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Username: dzenowagisj
Date/Time: Sun, November 5, 2000 at 10:38 PM GMT
Browser: Microsoft Internet Explorer V5.01 using Windows NT
Score: 5
Subject: WHO's response to concerns


        Thank you to all those who posted their support and thoughtful questions on dot-health. This post is to answer a number of questions regarding the intent and operations of dot-health by WHO.

1. The technology allows that an existing web site can be under both its original domain and dot-health together, enabling it to maintain its already established identity as well as to have the benefit of being easily found under dot-health.
2. Work on operationalizing dot-health would begin immediately, and the World Health Assembly as our governing body would be in a position to approve/endorse rather than actually write policy. The consultation process will be designed in such a way that the views of member states will be taken into account during the process itself.
3. Several posts raise legitimate concerns about freedom and control in cyberspace. For example, there is an excellent series of objections which, however, do not relate to dot-health, as they are based on incorrect assumptions as to how the WHO is constituted, how it works and the intent of the TLD dot-health.  Specifically, 1) there will not be a “vetting” organization for dot-health; there will be a multisectoral standards-setting process that will then be applied in a transparent manner. 2)There will be no attempt to designate some “final truth”. 3)Verification and registration will be done on a cost-recovery basis; WHO has a well-established process for supporting developing countries in this respect. 4)The TLD cannot be sold from one group to another. 5)The question was raised as to why WHO should manage dot-health, and compared to Cisco operating dot-routers. WHO is not a business, it is an international public health agency, and the operation of dot-health does not therefore give it unfair advantage.
4. One post stated that WHO should not fan the flames of UN conspiracy theorists by managing dot-health. However, if these concerns are ever to be put to rest, it will be by seeing concrete examples of responsive, responsible action on the part of UN agencies. The management of dot-health by WHO represents an important opportunity to show how an international public agency can serve the international public good on the Internet.
5. WHO, as a specialized agency of the UN, has an important role to play in facilitating the standards development and supporting the implementation needed to protect users and help them navigate their way through the mass of often complex and sometimes conflicting health information. WHO is committed to working with those already engaged in the standards process, to support and harmonize efforts for wide international benefit, including for developing countries.

Thank you for your comments, questions and support.


Dr Joan Dzenowagis, World Health Organization, Geneva

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