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June 25, 2006 MARRAKECH, MOROCCO Just arrived in Marrakech for the ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names & Numbers) meeting here this week. Brought some desert-friendly clothes and a copy of NetChoice’s agenda for what ICANN should do to promote and protect e-commerce:

Insist on Security & Stability. Domain name hijacking can shut-down a small business that counts on e-commerce. And too many businesses are hammered by domain attacks the instant that renewal grace periods have lapsed. ICANN must streamline its process for developing new policies to combat attacks on Internet security and stability.

Stop Domain Name Abuse. Cyber-squatting and typo-squatting are confusing to potential customers and are driving-up domain name costs for small businesses. Too many small businesses fall prey to “slamming” when a competing registrar sends a misleading renewal invoice. And when a domain name accidentally expires, owners are forced to pay exorbitant reinstatement fees. ICANN needs to develop and implement policies to stem these kinds of abuses in the domain name marketplace.

Don’t let WhoIs become WhoKnows? Small business counts on domain name Whois to identify potential trademark infringement, piracy, and counterfeiting. Whois can help stop phishing scams that are undermining consumer confidence in the Internet. ICANN must maintain the current function and value of Whois.

Don’t Splinter the Internet. The Internet works because it requires unique addresses that resolve reliably. We can’t have nations “splinter” the internet just to implement their own languages or content rules. ICANN must move ahead with initiatives such as Internationalized Domain Names and special-purpose domains like XXX.

The Internet needs a Manager—not a “Governor”. ICANN manages the domain name system via contracts and policies, while leaving it up to individual governments to make rules on issues like privacy and online content. But if ICANN expands its role into broader governance areas, it invites governments to covet its rightful role as the Internet’s technical manager. ICANN should stick to its mission.

More to come as this meeting progresses.