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INTERPOL's comments to the GNSO's Recommendations re. protection of IGO and INGO identifiers in all gTLDs [For official use]

  • To: "comments-igo-ingo-recommendations-27nov13@xxxxxxxxx" <comments-igo-ingo-recommendations-27nov13@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Subject: INTERPOL's comments to the GNSO's Recommendations re. protection of IGO and INGO identifiers in all gTLDs [For official use]
  • From: WEB LA <WEBLC@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 17 Dec 2013 16:56:29 +0100

Confidentiality Level : INTERPOL For official use only
Dear Ms. Wong,

We wish to bring to your attention a matter of particular concern for INTERPOL.

The recent IGO-INGO Identifier Protection recommendations adopted by the GNSO 
Council, which consists on the one hand in accepting protections for full names 
at both the top and second levels but on the other hand in refusing such 
protections for IGO acronyms, are likely to affect negatively and in a 
significant manner this Organisation. INTERPOL hereby wishes to add its voice 
to many organization that have expressed great concern on this issue.

To our view, the GNSO recommendations fail completely to take into account 
public policy concerns, the unique status and needs of IGOs and longstanding 
and repeated GAC advice.

There is indeed no valid reason for making a distinction between full names and 
acronyms.

-        In fact, it is well known by all that a vast majority of IGOs are far 
better known by their acronyms than their full names as is clearly the case for 
INTERPOL.  In the context of the DNS, it defies basic logic to refuse 
protection for the commonly known acronyms and instead protect the often 
lengthy full names, which is meaningless for most of us (including "ICANN" 
itself) and would thus amount to giving IGOs no protection at all. Experience 
bears this out, as IGO acronyms have often fallen victim to cybersquatting and 
other forms of abuse in the DNS.

-        Limitation of protection to full names would effectively defeat the 
very purpose of the envisaged protection and would carry a real cost for vital 
public missions, especially when campaigns for education and funding are today 
heavily reliant on the Internet.

-        As ICANN's mission includes, inter alia, protecting consumers from 
abuse in connection with the new gTLD program, it is surprising that such 
considerations in no way motivated the GNSO decision.

In addition, we believe that IGOs considerations have been ignored throughout 
this process and that there is currently certainly no consensus on the matter.

-        At the second level, reasonable co-existence principles and a simple 
and cost-neutral process could be devised, so a blanket refusal to protect IGO 
acronyms was not warranted.  If there was a will, the PDP could have explored 
such mechanisms.

-        IGOs have indicated on many occasions that our intention is not to 
prevent in absolute terms good faith use of our acronyms in the DNS by third 
parties. Rather, IGOs are looking for solutions to pre-empt third-party abuse 
of our acronyms to prevent user confusion and the resulting loss of confidence 
in both IGOs and the DNS.

-        Instead, the entire PDP process clearly served only to confirm 
conclusions which were predetermined from the start.  Fact, law, public policy 
considerations and even logic and reason were ignored during the process and 
the so called "consensus" against IGO acronym protections was reached despite 
fierce opposition from participating IGOs.   It is certainly at odds with the 
very concept of consensus to allow for a decision to be adopted when strong 
dissent is clearly and decisively voiced by a number of stakeholders. We would 
simply like to recall one of the "core values" ICANN Board of Director's Code 
of Conduct: "7.  Employing open and transparent policy development mechanisms 
that (i) promote well-informed decisions based on expert advice, and (ii) 
ensure that those entities most affected can assist in the policy development 
process."




Last, the mechanisms foreseen to accommodate IGOs issues are inadequate.

-        Allowing IGOs access to the Trademark Clearinghouse is woefully 
insufficient, both because the time-limited (90-day) duration falls short of 
any effective protection or even notification system and because of 
considerations regarding using public funds for such processes, which have not 
been addressed.

-        As to the URS and the UDRP, the GNSO acknowledges these mechanisms to 
be inadequate for IGOs due notably to immunities, but also because of standing 
and cost considerations.  Whether initiating a new PDP would develop mechanisms 
adequate for IGOs is quite uncertain, but what is certain is that such a 
lengthy undertaking would not provide a timely solution.  We should also point 
out that the URS and the UDRP would remain curative mechanisms which would thus 
not prevent the harm from occurring.  In a situation of crisis, where cases of 
abuse are generally on the rise, IGOs cannot wait for the results of a dispute 
resolution process before stopping fraud involving its identifier.

It is important to recall that ICANN's founding documents require ICANN to 
carry out its activities in conformity with relevant principles of 
international law and applicable international conventions, to cooperate with 
relevant IGOs and to duly take into account governments' and public 
authorities' recommendations, recognising that public authorities are 
responsible for public policy.

The GAC repeatedly advised that IGOs, as entities created by governments under 
public international law, are in an objectively different category to other 
rights holders and that there is a prevailing global public interest to provide 
special preventative protections for IGO names and acronyms at both the top and 
second levels.

Should ICANN endorse these recommendations, it would be highly criticized for 
making decisions affecting global public policy matters based purely on 
commercial considerations or rather unreasonable fears that such commercial 
interests would be adversely affected.

We sincerely hope that the ICANN Board will not follow the route proposed by 
the GNSO Council .

Kind regards,

General Secretariat
International Criminal Police Organization - INTERPOL

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