Bitter? I'm amused.
In point of fact, I have no idea what is the purpose behind ICANN's letter to Verisign, but I doubt that the motivation had anything to do with improving services provided to domain name registrants or enhancing "stability" of the internet domain name system. Registrars are required to do a lot of things in accordance with the registrar accreditation agreement. They often do not. There is not a week which goes by where I am not a witness to unauthorized registrar transfers, domain hi-jackings, or other inexplicable registrar behavior in violation of the registrar accreditation agreement. As I noted, there have always been registrars who followed the 15 day verification policy, and it was a useful policy for dealing with certain spammers and some cybersquatters who used false contact data. If you provided the information to the registrar, along with some indication of what motivated the report, many registrars would exercise reasonable discretion in evaluating the report.
With the report form at internic.net, what we now have is a tool for unanticipated gamesmanship, especially in combination with the WLS. You can also use the report form for sending spam, since one function of the form is to send an email message to whatever email address is typed into the "reporter" field.
And don't kid yourself if you don't believe there are eager-beaver lawyers out there who consider failure to respond to a cease-and-desist letter, or to return their emails and phone calls, as a positive sign that the contact data is "bad". Some lawyers don't understand their relative social unpopularity, I suppose....
ICANN has indeed come out swinging at Verisign, but why THIS issue, and why now? Certainly this swing is not directed at routine policy violations that relate to issues of importance to domain name registrants (e.g. transfers, slamming, and hi-jacking). It is a characteristic feature of ICANN that the interests of domain name registrants are a distant runner behind policies designed to satisfy those interests which have a seat at the policy table, and also behind ICANN's own self preservation instincts.
Please don't get me wrong. Any hint from ICANN that they might someday have an interest in actually seeing whether people abide by their ICANN contracts is a welcome movement. Again, I have seen registrar representatives expressly laugh a the idea that ICANN would enforce accreditation terms, including a registrar who just last week told Mr. Touton personally what he could do with his interpretation of ICANN transfer policy.
Maybe I am too pessimistic, and maybe next week ICANN will turn its enforcement attention to terms of the accreditation agreement which are regularly ignored and which, if enforced, would inure to the benefit of domain name registrants. But I am not holding my breath.
In the meantime, however, we at least have the entertainment of playing WHOIS "gotcha" with people who are having problems updating their contact data. And I will keep beating the same dead horse that legitimate government is one which derives its authority from those governed. I'm not talking about some amorphous category of "internet users". Domain name registrants have no place at the very table at which the terms of their contracts are negotiated. And it will be a cold day in a warm place before ICANN enforces any of the conditions designed to protect those few interests of domain name registrants which are reflected in the relevant contracts. I will reserve the registrar data escrow rant for later, but it is a sure bet that one of the non-escrowed registrars will go belly-up long before the escrow system - also required by the accreditation contracts - is in place. You can take that to the bank.