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Here’s a way ICANN could actually help the people of Ukraine

Kevin Murphy, March 3, 2022, 23:27:09 (UTC), Domain Policy

ICANN may have today decided to decline Ukraine’s request for Russian and Belarusian top-level domains to be taken down, but there’s still at least one way it could do a little bit to help the country’s citizens.

ICANN has the power to help make sure Ukrainian registrants’ domain names don’t expire, which would render their email and web sites unusable if they are unable to access the internet to pay for renewals for an extended period.

The Org is able to waive the contractual requirement for registrars to cancel domains that have not been renewed, in the event of “extenuating circumstances”.

ICANN has used this power twice before. The first time when Hurricane Maria hit the Caribbean in 2017. The second was when the ongoing coronavirus pandemic hit the world in April 2020.

In both cases, ICANN invoked section 3.7.5.1 of the standard Registrar Accreditation Agreement and said the circumstances amounted to a “natural disaster”.

But there’s nothing in the RAA that limits “extenuating circumstances” to just “natural disasters”. The term “natural disasters” does not appear in the contract.

The contract says “other circumstance as approved specifically by ICANN” is a good enough reason to waive the deletion requirements.

It appears that ICANN can unilaterally decide whether the war in Ukraine is a sufficiently “extenuating circumstance” to give Ukrainian domain name owners a break when it comes to renewals.

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Comments (6)

  1. Jan Peeters says:

    Implementing this proposal with unsigned domains and with expiring certificates is irresponsible.

  2. steve brady says:

    All you have to do is cancel that show Dancing with the Stars, cause you know both sides have a cost prohibitive friction with it.

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