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ICANN/VeriSign : the war and then !

27 novembre 2006 11:57

"We listen the opinion of any Registry but not from a company that is making a lawsuit against us !” "A joke or not, Paul Twomey’s remark, the ICANN President did an appropriate summary of the atmosphere of the meeting in Rome, the last week. You could understand his attitudes on the WLS affaire (mentioned previously) VeriSign, the affair of the registry .com and .net was in every mind because of the accusation presented by “the attack against the free competition” (antitrust) presented against the ICANN only two days before the beginning of the Italian meeting. The lawsuit knot is, of course, the service of the Finder site that was suspended by VeriSign as a consequence, between others, of the ICANN pressures. The .com Registry doesn’t recognize the ICANN rights about making such pressures because of the contract that entails it with the Californian society. The term in the restoration of WLS is mentioned like a “legitimate brake to the restoration of renewing services that can be useful to the Internet users in all” while the VeriSign spokesmen pointed that “ICANN isn’t the regulator of Internet”. This much listened affirmation would often take, however, a singular weight if it was retaken by an American jurisdiction. The first problem is basically financial : if VeriSign owns a treasure war because of, in a big part –the irony must be pointed out- the agreement that entails it with the ICANN about the million domain names registered in .com and .net, the ICANN isn’t rich and it has so much inconvenient at the time of closing its budget year by year. We saw, even in Rome with a certain kind of numbness that one of the management counsel member asking for, solemnly, a financial help to the American Government in order to avoid that “the ICANN budget be completely absorbed in lawyers expenses”, expenses that VeriSign can cover : The second question that is brought into play is on policy matter, of course : it is true that the organization has much to lose in a long and expensive lawsuit, at the same time that the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), supposedly, gives it freedom in relation with the guardianship of the American Government, it hasn’t come in force and the time of observation is prolonged until 2006. The loss of this lawsuit isn’t for sure, the best way of proving and independent and responsible management ! What is the quid of the question after the ICANN in this matter ? It is doubtful that ICANN loses .com because of its economical and strategic importance in this area where the stability is essential. But if the ICANN, representing the private sector might have the tendency to disappear, an empty space would be filled in the necessary governance of Internet. Would it be filled by the International Union of Telecommunications ? This is, in any case, that some of the representatives interviewed in Rome and Paris seem to think : “citizens have the necessity that Governments combat the SPAM which is the Internet plague”. The last thing is to know if the Governments are the ones in better conditions to solve such as technical problems ! For sure, it will be better wait for it : after all, is the “unanimous” approval of WLS maybe a pacification gesture made by the ICANN ?


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