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ICANN To Leave US?

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The “I” in ICANN stands for “Internet,” but if the Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers has its way, “International” may become an equally valid interpretation; according to recent reports, ICANN could make a new home for itself in Switzerland.

That’s right – ICANN may trade apple pie and plasma TVs for chocolate and fine timepieces.

Of course, those are only incidental factors.  A move, as explained by Declan McCullagh, “means ICANN could become largely immune from civil lawsuits, police searches and taxes, and its employees would have quasi-diplomatic privileges (such as importing items into the U.S. without paying customs duties).”

A brief glance at ICANN’s “announcements” makes the idea seem plausible; the latest two involve the “European At-Large Community” and a meeting in Portugal.  Going back a little further, we can see why ICANN might feel the need to relocate.

“Board Rejects .XXX Domain Application,” a headline declares, and that rejection happened to coincide with the Bush administration’s wishes.

But there’s a problem, according to the Inquirer and some other sources: “The Bush administration has been tightening its grip on ICANN lately . . . .  While ICANN did not go ahead with the .XXX idea on technical grounds, the fact that the government decided to intervene directly in its operations spooked committee members.”

So . . . will they pack up and leave?  As stated in a report published late last month, “The Committee believes that while ICANN’s headquarters may remain in the US, it needs to continue to establish and strengthen regional presences, staffing and continue regional outreach.”

Looks like apple pie may still be on the menu.

ICANN To Leave US?
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