New gTLD Board Committee Consideration of GAC Safeguard Advice - ".health"
The International Society for Telemedicine and eHealth (ISfTeH) believes that the health Internet is a vital means of health information access worldwide. Thus, ".health" and health related top level domains should be trusted and reliable resources which take the public interest into account. We share the concerns expressed by the GAC, and support the objections submitted by the ALAC and the Independent Objector regarding health-related names. The GAC has proposed general safeguards for a set of names related to health, with no assurance that they will be enforced, meaning that there is no guarantee that a new ".health" TLD will be operated in the interest of global public health and consumer protection. A " .health" TLD without adequate quality assurance and consumer protection mechanisms in place will undermine credibility and harm the growth of the online health marketplace. Despite GAC advice, an open and unrestricted TLD will help bypass regulatory controls creating new risks for the whole industry sector, including in emerging markets. Developing countries will suffer the most in this scenario, due to their difficulties in enforcing national policies to regulate, monitor, and stop fraud and misuse. The ISfTeH is a federation of national professional societies in 45 countries with a footprint in over 80 countries around the globe. Our members are the professionals on the ground who, in the soirit of target 18 of the MDGs, bring the benefits of the Internet to support improve the health people in their countries. We believe that ".health" should be managed as a global asset, and that its governance should be based on broad-based, multi-stakeholder consensus. In this regard the ICANN board should note the concerns of the health community, GAC, ALAC and the IO, and should not proceed beyond Intial Evaluation of the ".health" string, including its Chinese variant. We urge the ICANN board to postpone the attribution of ".health" until such time as following broad-based consultation of the health community, including the public and private sectors, adequate baseline conditions for its operation are elaborated and their implementation and observance can be ensured. regards, Prof. S. Yunkap Kwankam, PhD | Executive Director, International Scoiety for Telemedicine and eHealth ISfTeH) Chemin des Champs-Blancs 94 | 1279 Chavannes-de-Bogis, Switzerland Phone: +41 22 796 6238 | Cell: +41 79 369 0998 | Web: www.isfteh.org The ISfTeH (International Society for Telemedicine & eHealth) exists to facilitate the international dissemination of knowledge and experience in Telemedicine and eHealth and to provide access to recognized experts in the field worldwide. ISfTeH is an NGO in Official Relations with WHO Office of the Executive Director