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Belgium slashes its ICANN funding in “mission creep” protest

Kevin Murphy, August 12, 2022, Domain Policy

DNS Belgium has cut its contribution to ICANN’s budget by two thirds, in protest at ICANN’s “mission creep” and its handling of GDPR.

The Belgian ccTLD registry informed ICANN CFO Xavier Calvez that it will only pay $25,000 this fiscal year, compared to the $75,000 it usually pays.

Registry general manager Philip Du Bois wrote (pdf) that “during recent years there has been a shift in focus which is not in the benefit of ccTLD’s”.

ICANN has become a large corporate structure with a tendency to suffer from “mission creep”… At the same time ICANN seems to fail in dealing in an appropriate way with important issues such as GDPR/privacy. It goes beyond our comprehension that ICANN and its officers don’t feel any reluctancy to “advise” European institutions and national governmental bodies to embrace “standards developed by the multi-stakeholder structures on international level” while at the same time it is obvious that ICANN itself has not yet mastered the implementation of important European legislation.

Based in the heart of the EU, DNS Belgium was a strong proponent of Whois privacy many years before the GDPR came into effect in 2018.

Calvez, in his reply (pdf), acknowledges that ccTLD contributions are voluntary, but seems to insinuate (call me a cynic) that the criticisms are hollow and that the registry might simply be trying to reduce its costs during an economic downturn:

We do appreciate any amount of contribution, and also that the ability for any ccTLD to contribute varies over time, including based on economic circumstances. We do understand that the reduction of DNS Belgium’s contribution from US$75,000 to US$25,000 represents a significant and meaningful reduction of costs for DNS Belgium.

DNS Belgium seems to be doing okay, based on its latest annual financial report. It’s not a huge company, but registrations and revenue have been growing at a slow and steady rate for the last several years.

All ccTLD contributions to ICANN are voluntary, but there are suggested donations based on how many domains a registry has under management, ranging from the $225,000 paid by the likes of the UK registry to the $500 paid by the likes of Pitcairn.

DNS Belgium, which manages about 1.7 million names, falls into the third-highest band, with a $75,000 suggested contribution.

ICANN is budgeting for funding of $152 million in its current FY23.

Belgium to crack down on fraud domains

Kevin Murphy, November 28, 2018, Domain Registries

DNS Belgium says it will shortly implement a new policy that will see it take down .be domains associated with fraud within 24 hours of discovering them.
The new scheme, which comes into effect December 1, essentially grants the Belgian government’s ministry of the economy — FPS Economy or Federal Public Service Economy in local parlance — a trusted notifier status when it comes to takedowns.
Previously, requests had to go through public prosecutors and took about two weeks, giving attackers a longer window to milk their victims.
Under the old regime, FPS Economy could only request a suspension in cases where the Whois data was inaccurate.
The registry said it will only suspend domains that are involved in “serious crimes”, including phishing and fraudulent web stores.
Registrants will have two weeks to appeal their suspensions. After six months, the domains will be deleted.
Several hundred .be domains per year are expected to be affected.

Belgium domains will be registered in Ireland after cloud move

Kevin Murphy, February 20, 2017, Domain Registries

DNS Belgium, operator of .be, has moved its shared registration systems to the cloud, the non-profit said last week.
The registry migrated from a self-hosted system to Amazon Web Services on February 11.
It’s an effort to cut costs, increase efficiency, and free up engineering time currently dedicated to non-core functions such as hardware maintenance, executives said.
“As AWS sees to the hardware, connectivity etc., DNS Belgium can focus on the layers above, such as the software,” general manager Philip Du Bois said in a press release.
Business development manager Lut Goedhuys said that while the system has been moved to the cloud, AWS allows customers to select the data centers where their applications will be stored.
DNS Belgium picked Ireland, she said.

Seized .eu, .be counterfeiting domains now pointing to US government servers

Kevin Murphy, November 27, 2012, Domain Policy

At least three of the European domain names seized in this year’s batch of Cyber Monday anti-counterfeiting law enforcement are now pointing to servers controlled by the US government.
We’ve found that chaussuresfoot.be, chaussurevogue.eu and eshopreplica.eu are now hosted on the same IP addresses as SeizedServers.com, the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement site.
But the three domains, believed to be among the 132 grabbed ahead of this year’s online shopping rush, display warnings incorporating the logos of multiple European law enforcement agencies.
While domains in .dk, .fr, .ro and .uk were also targeted by this year’s transatlantic crackdown, none appear to be using SeizedServers.com.
According to an ICE press release yesterday, this was the first year that Operation In Our Sites, which kicked off at this time in 2010, has included overseas law enforcement.
The partnership, coordinated between ICE and Europol, was code-named Project Transatlantic.