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.

2 thoughts on “Bulgarian Group Challenges ICANN's restriction of IDNs to Governments

  1. Milton,
    You are simply wrong when you state that “ICANN deliberately excluded UNINET”.
    ICANN had nothing to do with the event's invitations or confirmations. The hosts were Russia's .ru managers.
    As I understand it, the hosts did not approve UNINET on the basis that it was a meeting for ccTLD managers and it is neither a ccTLD manager nor a registrar.
    Either way, ICANN wasn't involved in any way in that decision, so your “shameful episode” rhetoric aimed at ICANN is ill-founded and without justification.
    Kieren McCarthy
    General manager of public participation, ICANN

  2. Kieren:
    Evidence strongly indicates that ICANN was involved in setting up the meeting initially, along with .ru. It is possible, though I admit conjectural, that ICANN could have insisted on a more open meeting as a result. At any rate, the ability of incumbent ccTLDs (.ru, .bg) to exclude prospective competitors from meetings does not bode well for the openness of the fast-track process.

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