[discuss] elephant in the room

David Conrad drc at virtualized.org
Mon Mar 17 22:10:52 UTC 2014


On Mar 17, 2014, at 12:21 PM, Pranesh Prakash <pranesh at cis-india.org> wrote:
>> The question is: without USG oversight, what would keep ICANN (a future rogue ICANN, not the friendly guys we know) from using the revocation of domain names (or registry contracts or registrar accreditations) to enforce a mandatory, adhesion contract that compels registrants (or even their users) to comply with global rules that are not supported by consensus, not related to protection of the sound, secure, resilient operation of the net, but instead related to some notion of what content is permissible, how people should behave online?
> The question is: how has USG oversight prevented this?

It was before my time at ICANN, but I'm told that DoC instituted explicit terms in the IANA functions contract to prohibit ICANN from doing something similar to what was proposed above, triggered by an (ill-advised but arguably good intentioned) attempt by ICANN at the time to force ccTLD administrators to enter into a three-way contract with ICANN and the ccTLD's government.

> In fact, the USG has used the fact that Verisign falls under US jurisdiction to "seize" hundreds of domain names, making them inaccessible not only in the US but throughout the world.  Did Verisign or ICANN protest?

Don't know about Verisign, but ICANN did post https://www.icann.org/en/about/staff/security/guidance-domain-seizures-07mar12-en.pdf and http://blog.icann.org/2013/01/the-value-of-assessing-collateral-damage-before-requesting-a-domain-seizure/.  To be honest, I'm personally not sure it would be appropriate for ICANN to protest domain takedowns pursuant to legal court orders.  One might argue that those court orders are inappropriate, but I'm not sure I'd see ICANN in a position to contest the application of national laws.

> Verizon, instead of protesting this being made into law through COICA, asked for "a limit on the number of domain-name seizures the DOJ could ask for before ISPs are paid for the cost of compliance".

If this bothers you, you might consider switching to AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, or other ISP in protest.

> And under USG oversight ICANN has created a system where trademark owners get privileged access to some domain names regardless of the free speech considerations involved.

Intellectual property concerns are astoundingly complicated and I'm personally unsure there is an easy answer that balances intellectual property rights and free speech (particularly with the understanding of the different standards of both of those around the world).

> USG oversight has not been a panacea for domain name ills.  No system that will replace it will be without its own problems.

Both are true, so I'm not sure what you're expecting.


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