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    Highlights of the ICANNWatch Archive
    (June 1999 - March 2001)

    Government Advisory Committee (GAC) More arbitrary GAC interference in TLDs
    posted by Mueller on Sunday August 28 2005, @12:24PM

    A new exchange of correspondence between a TLD supplicant and GAC illustrates both GAC's increasing power - and its complete lack of defined rules and criteria for issuing vetos over TLDs. In this case, the supplicant is .asia. GAC supposedly has authority over .asia because of its assertion of authority over country names in the so-called "GAC Principles" of 2000.

    Because of GAC's declaration, ICANN's new TLD Request for Proposals required .asia to get approval from governments. But Asia is a common, generic word. There is no territory in the world that has the name "Asia." There is no government with jurisdiction over an "Asia." There is no ethnic group asserting nationality or seeking independence for "Asia." You cannot explain to me how or why governments should have any control over how the word "Asia" is used. But in the ICANN-GAC regime, they can assert it and enforce it.

    But it gets worse. It so happens that there is a largely personal feud between the person proposing .asia and the people who run the country code for Hong Kong (.hk). Because of this bad blood, the .hk people have opposed .asia from the get-go. Perhaps they fear competition, perhaps it's just spite. I really don't know much about who caused this situation, and don't want to know. I do know that .hk organization has continually objected to .asia, but is has never provided a single public interest justification.

    In a 2 August 2005 letter, Hong Kong's GAC representative Howard Dickson objected to the .asia TLD because "the .ASIA TLD should be regarded as a regional TLD" and "we have reservation for a private company to administer a regional TLD in general."

    That's a preposterous argument. Hong Kong's own ccTLD is adminstered by a private company! And Hong Kong is, under the Chinese political system, officially classified as a "region" (specifically, a Special Administrative Region or SAR). One can see clearly how arbitrary and unfair a GAC veto can be. A GAC representative can issue specious arguments against a TLD that contradicts their own policy arrangements, probably because they are influenced by petty, local politics.

    As chair of GAC at the time Paul Twomey, engineered through a statement that declared:

    "Recognising ICANN's responsibilities to achieve consensus in the creation of any new generic TLDs, ICANN should avoid, in the creation of new generic TLDs, well known and famous country, territory or place names; well known and famous country, territory or regional language or people descriptions; or ISO 639 Codes for representation of languages unless in agreement with the relevant governments or public authorities."

    Note that these principles have never had to achieve consensus among ICANN's supporting organizations, particularly the GNSO which deals with domain names (and which until 2003 included the ccTLDs). Note that these principles have never been formally adopted by the ICANN Board, either. Note that this "intergovernmental agreement" among GAC members never had to be ratified by any national legislatures, either. Basically, you have a group of unelected, middle-level bureaucrats dictating an international treaty law and ICANN's monopoly over the root being used to enforce it.

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      Related Links  
    · Dr. Paul Twomey
    · Government Advisory Committee
    · ICANN
    · "GAC Principles"
    · In a 2 August 2005 letter,
    · More Government Advisory Committee (GAC) stories
    · Also by Mueller
    This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
    More arbitrary GAC interference in TLDs | Log in/Create an Account | Top | 6 comments | Search Discussion
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    More of the same
    by fnord (reversethis-{moc.oohay} {ta} {k2yorg}) on Thursday September 01 2005, @05:16PM (#16156)
    User #2810 Info
    Heck, Paul Twomey continued to not only serve on the GAC but serve as its Chair well after he had left Aussie government employ, which is against GAC's own rules. When he finally did leave the GAC ICANN awarded him a flush contracting job to keep him around until they could make him President/CEO.

    At least a year before he was named President/CEO an official of the evil ITU told me how it would go down, and so it did. With all the fuss about Joe Sims, Louis Touton and a few others really running things, Twomey kind of snuck in under the radar because he made bland public comments and seemed like a nice guy. Some in the ITU have nothing but scorn for ICANN and such shenanigans, and no wonder.

    Not that I thought that .asia was a particularily good idea, but let them try and either succeed or fail. It won't harm any governments, which presumably is what GAC's mandate is. -g

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