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International community is alarmed by putting the new gTLD program in the hand of OFAC

  • To: 5gtld-guide@xxxxxxxxx
  • Subject: International community is alarmed by putting the new gTLD program in the hand of OFAC
  • From: Abdulaziz Al-Zoman <ahzoman@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 31 Dec 2010 23:41:24 -0800 (PST)

Subject: International community is alarmed by putting the new gTLD program in 
the hand of OFAC 

Jan  1, 2011 

Dear ICANN, 

I do appreciate the opportunity to provide my comments on the New Generic 
Top-Level Domains (gTLDs) Proposed Final Applicant Guidebook. The Proposed 
New gTLD Applicant Guidebook inserted a new paragraph which was not discussed 
before and was not part of the previous versions of the DAG. It goes to the 
heart to the current Internet Governance model of ICANN which is claimed to be 
multi- stakeholder and bottom up. I’m really surprised that such an important 
and controversial new requirement /statement gets inserted in the so called 
Final Guidebook without proper discussion which  will  impact the  global 
internet  community. 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 
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 Version 

This new paragraph brings back the critical concerns of many sovereign nations 
over the control of a single country over today’s Internet. I believe it also 
introduces serious problems for many to-be gTLD operators and sovereign nations 
who will find such terms unacceptable to permit themselves or their citizens to 
take part in said New gTLDs while subject to the laws and political conditions 
of only one government. It also risks the technical stability of the whole 
Internet and its unique identifiers, 

Additionally, and most importantly, this new direction is reminding many 
sovereign independent nations and local communities that today’s Internet is 
under the supreme control of the US Government thru ICANN and IANA contracts, 
and that these Nations need to accept foreign controls over their sovereign 
territories in being able to operate TLDs in ASCII or IDNs in their local 
languages.  For example, a number of expected new gTLD applications will come 
from communities and municipalities that maintain autonomous sovereignty which 
will not accept to be governed in their territories and jurisdiction by laws of 
another (single)  Nation, nor participate in the objection process. 

I do not need to remind ICANN with the recent incident when the U.S. 
and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) shut down dozens of web sites (see 
http://blog.icann.org/2010/12/icann-doesn%E2%80%99t-take-down-websites/) just 
because the registry (VeriSign) is a US company without contacting the 
registrant, the registrar or even ICANN. As a result someone is calling 
worldwide ISPs to setup alternate DNS roots (see 
http://twitter.com/#!/brokep/status/8779363872935936) which may risk the 
technical stability of the whole Internet. This incident is alarming to the 
international community as ICANN is also a US non-profit California Corporation 
which controls the Internet and its unique identifiers and is subject to U.S. 
Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) at any time even for putting 
down a TLD!!!. 

Therefore, while I recommend ICANN eliminate this paragraph from the Guidebook, 
I also strongly urge it reconsiders its direction and addresses the problem of 
its being accountable to only a single Government. Many recognize that even the 
removal of this clause does not remove ICANN’s ultimate accountability and 
responsibility to only the US Government (AoC) being a California Corporation. 

Best regards,
Abdulaziz Al-Zoman 


Attachment: CommentsonProposedFinalDAG-Zoman.pdf
Description: Adobe PDF document

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