Internet

ICANN Embraces Censorship

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In your Interwebz, controlling your TLD's

The voting members of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) decided yesterday to expand the number of top-level domains (TLD), or ends of web addresses (.com, .org, .net). In anticipation of the vote, I argued that more domain names would be a good thing, for the reasons listed by Jesse Walker, and also on principle: More choice is better than less choice.

But ICANN dropped the ball:

New names won't start appearing for at least several months, and ICANN won't be deciding on specific ones quite yet. The organization still must work out many of the details, including fees for obtaining new names, expected to exceed $100,000 apiece to help ICANN cover up to $20 million in costs….

The streamlined guidelines call for all applicants to go through an initial review phase during which anyone may raise an objection on such grounds as racism, trademark conflicts and similarity to an existing suffix. If no objection is raised, approval would come quickly.

So, what some people initially thought was going to be good for everyone is going to end up being good mostly for the special interest groups that have ICANN's ear. Not one to let the organization's history of bureaucratic failures get him down, tech guru Brad Templeton suggests someone break up ICANN:

In effect, allow a moderate to large number of largely autonomous, competing name managers. Each could have its own system, its own rules, its own prices and its own dispute resolution policy. Each would innovate and price to attract users and win the competitive battle. Some might be almost identical in function, others might be quite radical. Each would have its own brand—as a top level domain, and be fairly free about what was done below it.

The stripped down remains of ICANN would be a trans-national organization, beyond the power of any single national government, which would exist only to maintain the root servers and to assure that the competing name companies remain on a level playing field.

Thanks to Patrick Melody for the Templeton link.

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  1. Um, why can’t they be for-profit companies instead of “trans-national organizations”, Brad?

  2. No one is forced, really, to use ICANN’s DNS servers. True, it’s impractical not to. Also, can we make a change such that domain names are read from left to right like any other directory structure?

  3. It annoys me when Europeans complain about the US “control” over the intertubes. All Brussels has to do is set up its own root name servers. But I guess Euros would rather bitch than fix. Sort of like New York liberals.

  4. The stripped down remains of ICANN would be a trans-national organization, beyond the power of any single national government

    This way several governments can object to which domains should be allowed because of racism, obscenity or trademark violations.

  5. anyone may raise an objection on such grounds as racism, trademark conflicts and similarity to an existing suffix.

    Trademark – sure. Similarity – well, why not. Racism? Where the fuck did that come from?

  6. Now at reason.attractiveandsuccessfulafricanamerican…

  7. This shows a bizarre attachment to central control at all costs. The only reason to maintain central control over names is to “maintain order”. The nightmare scenario is that name resolution might not be perfectly homogeneous. So what?!

    Of course, as New World Dan points out, it’s not clear why ISPs don’t just form their own adjunct to the ICANN names servers. You can point to multiple DNSs. Hell, I could fire up my own DNS and start serving up “whitey.kkk” or “latino-power.mecha” or “tyrone.green.bpanther”. If you didn’t point to my DNS, you’d never resolve those names, unless of course one of your DNSs had different resolutions for those names.

  8. C-I-L-L!

    Mah lan’lord.

    Dead!

  9. Racism? Where the fuck did that come from?

    RC,

    Maybe they fear .nig
    ?

  10. Damn it, no one is stopping me from creating a law firm site at clownpenis.fart!

  11. Why couldn’t Nigerians use .nig?

    And more importantly, why is ICANN getting into the content regulations/thought control business.

  12. Why couldn’t Nigerians use .nig?

    I pray for comedic value alone that they may do so.

  13. ICANN haz sensership?

  14. Well, I don’t really mind the protectionism helping my valuable real estate.

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