Feeds

Of ICANN and the Registerfly meltdown

What needs to be done

Application security programs and practises

Comment The scorn heaped upon ICANN recently for its laissez faire attitude toward customer allegations of fraud by its accredited registrar Registerfly - a scandal in which ICANN spent the better part of a year repeatedly referring customers back to Registerfly, even in the face of overwhelming evidence of misconduct - has forced ICANN to acknowledge that it is responsible for holding its accredited registrars to certain ethical standards. Well, it's a start.

For those, however, whose domains were lost through either neglect or malfeasance on the part of Registerfly, and whose domains are now occupied by cybersquatters, the loss of a business or personal website formerly hosted by Registerfly still burns.

Although ICANN recently issued an ultimatum to Registerfly, threatening to pull its accreditation unless it resolved its myriad customer service issues within two weeks time, the fact remains that pulling the accreditation of a negligent or possibly even criminal registrar is a merely a prophylactic measure - it may prevent future harm, but does nothing to resolve the property rights of those whose internet based businesses have vanished into cyberspace.

The fact is, Registerfly is not alone, and ICANN needs to develop some kind procedural safeguards to ensure that disputed domains are not inadvertantly auctioned off to the first bidder before this happens again.

Although ICANN rightly claims that allegations of monetary damages due to fraud or negligence need to be addressed by local authorities, the integrity of the domain system itself needs to be protected by ICANN - that, after all, is why ICANN takes a cut of every domain registration fee.

Whether or not local or federal authorities choose to prosecute Registerfly - and the rumors flying indicate that both the FBI and the Secret Service are involved now - jilted customers cannot expect the FBI, for example, just to hand over the control of a domain name that might now be owned by bona fide purchaser on the other side of the world. It's not like stolen silverware or jewelry - the only way for the authorities to return control of the domain would be to get a court order against, um... that group, the one that controls domain registration...oh yeah, ICANN.

At the very minimum, ICANN needs to be proactive here and develop a system for holding disputed domains in trust until the rightful owner can be determined. Even better would be a formal dispute resolution system with investigative power to follow up on serious allegations and nip them in the bud. Mr. Zupke, ICANN's go between with the accredited registrars, cannot police cyberspace alone.

ICANN performs a function in cyberspace somewhat analogous to the hall of records in a local community, organizing and documenting property rights. If ICANN feels that enforcing certain ethical standards on its partners runs counter to its bureaucratic instincts, it could still subcontract out such enforcement to a third party security group, much as it subcontracts out domain registration to groups like Registerfly.

The Registerfly fiasco has laid clear for all to see the inadequacies of the current registrar accreditation system, and the need for reform. There's no time like the present. ®

Burke Hansen, attorney at large, heads a San Francisco law office

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
Airbus promises Wi-Fi – yay – and 3D movies (meh) in new A330
If the person in front reclines their seat, this could get interesting
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
UK Parliament rubber-stamps EMERGENCY data grab 'n' keep bill
Just 49 MPs oppose Drip's rushed timetable
Want to beat Verizon's slow Netflix? Get a VPN
Exec finds stream speed climbs when smuggled out
Samsung threatens to cut ties with supplier over child labour allegations
Vows to uphold 'zero tolerance' policy on underage workers
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.