The internet is broken – if we repeat this truth a thousand times, is there any hope it might become a lie? Anyway – it’s broken by being physically divided into geo-political fiefdoms, while censorship and privacy violations appear at will, and with little consequence.
And it looks like the internet may be poorly governed at the technical level, where ICANN assigns and manages unique identifiers – the names and numbers you type into your browser address bar to go anywhere on the web.
Where’s the suspicion about ICANN’s good stewardship coming from this time? First, we have to answer this question: What is Amazon? Massive South American swaths of rainforests, more than half the planet’s – also incorporating the world’s largest river?
Or a US-based multinational, one of the biggest and richest companies in the world, and one of the biggest four tech firms on the planet?
Both answers happen to be correct, but now the issue of the .amazon top-level domain, that only ICAAN can give its blessing to, has come up.
Web domains are crucially important for brand identity and promotion. Without a short and memorable, not to mention accurate domain, many products, and services get lost never to be found again on the web.
With this in mind, ICAAN has given Amazon, the behemoth company, exclusive rights to administer .amazon domains, writes The Conversation.
Beyond branding for commercial purposes, there’s the issue of public interest, raised by some of about half a dozen countries that share the Amazon (physical) system. In fact, Brazil and Peru held up Amazon the company’s plans to take over the domain name ever since 2012.
They argued that the move would “prevent the use of this domain for purposes of public interest related to the protection, promotion, and awareness raising on issues related to the Amazon biome,” the publication writes.
The local Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (ACTO) also believed they should have a say in the .amazon domain matter.
ICANN, The Conversation recalls, has the right to decide whether private entities can take over geographic toponyms – and ICAAN is doing a botched job of it.
“The list they use generates absurd results. The Isle of Man receives the highest level of protection in the world, while Scotland receives significantly less. Regions like Mesopotamia and the Amazon receive no protection at all,” the article said.
Early on, Amazon the company was adamant that Brazil the country where much of (real) Amazon is located had no business being given any use of .amazon – even if it was to promote remote, undeveloped areas.
The stance out of Seattle softened somewhat in 2017 when negotiations started with ACTO.
But instead of hammering out a compromise, ICANN pulled the plug on the talks and gave Amazon the tech giant all the power.