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Comments on Module 1 of the DAG from the Steering Committee for the Arab Top Level Domains project

  • To: 5gtld-intro@xxxxxxxxx
  • Subject: Comments on Module 1 of the DAG from the Steering Committee for the Arab Top Level Domains project
  • From: ibaa oueichek <oueichek@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 16 Jan 2011 00:26:01 +0200

The Committee was formed by LAS (League of Arab States) to follow up on the
preparation of the application by LAS for Arab gTLDs (both Latin and IDN




We do appreciate the opportunity to provide our comments on the New Generic
Top-Level Domains (gTLDs) Proposed Final Applicant Guidebook.  

Please find below two important comments:


First comment:

The Arab community welcomed the reform of ICANN and its efforts to become a
truly international organization. Unfortunately, one important paragraph
inserted in the Proposed Final New gTLD Application Guidebook, which was not
even discussed or brought to public before and was not part of the previous
versions of the DAG made us really worried about the possibility of these
internationalization efforts to reach their intended goal. For us, an
international organization is not (only) one which employs people from
different nations, but one which stands at an equal distance from all
world’s nations, and which cannot be controlled by one single nation or


The inserted (problematic) text (presuming was done by ICANN staff and not
as a result from the public comments) appears is page 1-19, Module 1:
Introduction to the gTLD Application Process, and it reads as follows:

“Legal Compliance -- ICANN must comply with all U.S. laws, rules, and
regulations. One such set of regulations is the economic and trade sanctions
program administered by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) of the
U.S. Department of the Treasury. These sanctions have been imposed on
certain countries, as well as individuals and entities that appear on OFAC's
List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (the “SDN List").
ICANN is prohibited from providing most goods or services to residents of
sanctioned countries or their governmental entities or to SDNs without an
applicable U.S. government authorization or exemption. ICANN generally will
not seek a license to provide goods or services to an individual or entity
on the SDN List. In the past, when ICANN has been requested to provide
services to individuals or entities that are not SDNs, but are residents of
sanctioned countries, ICANN has sought and been granted licenses as
required. In any given case, however, OFAC could decide not to issue a
requested license.” Extracted from Applicant Guidebook – Proposed Final

This new paragraph brings back the critical concerns of many sovereign
nations over the control of a single country over today’s Internet, which we
really wish will end with the reform of ICANN. We believe this paragraph
introduces serious problems for many to-be gTLD operators and sovereign
nations who will find it difficult to grasp that a truly international
process like the new gTLDs could be subject to the laws and political
conditions of only one government. It becomes embarrassing (to say the
least) to impose on sovereign nationals and local communities the need to
get US permission (or whatever other country) to be able to use the Internet
and write domains in their own language. What makes things even more
complicated that ICANN has a monopoly over the gTLD creation services, which
means very simply that these countries and communities are faced with a
“take it or leave it” situation.


To confirm that our concerns are not based on just hypothetical fears and
speculations, we wish to remind ICANN with the recent incident when the U.S.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) shut down dozens of web
just because the registry (VeriSign) is a US company without contacting the
registrant, the registrar or even ICANN.


This kind of events, helps only to feed the arguments of people who are
calling worldwide ISPs to setup alternate DNS roots
<http://twitter.com/#!/brokep/status/8779363872935936>  which may risk the
technical stability of the whole Internet (and therefore we do not support).

Therefore, while we recommend ICANN to eliminate this paragraph from the
Guidebook, we also strongly urge it reconsiders its direction and addresses
the problem of its being accountable to only a single Government. 

(end of first comment).


Second Comment


We fully support the GAC position on enhancing and extending Geographic
protection of  strings to include those that are considered as “commonly
used names”. One possibility which could also be applied is to allow the
“owners” of these geographically protected strings to select the best name
which represents their protected strings (possibility an abbreviation as the
literally protected string could be too long and impractical for being used
as a gTLD).


(end of second comment)


We express again our appreciation for the efforts done by ICANN to gather
comments and feedback and hope that our comments will be taken into

Best Regards


Dr. Ibaa Oueichek

Chairman of the Steering Committee for the Arab Top Level Domains project

Chairman of the Arab Team for Domain Names and Interent Issues


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