ICANN

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Why ICANN Rejected ISOC’s Billion-Dollar Attempt At Feathering Its Own Nest With .org Sale?

As I've pointed out in recent articles, the promises and obligations of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) are merged by direct reference into the InterNIC licensing agreement between the U.S. Department of Commerce and ICANN. This licensing agreement has been extended twice by mutual consent, most recently until January 2025. Therefore, the MOU's promises and obligations remain in effect through the InterNIC licensing agreement despite the fact that the MOU itself terminated in 2009. more

An Anti-Competitive .com Fait Accompli?

In a recent article, Is ICANN Staff Misleading the Board Into Violating Obligations to the U.S. Government, I wrote: The referenced Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is the vehicle by which the U.S. government delegates to ICANN the responsibilities for overseeing the technical management of the Internet's Domain Name System (DNS)... This is important for many reasons, and much remains to be analyzed for additional context that can help expose the rot at the Internet's root. more

Is ICANN Staff Misleading the Board Into Violating Contractual Obligations to the U.S. Government?

Recently, I had time to reflect on various matters after the alternator in my vehicle decided that the middle of a mountain pass was the appropriate time and place to go to that great big pick-and-pull scrapyard in the sky while leaving me stranded with no cell signal on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere. Until that point, I had been seriously considering applying to ICANN's Nominating Committee for one of the three open seats on ICANN's Board of Directors. more

Multistakeholderism Is Working: A Short Series of Articles

I was in a conversation with a close friend the other day, you know the kind where you have been friends for so long that you have endured each other experimenting with changed politics, evolving religion, and if you are unlucky, flirtations with multilevel marketing. We were discussing politics that day, which is not unusual given our ancient friendship and the recent change at the helm of the United States. more

Is ICANN Running a Racket?

On March 13, 2019, I published an article on CircleID, Portrait of a Single-Character Domain Name, that explored the proposed release and auction of o.com, a single-character .com domain name that was registered in 1993 and assigned to the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) by Dr. Jon Postel. Although the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has since raised serious objections... more

Ending U.S. Government Amnesia About Its Legacy Internet Registries is in the Public Interest

On July 2, 2002, Damien Cave published an interview on Salon.com with John Gilmore, "original 'cypherpunk' and all-around Internet supergeek," titled "It's time for ICANN to go." In this wide-ranging interview, Gilmore -- an early employee of Sun Microsystems who also co-founded Cygnus Software (acquired by Red Hat) and was an early supporter of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Internet Society (ISOC) -- offered blunt insight and eye-opening historical detail... more

The Netizen’s Guide to Reboot the Root (Part I)

In the world of ICANN and Internet policy, complexity is manufactured to create an illusion that issues are impenetrably technical such that normal and everyday principles can't apply. This causes a pervasive and entrenched phenomenon of eyes that glaze over at the mere mention of the word "ICANN" -- including those of government regulators and other officials that might otherwise take more of an active interest. more

More Warning Shots for ICANN, or the End of the Road?

Last fall, I wrote about ICANN's failed effort to achieve its goal of preserving the Whois domain name registration directory to the fullest extent possible. I predicted that if the policy effort failed, governments would take up the legislative pen in order to fulfill the long-ignored needs of those combating domain name system harms. That forecast has now come true through significant regulatory actions in the United States and the European Union in the form of a proposed directive from the European Commission (EC) and instruction from the US Congress to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). more

.com Is A Clear and Present Danger to Online Safety

"The Internet is the real world now." This assessment was offered by Protocol, a technology industry news site, following the very real violence on Capitol Hill during the counting of the electoral college votes that officially determines the next president of the United States. The media outlet went on to say that, "[t]he only difference is, you can do more things and reach more people online -- with truth and with lies -- than you can in the real world." more

NTIA Objects to Planned o.com Auction

According to media sources, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) wrote to Verisign last Friday, objecting to the company's plan to auction o.com to the highest bidder. The planned release for o.com - described by the Second Amendment to the .com Registry Agreement and intended as a pilot for the remaining reserved single-character .com names - involved an opaque consideration process that ignored community input and set aside hard-won trademark protections developed by stakeholders in order to maximize dollars earmarked for an unidentified cadre of non-profit organizations. more

Cast Your .vote for the Most Interesting New gTLD Development in Q4

2020 has been extremely eventful, so it follows that the domain industry has continued to experience perpetual change, progress and uncertainty in the last three months of the year. In our Q4 New gTLD Quarterly Report, MarkMonitor experts analyze topical registration activity, launch information, .brand growth and DNS abuse, and share a list of upcoming industry meetings for 2021. more

ICANN Should Keep Content Regulation and Other Arbitrary Rules Out of Registry Contracts

The domain name system is not the place to police speech. ICANN is legally bound not to act as the Internet's speech police, but its legal commitments are riddled with exceptions, and aspiring censors have already used those exceptions in harmful ways. This was one factor that made the failed takeover of the .ORG registry such a dangerous situation. But now, ICANN has an opportunity to curb this abuse and recommit to its narrow mission of keeping the DNS running... more

ICANN Doubles Down on Technical Internet Governance Label: What Are the Implications?

Back in September of 2020, ICANN CEO Göran Marby wrote a blog post discussing the implementation of "a common strategy for Internet governance (IG) and technical Internet governance (TIG)", raising the question of whether the ICANN org. intended to pursue this distinction moving forward, as debated in a previous article. This was proven to be the case during the 2020 IGF's Open Forum #44: "ICANN Open Forum - Technical Internet Governance", organized by ICANN itself... more

Another ICANN Meeting Concluded With No Action on DNS Abuse or Privacy/Proxy Policy

The ICANN 69 meeting has come to a close, with no progress on DNS abuse or implementation of the Privacy/Proxy Services Accreditation policy (PPSAI). While ICANN is uniquely positioned to do so, it refuses to do anything proactive about DNS abuse, with its executives overtly attempting to limit its role to data collection. Moreover, its refusal to implement community-driven initiatives such as the PPSAI points to a growing trend where ICANN is backing away from its public interest responsibilities, to the detriment of the Internet and its users. more

2020 Hindsight After 20 Years at ICANN

After two decades of involvement with ICANN, I am stepping down from the Board of Directors, where I served for nine years. I have spent considerable time of late reflecting on the past 20 years, and I have isolated some memories that help frame my time with ICANN. ... November 2000, ICANN07 in Marina del Rey, California - With only a scant idea of what ICANN is all about, I am warmly welcomed by the flag-wearing country code top-level domain (ccTLD) community, who come to ICANN to ensure that nothing happens to affect the independence of ccTLDs... more