ICANN refuses to crush Spamhaus

No can do says the top-level domain regulator, as the future of spamhaus.org remains uncertain
Written by Tom Espiner, Contributor

ICANN, the organisation that oversees the running of the Internet, has said it cannot comply with a proposed court order to suspend the Web site of Spamhaus.

The order, filed in a US district court in Illinois, calls on ICANN to suspend spamhaus.org until the UK anti-spam campaigner complies with an earlier court ruling against it. This ruling was made in September after an email marketing company called e360 Insight LLC sued Spamhaus for putting it on its blacklist of known spammers.

Spamhaus fears that district judge Charles P Kocoras will sign the proposed order this month. However, even if he does, ICANN will not take action.

"The Illinois court wouldn't have jurisdiction over ICANN, and in any case it's not in our remit to suspend domain names," said an ICANN spokesman. "This is not an ICANN matter. We wouldn't take down the Web site if asked to, because it's not in our power to do so."

Spamhaus believes that the court would struggle to force anyone to suspend its domain name.

"One person with the power to take down our Web site is the DNS manager for spamhaus.org — but he is in Europe, and he has no plans to do so. The court might order the registrar to change the domain — but the registrar is in Canada, out of the Illinois court's jurisdiction," said Richard Cox, chief information officer at Spamhaus.

"The court could make an order to the registry that holds the DNS, which is the Public Interest Registry, based in Virginia. But we think they would take the same course as ICANN — that they don't have the authority," Cox added.

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