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ICANN beefs up new TLD fraudster checks

Kevin Murphy, May 31, 2011, 12:42:52 (UTC), Domain Policy

ICANN has broadened the background checks in its new top-level domains program to ban companies with a history of consumer fraud from applying for a new gTLD.

The new check in the Applicant Guidebook reads as follows:

a final and legally binding decision obtained by a national law enforcement or consumer protection authority finding that the applicant was engaged in fraudulent and deceptive commercial practices as defined in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Guidelines for Protecting Consumers from Fraudulent and Deceptive Commercial Practices Across Borders may cause an application to be rejected. ICANN may also contact the applicant with additional questions based on information obtained in the background screening process.

The OECD guidelines, which define deceptive practices, were suggested by ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee as a way to keep out the fraudsters.

I speculated last week that implementation of such rules could capture Network Solutions and/or VeriSign, due to their dodgy dealings almost a decade ago.

But it appears that the two companies are safe – the wording is such that it likely does not apply to the settlement NetSol made with the Federal Trade Commission which, while legally binding, was explicitly not a “finding” of fact or law.

The Guidebook also now asks applicants to disclose if they have been “disciplined by any government or industry regulatory body for conduct involving dishonesty or misuse of funds of others”. The “industry regulatory body” text is a new insertion.

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