ICANN Declines Ukraine's Request of Unplugging Russia and Offeres $1 Million to Ukraine Projects

Posted on:2022-03-11 17:18:43 Views: 371

Andrii Nabok, the Ukrainian official on ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee made the request, asking the Org to “Revoke, permanently or temporarily, the domains .ru, .рф and .su”. He also asked for DNS root servers in Moscow and St Petersburg to be shut down.

 

Accusing Russia of “war crimes”, Nabok wrote:

 

These atrocious crimes have been made possible mainly due to the Russian propaganda machinery using websites continuously spreading disinformation, hate speech, promoting violence and hiding the truth regarding the war in Ukraine. Ukrainian IT infrastructure has undergone numerous attacks from the Russian side impeding citizens’ and government’s ability to communicate.

 

The request was arguably based on a misunderstanding of the extent of ICANN’s powers, and CEO Göran Marby says as much in his response:

 

“ICANN has been built to ensure that the Internet works, not for its coordination role to be used to stop it from working.”

 

In our role as the technical coordinator of unique identifiers for the Internet, we take actions to ensure that the workings of the Internet are not politicized, and we have no sanction-levying authority.

 

He goes on to warn about the “devastating and permanent effects” of ICANN suddenly deciding to take unilateral action against .ru, .рф and .su:

 

For country-code top-level domains, our work predominantly involves validating requests that come from authorized parties within the respective country or territory. The globally agreed policies do not provide for ICANN to take unilateral action to disconnect these domains as you request. You can understand why such a system cannot operate based on requests from one territory or country concerning internal operations within another territory or country. Such a change in the process would have devastating and permanent effects on the trust and utility of this global system.

 

He concludes:

 

As you have said in your letter, your desire is to help users seek reliable information in alternative domain zones and prevent propaganda and disinformation. It is only through broad and unimpeded access to the Internet that citizens can receive reliable information and a diversity of viewpoints. Regardless of the source, ICANN does not control Internet access or content.

 

Within our mission, we maintain neutrality and act in support of the global Internet. Our mission does not extend to taking punitive actions, issuing sanctions, or restricting access against segments of the Internet — regardless of the provocations. ICANN applies its policies consistently and in alignment with documented processes. To make unilateral changes would erode trust in the multistakeholder model and the policies designed to sustain global Internet interoperability.

 

The response is expected, if not unanimously, supported in the ICANN community.

 

Meanwhile, ICANN offered $1 million to support Ukrainian registrants. There’s an expectation that the cash will be spent “on support for maintaining Internet access for users within Ukraine”.