Digital Rights + Internet Governance + Innovation Policy

Statements & Publications2021-07-11T17:22:22+00:00

IP Justice Publications

IP Justice Encourages ICANN to Protect the Privacy Rights of Internet Users

1 July 2015 To: ICANN Public Comment Forum: 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.( 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. 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. And yet ICANN soldiers on, claiming to represent "the global public interest" while ignoring all [...]

July 1st, 2015|

IP Justice Advises ICANN Board to Protect Freedom of Expression Rights and Respect Community-Developed Policy in ICANN Top-Level Domain Policy

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 ...

April 10th, 2015|

Freedom of Expression Chilled By ICANN’s Addition of Speech Restrictions in DNS: ‘Public Interest Commitments’ Amount to Illegitimate Usurpation of Bottom-Up Policy

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”, [...]

April 1st, 2015|

Civil Society Cautions Against ICANN Proposal to Give Governments a Veto Over New Domains Using “Geographic Names”

A group of twenty-four civil society organizations and individuals today submitted a joint statement regarding a proposal from an ICANN Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) sub-group on the use of geographic names in top-level domains. The joint civil society statement cautioned against the adoption of the GAC proposal that would give governments veto power on domains that use geographic names. The submission stated that the proposal would threaten to chill freedom of expression and other lawful rights to use words in domain names, stifle innovation, and undermine the multi-stakeholder model for Internet governance. The group also stated that the proposal is based on flawed presumptions of law and 'the public interest' and is entirely unworkable from a practical standpoint.

December 31st, 2014|

Do Not Empower Non-Democratic Governments’ Control Over the Internet with this Draconian “GAC Veto” on ICANN Board Decisions

This draconian proposal to change ICANN's bylaws would fundamentally transform ICANN away from being a "bottom-up" and "private-sector-led" organization and into a governmental regulatory agency by changing the GAC's role from "advisory" into "primary decision maker" by essentially creating a "governmental veto" on all key organizational decisions. This would mark a truly significant change in the overall power structure at ICANN that would dramatically empower national governments (some democratic, some authoritarian) over the management of critical Internet resources at the expense of those who participate in the bottom-up policy development process...

August 27th, 2014|

Quelle Suprise! ICANN’s Accountability Plan Gives ICANN Board Total Control: ICANN Limits Accountability Improvement Measures to Toothless Self-Policing

1. ICANN’s So-Called “Enhancing Accountability” Process After a long wait, ICANN’s senior management finally released its plan for “Enhancing Accountability” at the private California corporation that makes global Internet domain name policy.  Unfortunately, the accountability deficit crisis created by ICANN’s longstanding policy of purely “self-policing” with no meaningful external accountability mechanisms will not be solved by this weak plan for more self-policing.  Perhaps telling was the organization’s initial and consistent framing of the issue as “maintaining” accountability beyond the end of the US Government’s stewardship role, rather than acknowledging that this effort was in response to widespread community outcry expressing major dissatisfaction with ICANN’s inadequate existing accountability measures. Conflict of Interest Disregarded by ICANN in Formulation of Plan Many organizations and individuals commented online and during the London ICANN #50 meeting about the inherent conflict of interest with respect to an organization that proposes to manage the process that could reveal the organization’s accountability shortcomings and thus not always show the organization in its best light if the process is rigorously pursued.  Rather than heed the numerous cautions from the community regarding ICANN’s conflict of interest in attempting to design the process to hold itself accountable, ICANN plans to be in charge of every key element of the process. Irregular Process Employed in Development of ICANN Plan From the beginning, ICANN’s senior management has [...]

August 21st, 2014|
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