[At-Large] R: R: Is ICANN's oversight really moving away from the US government?

parminder parminder at itforchange.net
Thu Apr 7 16:32:23 UTC 2016

McTim / All

(Sorry for the delay in the response. I was travelling.)

So, you say that the problem is only in my head, and we can safely
ignore all that I am proposing as a problem! Let me then produce some
clear evidence of the problem, and see how you respond to it.

You of course know that US authorities have been using US based
registries to frequently seize domains, for all kinds of reasons. Dont
tell me you dont! The first famous case was when the domain of a travel
site based in an European country was seized for offering holidays in
Cuba to a customer in another European country, because US entities are
banned from commercial transactions with Cuba. Note that the transaction
had nothing at all to do with anything US. But US authorities used the
US registration of the registryto seize the website nonetheless

Next famous case was of the Spanish sports streaming website Rojadirecta
whose legality had been tested in Spanish courts and it had been
declared legal... But that mattered two hoots to US government agencies
which used its US registration to seize it....

Later has been this case of a Canadian gambling site
being seized similarly by US agencies. Earlier, wikileaks website had
got seized

There have been many more cases of such domain name seizures by US
quite often when the focus of the concerned companies was non US. 
Interesting, there have been court orders which transferred control over
domain names of businesses to other, US, companies

All such legal enforcement by US agencies ( courts as well as executive
agencies)  has been got done through exercise of jurisdiction over US
based registries, mostly Verisign controlling .com.

Lets now move on to the times of thousands of gTLDs, made possible by
the new gTLDs rounds,  and every big business encouraged to, at least
legitimately entitled to, have its own gTLD.

What if the above non US companies, or similar ones like them, now take
on gTLDs of their own, which they have a right to. What is the option
now for US agencies if they mean to pursue similar enforcement acts as
they did earlier. And there simply is no reason why they wont.  Now, get
this one thing clearly - for an US agency, there is absolutely no
difference at all between a Verisign controlling .com registrations or
an ICANN controlling gTLDs. *They are the same for them, US registered
private entities, subject fully to US jurisdiction.*

When they want, US agencies (courts and executive agencies) will
similarly order ICANN, like they did earlier to Verisign, to take down
the 'offending' gTLDs.... The logic is clear and simple, and
irrefutable. Can anyone argue why and how they would not.... And that
precisely is the problem that I have been positing, taking the very
likely example of an Indian generic drug company, with a gTLD, falling
foul of the US pharma industry's high Intellectual property aspirations
and standards (which are not global).

So, in the circumstances, the option for non US businesses is one of the two

1. They keep strictly on the right side of US law, even when their
business does not have anything to do with the US. This amounts to a
global enforcement of one country's law and jurisdiction, covering all
kinds of areas. This is highly undemocratic, and not should not be
acceptable to non US entities. 

2. Non US companies play safe and do not take up new gTLDs. This amounts
to a virtual denial of a key DNS service to non US companies. Which
should be almost equally unacceptable.

What is your response to this situation... If this is not a real problem
for an organisation whose main task is to provide DNS services to the
world, I dont see what would be a problem for it. And if this is not an
issue for ALAC to address, whose main purpose should be to the serve the
interests of more the peripheral groups on DNS related issues, I dont
know what would be?

Since I have put forth clear evidence and propositions logically ensuing
from such evidence, I will very much appreciate clear and direct
responses, to the issues I raise and the 'problem' I frame.


On Tuesday 29 March 2016 08:53 PM, McTim wrote:
> On Tue, Mar 29, 2016 at 9:26 AM, parminder <parminder at itforchange.net
> <mailto:parminder at itforchange.net>> wrote:
>     What amazes me in all the responses I am getting is that no one is
>     either saying that the problem I have posed does not exist or it
>     is not important to resolve, nor providing any alternative ways to
>     resolve it.
>     They are just arguing with parts of my proposal, which is fine,
>     although I think, while no doubt this is a somewhat complex
>     solution to a complex problem, no one has been able to show why it
>     really cant work.
>     To remind; the problem I had posed was about the very likely
>     wrongful US's jurisdictional imposition on ICANN's process and vis
>     a vis the root server maintainer. I had given a concrete example;
>     of a US court pushing the well-known over-zealous US intellectual
>     property law and enforcement to take away the gTLD of an Indian
>     generic drug manufacturer even when the latter has no direct
>     business interests or activities in the US... What is your
>     response to such a very likely occurrence?
> It is highly unlikely, the likelihood approaching zero IMHO.
>     Should we simply ignore it?
> yes, it is safe to do so.  However, you must realise that after the
> IANA transition is finished, there will be absolutely zero appetite
> inside ICANN to make major reforms.  I doubt you could get that
> Community to even consider such a proposal. 
>     Or, do you not think it likely, in which case lets discuss that
> If we must.  Let's say that your scenario comes to pass.  You do
> realise that ICANN would use the hundreds of millions of dollars in
> its legal kitty to fight such a court order, right?  
>     .... You cannot simply not respond to this key global governance
>     problem that stares us in the face... (Apart from it, is the less
>     likely but still to be remained prepared for possibility of the
>     The Office of Foreign Assets Control of the US playing hanky panky
>     with the gTLD of a country
> countries don't have gTLDs.
>     that the US gets into serious enmity with.... every country likes
>     to remain prepared for such an eventuality. You cannot deny them
>     that right. )...
>     No one seems to want to address these key global governance
>     problems. Do they not exist? If they do, then what is your
>     response to and preparedness for these?  
> They are not key.  They exist as a problem largely in your head.  
> -- 
> Cheers,
> McTim
> "A name indicates what we seek. An address indicates where it is. A
> route indicates how we get there."  Jon Postel

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