[NA-Discuss] Regarding the .health applications

Thomas Lowenhaupt toml at communisphere.com
Sun Mar 10 12:49:00 UTC 2013


Given my experience with the amount of effort it takes to get a large 
institution (the city of New York) to pay attention to something that 
might be in its interest, I can appreciate WHO's slow slog through this 
10+ year on-again, off-again process.

I've not given up hope for new TLDs and would I'd like to create the 
opportunity for the public interest to be expressed through the .health 
TLD. I don't think that opportunity was presented in the extant New TLD 


Tom Lowenhaupt

On 3/10/2013 7:57 AM, Evan Leibovitch wrote:
> Hello fellow NARALOers,
> I have given a great deal of thought about this issue. Having been a former
> chair of the ALAC gTLD working group and still an active member of that
> group, I have a deep interest in this area.
> If only there was as much debate about other ICANN  policies. This one
> attracts so much attention because of the money potentially involved. But I
> personally don't think it's that big a deal in the grand scheme of things.
> These applications and subsequent objections are but a blip in a gTLD
> expansion that, on the whole, is harmful to the public interest IMO.
> As a result, I find myself as one of the few who have no strong feelings
> about this particular vote.  binary choice of supporting the objections or
> not, to me, is a choice between lesser evils. And I have promised not to
> abstain. So for the sake of transparency I will outline the thought process
> behind my thinking, indicate my current leaning, and invite any discussion
> intended to either confirm my judgement or change my mind.
> The actions of the WHO and other IGOs, elsewhere in ICANN policy making
> activities, clearly demonstrate that they really do not care about the
> public interest in domain name matters. So I have zero trust in the
> position of the WHO or its surrogates, especially since they have refused
> to put forward an application of their own, outlining positively in this
> round what their vision of the  .health TLD should be.
> Then there are the applicants. While I reject their for-profit status used
> as a reason for objection, let’s not have any misconceptions that they have
> any interest at heart besides their own. They will have no hesitation to
> sell sub-domains to quacks and snake oil sellers, to the
> vaccinations-are-evil crowd, or to approaches to "health" that  could very
> well be lethal. At least one sees use beyond medicine, believing that the
> TLD will be really appealing to those wanting to promote financial,
> automotive, or all kinds of other forms of "health".
> While some applications refer to public interest in either original or
> subsequent submissions, they cannot be trusted either without concrete
> enforcement regimes with explicit penalties. Given ICANN's existing
> compliance track record I take as a given that any  "commitments" currently
> on offer will be broken with few negative consequences.
> So I have no delusions that any of the applications will be forces for
> public good. But then, I would doubt that even in an application from the
> WHO unless it was heavily policed.
> What remains, then, is whether the current set of applications, if
> successful, will cause harm. Will an un-curated  .health threaten either
> the community of people interested in health (that is, everybody) or the
> miniscule subset of that community which submitted the original objection.
> Specifically, will it compound the harm already inflicted by the rest of
> the TLD expansion, or for that matter by the current pre-expansion state of
> the domain name system?
> It is here, for the most critical question, that so little real evidence
> exists to back up the claim. There is, for instance, no public damage done
> by having a superficial fitness magazine run health.com. The existence of a
> new cohort of new, untrustworthy names neither improves nor impedes access
> to quality health information that already exists. This is, after all about
> the phone books and not the phones.
> So, in conclusion, I am impressed with neither the applications nor the
> quality of the objections. But, on the balance, given the lack of logic or
> evidence to prove harm to the entire health interested community (which
> includes myself) my inclination is to vote against the objections.
> I am willing and ready to change my PoV and eager to hear why. So far what
> I have seen has been unconvincing.
> - Evan
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