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EFF Warns ICANN Not to Engage in Censorship, Says It Should Stick to Technical Role

A series of articles published by EFF, coinciding with ICANN's 60th meeting in Abu Dhabi this week, Jeremy Malcolm warns that domain name registrars, registries and ICANN can become "free speech week leaks" for online censorship. He writes: "ICANN appears to have voluntarily taken on further responsibility for addressing 'abuse involving' domain names through its appointment this year of a Consumer Safeguards Director with a background in law enforcement. EFF attended and reported on the first webinar held by the new Director, in which he downplayed the significance of his role, stating that it does not carry any enforcement powers. Yet a draft report of ICANN's Competition, Consumer Trust and Consumer Choice Review Team recommends that strict new enforcement and reporting obligations should be made compulsory for any new top-level domains that ICANN adopts in the future. ICANN's Non-Commercial Stakeholder Group (NCSG) has explained why many of these recommendations would be unnecessary and harmful." ICANN should maintain its current limited role in the technical administration of a secure and stable domain name system, Malcolm says. ICANN "should not pick up the censor's pen."

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