Verisign’s legal case against the numbering authority ICANN is a threat to the stability and future global strength of the internet itself, says InternetNZ executive director Peter Macaulay.
In September Verisign, the US-based registrar that runs the .com name space, introduced a service called SiteFinder which redirects unknown or mistyped URLs ending in .com or .net to the company’s own site-searching engine.
The company says the feature is a convenience for surfers, but others characterise it as blatantly commercial and an ill-advised disruption of DNS.
ICANN told Verisign to remove the service, which it did in October. But Verisign is now suing ICANN for overstepping its authority.
Macaulay says Verisign’s actions come at a terrible time.
“We have major concerns about it.”
InternetNZ has three executive members in Rome at an ICANN meeting to discuss the matter.
“The big concern is that ICANN is at last starting to think in global terms rather than in US colonisation mode and as a result we’re beginning to get some good action like the international character set coming through.”
Macaulay says Verisign’s move is nothing more than a cheap attempt to usurp ICANN’s authority.
“It’s playing into the hands of those that would change the way the internet is managed.
“Verisign is saying here’s an example of high-handed behaviour by ICANN when in fact it’s the other way round.”
The alternative to ICANN running things, says Macaulay, is too much to bear.
“The reality is we’ve got a bloody good system, it’s working well, anyone can buy their domain names and there’s an open and transparent system for the way we do things that costs very little. Why would anyone want to hand it over to an organisation that’s bulky, bureaucratic, slow and expensive?”
An ICANN working group is still assessing the impact of SiteFinder and the legality of the scheme.
No date has been set yet for a hearing into Verisign’s suit.