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Internet

U.S. concerned by ITU meeting

The U.S. government has expressed concern about a meeting to reform the Internet's domain naming system.

The U.S. government has expressed concern about a meeting to reform the Internet's domain naming system.

In a leaked April 23 State Department cable, Secretary of State Madeline Albright said the United States was concerned that the Secretariat of the International Telecommunications Union convened and funded a meeting in Geneva this week without consent from its member nations, the United States among them.

The State Department hasn't explicitly warned the ITU against signing the International Ad Hoc Committee's Memorandum of Understanding that would establish seven new international top-level domains, including ".firm" and ".web". However, it implied that the ITU has no authority to enter into an "international agreement" without first consulting its member states through the organization's ruling council.

The cable went on to say that the U.S. government is examining various proposals to reform the domain naming system but has not yet come to any conclusions.

Even though the cable is clearly a warning that the ITU shouldn't represent the United States as supporting the IAHC proposal, it doesn't mean the ITU won't sign the Memo of Understanding this week. The body may sign it "conditionally," seeking council approval when the body next meets in June.

The State Department is one of several agencies participating in the White House task force studying the issues surrounding domain names. The Memo of Understanding signing is scheduled for Thursday.