Should The Hong Kong Sar Seize Control Of Its Country Code Top Level Domain ('cc Tld') To Establish A "Sovereign Domain" In The Manner Described By Greg Hagen?

1424 words - 6 pages

Question 9.I will answer this question first by briefly explaining the DNS structure and the present way in which it is being regulated. I will then outline the defects of the current system and then analyse some of the propositions that have been put forward in academic circles.A domain name is simply an alphabetic representation of an IP address, which consists of a series of numbers. A domain name is more 'memorable' then an IP address and so is a more expedient means of allocating web pages. At present control over the creation and allocation of domain names is in the hands of a 'private non-profit US organisation'; the International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (hereinafter ICANN). ICANN has control over top-level domain (TLD's) such as .gov, .edu etc and this controls spans throughout the globe because ICANN also exerts its influence over ccTLD's (country code top level domains). National entities such as the Hong Kong Domain Name Registration Company Limited and Nominet in the UK have responsibility for the registration and assignment of the .hk and .uk domain names respectively. However, these entities are not autonomous, instead each of these bodies regulates their domain names according to the contractual stipulations dictated by ICANN.The reason why ICANN has such immense control over the Internet is simply because the US controls the A root server as well 8/12 of the secondary root servers. As Hagen aptly puts it, "such control forms the basis for a US claim tantamount to ownership of the entire domain space." However, at present a consensus is growing to have the powers of control diverted away from ICANN to a more international body. For example the European Commission fears that the current US Green paper proposals could "further consolidate permanent US jurisdiction over the Internet as a whole" and to avoid such a development has called for the "need to implement an international approach." This consensus has gathered impetus largely because of the failings of ICANN.Firstly, ICANN claims to be a 'non-profit' private organisation. This has intonations that it is impartial and stands for the better good of the international community. However, nothing could be further from the truth. ICANN derives it powers very loosely from the US government, since there is no specific enactment from Congress to outline ICANN's function's and role. This ultimately means that it will be difficult to make ICANN subject to review even though it makes decisions that affect the international community at large. Moreover, if ICANN were a private body then this problem would not be so potent. Instead, the US government exerts very strong influence over ICANN's decision-making so much so that Hagen believes that ICANN would be disbanded if it failed to meet up to the aspirations of the US government. A further problem is that ICANN's decision making is ad hoc and is devoid of transparency. Often decisions are also retrospective. These...

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