Opening up ICANN

Brian Watt Dec 1, 2006


SCOTT JAGOW: Internet domain names are big business. The company Verisign makes $6 dollars a year off every name ending in dot-com. There are 59 million of them. Yesterday Verisign signed another five-year deal with the government’s Internet watchdog group. That group begins a week-long meeting in Brazil. Brian Watt has more.

BRIAN WATT: The group is called the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers or ICANN.

Its agenda this week will include renewing the contracts on other popular domains like dot-org, dot-info, and dot-biz. ICANN’s critics say the bidding process for those contracts should be more open.

University of Miami law professor Michael Froomkin:

MICHAEL FROOMKIN: “ICANN and Transparency are kind of like oil and water. They just haven’t mixed yet. It’s a real shame, too”

Froomkin says another issue on the agenda is customer privacy:

FROOMKIN:“Right now if you want to register a domain name, it is next to impossible to keep your contact information private. Which means people have been stalked. They get marketed to. They get junk mail. And that’s a big concern for many people.”

ICANN will also discuss how to use characters from languages like Chinese and Arabic in Web addresses.

I’m Brian Watt for Marketplace.

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