SiteFinder and ICANN

James has responded again. He makes clear his views on my points. It’s clear we disagree. And that we remain friends. So decide for yourself by reading both views. No more on this from me re James. Maybe more on the subject as it develops.

To turn to another subject. SiteFinder is particularly interesting in the context of ICANN and its evolution. I have so far been very impressed with Paul Twomey as President and CEO. This issue is a real test of ICANN. There is enormous pressure on it to stand in the way of SiteFinder. Much of the pressure is well intentioned, much is purely driven by VeriSign hatred. ICANN was not set up as a regulatory body, and it was not set up to tell a registry how to run a business. It was explicitly set up as a private corporation to work with the private sector in the running of the DNS. That decision – to keep the DNS in the private sector – is key. It is what makes ICANN different to the ITU, where treaties and Governments are far more involved.

If ICANN steps outside its scope, and accepts the loudest voices as indicating consensus, it would be doing itself a serious disservice. It would soon become clear that the ITU is a more appropriate body for that more heavy handed, treaty driven, form of government. And the attempt to allow private industry and policy to co-exist will have failed. The onus – in my view – is on ICANN to step back, draw a line where it has no authority, and allow the market to decide winners and losers.

Of course all of this would be different if VeriSign, as accused, had really broken with standards in the DNS and had really threatened the stability of the Internet, or its security. In reality none of those things have happened and ICANN needs to be big enough to say so, despite the unpopularity of that viewpoint in certain circles.

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