ICANN stalls on domain names



David Bicknell

The organisation set up to oversee Internet naming and addressing functions has put off a decision on new internet...



David Bicknell

The organisation set up to oversee Internet naming and addressing functions has put off a decision on new internet domain names until July.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) at its meeting in Cairo last week, said it will now set up a process to enable a decision on new to-level domain names to be taken at a meeting in Yokohama in Japan from 15-16 July.

The choice of new domain names is certain to upset trademark specialists who already have to cope with "cyberpirates" who hijack famous name trademarks and then offer to sell them back to trademark holders.

The delay is the latest in a tortuous series of steps in ensuring that the grass-roots Internet community has a say in the way ICANN operates.

The organisation, which has been criticised by some for a lack of consultation, has agreed to a broad voting policy among the "at large" community to directly appoint five of a proposed nine "at large directors" by 1 November.

The move has already brought concerns that the direct election of members could result in "unqualified" people being elected.

The move puts ICANN in a difficult position: choose without voting from known specialists in Net functions, but be accused of offering "jobs for the boys", or directly appointing in a democratic, but slow-moving process.

Meanwhile, Microsoft is to take a stake in UScompany Real Names, with a view to overhauling the domain naming process. But plans are sure to need ICAAN's approval.

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