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Brad Templeton in Response to Site Finder Controversy

A harmful, highly unilateral and capricious action. Tons of software out there depended on the ability to tell the difference between a domain name which exists and does not. They use that to give a meaningful, locally defined error to the user, or to identify if an E-mail address will work or not before sending the mail. Many used it as a way to tag spam (which came from domains that did not exist). It is the local software that best knows how to deal with the error.

They have broken all of it, and have developers scrambling all over the net to fix it. They gave warnings, but not much of one.

If web users want access to a search when they type in a domain that does not exist, that is the duty of the web browser. And some web browsers already did that.

What NSI/Verisign has done is so extreme that ICANN should consider terminating their contract to manage the .com/.net databases and root databases. Except ICANN was aware of this, so it’s just another sign of how poor their “oversight” has become. That’s because ICANN has let Verisign tell it what to do rather than the other way around.

E-mail delivery will be interfered with. Scores of other applications will also break. In some cases, there will be security problems, where users running applications that should have given them an error now connect them to a distant internet site.

It’s time to break up ICANN, and get rid of this pointless monopoly. At least with the phone company people could see some arguments for value in the monopoly. There are few here. This is just a taste of the sort of abuses that occur in these situations.

By Brad Templeton, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) Boardmember, Entrepreneur and Technologist

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