Msgr. Carlo Maria Polvani, a Vatican diplomat, has issued a warning to the board of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the non-profit entity responsible for the Internet’s naming system, as they considering allowing virtually any word to be used as a top-level domain.
Establishing religiously themed Internet domain names would lead to “bitter disputes” among churches. “Domain names that refer to religion, such as “.catholic, .anglican, .orthodox, .hindu, .islam; .muslim, .buddhist, etc. … could provoke competing claims among theological and religious traditions,” wrote Msgr. Polvani.
Such disputes “would force ICANN, implicitly and/or explicitly, to abandon its wise policy of neutrality by recognizing to a particular group or to a specific organization the legitimacy to represent a given religious tradition,” Polvani wrote.
Other Than ICANN, Who Gets to Play God?
If there’s a “.islam” domain, will Sunni or Shi’a control it? What about religions which are decentralized, such as “.jews”?
In yet another greedy and self-enriching policy, ICANN has set out a dispute resolution system, allowing anyone to contest extensions at a rate of $50,000+ per complaint. Whether its .biz, .info, or the recent .tel domain, ICANN’s new top level domains have been irrelevant compared to the power of .com.
Of course, this is just the start of arbitrations that even King Solomon would duck if he could. The one I’m waiting for is who gets the “.american” domain. The airline? The State Department? Mitt Romney? If ICANN continues like this, it will go to the highest bidder.