A Bulgarian group has proven that our earlier concerns about the connection between fast-track IDN country code top level domains (ccTLDs) and government control of the Web were not hypothetical. A group known as UNINET would like to become the manager of an IDN top level domain composed of two Cyrillic letters that stand for “Bulgaria.” In UNINET's letter to ICANN, the group claims to have the support of many businesses and users as well as “15 Bulgarian Internet providers, the first Bulgarian WiMax provider and the biggest Internet provider in Sofia,” the capital city. On the other hand, ICANN seems to be intent on restricting the right to apply for the domain to the Bulgarian government, which has some censorship problems, and the incumbent ccTLD operator. At a recent meeting in Sofia regarding this issue, ICANN deliberately excluded UNINET from being admitted to the meeting. ICANN staff have refused to respond to any inquiries about this shameful episode.
Posted on by Milton Mueller