Early Warnings…of Corruption in ICANN’s GAC

The GAC Early warnings are a part of the process that ICANN is using in the new gTLD process that will increase the number of top level domains, 2013 will see the increase of such names as . On 20 November 2012, the GAC filed 242 Early Warnings on individual applications.

The early warnings are not a formal objection, nor does it directly lead to a process that can result in rejection of the application. However, a GAC Early Warning should be taken seriously as it raises the likelihood that the application could be the subject of GAC Advice on New gTLDs or of a formal objection at a later stage in the process. Refer to section of the Applicant Guidebook for more information on GAC Early Warning.

In Africa DotConnectAfrica received 17 Warnings , with which in its response to ICANN  submitted on 5th December 2012 said;

“ all the notices are similar, meaning that they all emanated from a common source, which further implies that the respective governments had no independence of action in submitting this presumably spurious GAC Early Warning Advice letters against DCA’s application to the ICANN GAC. We believe that the governments were teleguided (or manipulated) into submitting these GAC Early Warning Advice, and as such, cannot really be considered as authentic in most cases.  It is simply the outcome of a coordinated action which African country governments are being coerced to support, and we believe that actual governmental consultations with respective African country governments has not been done in many cases ” 

On another section DCA also wrote:

DCA Trust has not broken any African country national laws and believes that its .Africa gTLD application that has been submitted to ICANN is legitimate and should not be labeled or seen by the AUC as an “unwarranted intrusion and interference” on the African Union’s mandate. DCA Trust is simply participating in an open, competitive program, and its application is bona fide, and submitted to ICANN in utmost good faith. We see “unwarranted intrusion and interference” as frivolous. We therefore urge the ICANN Board not to follow this GAC Early Warning Advice.

Here I read an interesting analysis published recently on January 11th 2013, by the Internet Governance Project run by of Syracuse University, USA, under the over-site of the famous father of IG Milton L Mueller, which seem to echo DCA’s sentiments Early Warnings….of Corruption in ICANN’s GAC…The GAC has insisted on being given arbitrary powers to influence TLD applications. At the first stage, individual GAC members can issue an “early warning” against any application it doesn’t like. Then, at the final stage the GAC as a whole can issue an advice against a particular application.

Originally these objections were supposed to be issued based on conflicts with international law. Then it was expanded to include undefined “sensitivities” that might be raised by a TLD string. That was bad enough, in that the concept of “sensitivities” has no basis in law. But it got worse. In the end, GAC succeeded in winning an explicit statement in the Applicant Guidebook that an early warning – and a GAC advice to the Board not to approve a TLD – can be issued “for any reason.” read more

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