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    This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
    Is .nu a bad faith registration? | Log in/Create an Account | Top | 13 comments | Search Discussion
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    Are ccTLDs related to nations or not?
    by KarlAuerbach on Saturday March 08 2003, @11:23AM (#11279)
    User #3243 Info | http://www.cavebear.com/
    ICANN's theory is that ccTLDs are nothing more than entries in a private database managed by a private body. ICANN's theory is like that of a cartographer who draws a map showing nations - the map is the cartographer's. And while the physical land under the various nations belongs to those nations, the colored blotches on the paper map belong to the cartographer and not the countries they represent.

    ICANN thus claims to be the ultimate arbiter of ccTLD ownership - it is ICANN that decides who gets to run a ccTLD, or even whether a ccTLD shall exist.

    Yet, ICANN waffles around to try to mask the extremity of its position. ICANN's GAC has muttered phrases that indicate that it thinks that the nations themselves ought to have ultimate control over ccTLDs. But the GAC is merely an advisory committee that exits at the pleasure of ICANN's board, and ICANN's board is not obligated to listen to the GAC. And as we well know, ICANN's staff doesn't listen to the Board. And IANA, ICANN's secular arm, likes to play as if it were an independent world unto itself with its own plenary power to operate according to whatever arbitrary whim may strike its fancy.

    The .nu issue begins to frame the real question - who has the ultimate authority over a given ccTLD? ICANN? IANA? Or the country identified by the ccTLD?

    The discussion of this issue must ask the hard question about ultimate power. Euphemisms such as are emitted by the GAC or vague statements about "listening to advice" that eminate from ICANN's Palm Springs executive suite are simply not adequate.

    And if ccTLDs are an aspect of nations and not merely database entries, then that vitiates ICANN's position that ICANN is the protector of the public and that ICANN must inquire whether a ccTLD is being used for the benefit of those in the particular country. If a ccTLD is an aspect of a nation, than ICANN must obey without question the directives from that nation.

    If, on the other hand, ccTLDs are, as ICANN holds, merely database entries independent of nations, than ICANN is perfectly free to disregard the opinions and directives of the nation that the ccTLD represents.

    It doesn't come both ways - there is no middle ground. Either ccTLDs are an aspect of nations and ICANN must act merely as un unquestioning clerk or ccTLDs are separate from nations and ICANN is then free to make its own decisions and, if ICANN's mood is right, perhaps listen to the related nations, or perhaps not.

    I have avoided the "man behind the curtain" question - (which is really the "woman behind the curtain" question) - What is the role of the United States Department's NTIA in all of this? (And one who is interested in US governmental issues may also ask how the US Department of Commerce got into the the business of recognizing attributes of sovreign nations, implicitly undertaking to recognize who is a national government and who is not, rather than the US State Department?)
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