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Anti-terror rule dropped from new TLD guidebook

Kevin Murphy, September 27, 2010, 13:24:23 (UTC), Domain Policy

ICANN will cut references to terrorism from its Draft Applicant Guidebook for new top-level domains, after criticism from some Arab stakeholders.
The ICANN board of directors decided on Saturday at its retreat in Trondheim that it will revise its policy of doing background checks on new TLD applicants:

The background check should be clarified to provide detail and specificity in response to comment. The specific reference to terrorism will be removed (and the background check criteria will be revised).

The reference to “terrorism” first showed up in DAGv4, the latest draft. It caused a bit of a stir, with at least two Arab community members harshly criticizing ICANN for its inclusion.
Khaled Fattal of the Multilingual Internet Group told ICANN it would “be seen by millions of Muslims and Arabs as racist, prejudicial and profiling” while Abdulaziz Al-Zoman of SaudiNIC observed that’s it’s not globally accepted “who is a terrorist and who is a freedom fighter”.
It appears that their complaints have been heard.

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Comments (19)

  1. Will “background checks” include Domainers and Domain Bloggers who censor their blogs ?
    Will gTLDs be operated by people who censor others?
    Are people going to make an “investment” in a domain and BRAND when they find the gTLD operator could take their work product in a fit of jealously ?

  2. Michele says:

    It was a silly inclusion in the first place and would have had a negative impact on a lot of people ..

  3. It was more than silly, it was arrogant, Ethno Centric, disrespectfull, as it was poorly thought out, if at all, from the IDN regions’ perspectives.
    A statement will be issued on this development shortly with More detail.
    Khaled Fattal

    • Kevin Murphy says:

      I agree that it was silly and poorly thought out, but I think your claims that it was racist or “ethno centric” are way off the mark.
      I don’t recall hearing or reading the words “Arab” or “Muslim” from ICANN once.
      It just said “terrorism”.
      There’s lots of different terrorist groups in the world, and they’re not all staffed by Arabs.
      I look forward to reading your statement.

      • Kevin, The keywords are: from the IDN regions’ perspectives.
        We will let you know when the statement is issued.

      • Kevin
        There are indeed a lot of “terrorist” groups in the world, there are also a lot of controversial political movements who some consider to be evil. None of us agree on which ones are terrorists and which ones are legitimate resistance fighters. A terrorist background check is an attempt to use control of the domain name system to control speech and political expression.
        If a group is proven to be criminal and terrorist, whether it gets a domain name or not is rather irrelevant – its members should be apprehended, tried and convicted for whatever illegal activity they can be proven to have committed. Can you imagine Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda providing all the information and money needed to
        apply for and get a TLD? The notion is ridiculous. If they surfaced enough to do that they would be apprehended and caught.
        So what is this “terrororist background check” – conducted by ICANN staff, no less – supposed to accomplish?
        It can be only one thing – to prevent certain groups from expressing themselves.
        If the expression is legal, it’s none of ICANN’s business. If the expression is illegal or the people applying are criminals, prosecute it/them under law. Simple as that. No need for ICANN to set itself up as a combination CIA/FBI/FCC regulator.

        • Kevin Murphy says:

          I doubt that the terrorism clause was inserted into the DAG specifically in order to limit freedom of expression.
          That doesn’t ring true to me at all.

    • Bret Fausett says:

      Here is the language from the DAG v4: “The background check may include, but is not limited to, any of the following areas: Corruption and bribery; Terrorism; Serious and organized crime; Money laundering; Corporate fraud and financial regulatory breaches; Arms trafficking and war crimes; Intellectual property violations.”
      How was this poorly thought out? How is it disrespectful? How in the world is terrorism “Ethno Centric”?
      If anything, it was just honest. If you’re on the U.S. Treasury department’s list of persons and entities with this U.S. companies may not do business, you’re not getting a TLD.

    • Yeah — after all, terrorism and the slaughter of innocents in the name of Islam is an ancient and respected part of Muslim culture around the world. How dare the civilized world try to impose values that contradict the divine sanction for violent jihad that is found in the Quran?

      • Kevin Murphy says:

        That’s not what ICANN was trying to do. Not even close.

      • John B says:

        LOL. My, my,my how we forget our history… terrorism on a different scale and the slaughter of innocents also happened in the name of Christ throughout time! Isn’t it amazing how we erase all those hundreds of years from our memory banks!

  4. Steve Smith says:

    Racist? What race is “terrorism”? Can anyone tell me that please?

  5. @Bret Fausett
    “you’re not getting a TLD”
    To be more clear, “you are not getting ICANN to sell you a TLD Registry Franchise”
    How does ICANN get around the U.S. FTC Franchise Laws ?
    The U.S. FTC Franchise Test
    1. Franchisee pays money
    2. Franchisee uses the logo, brand of Franchisor
    3. Franchisor controls Franchisee
    Where are the ICANN Franchise disclosure documents ?
    What happens if ICANN is indicted on “Corporate Fraud” ?

  6. […] I reported in September, the AGB no longer contains the explicit mention of “terrorism”, which had caused […]

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