Any Free Speech Left in .US?
Date: Wednesday February 15 2006, @05:54PM
Topic: Privacy

kathrynkl@aol.com writes "Robert Peterson registered his .US domain name by proxy. He did so because he publishes a website of controversial social and political views and feared retaliation if people could track him down to his home address quickly, effortlessly. He chose a .US domain, he says, because of its "association with American ideals."

But on January 25, 2006, Peterson had to sue NTIA to protect his privacy and free speech rights. In January 2005, in a policy never opened to public notice and comment and in a private letter to Neustar, NTIA ordered Neustar to tell .US registrars to cancel all proxy services. By 2/16/2005, all new .US proxy registrations had to be cancelled; by January 26, 2006, all old domains registered by proxy had to be outed or canceled.

This Friday, 2/17/06, a hearing will take place on whether the NTIA action was legal. Everyone who knows me knows I have railed against this NTIA action as illegal Ė a complete violation of the Administrative Procedure Act (which requires public notice and comment for all policy decisions) and an unconstitutional violation of First Amendment free speech and anonymity rights. Thatís exactly what Petersonís attorneys argue in his pleadings,.

My full support goes to Robert Peterson and his brave actions. His domain name is PCPCITY.US and he is posting court documents. I will be at the hearding on Friday and hope others will be there too.

Kathryn Kleiman
Internet Law & Policy Specialist
McLeod, Watkinson & Miller
Washington DC"

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Also give the Privacy Act a try
by KarlAuerbach on Wednesday February 15 2006, @10:42PM (#16604)
User #3243 Info | http://www.cavebear.com/
You might also find grounds under the Privacy Act of 1974 (5 USC 552a - don't miss that little 'a' else you end up at FOIA instead of PA.)

The argument would be about definitions - whether the registration information for .us is a system of records that is under the control of an agency of the US Gov't. Given NTIA's intrusive hand my guess is that there is a strong argument to believe that such control exists and that the private registry operator is merely a facade acting under the contractual control of a governmental decision maker.

If that threshold hurdle is overcome, then all the PA's requirements about publication of the rules of the system of records, its purpose, etc etc, come into play.

I raised this same issue with NSF way back in 1997 and got a really weasly answer that didn't comport with even the most rude, much less rudimentary, notions of administrative process. Let me know and I'll scrounge up the pointers (all the materials are online.)
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  • This article comes from ICANNWatch
    http://www.icannwatch.org/

    The URL for this story is:
    http://www.icannwatch.org/article.pl?sid=06/02/16/0255247