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What does ICANN say about terrorism?

Kevin Murphy, November 14, 2010, 20:04:31 (UTC), Domain Registries

While it’s true that ICANN has excised specific references to terrorism from its new top-level domain Applicant Guidebook, don’t expect any such groups to be awarded TLDs.

As I reported in September, the AGB no longer contains the explicit mention of “terrorism”, which had caused complaints to be filed by a few members of the community.

But it does contain text that makes it abundantly clear that any group or nation the US considers a supporter of terrorism will have an extremely hard time finding approval.

Under a new section entitled “Legal Compliance”, ICANN notes that it “must comply with all U.S. Laws, rules, and regulations” including the sanctions program overseen by the US Office of Foreign Assets Control.

OFAC administers a List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons. If you’re on the SDN list, American companies cannot do business with you without a license.

While ICANN has applied for exemption licenses in the past, in order to be able to deal with organizations in US-unfriendly nations (on ccTLD matters, presumably), the AGB now states:

ICANN generally will not seek a license to provide goods or services to an individual or entity on the SDN List. In the past, when ICANN has been requested to provide services to individuals or entities that are not SDNs, but are residents of sanctioned countries, ICANN has sought and been granted licenses as required. In any given case, however, OFAC could decide not to issue a requested license.

If you’ve never seen this list before, it can be downloaded here. It’s currently 475 pages long, and while it’s certainly a globally inclusive document, parts of it do read like the Baghdad phone book.

(Interestingly, many of the listed a.k.a’s are actually domain names)

Anybody who wanted ICANN to replace the amorphous term “terrorism” with something a little more specific have had their wishes granted.

No more hypothetical debate is required about whether Hamas, for example, is a terrorist group or a movement of freedom fighters. It’s in the book, so it’s probably not getting a TLD.

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Comments (6)

  1. adele pace says:

    It’s a political thing. Hamas can’t survive without fighting Israel, but Israel quite rightfully say ‘it says right in their charter that their purpose is to get rid of us’. Political deadlock. Hamas is the legitimate ruler of the West Bank, an automonous entity. Palestinians are disproportionately overly represented in the IT high tech field along with Kurds more than any other nationalities. There are also many Israeli software companies.

  2. adele pace says:

    It’s a political thing. Hamas can’t survive without fighting Israel, but Israel quite rightfully say ‘it says right in their charter that their purpose is to get rid of us’. Political deadlock. Hamas is the legitimate ruler of the West Bank, an automonous entity. Palestinians are disproportionately overly represented in the IT high tech field along with Kurds more than any other nationalities. There are also many Israeli software companies.

    I also noticed from the Draft Guideline Book on the approval process that the background tests on entities will be done selectively.

  3. Khaled Fattal says:

    Kevin,

    Your article very successfully articulates and raises huge new concerns that ICANN will now face. Whether they are ready for them or not remains to be seen.

    Without a doubt ICANN Goofed as a professional organization on the Terrorism issue in DAG4 primarily by not providing any definitions what so ever of what they are. But as I pointed out in my letter that led to the ICANN board dropping the Terrorism term, you will recall, I also asked in my letter for ICANN to clarify whose definitions it will follow and adhere to. The latest Guidebook clearly identifies that the definitions will be those of the The United states of America’s Specially Designated Nationals List (SDN)

    Now all is clear. The ICANN board has clarified it will follow US laws and will apply them on the rest of the international community. By that, ICANN has just entered itself into the world of International politics and its policy making / imposing. I propose they stock up on pain killers for the challenges and headaches to follow.

    Regards

    Khaled Fattal

  4. adele pace says:

    I noticed how they are doing background checks selectively as well. Some of their background check criteria seem a little nebulous.

  5. […] was revised over a year ago to instead make reference to US legal compliance and the US Office of Foreign […]

  6. […] was revised over a year ago to instead make reference to US legal compliance and the US Office of Foreign […]

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