Icann shares its power

Domain name watchdog Icann (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) has finally loosened its reigns on top-level domain name registries by allowing them to determine some of their own policies.

Icann has received much criticism over the past few years for its dictatorial ruling practices, insisting its decisions should be binding on the rest of the world. But last week at a meeting in Montreal the group acknowledged that registries should be free to decide their own day-to-day policies.

The decision has been welcomed by UK registry Nominet.

"We welcome Icann's acknowledgement that there are key-coordinating tasks that only they can address but that the rest should be left to individual regulators," said Dr Willie Black, executive chairman of Nominet.

"While Nominet has always been willing to learn from best practice, wherever it is found, we had no intention of allowing policy to be dictated to us," added Black.

Nominet previously clashed with Icann over how much information should be published on the WHOIS domain name search facility. Unlike many other registries, who act according to Icann policy, Nominet refused to include private telephone numbers or email addresses on registrants.

The second bone of contention was over dispute resolutions, which are put in place by each country's registry. Despite the fact that these had been working extremely well, for some reason Icann wanted to impose its own measures and have the final say.

"Registries have now won the right to carry on their practices as they were without Icann's interference," said Nominet's spokesperson.

More information about the meeting can be found at www.icaan.org.

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