[At-Large] IGO names: is this worth war?

Winthrop Yu w.yu at gmx.net
Tue Nov 1 12:07:57 UTC 2016

   +1 Evan

On 11/1/2016 8:00 PM, Evan Leibovitch wrote:
> Hello everyone,
> As the Hyderabad meeting gets underway, we have a potential for a conflict that,
> according to some, is a source of utter panic and a critical-enough battle that
> it is worth threatening ICANN's stability... and people still haven't yet fully
> recovered from the transition and the Ted Cruz scare.
> I am speaking of the Governmental Advisory Commitee (GAC) wanting to reserve
> about 230 names and acronyms of inter-governmental organizations  (IGOs), and
> its threat to pull out of ICANN entirely and take its issues to the ITU
> Standardization Assembly.
> The whole story can be found in a post at DomainIncite
> <http://domainincite.com/21215-rant-governments-raise-yet-another-un-threat-to-icann>
> that contains both profanity and apocalyptic tones.
> At the threat of being an ICANN heretic (and it wouldn't be the first time), I'm
> on the side of the governments here.
> [ Disclosure: I currently work at an agency that would be among the protected
> IGOs. However I have been involved in this issue, at the ICANN working group
> level, for many years, and my position is no different now than it was then. ]
> While it is overkill to give a blanket ban on every IGO, I would rather give
> protection to a handful of organizations that don't need it, in return for
> protecting a number of organizations that would be critically impacted if their
> names were not protected. I am speaking specifically regarding organizations
> that do significant public fundraising in the public good -- the Red Cross (+
> Red Crescent, etc), UNICEF, UNHCR, and others
> I was involved when the issue first came up in 2011; there was a working group
> that was proposing to reserve names for the Red Cross and Olympics in all gTLDs.
> Most in the group were either all-for or all-against; I was split, opposing the
> Olympic reservations but strongly supporting reservations of any Red Cross
> related names or translations.
> I still believe that the ICRC needs protection more than the IOC, but given the
> choice of protecting both or protecting neither I would absolutely come down on
> the side of "both". *There most absolutely is a public interest in the
> reservation of names related to the Red Cross, United Nations and other IGOs,
> especially those that are engaged in public information or fundraising.*
> *
> *
> It matters far more to me that a scammer is prevented before-the-fact from
> registering "redcross-italy-earthquake.xyz
> <http://redcross-italy-earthquake.xyz>" than that the domain industry is free to
> sell "UNDP.whatever" to a speculator. By the time a URS claim could be filed
> against the scammer and adjudicated, the damage is done and the scammer moves on.
> IMO it is not in the interest of the At-Large community to support the
> unfettered entitlement of the domain industry to sell whatever it wants without
> consideration of consequences. It is in our interests to keep the public from
> being harmed through the actions of the DNS. And, /on the balance/, this means
> that reserving the names of IGOs serves the public interest.
> The domain industry's main counter-argument is that it should be entitled to
> sell whatever it wants. It believes that that WHO, the acronym for the World
> Health Organization but also a dictionary word, should be fair game to be sold
> as a domain to an ageing rock band or anyone else.
> But I am concerned that a scammer -- or others with bad intent -- could use the
> WHO.something domain to present themselves as the World Health Organization and
> either present misinformation or engage in scamming fundraising. In a
> public-health context such misuse could have horrible aftermath.The harm to the
> domain community by blocking WHO.everything is less, IMO, than the harm to the
> public from letting that go to the highest bidder. (Of course the WHO is always
> within its ability to permit who.something to point to the rock band, etc)
> ​If the counter is that ICANN's MSM process does not allow for this kind of
> accommodation -- that the GNSO demands for wide open domains do not provide for
> this kind of exception -- then the process is broken. It must be remembered that
> -- pre-transition or post- -- ICANN is not itself an IGO. Sovereign states are
> not treaty-bound to honor GNSO policy decrees, they do so through trust and
> goodwill. If that goodwill is damaged then, ICANN will pay a heavy and possibly
> irreversible price.
> There are many good places to take a principled stand in support of the MSM and
> against dictatorial control of the DNS. But reserving IGO names is not one of
> those good places. As much as I abhor the reserving of the string "olympic",
> that speaks more to my personal belief in the corruption of the IOC than
> principled opposition to the concept.
> If the ALAC is consulted on this issue -- or if it considers issuing advice on
> its own initiative -- I simply ask that it asserts the point of view of the
> public interest, which is not always in selling the maximum number of domains
> for the maximum obtainable price.
> Thank you.
> Evan Leibovitch
> Toronto / Geneva
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