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? ..."

Work Remains For ICANN’s New Top Level Internet Domains (IP-Watch)

By |July 1st, 2008|

Internet Technical Body an Authority on Morality? ICANN announced the "biggest extension of the DNS [domain name system] in 40 years" after its decision last week to finish implementation of a new policy for introducing new top-level domains (TLDs). According to the timeline presented at the ICANN meeting in Paris, new TLDs to compete against the existing .com, .biz or .museum TLDs will be open for application in the second quarter of 2009. ... But the most discussed and criticised reason for an objection clearly is “morality and public order.” This objection criterion would allow any government to veto strings (domains), ICANN director and US law professor Susan Crawford warned before the vote on the new TLD policy. This could undermine ICANN’s mission to act as a private self-regulatory body, she said, by giving such influence to governments. “It’s allowing governments to censor,” Crawford said, adding that the idea of having a private internet governance model was also “to avoid having the domain name system used as a choke-point for content.” Together with her colleague Wendy Seltzer, who acts as liaison of the ICANN At-Large User Community to the board, Crawford asked for clear-cut and narrow rules for the morality objection....

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.

IGF 2008 Hyderabad: Program, Agenda and Format of Hyderabad Meeting

By |June 5th, 2008|

Internet Governance Forum (IGF) Program, Agenda and Format of the Hyderabad Meeting

I. Introduction

This paper aims to provide an update to the planning on programme, agenda and format of the third IGF meeting, which is to take place in Hyderabad on 3 – 6 December 2008. The paper is conceived as a rolling document and will […]

Class Action Lawsuit Against Network Solutions & ICANN for “Front-Running” of Domains and Defrauding Consumers

By |February 25th, 2008|

Network Solutions has forced millions of people to buy Internet domain names from them instead of cheaper competitors through a scheme that's netted the firm millions of dollars, a federal class action lawsuit filed today by Kabateck Brown Kellner, LLP states. ICANN, whose policies facilitate the scheme, is also named in the suit, filed in U.S. District Court, Central District of California. Each time someone asks Network Solutions about a domain name, the firm creates a monopoly for itself, forcing consumers to pay the price they demand," said Brian Kabateck, lead counsel in the class action and Kabateck Brown Kellner's Managing Partner. Whenever someone searches for the availability of a domain name through Network Solutions' website, the company immediately registers the name for itself, preventing other companies from selling it and forcing consumers to pay Network Solutions' expensive fees. If a consumer were to go to another, cheaper site to register the name, they would find the name is "unavailable." Consumers are never informed that inquiring as to a name's availability through Network Solutions results in the company holding a monopoly on selling that name. This allows Network Solutions to continue charging substantially higher prices for domain name registration. Network Solutions charged $34.99 to register the name sought by this suit's lead plaintiff. A competitor would have charged $9.99. Network Solutions' scheme is made possible by ICANN. ICANN allows companies that sell domain names to avoid paying registration fees for names cancelled within five days. Thus, Network Solutions can defraud customers at no cost to itself....

Domain Names are Bigger than Trademarks: ICANN’s New Consumer Protection Role

By |February 20th, 2008|

The terminology “confusingly similar” lends itself to the expansion of trademark rights to domain names by commercial uses and governments to the disadvantage of non-commercial users. ICANN should refrain from taking on consumer protection type roles (such as preventing “confusion” in people) and only regulate issues related to the technical coordination of the Domain Name System.

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...."

EPIC & NGO Letter to ICANN Board on Need for Whois Reform

By |October 30th, 2007|

"The purpose of this letter is to express our support for changes to WHOIS services that would protect the privacy of individuals, specifically the removal of registrants' contact information from the publicly accessible WHOIS database. It is also to propose a sensible resolution to the long-running discussion over WHOIS that would establish a bit of "policy stability" and allow the various constituencies to move on to other work. Both the WHOIS Task Force and the WHOIS Working Group agree that new mechanisms must be adopted to address an individual's right to privacy and the protection of his/her data. Current ICANN WHOIS policy conflicts with national privacy laws, including the EU Data Protection Directive, which requires the establishment of a legal framework to ensure that when personal information is collected, it is used only for its intended purpose. As personal information in the directory is used for other purposes and ICANN's policy keeps the information public and anonymously accessible, the database could be found illegal according to many national privacy and data protection laws including the European Data Protection Directive, European data protection laws and legislation in Canada and Australia...."

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 ..."