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gTLD draft Guidebook - FDIC Comments

  • To: <gtld-dispute@xxxxxxxxx>, <gtld-evaluation@xxxxxxxxx>, <gtld-guide@xxxxxxxxx>, <gtld-intro@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Subject: gTLD draft Guidebook - FDIC Comments
  • From: "Saxinger, Donald R." <DSaxinger@xxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 15 Dec 2008 18:51:04 -0500

                December 15, 2008

Submitted Electronically


Mr. Peter Dengate Thrush
Chairman
Internet Corporation for 
Assigned Names and Numbers
1875 I Street, NW, Suite 501
Washington DC, 20006


Re: Request for Comment, Draft Applicant Guidebook, New Generic Top
Level Domain Program


Dear Mr. Thrush,

On behalf of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), I
respectfully submit to you our comments and concerns regarding the
Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) draft
Applicant Guidebook for the New Generic Top Level Domain (gTLD) Program.
Our concerns focus on the financial service sector, and in particular,
over 8,000 institutions whose deposits are insured by the FDIC, as well
as on consumers who conduct Internet banking in the United States.

The FDIC was created by the Banking Act of 1933.  The FDIC insures the
deposits of consumers in US banks and serves as the primary Federal
regulator of over five thousand US financial institutions.  In these
roles, FDIC enforces consumer protection laws, including a variety of
laws and policies on Internet-based fraud.  To ensure the safety and
soundness of the US banking system, the FDIC has broad enforcement and
examination authority over US financial institutions and their
technology service providers.  

We have led the effort to ensure consumer confidence in Internet banking
to the same extent that we regulate traditional brick and mortar
banking.  Our programs have resulted in stronger industry-wide
authentication of Internet banking, customer notice rules, mandatory
information security standards, and consumer fraud protection.  

Regulatory Concerns

Through its deposit insurer and regulatory roles, the FDIC is a
community leader for the US financial sector on the Internet and is at
the forefront of issues related to consumer confidence in the banking
systems, including Internet banking.  While the FDIC has historically
encouraged industry-led technical innovations, and prefers an
industry-led effort to establish standards and guidance for the safe and
sound implementation of those innovative technologies, we are very
concerned that new gTLDs could potentially create new rounds of
financial fraud, consumer confusion, misdirected trust in a gTLD, and
could force trade name protection costs onto the financial industry
during a period of economic stress.  As such, we encourage ICANN to
include industry representatives such as financial trade associations
(e.g., American Bankers Association, Financial Services Roundtable,
Independent Community Bankers, etc.) in its deliberations regarding the
value of financial sector specific gTLDs.  

The FDIC is also concerned that financial sector gTLDs could potentially
impact consumer trust and confidence in Internet banking, and the
banking system in general, if such gTLDs are misused.  Financial sector
gTLDs such as ".bank" could intuitively, and mistakenly, imply industry
(including regulatory) endorsement to the public.  The draft application
processes does not provide sufficient requirement that such industry
endorsement exists.  Without sufficient industry endorsement, and an
integrated governance requirement for financial sector gTLDs, we believe
that a financial sector gTLD could be detrimental to consumers and
undermine established confidence in Internet banking.

Recommendations

With respect to the proposed gTLD Guidebook, the FDIC believes more
consideration should be given to the regulated environment of the
financial sector and the potential impact that a financial sector gTLD
could have on the financial industry and consumers.  To remedy these
concerns, the FDIC recommends a separate and distinct application
process for financial sector gTLDs.  Specifically, we offer the
following suggestions for a financial sector gTLD process:
        
1)      The draft Guidebook permits gTLD applications as either "open"
applications or "community-based" applications.  The FDIC recommends
that a financial sector gTLD be implemented from a top down approach to
ensure that no unsponsored gTLDs are issued, and that if issued, such
gTLDs are managed within an industry and regulatory framework.
Furthermore, the FDIC recommends that the financial sector gTLDs process
not permit "open applications" and that any applications include
explicit endorsement of the financial industry community including
regulatory bodies.
        
2)      The FDIC recommends that financial sector gTLDs be subject to
community-established governance rules, including various laws,
regulations, guidance and policy established by the financial sector
regulators.  Additionally, applicants should demonstrate their intent
and ability to comply with these governance rules in the application
process.  The governance requirement should include, at a minimum:

a.      Financial capability to carry out its governance requirements 
b.      A process for ensuring intellectual property rights such as
trade names
c.      A requirement for registrant due diligence 
        
3)      The draft Guidebook provides a process for objecting to
applications.  The FDIC recommends that the process and rules for
objecting to any financial sector gTLD applications include the ability
to object on the grounds of insufficient governance as proposed by the
application as well as a process for financial regulatory objection.
        
4)      The FDIC recommends an additional process to permit financial
sector gTLD ownership to be revocable or transferable at any time in the
future when the represented community or regulatory body determines and
shows that the sponsored gTLD has not satisfied its governance
requirements.


Closing

The FDIC thanks the ICANN Board and its committees for allowing and
considering our comments on this subject.  The FDIC is willing to work
with ICANN and any community or industry group to further establish a
workable solution to these concerns and recommendations.




                                Sincerely,


                                Michael L. Jackson
                                Associate Director
                                FDIC
                                Division of Supervision and Consumer
Protection


 <<FDIC Comment Letter - gTLD Guidebook.pdf>> 


Michael L. Jackson
Associate Director
Technology Supervision Branch
Division of Supervision and Consumer Protection
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
202 898-6748




Attachment: FDIC Comment Letter - gTLD Guidebook.pdf
Description: FDIC Comment Letter - gTLD Guidebook.pdf



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