VeriSign enforces the Icann't party line

So, the 'Internet Government' is in the news, but this time it's nothing to do with the election. Because this is the government you don't vote for.

So, the 'Internet Government' is in the news, but this time it's nothing to do with the election. Because this is the government you don't vote for.

We're talking about VeriSign and Icann, the people who decide who gets to be a dot-com. They decide who's who and where to find them on the internet, and they're the nearest thing the wild wired web has to a ruling body. So, VeriSign has taken down a discussion group that it used to host, in which netizens used to criticise its policies. It's a shame, but it's not a big blow to the cause of free speech. There are plenty of forums for venting VeriSign spleen - including silicon.com's leader column. Perhaps it's a bit too much to ask them to host their own hate site - you wouldn't ask AOL to host AOLsucks.com. But this was a perfectly reasonable discussion group, as balanced as discussion groups ever are, and still attracting plenty of traffic. There are plenty of other things to complain about, particularly the slow delivery of new domain names. It's taken Icann years to get round to delivering dot-biz, in the face of massive demand. How difficult can it be? Perhaps the dot-pissup and dot-brewery domains should be next. But if you look at it a little, Icann has a clear incentive to delay as long as it possibly can. Icann is widely believed to be in the pocket of VeriSign. Last month, it gave VeriSign control of the dot-com domain database - effectively a cash cow, which they can freely milk for the next six years. So, if VeriSign has the cash cow, why speed the creation of other cash cows like dot-biz? Why drive down the price of dairy products, breaking up your monopoly on milk? They can't do it forever, they'd end up in court. But delaying the delivery of new domain names is a scandal - it's crippling the growth of the internet for private gain. Worse still, it opens the door for dubious cyber-spivs to hoodwink innocent netizens with spurious domain name offers. And shutting down a discussion group won't stop people complaining. We want dot-biz, dot-shop, dot-game, dot-museum - the whole dot-kit and caboodle, and we want them right dot-now. Why not a special domain for hate sites - dot-sux, perhaps. So we can have a catchy domain name for our Icann hate site - Icann.sux. But then if they started actually doing their job properly, there'd be no need to set one up, would there?