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

Carlton Samuels carlton.samuels at gmail.com
Wed Nov 2 04:23:40 UTC 2016

I can attest Evan's position is consistent with his position in historical
discussion - even his railing against the IOC! :-) - and retains my



*Carlton A Samuels*

*Mobile: 876-818-1799Strategy, Planning, Governance, Assessment &

On Tue, Nov 1, 2016 at 7:00 AM, Evan Leibovitch <evan at telly.org> 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" 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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