[At-Large] Mcafee's : Mapping the Mal Web: A Study of the World’s Most Dangerous Domains

Karl Auerbach karl at cavebear.com
Wed Oct 27 00:52:26 UTC 2010

On 10/26/2010 01:17 PM, Jacqueline Morris wrote:
> Shoudl defiinitely be a wake up call for ICANN's compliance unit. Should
> also be used by ccNSO to assist the ccTLDs in maintaing customer confidence.
> This is a great idea for pushing consumer safety online, but I think that it
> should be a lot more granular - one bad registrant w/ many domains can give
> a whole TLD a bad name very quickly.

Several points:

1. The premise from which you start - that .com is "dangerous" - and 
from which you conclude that ICANN must impose "compliance" is an 
argument that uses a relatively minor and diffuse harm to justify a 
vastly greater danger, the danger of a body of governance that has 
little accountability and few limits on the exercise of its power.  As 
was said three quarters of a century ago - making the trains run on time 
is hardly a reason to create a dictator.

2. Who cares whether a TLD, .com, gets "a bad name"? - it's Verisign's 
own business and new consumers of domain names are free to shun it (or 
flock to it) because of its reputation.

3. If there is unlawful activity then let law enforcement deal with it. 
  Law enforcement people are more skilled in these things than ICANN and 
they are bound to adhere to fair procedures and subject to review; ICANN 
is not. We do not need more internet vigilantes.

4. ICANN is not a consumer protection body.  It was not created to be 
one and it does not have the authority.  (And if it did were such a body 
one might wonder at the dissonance between that status and a) ICANN's 
reluctance to allow consumers have any real role in the making of 
policies to protect those consumers b) ICANN's failure to self-police 
its own activities [witness ICANN's magical disappearing "obmudsman"] 
and c) ICANN's denial of third party beneficiary rights to consumers 
under ICANN contracts.)

5. Just because some people do things on the net that are unsavory it 
does not follow that the net or a domain name or a TLD or electricity or 
binary bits - all of those things are involved in the things being 
complained of - are somehow the cause and must be forced to "comply".

Condemning a whole because a piece is flawed is a short road to an 
excessive response: It is usually not a good idea to chop down the apple 
tree because a couple of apples were rotten.

I used the word "unsavory" because there is a huge push being made, 
often by those waving the "civil society" flag, that has more than a 
hint of Puritanical flavor.  Once we start forcing lawful activities to 
"comply" with your or my notion of righteousness then it is a small step 
for others to force us to comply with their notions - witness the 
violent, even murderous, brouhaha over completely lawful (in most of our 
countries) representations of certain religious figures.

It is quite true that the intellectual property industry has turned 
ICANN into an ax to be used to extend intellectual property protection 
into realms where laws have not dared to venture.  But that does not 
mean that it is right nor that we ought to use ICANN as an ax for any 
crusade du jour.

ICANN's job was to have been, and ought to be, a very small one: that of 
assuring (not guaranteeing) that at the root (and possibly TLD) tiers of 
the domain name system that domain name query packets are promptly, 
efficiently, and accurately transformed into domain name response 
packets without bias against any query source or query question 
(contained in the DNS query packet).


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