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Anti-ICANN sentiment from the ccTLDs

from TBTF for 1999-05-22



May 20, 1999

Here is the perspective of Ant Brooks <ant at hivemind dot net> on the complaints of those who run the country-code top-level domains around the world. He notes:

I must caution that most of the "threats" ICANN poses to ccTLDs are just perceived threats at this stage. I don't think it is very likely that ICANN will make unilateral policy decisions for all ccTLDs. Still, the unhappiness that the ccTLD registrars are demonstrating with ICANN's processes is still fairly noteworthy.

This material is Copyright © 1999 by Ant Brooks <ant at hivemind dot net>.


As far as I can tell, there are two main categories of possible threats to country code domains posed by ICANN's current processes/proposals:

  1. Financial threats: ICANN may require ccTLDs to pay fees for the privilege of operating their ccTLDs. Alternatively, the ccTLDs registries may be required to demonstrate certain measures of financial stability in order to continue operating as ccTLDs. For any ccTLD that operates on a non-profit basis, such financial impositions could create serious problems.

  2. Policy threats: ICANN may set policies for ccTLDs that are opposed to their current mode of operation. For example, ICANN may attempt to "close" ccTLD registries by requiring that only parties with a specific claim to a domain (e.g. only residents in that geographic region) may register in that domain. This will prevent domains like .to and .md from selling domains in competition to the generic .com, .net and .org registries.
It must be noted that these are hypothetical threats at this stage. I haven't yet seen evidence of any really serious efforts to implement these policies, if that is even practically possible.

The intention of the meeting in Berlin seems to be to somehow "organise" representation from the ccTLD community in order to participate in ICANN's broader policy making processes. Judging from the discussion on the wwtld mailing list, this is an unpopular initiative, somewhat analogous to attempting to herd cats. The cats, or ccTLDs in this case, are quite happy to mind their own business and don't really want to be herded/organised by ICANN. Most of the world is quite happy to continue using RFC 1591, a document written in March 1994, which has worked perfectly well as a guideline for ccTLDs for the last five years.

The evident dissatisfaction with this process is made worse by the US-centric nature of ICANN:

From the lowly position of the ccTLDs in this chain, you may get the impression that global representation wasn't top of the agenda when ICANN was being set-up. I believe that this is the view of most ccTLD operators.

To return to the original question [which was: "Is it fair to say the tc name is under threat in any way?" -- Ant]; the most direct threat to the .tc domain is that it will be shut down by ICANN for non-compliance with ICANN's policies. I'm not sure if the odds of this are very significant, but it is certainly a possibility. A more serious long- term threat is that ICANN will attempt to dominate global Internet policies without taking the needs of more than a handful of countries into account. There is already ample evidence that this is a real and current threat.


[ TBTF for 1999-05-22 ]

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Created 1999-05-22