The chairman of a key House Judiciary subcommittee Thursday warned the group that runs the Internet's domain name system that if it doesn't get the roll out of its new domain name program right, some countries may use it as an excuse to seek more regulation of the Internet.
Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., voiced concern about some of the problems the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers is having with the database it is using to accept applications from those seeking to apply to run a new top-level domain name. ICANN launched the program in January to allow for an unlimited number of new domain names from .shop to .fruit. The program has been criticized by trademark holders who worry about the cost and burden of having to police their trademarks with the introduction of so many new names.
ICANN shut down its new domain name application database two weeks ago after experiencing a "technical glitch" that allowed some applicants to see information provided by others. ICANN has denied the database was hit by a cyber attack but says it does not know when the database would be up and running.
"They may have undertaken more than they may be able to responsibly manage," said Goodlatte, Chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition and the Internet, said. "It worries me because if they don't handle this properly, there are plenty of people around the world, not me by the way...who would like to see more direct governmental regulation of the Internet and to push aside or more directly control an organization like ICANN," Goodlatte said during remarks at the Computer and Communications Industry Association's annual policy summit.
Industry and some U.S. officials worry about possible proposals to increase regulation of the Internet at the International Telecommunication Union's World Conference on International Telecommunications in Dubai in December. At the conference, the ITU member countries will be reviewing international telecommunications rules.
While White House Deputy Chief Technology Officer Danny Weitzner agreed that the U.S. needs to monitor the issue closely at the ITU conference, he said at the CCIA event that he was not concerned with ICANN's handling of the new domain name program or the technical glitch plaguing the application database.