ICANN may change its bylaws to permit it to police web content material to an extent, it emerged this week with the publication of the Operational Design Evaluation for the subsequent stage of the brand new gTLD program.
At present, ICANN’s bylaws state that the Org could not “regulate (i.e., impose guidelines and restrictions on) companies that use the Web’s distinctive identifiers or the content material that such companies carry or present”, and it’s been adamant that it isn’t the “content material police”.
However the neighborhood has advisable that future new gTLD candidates ought to have the ability to conform to so-called Registry Voluntary Commitments, statements of registry coverage that ICANN would have the ability to implement by way of contract.
RVCs can be very similar to the Public Curiosity Commitments many registries conform to within the 2012 utility spherical, carried out earlier than ICANN’s present bylaws have been in impact.
For instance I’ve used earlier than, Vox Populi Registry has PICs that ban cyberbullying and porn in its .sucks gTLD, and in idea may lose its contract if it breaks that rule by permitting .sucks websites to host porn (like this NSFW one, for instance).
ICANN’s board of administrators expressed concern two years in the past that its bylaws could forestall it from approving the RVC suggestion.
However Org workers have now raised, in writing and on a webinar at this time, the prospect that the board may change the bylaws to allow RVCs to go forward. The ODA printed on Monday states:
The Board could want to think about how and whether or not it will possibly settle for the suggestions associated to PICs and RVCs. One possibility could also be to amend the Bylaws with a narrowly tailor-made modification to make sure that there are not any ambiguities round ICANN’s skill to conform to and implement PICs and RVCs as envisioned
How worrying this could possibly be would rely upon the wording, after all, however even the prospect of ICANN meddling in content material is normally sufficient to lift eyebrows on the likes of the Digital Frontier Basis, to not point out supporters of blockchain alt-roots, a lot of whom appear to assume ICANN is already censoring the web.
It’s not clear whether or not the change is one thing the board is actively contemplating, or simply an thought being floated by workers.