The presidents of Peru, Colombia, Ecuador and Bolivia have expressed their “deep concern” over ICANN’s recent decision to continue processing Amazon’s application for the .amazon top-level domain.
At their board meeting on 15 May, the board directed ICANN “to continue processing of the .AMAZON applications according to the policies and procedures of the New gTLD Program. This includes the publication of the Public Interest Commitments (PICs), as proposed by the Amazon corporation, for a 30-day public comment period, as per the established procedures of the New gTLD program.”
However a joint declaration from the presidents of Peru, Colombia, Ecuador and Bolivia notes the decision was made despite the opposition of the member countries of the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (ACTO) and against the recommendation of the Governmental Advisory Committee to reach a mutually acceptable solution.
The declaration [in Spanish] notes that with this decision ICANN would be setting a serious precedent by prioritising private business interests above state public policy considerations, including those of the rights of indigenous peoples and the preservation of the Amazon in favour of humanity and against global warming. It also notes it disregards the Montevideo declaration of 2013, the result of the fourth Ministerial Conference on the Information society, through which the Ministers of Latin America and the Caribbean rejected any claim of appropriation, without the consent of the countries of the region, of the Amazon denomination in any language, as well as of any other first level domain referred to geographical, historical, cultural or natural names, which must be preserved as part of their heritage and Cultural identity. [translated through Microsoft Translator]
The declaration goes on to say the countries have joined forces to protect the interests of our countries related to geographical or cultural names and the right to the cultural identity of indigenous peoples, which may be affected by the new technologies, such as top-level domains and where internet governance has not been adequately developed or implemented spaces for the defence of public interests vis-a private ones, as a new area of action of the Andean community.
The declaration was signed by:
- Evo Morales Ayma: President of the State of Bolivia
- Iván Duque Márquez: President of the Republic of Colombia
- Lenin Moreno Garcés: President of the Republic of Ecuador
- Martín Vizcarra Cornejo: President of the Republic of Peru.
The declaration isn’t signed by Brazil’s new extremist right wing president and new friend of Donald Trump, Jair Bolsonaro. Home to the largest swath of the Amazon forest, Brazil has also lamented ICANN’s decision.
To try and counter some of the dissatisfaction from the ACTO countries, Amazon made a number of commitments in April 2019 including the creation of a joint Steering Committee as well as to:
- “Not use as domain names in each .AMAZON TLD those terms that have a primary and well-recognized significance to the culture and heritage of the Amazonia region;
- Provide nine domain names in each .AMAZON TLD to be used for non-commercial purposes by ACTO and its member states to enhance the visibility of the region; and
- Block from all use up to 1500 domain names in each .AMAZON TLD that have a primary and well recognised significance to the culture and heritage of the Amazonia region”.
“The Amazon corporation also notes in its proposal that its TLDs would be ‘highly-restricted .BRANDs’ and that ‘Amazon would only register domain names that align with its global brand strategy so that the .AMAZON TLDs are strongly affiliated with the reputation of the Amazon brand, which should eliminate concerns of ACTO and its member states that third parties will abusively use the TLDs.’”
“Finally, the Amazon corporation stated that it would host the nine domain names noted above and would make use of ‘proactive security controls paired with reactive and detective controls [to offer] the most comprehensive approach to security’ related to the ‘provisioning and configuration of .AMAZON domains.’”
Regarding the GAC advice, in their board meeting minutes, ICANN noted “the Board has determined that the Amazon corporation proposal is not inconsistent with GAC advice and that there is no public policy reason for why the .AMAZON applications should not be allowed to proceed in the New gTLD Program.”