30 July 2014

Good Advice ICANN Ignored, INTA Green Paper Response, new gTLDs

The tragedy of the huge mistake ICANN made with flooding the DNS with 1000+ new gTLDs, can truly be put into perspective when one takes the time to review INTA's response (pdf) to the US government's green paper (pdf) -- its statements are as relevant in 2014 as when originally made in 1998 -- excerpts below (emphasis added):

"... INTA applauds the efforts of the [US government] Administration to seek comment from the public concerning the future of the Internet - the latest mode of global communication....INTA supports efforts by the U.S. Government to privatize the Internet and promote international participation in the domain name system.... INTA believes that the most important issues relating to administration of the DNS, including the policy for addition of generic top level domain names (gTLDs) and the guaranteed operation of an authoritative root server system are not technical. Decisions on these functions will have a critical impact on businesses and consumers using the Internet. They will have significant consequences for the stability and interconnectivity of the Internet and particularly for its utility as an effective medium for electronic commerce. In this respect, the Administration does not adequately recognize or acknowledge the damaging effects of loss of business and consumer confidence in the Internet as a result of changes which are likely to increase the potential for confusion and conflict over domain names... INTA favors the alternative single, shared registry model... with the registry operating on a cost-recovery basis and with competition between registrars. Under this model, the new corporation [ICANN] would be empowered to manage the gTLD name-space as a public resource, would be able to take its decisions in the wider public interest and would not be involved in the dubious practice of granting proprietary monopolies to commercial enterprises to control individual gTLDs... The Administration asserts that attempts to impose central order "risk stifling a medium like the Internet that is decentralized by nature and thrives on freedom and innovation". What the Administration appears to be reluctant to accept is that the inevitable consequence of unconstrained "freedom" (as sought by the Internet technical community) is chaos, confusion and anarchy where only the street-wise (in this case hackers and others with sufficient technical skills) can survive. Already, the exploitation of this "freedom" by those without principles or any sense of community responsibility has given rise to the problems of proliferation of illegal content (e.g. child pornography), security breaches (e.g.hacking and spoofing incidents like Kashpureff's hijack of the root-server), spam and copyright infringements, all of which undermine established real-world standards… The pressure to add new gTLDs has to date come predominantly from members of the Internet technical community. While INTA has made considerable efforts to bring "real-world" and commercial user views into the debate through its participation in IAHC and POC, overall it is clear that the concerns of ordinary businesses and consumers have not been given weight commensurate with the potential impact the addition of new gTLDs might have on their interests. The unconstrained proliferation of gTLDs will act to undermine the existing trademark system (we have already heard calls from members of the Internet technical community for domain names to be above trademark law, but to be "brands" at the same time.) In a San Francisco Chronicle article of January 31, 1998 entitled "Domain Name Plan May Result in Net Chaos"… No one benefits from consumer confusion, except, perhaps, those who seek to engender it….”

What really struck me in reading INTA's 1998 paper is how often it makes the same points I made recently. Oh well, maybe someday the global internet community will have a responsible and representative governing body over the internet DNS, guided by the wider public interest and governing the DNS as a public resource.

--report submitted by contributing editor, John Poole, Domain Mondo

more news links below (on mobile go to web version link below)

expVC.com Domain Name News Archive

expVC.com on Twitter