GAC Rejects US Proposal For gTLD Veto

By February 28, 2011 Governance No Comments

ICANN is under attack for its proposal to introduce new gTLDs from an unlikely source – the Obama administration. However it “has failed in its bid to allow it and other governments to veto future top-level domain names, a proposal before ICANN that raised questions about balancing national sovereignty with the venerable Internet tradition of free expression,” reports CNET.

The CNET report notes that the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) “rejected that part of the U.S. proposal last week, concluding instead that governments can offer nonbinding ‘advice’ about controversial suffixes such as .gay but will not receive actual veto power.”

“Other portions of the U.S. proposal were adopted, including one specifying that individual governments may file objections to proposed suffixes without paying fees and another making it easier for trademark holders to object. The final document, called a “scorecard,” will be discussed at a two-day meeting that starts today in Brussels.”

While ICANN did not comment for the article, “Milton Mueller, a professor of information studies at Syracuse University and author of a recently published book on Internet governance, says an effort he supported–complete with an online petition — ‘shamed’ GAC representatives ‘into thinking about the free expression consequences’ of a governmental veto.”

“When I started this campaign, I knew that the Department of Commerce could never defend what they were doing publicly,” Mueller told CNET. “There are also potential constitutional issues.”

To read this CNET report in full, see:
news.cnet.com/8301-31921_3-20037090-281.html

The GAC “scorecard” report is available at:
icann.org/en/topics/new-gtlds/gac-scorecard-23feb11-en.pdf