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Domain plan to be revised

A plan to expand the Internet's naming system will be losing some of the features criticized by a White House task force.

A plan to expand the Internet's naming system will be losing some of the features criticized by a White House task force, the Internet Society announced today.

Last week, 57 organizations signed an international Memorandum of Understanding at the International Telecommunication Union conference in Geneva. The agreement sets in motion a plan to add seven new categories such as ".firm" and ".web" to the Net's store of global top-level domains in addition to ".com" and other workhorses.

Proposed by a recently dissolved ad hoc committee, the plan aims to create competition in registering "global" domain names, which are now available only from a U.S. government-assisted monopoly. But its impact could be wider still: Since the National Science Foundation last month bowed out of administering the Internet's naming and numbering systems, it appears that whoever controls the expansion of the system will control its future administration.

The main player behind this plan, the Internet Society announced today that a rules committee is looking into alternatives to two features of the plan that the White House criticized last week. The rules committee will eliminate a lottery as the means of choosing registrars and is lifting the maximum number of registrars, which was set at 28 in earlier plans.

If the move is what it appears to be, an attempt to pacify the White House task force, it's likely to fall short. The task force was most critical of the plan's use of intergovernmental agencies to enforce copyright laws and settle trademark disputes.

In a written statement, Internet Society president Don Heath said the plan was altered in response to criticism outside and within. He made no mention of the White House task force.