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What Does It Take To Repair Trust? What Will It Take ICANN To Win Back "Trust"? (Part I)

Khaled Fattal

Some readers may wonder why I chose to raise the issue of "trust" now or even ask what it will take for ICANN to repair it. After all, the New gTLDs have been launched; applications have started being received, and all ICANN official announcements are that all is good and going according to plan.

But many other readers and astute observers of this space, domestic and international, would not confuse the public dead silence we are hearing from ICANN and its insider community or the euphoria of the long awaited application submissions we are seeing to mean that all is perfect. The multistakeholder model, ICANN's version of it, the New gTLD program, ICANN's approach on it, and The Single Root and its unique identifiers are all at graver risk than ever and must be saved before it is too late. Only then can we truly claim to be serving the "Global Public Interest" beyond mere words, slogans, and 11th hour band aid patches.

If you question my opinion on this gravity please take note of how Dr Larry Strickling, US Assistant Secretary of Commerce, concluded his letter to ICANN on Jan 3, 2012 stating:"How ICANN manages the new gTLD program will, for many, be a litmus test of the viability of this approach”.

It is understandable why those in the ICANN community who do see many of these grave risks to the multistakeholder model in plain sight chose to remain silent. Some do so in order not to cause any hiccups or possible derailment to the long overdue, but inequitable to emerging markets, New gTLD program that stands to benefit them, their businesses or their plans. Instead they chose to formulate their message to focus on only the opportunities the new gTLDs will bring, and rightly so, but with little or no attention to their local and global risks. After all, serving the Global Public Interest is not their mandate — it is however ICANN's mandate per the Affirmation of Commitments (AOC) agreement with the US Government, to which and to whom at the very least, it should be accountable.

The Global Picture

Internationalized Domain Name gTLDs, also known as IDN gTLDs, will usher the Global Multilingual Internet I have championed and advocated since the late 1990's, at many levels and roles, to serve "The Global Public Interest" that should empower local citizens.

Readers may be aware that I have also, inside and outside the ICANN fora, created great international awareness of the immense positive benefits of the coming Multilingual Internet that will be born thru IDN gTLDs and the new gTLD program. More acutely, I have not shied away from pointing out the grave risks, some of which remain unaddressed and unresolved. Also, the international relationships that I have created with global leaders in their sectors like Deloitte, VeriSign and others that primarily focus on the emerging markets and IDNs should carry some weight, credibility and validity to the voice of concern I raise, for those who care to listen.

But these accolades do not detract me from following my conscience and beliefs, as I have done over the years, to point out the grave risks I see in plain sight regardless of how unpopular this may make me at first glance with colleagues and fellow ICANN community members. Many are aware that I also have placed serving The Global Public Interest that I have always talked about above any possible personal or business interest. I hope that saying my peace may help save the Multistakeholder model, its principles and the single root of unique identifiers, the 10s, maybe 100s of millions of dollars that applicants are investing in applications, and ICANN from failure, and before it is too late.

The Imminent Grave Risks

Imminent grave risks are facing the Multistakeholder model, the single root, and ICANN itself, as well as serving "The Global Public Interest". In brief they are… Click here to continue reading the full Ankabooot editorial.

By Khaled Fattal, Group Chairman, The Multilingual Internet Group. More blog posts from Khaled Fattal can also be read here.

Related topics: DNS, ICANN, Internet Governance, Multilinguism, Top-Level Domains

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