Feeds

In the wake of RegisterFly, is ICANN taking flight?

Only the paranoid survive

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

In the aftermath of the ICANN meeting in Lisbon, the RegisterFly disaster continues to inspire both litigation and paranoia.

Those connecting the dots are convinced that an ICANN report debated at the Lisbon meetings exploring the possibility of changing ICANN to an international organization along the lines of the International Red Cross is an attempt by ICANN to slither out of this whole mess. A plaintiff in North Carolina has started a class action against RegisterFly, Enom, and ICANN over her ruined business; ICANN is suing RegisterFly to force it to turn over the authcodes to enable a bulk transfer of domains; and RegisterFly is demanding arbitration as provided for in its Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA). Other plaintiffs wait in the wings.

A change of character for ICANN would provide a gloss of independence from the smothering bosom of the American Department of Commerce (DOC), as well as potential protection from American litigation. It would also comport with ICANN’s stated goal of becoming a truly international organization reflective of the international reach of the internet itself. Of course, it begs the question: just what does ICANN have in common with the Red Cross? And why would ICANN need a structure that virtually eliminates accountability when more accountability is what the ICANN stakeholders keep demanding?

ICANN has made great strides in providing improved access and clarity to its website recently, and it would be unfortunate if ICANN has adopted a one step forward, two steps back approach to its problems. ICANN currently is a nonprofit corporation based in Marina Del Ray, California. Say what you will about the litigious nature of American society, but American-style litigation keeps us all on our toes, including ICANN. Why would ICANN need Red Cross-style international legal protections when it’s not out saving refugees and inoculating babies like the Red Cross?

The international organization that ICANN does have something in common with is one famous for its opaqueness and arrogant lack of accountability, the International Olympic Committee (IOC). ICANN’s not saving the world. Like it or not, ICANN is engaged in commerce, not charity work, although it is a California nonprofit corporation. The IOC, too, is engaged in commerce, which is marketing the Olympics and extorting stadium facilities out of local communities. It would be unfortunate if ICANN were to take advantage of the RegisterFly mess as an excuse to lock itself away from public opinion the way the IOC has.

Of course, ICANN is already named in the RegisterFly class action, and no midstream change in corporate structure will get them out of that lawsuit. It would, however, make it more difficult for similar lawsuits to proceed in the future. A move to Switzerland, say, would be even more frustrating. Considering the fact that ICANN did not drop the hammer on RegisterFly until after the plaintiff’s attorneys dropped the hammer on ICANN, the ICANN community might think twice about letting ICANN off the hook.®

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

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.