Legislative and Executive officials had pointed remarks for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) this week. ICANN, a nonprofit organization that oversees the Internet’s naming system, embraced a plan this summer to move beyond the Web’s current domain names, such as .com and .org, by ushering in many new “generic top-level domains.”
Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) held a hearing on this subject on Thursday. He noted, “Get used to ‘dot hotels’ or ‘dot auto’ or ‘dot movie,’ a surge of new names and addresses that create opportunities but could also create a lot of confusion. If ICANN is determined to move forward, it should do so slowly and cautiously. The potential for fraud, consumer confusion, and cybersquatting is massive and argues for a phased in implementation.” In addition, in a House Judiciary subcommittee hearing earlier in the week, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chairman Jon Leibowitz bluntly stated that ICANN’s plan “has the potential to be a disaster for consumers and for businesses.”
Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) has scheduled a related hearing next Wednesday before the House Communications and Technology Subcommittee of the House Energy & Commerce Committee.