WASHINGTON, June 4, 2009– The Coalition Against Domain Name Abuse (CADNA) is pleased with the overall support for reviewing the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers’ (ICANN) accountability, transparency, and efficacy as expressed by members present at Chairman Boucher’s House Committee on Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet hearing on Thursday.
The hearing focused on ICANN and its relationship with the US government, as the Joint Project Agreement (JPA) binding the two together is set to expire in September 2009. CADNA and its member companies have long advocated for greater government oversight of ICANN and have been critical of ICANN’s decision to launch an unlimited number of generic top-level domains (gTLDs) this fall. CADNA strongly supports a closer examination of ICANN’s structure, governance, and transparency and was encouraged to see today that members of Congress are informed on the topic and concerned with the protection of the global Internet community as a whole.
“ICANN regulates a global resource that has widespread impact on commerce, national security and general day-to-day communication. With such a major responsibility, the organization must be accountable to its stakeholders,” said Josh Bourne, President of CADNA. “ICANN’s recent policy decisions have missed the mark when it comes to protecting Internet users at large, and with the JPA nearing its expiration, the urgency for government intervention is growing.”
Many representatives present at the hearing voiced trepidation over the current operations of ICANN and the state of the domain name space as it exists today. Stakeholders have also expressed concerns over the lack of due process surrounding the decision to create more gTLDs, including the impact of such an expansion on the current economic climate and the security and stability of the domain name space. Despite the rampant abuse in the current domain space and lax attention to registrar accreditation and Whois standards, the launch lacks provisions for proper safety mechanisms. ICANN’s current plan will cost businesses millions of dollars in protecting their trademarks– something no one can afford in the current economy.
ICANN President Paul Twomey noted in his testimony that even if the US allows the JPA to expire and ICANN to become privatized, his nonprofit’s performance will continue under the status quo. Congress and the Internet community’s obvious dissatisfaction with ICANN’s current operations combined with Twomey’s comments further prove why it is necessary to reevaluate ICANN’s structure, oversight, and policy development process.
Sarah Deutsch, Vice President & Associate General Counsel of Verizon, a CADNA member company, presented a motivating case for rethinking the gTLD rollout, emphasizing the harmful impact that the new TLD launch could have on businesses and consumers. She urged ICANN to perform due diligence around the new TLD issue in order to ensure that no policy jeopardizes the safety of the Internet and its users.
“We are extremely concerned that the rapid proliferation of new TLDs without strong measures to prevent cybersquatting will expose our guests to even greater risks of Internet-based fraud,” said Elisabeth Escobar, Vice President and Senior Counsel of Intellectual Property of CADNA member company Marriott International, Inc. The Coalition Against Domain Name Abuse (CADNA) is a 501(c)(6) nonprofit organization dedicated to ending the systemic domain name abuses that plague the Internet today. For more information, please visit www.cadna.org.