23 September, 2009

CADNA reports on House Judiciary Committee Holds Hearing on New TLDs

In a CADNA newsletter released today, they shared with us the results of the House Judiciary Committee Holds Hearing on New TLDs. In addition, CADNA has called for a full-scale audit of ICANN. For history on this issue, see my two prior blog posts here and here.)
Congressional members who were in attendance expressed skepticism about the benefits that the potential TLD rollout...
ICANN held their position that by adding the new, "potentially unlimited" TLDs, will promote innovation and competition. Further they stated that "protection mechanisms are being actively considered." If protection mechanisms are being considered, doesn't that indicate that even ICANN knows there's a problem with this? And if protection mechanisms are needed, wouldn't they wait and finish the work to have appropriate protection BEFORE rolling this out?
Members of Congress pressed witnesses with questions about ICANN’s operations—many raised doubts regarding the benefits of rolling out an unlimited number of TLDs and others expressed concerns that ICANN is not adequately addressing a multitude of complex issues and concerns as it moves forward with the rollout process.
With a week left before ICANN is supposed to roll this change out, with the Joint Project Agreement (JPA) expiring, it doesn't seem like the governement is moving fast enough. And if ICANN needs to wait for the agreement to expire to make these changes, it also points to the fact that the benefits promised really aren't there -- otherwise it seems that it could have been made while the agreement exists.

The Internet Governance Project also has an opinion. They recommend letting the JPA expire and "and immediately initiate an international agreement that formalizes and completes the transition of ICANN to a stable form of multi-stakeholder global governance rooted in a nonprofit corporation." This may well be the right approach, but only if ICANN does not make any policy changes, including rolling out the new TLDs program, until the new agreeement is in place.

This entire topic doesn't seem to get the attention I think it deserves. How is it that a resource such as the Internet, where every governement, business, organization, and consumer uses and looks for ways to utilize the Internet, and yet this (and other issue in regard to the Internet, such as Net Neutrality) get very little main stream attention? I would recommend you share this story with people in your company and organizations who are responsible for marketing and domain name management. Have them become familiar with organizations such as CADNA, the Internet Governance Project, and the EFF, to see how they can look out for the best interest of your organization and your customers (us the consumers).

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