What happened recently to trigger the U.S. governmentâ€™s sudden interest in Internet-policing? We saw the Department of Homeland Security seizing Web sitesâ€™ domain names last week, despite the fact the those Web sites werenâ€™t based in the U.S. Odd. Now thereâ€™s word that the U.S. is wheeling and dealing over the right to approve any and all new top-level domains. You know, things like dot com or dot org. Whatâ€™s at stake, essentially, is whoâ€™s in charge of the Internet?
Itâ€™s not too hard to follow whatâ€™s going on. There will be a meeting next month to determine the final application process for groups to apply for new top-level domains. Dot XXX has been on the table for several years now, but there are other, more benign TLDs up for grabs: dot nyc, dot health, dot movie, etc. New TLDs would make it easier for organizations to make their home on the Internet. Rather than having to register â€œSomeMovieName-TheMovie-ForReal.com,â€ you could register—and advertise—â€SomeMovieName.movie.â€
The issue becomes whether or not to allow â€œcontroversialâ€ TLDs; dot gay is one such TLD. Would a â€œconservativeâ€ country want to see the creation of such a TLD? Who should make the call whether or not to approve a dot jihad, to pull an example out of thin air, TLD?
Itâ€™s fairly tricky deciding exactly who should be in charge of this. There are those who will say that ICANN, working at the pleasure of the U.S. government, has done a good enough job so far. Perhaps, but again, Homeland Security just seized a bunch of domains of sites that arenâ€™t even in the U.S., so why should the U.S. be trusted exclusively? And if not the U.S., then who? The United Nations, the organization famous for having less-than-savory individuals and countries on its Human Rights Council?
What we need is disinterested Hall of Justice to mediate this type of thing, because I have a hard time trusting pretty much all proposed parties.
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