Icann chief insists it's business as usual despite legal action

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers head insisted its meeting in Rome this week was "business as usual",...

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers head insisted its meeting in Rome this week was "business as usual", despite the two lawsuits calling the organisation into question.

"What ties all the internet players together are contracts, therefore having disputes over those agreements is not at all unusual," said Icann president Paul Twomey.

VeriSignhas taken legal action against Icann over a delay of one of its services, and a group of domain name registrars trying to block the service's implementation sued the following day.

The future of a VeriSign service allowing customers to back-order internet domain names, called Wait List Service, is at stake, as well as Icann's role as an internet regulatory authority.

While VeriSign, among others, contends that Icann is overstepping its charter by taking actions such as delaying a domain name service, Icann leaders have acknowledged that there is no clear authority charged with dealing with such issues.

However, that does not mean that Icann has no wish to offload some of the issues it has been facing. Icann chairman Vint Cerf pointed out that there are other established international organisations that already have business rules in place, such as the World Trade Organization, for example.

"Even when we are talking about e-business, there are a number of other bodies that have policies on international business," he said.

Still, Icann leaders see heightened policy concerns are a natural by-product of the internet's growth.

"The Internet is a collaboration between many parties ... and these disputes are an example of how the internet works," Cerf said.

Twomey added that despite the recent legal wranglings the meetings in Rome this week have proceeded as "business as usual".

While the lawsuits last week reflected the business sector's concerns, the meetings this week concerned more global, and technical issues related to the internet,.

On Monday the group formed the Country-Code Names Supporting Organisation and working groups have focused on how to improve the Whois database, which contains information on domain name owners.

However, governance issues were also being considered during a workshop on the World Summit on the Information Society, and Icann's board was due to consider the WLS.

"Icann is a community - more than an institution or an organisation - and we have people participating in discussions on a variety of issues," Twomey said.
The Rome meeting finishes tomorrow (Saturday).

Scarlet Pruitt writes for IDG News Service

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