13th, 2007|

"ICANN announced Friday that a 21-day comment period has opened for the public to submit comments regarding ICANN's proposed policy for approving new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) on the Internet. The Keep The Core Neutral coalition (KTCN) has created a new Action Alert to guide supporters in submitting comments to ICANN. KTCN is concerned with policy recommendations for ICANN to reject domain names that others find to be offensive or immoral. KTCN calls on ICANN to refrain from making general policy decisions and to stick to its technical mission. KTCN launched in June 2007 and now has over 200 organizational and individual members from around the world. All coalition members have signed a petition urging ICANN to refrain from using non-technical criteria for approving applications for new gTLDs and to create a policy driven by the protection freedom of expression and innovation on the Internet..."

KEEP THE CORE NEUTRAL: Global Petition Urges ICANN to Protect Free Expression and Innovation in Domain Name Policy

By |June 29th, 2007|

"The "Keep The Core Neutral" campaign officially launched this week with an educational workshop at the 29th meeting of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) in San Juan, Puerto Rico. ICANN handles technical coordination of the Internet and sets policy surrounding the domain name system (DNS), the Internet’s basic addressing system that allows people to locate web sites and use email. The DNS is informally called the technical “core" of the Internet. The Keep The Core Neutral Coalition launched with over 100 members from around the world, including both individuals and organizations. Coalition members signed a petition urging ICANN to resist efforts to evaluate applications for new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) based on non-technical criteria such as ideas about morality and competing national political objectives. ..."

NCUC Statement on Draft GNSO New GTLD Policy Recommendations

By |June 13th, 2007|

"... Our overall concern remains that despite platitudes to certain, transparent and predictable criteria—the GNSO’s draft recommendations create arbitrary vetoes and excessive challenges to applications. There are some for incumbents; for trademark rights holders; for the easily offended, for repressive governments and worst of all, for “the public”. Among the more troubling proposals is the introduction of criteria in which strings must be ‘morally’ acceptable and not contrary to ‘public order’. A concept borrowed from trademark law without precedent in the regulation of non-commercial speech. NCUC opposes any string criteria related to ‘morality’ or ‘public order’ as beyond ICANN’s technical mandate...."