Internet Infrastructure & IP Censorship By David G. Post - August 1, 2015 Full Article as .PDF Many scholars and other observers of developments in Internet governance, law, and policy have commented upon an unusual and important phenomenon that has become more widespread in recent years: using control over access to critical portions of the Internet’s technical infrastructure – the system comprising the underlying protocols for routing, naming, and addressing, along with related technical standards and the agreements, formal and informal, through which they are implemented across the Internet, what Laura DeNardis calls “Critical Internet Resources” (CIRs) - to enforce private and public law. Three examples illustrate the nature of this new phenomenon. 1. The UDRP In the realm of private law and the enforcement of private rights, the paradigmatic illustration is ICANN’s Uniform Dispute Resolution Procedure (UDRP). The UDRP is an ICANN-operated mandatory arbitration process that deals with “cyber-squatting,” i.e., the practice of registering domain names that mirror (or closely resemble) existing trademarks, for the purpose of re-selling the domain name to the trademark owner. The UDRP allows a trademark holder to submit a cyber-squatting complaint to an ICANN-accredited arbitrator, who is charged with applying ICANN’s substantive rules for determining whether the cyber-squatting offense has been committed. Decisions by the UDRP arbitrators are enforced solely through control over a [...]
ICANN Accountability Deficits Revealed in .AFRICA Panel Ruling By Robin D. Gross - 16 July 2015 Full Article as .PDF “Fortress ICANN” No Longer Able to Shield Itself from Accountability In an important test of ICANN’s primary accountability mechanism, its Independent Review Process (IRP), the organization has been handed a stinging blow over its mishandling of the bid for the new generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD) .AFRICA. At the crux of the issue are two competing applications for the .AFRICA new gTLD and the decision by ICANN’s Board to abdicate its responsibility to ensure that ICANN’s evaluation and subsequent rewarding of the domain was carried out fairly, transparently, and in accordance with the organization’s Bylaws, Articles of Organization, and established policies. The unanimous IRP Panel of 3 distinguished adjudicators declared that both the actions and inactions of ICANN’s Board with respect to the application of DotConnect Africa Trust for the .AFRICA gTLD were inconsistent with ICANN’s Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws. The Panel found that both ICANN’s Board, and its constituent body, the GAC, breached their obligations to act transparently and in conformity with procedures that ensured fairness. As a result, the Panel recommended that ICANN continue to refrain from delegating the .AFRICA gTLD and permit DCA Trust’s application to proceed through the remainder of the new gTLD application process. Although [...]
Today, IP Justice submitted comments, together with ICANN's Non-Commercial Stakeholders Group (NCSG), the Association for Progressive Communications (APC), and several other organizations and individuals concerned about ICANN's proposal to restrict access to privacy protections for domain name registrations. Read the comments submitted from NCSG, IP Justice, and others here. See the many other comments submitted by concerned Internet users here. ICANN Public Comment Forum on this issue is here. See also "Powerful Coalition Letter Highlights Danger of ICANN's New Domain Registration Program"
1 July 2015 To: email@example.com ICANN Public Comment Forum: https://www.icann.org/public-comments/2013-whois-accuracy-spec-review-2015-05-14-en Dear ICANN, Thank you for this opportunity to provide comment on the Review of the 2013 Registrar Accreditation Agreement's Whois Accuracy Program Specification. IP Justice is a San Francisco-based nonprofit civil liberties organization that promotes balanced intellectual property rights and Internet policy that enables freedom and innovation.(http://www.ipjustice.org) IP Justice strongly opposes ICANN's recommendation that domain name registrars must delete and suspend domain name registrations without due process of law and its recommendation that registrars must verify the identity of customers in case intellectual property lawyers might want to sue them at some point in the future. This proposal does not respect the privacy rights of Internet users, who have a fundamental right to privacy under numerous international treaties, national constitutions, and other legal instruments throughout the world. Article 29 Working Party has repeatedly informed ICANN of its policy's divergence from international law, citing chapter and verse of the many violations, to no effect on ICANN. https://community.icann.org/display/gnsononcomstake/Privacy ICANN's continuous thumbing of its nose to Privacy Commissioners and Data Protection Authorities was even the subject of a 2014 Internet Governance Forum (IGF) Workshop in which multi-stakeholders participated, including a Dutch Privacy Authority and the Council of Europe. http://bit.ly/1FS3aHp And yet ICANN soldiers on, claiming to represent "the global public interest" while ignoring all [...]
IP Justice sent a letter this week to ICANN's Board Governance Committee to express concern for ICANN's treatment of Internet user's freedom of expression rights in the organization's policy for new Generic Top-Level Domains (GTLDs). The letter, which urged the committee to reconsider it's recent decision to restrict numerous lawful of the word "doctor" in the Internet's domain name system, stated ...
Freedom of expression on the Internet is at risk from ICANN’s recent decision to prohibit anyone but one specific type of doctor from using the word within the .doctor new gTLD space. Last month, ICANN’s New GTLD Program Committee decided that only “medical practitioners” would be allowed to register a domain in the .doctor name space. ICANN’s decision to exclude numerous lawful users of the word, including a broad range of individuals who are _in fact_ doctors comes at a time when the world is watching ICANN to see if it can adequately protect Internet users’ rights in the absence of US Government supervision. If ICANN’s treatment of free expression in the implementation of its new gTLD program is any indication, ICANN has not yet sufficiently developed to be trusted with protecting Internet users’ rights in the domain name system. Often overlooked is that ICANN’s community sought to protect freedom of expression rights in the new gTLD program by including free expression principles and recommendations in the GNSO’s final approved new gTLD policy. However, those protections were quietly violated in the staff’s subsequent implementation of the GNSO’s policy, which afforded no protection to Internet users’ free expression rights. Specifically, after the GNSO approved the community’s policy for new gTLDs, ICANN staff added a new requirement to the policy, called “Public Interest Commitments” or “PICs”, [...]