Phil Lodico ⬥ 17 September
Network World recently ran an article about how “cyber-criminals are plundering domain-name registrars around the world” while registrars such as Go Daddy fight a round-the-clock battle to fend them off.
Cybersquatting is rampant in the domain name space, and the truth is that even if all registrars were conscientious about pursuing infringers, the fight against cybersquatting would still be a never-ending battle. To make things worse, there are registrars out there that do in fact ignore the domain name abuse that is occurring and some even collude with cybersquatters to get a cut of the deal. While these bad-actor registrars certainly enable or cause abuse in the domain name space, ultimately it’s the structure and regulation of the domain name space that is at fault—if the proper transparency, accountability and safeguards were in place, we would not be in quite the mess we’re in now.
The article touches on this fact—that domain name abuse exists as a result of the structure of the domain name space. ScanSafe researcher Mary Landesman points out that while the domain name system was not intentionally designed to allow for domain name abuse, its structure provides loopholes and opportunities for cybersquatters. She also rightly points out that effective reform is needed; although while she claims that reforming the domain name registration process “would strike at the heart of Internet crime,” the system needs to be reformed at a much more fundamental level. That fundamental level is ICANN. As the regulatory body of the Internet, ICANN needs to be reformed in such a way that makes the organization better able to respond to issues of safety and stability within the domain name space and less beholden to contracted parties that focus on policies that will help them generate revenue from domains.