Many other proposals attracted demands for heightened regulation of domain name registrations. The movie and music industry responded to the proposed creation of a dot-music domain name extension by calling for “enhanced security measures”. These include the ability to reject potential registrants and requirements for detailed personal information on registration that would be made widely accessible. The groups justify the need for these measures on the basis that new extensions focused on the content industries have “the exceptional potential to cause harm to consumers.”
These complaints may border on the bizarre, but the biggest outcry has arisen over proposals from Internet giants Amazon and Google to register hundreds of generic words, such as dot-book and dot-blog. While few have a problem with the creation of these new generic extensions, Amazon and Google surprised the Internet community by proposing to keep the domains private with no public registrations.
Private domain name extensions were expected – many popular brand names submitted applications to extend their trademarks to new domain name extensions without plans to offer the public access – but the use of generic terms for private purposes has rubbed many people the wrong way as there is a sense of a virtual land grab.
With criticism of these proposals mounting, ICANN finds itself sandwiched between unhappy governments, lobby groups, registrars, consumer associations, and Internet users. If the organization caves to the pressure, its legitimacy as a community-based consensus driven body will be damaged. On the other hand, doing nothing runs the risk of lawsuits and criticism that a decade-long policy process has failed. As ICANN meets in Toronto, addressing the new domain name extension issue will have significant implications not only for the Internet, but for the organization itself.