The web comes of age

The internet today changed forever:

The Internet’s key oversight agency relaxed rules Thursday to permit the introduction of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of new Internet domain names to join “.com,” making the first sweeping changes in the network’s 25-year-old addressing system.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers unanimously approved the new guidelines on the final day of weeklong meetings in Paris. ICANN also was considering a separate proposal to permit addresses entirely in non-English languages for the first time.

But issues were raised:

Some ICANN board members expressed concerns that the guidelines could turn the organization into a censorship regime, deciding what could be objectionable to someone, somewhere in the world.

“If this is broadly implemented, this recommendation would allow for any government to effectively veto a string that makes it uncomfortable,” said Susan Crawford, a Yale law professor on the board. She voted in favor of the rule changes, but called for more clarity later.

The role of governments in censoring the internet is a problem that’s growing by the day. Frankly, trusting any of them is probably unwise, especially the ones that speak of “democracy” and “rule of law” and preach to others while supporting the most despotic regimes on the planet (hello the US and Britain.)

One blogger loudly dissents today’s ICANN ruling.

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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