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Congressmen ask ICANN to delay new gTLDs

Kevin Murphy, December 22, 2011, 16:14:03 (UTC), Domain Policy

Seventeen US Congressmen have put their names to a letter asking ICANN to delay its new generic top-level domains program.
The bipartisan group was led by Rep. Fred Upton, chairman of the House technology subcommittee that held a hearing into new gTLDs last week. They wrote:

Although we believe expanding gTLDs is a worthy goal that may lead to increased competition on the Internet, we are very concerned that there is a significant uncertainty in this process for businesses, non-profit organizations, and consumers. To that end, we urge you to delay the planned January 12, 2012 date for the acceptance of applications for new gTLDs.

The letter (pdf), sent yesterday to ICANN president Rod Beckstrom and chairman Steve Crocker, goes on to note the objections of several groups, including the Coalition for Responsible Internet Domain Oversight, that have opposed the program in recent weeks.

Given these widespread concerns, a short delay will allow interested parties to work with ICANN and offer changes to alleviate many of them, specifically concerns over law enforcement, cost and transparency that were discussed in recent Congressional hearings.

It is notable that the letter was sent directly to ICANN’s top brass.
Previous requests of this kind have been sent to ICANN’s overseers in the US Department of Commerce, which has already indicated that it does not intend to strong-arm ICANN into changing its new gTLD plans.
ICANN’s senior vice president Kurt Pritz said last week that the chance of delay was “above zero”.
Whether this latest letter changes the math remains to be seen.
Opposition to the January 12 launch date in the US currently appears to be reaching a critical mass.

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Comments (1)

  1. Jonathan says:

    But what about applicants who’s been working on applications for months now, or even years ?
    What about those who hired highly paid people, who need to delay application period and keep paying people ?
    It feels easy looking at everyone waking up after years of sleep…
    I mean, why brands fearing for their rights and trademarks while nothing will be different in their behavior within next years.
    Even applicants don’t seem to really know what success will be like, and all we heard of are doing their best to follow a good RPM logic and to make their best to protect brands. But dealing with new communication means and new TLDs is actually their business, not applicant’s one…
    It’s like everyone needs to follow their rules.
    Great people have been working on this project to meet a consensus for years now, and a couple of outsiders are willing to stop them, but there’s no reason to follow their requests.
    I give more of my trusts to a, let’s agree on this, politically oriented ICANN with internal fights and a real Organization structure than to private interests fighting for their piece of meat in a communication era.
    We had the luck to reach this consensus, which never meant an agreement, and there’s no way this best position will be ever more than what it is.
    It’s like we tend to forget what a consensus is.
    If lobbying is part of a political world, so is opposing to the mainstream.
    You might not be a huge Rod Beckstrom partisan, or even a Peter Dengate Thrush’ one, but how come people like Kurt Pritz, Steve Crocker, Antony Van Couvering or as many insiders or outsiders are not even listened to ?
    How many of those “opposed-to-the-program” went to a single ICANN meeting to consider how things really do work…
    It feels from the user side like kids redoing the world for years around toys and willing to openly cry whenever they realize they need to adapt to a reality.
    Well, it’s easier to sit, talk, learn and do one’s best for people than being busy doing something else during the sit/talk/learn time and mess with everyone after.
    As a user, and strong defender of the real meaning of a consensus, in its proper mean as in its application, I feel today sad to realize some people can’t accept the fact growing pains are part of a lifetime.
    I read that Belgium not that long ago got a new Government, therefor new ministers. One of them named Maggy de Block when nominated started by saying, “as I don’t know what I shall talk about, I’ll start by keeping quiet for thirty days”.
    Well, maybe some people should take this example in account….

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