Jun 122015

Texas representative Blake Farenthold penned the letter to ICANN.

It’s quite the letter that’s just been sent to ICANN’s leadership by a selection of US congressmen. One that warns against governmental attempts to interfere in the normal business of bottom-up policy development for the Internet’s naming and addressing functions.

The letter points a finger at recent Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) circumventions of policies established by the community, like the release of country and territory names, or of 2-character domains, in new gTLDs.

“Although government engagement in Internet governance is prudent, we are concerned that allowing government interference threatens to undermine the multistakeholder system,” the letter says. “In the case of the 2-letter codes, ICANN has altered policy based on government demands, despite the negative implications for speech and the world economy. This has resulted in the exclusion of the words “me”, “it” and “in” as domain nmes, despite the lack of any legal basis for such an objection from the relevant governments.”

The US government has always been a staunch defender of true multistakeholderism for Internet governance. The positions expressed in this letter will delight many in governance circles who have long felt that the GAC has overstepped its mark in trying to bend a whole community to its will.

The US is a GAC member of course, so the letter (timed to be received by ICANN just before its 53rd International Meeting happening in Argentina from June 21) promises to spark lively discussions both inside the GAC, and when it meets with other ICANN groups in Buenos Aires.

Read the letter here.