Who gets to decide domain names?

Saturday, February 12, 2011; 6:50 PM

The Feb. 7 front-page article ".controversy, anyone?" spotlighted the potential changes to the Internet precipitated by the decision by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers to introduce more than 400 generic top-level domains. But the article failed to address deeper issues: How did ICANN develop this policy, and to whom is the organization accountable?

As the article noted, the mass roll-out of new domains could "create more cluttered, maddening experiences" for Internet users. The policy would create infinite opportunities for fraud and trademark infringement, harming consumers and businesses. ICANN has yet to provide the necessity for this mass introduction. In the absence of justification, the new policy can seemingly only be explained as a money-making scheme supported by domain name registrars and registries and ICANN itself.

The lack of transparency and accountability in ICANN's decision-making process is unacceptable.

Josh Bourne and Nao Matsukata, Washington

The writers are, respectively, president of the Coalition Against Domain Name Abuse and senior policy adviser at the law firm Alston & Bird.

© 2011 The Washington Post Company