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[ NNSquad ] Priorities Amuck: ICANN Poised to Trigger Naming Quagmire

          Priorities Amuck: ICANN Poised to Trigger Naming Quagmire


Greetings.  With all of the high-priority issues we face today
regarding the Internet --like assuring network neutrality, or even
getting decent Internet services to the 80% of the world's
population that doesn't have them now -- it's distressing to see
that ICANN is poised tomorrow to potentially trigger a confusing and
likely highly litigious, wasteful, and disruptive land grab in new
global top-level domain names (gTLDs) -- 
( http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/7468855.stm ).

While ICANN's theoretical rationale for loosening up the domain name
environment is not utterly without merit, the likely real world
implications of a relative flood of new top-level domain names
should be pretty obvious to even a casual observer of the Net over
recent years.

Everybody and his brother will want a top-level name.  ICANN will be
deluged with applications.  Clever crooks will find ways to game the
application and auction processes in league with shady registries.
Name confusion and phishing will rise to new heights.  Full
employment for lawyers is guaranteed, as trademark disputes -- and
other legal disputes filed against ICANN's decisions regarding
particular names, balloon to capture as much oxygen as possible.
The dot-ex-ex-ex controversy and related censorship concerns
associated with the horrible idea of a sex-centric TLD will rise yet
again from the grave.

And through it all, ICANN will be spinning its wheels with a
complicated and expensive process while so many more important
Internet issues are rotting essentially ignored on the sidelines
( http://icann.org/topics/new-gtld-program.htm ).

ICANN needs to get over their "domain names as issue #1" fetish once
and for all.  Some minor relaxation of the gTLD structure is
probably warranted, but not the waste of time, money, and other
resources that their current plan seems sure to trigger -- and we
could definitely live without the consumer confusion and risks that
will arise from this mess as well.

Enough is enough.  It's time for ICANN to get its priorities straight.

Lauren Weinstein
lauren@vortex.com or lauren@pfir.org 
Tel: +1 (818) 225-2800
Co-Founder, PFIR
   - People For Internet Responsibility - http://www.pfir.org 
Co-Founder, NNSquad 
   - Network Neutrality Squad - http://www.nnsquad.org
Founder, PRIVACY Forum - http://www.vortex.com 
Member, ACM Committee on Computers and Public Policy
Lauren's Blog: http://lauren.vortex.com