U.S. Seeks Veto Powers Over New Domain Names
Declan McCullagh writes on C|Net News:
The Obama administration is quietly seeking the power for it and other governments to veto future top-level domain names, a move that raises questions about free expression, national sovereignty, and the role of states in shaping the future of the Internet.
At stake is who will have authority over the next wave of suffixes to supplement the venerable .com, .org, and .net. At least 115 proposals are expected this year, including .car, .health, .nyc, .movie, and .web, and the application process could be finalized at a meeting in San Francisco next month.
Some are likely to prove contentious among more conservative nations. Two different groups--the dotGAY Initiative and the .GAY Alliance--already have announced they will apply for the right to operate the .gay domain; additional controversial proposals may surface in the next few months. And nobody has forgotten the furor over .xxx, which has been in limbo for seven years after receiving an emphatic thumbs-down from the Bush administration.
When asked whether it supports or opposes the creation of .gay and .xxx, an official at the U.S. Commerce Department replied that "it is premature for us to comment on those domain names." The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a nonprofit based in Marina del Rey, Calif., that has a contract with the U.S. government to manage Internet addresses, is overseeing the process of adding new domain suffixes.