Domain ownership and theft: Will ICANN remain antiquated, slow and bureaucratic?

In October 2014, before the ICANN51 conference in Los Angeles, I implored ICANN officials to include the topic of domain ownership redefinition in their agenda.

Facing a dramatic surge in domain theft throughout 2014, that article outlined the reasons that domain ownership must be redefined, and stated that a digital certificate of domain ownership must be established.

Becoming a Cassandra of my own predictions, I’m strongly disappointed – but not surprised –  by the lack of any action; with ICANN52 currently taking place in Singapore, there’s little hope that this important issue will be discussed, even superficially.

ICANN has become an antiquated, slow and bureaucratic vehicle that does not achieve these goals that would be of benefit to the global Internet community.

I don’t claim that there is anything malicious or inherently intentional about this type of failure to perform, but just like a non-performing employee gets fired, so should ICANN be, as a government contractor.

Not only the US Government should not relinquish control to a non-US entity, but they should relieve ICANN of its duties unless there is some significant, prompt change in how they operate.

Domain names are not just digital trails existing in a large database; they are extensions of businesses and individuals. Domain names are property, and their sudden loss to domain theft can be quite substantial.

Pablo Palatnik’s plea to the bureaucratic mechanism that contributes to having his business domain,, held hostage, is nauseatingly thought-provoking; it is delivered from the standpoint of a business owner, whose life is on the line:

“This story is much bigger than one domain name, one American company and a few American jobs. This story is about the danger that we all as Americans (or even internet users,) now face the threat of cybercrime affecting our lives and that of our businesses and personal lives. This is now the single largest threat to American security in my opinion and we all need to be aware and demand our government and companies with power to enforce regulations & much stronger cyber security measures.”

Until ICANN changes how they deal with domain assets, domain ownership and eradicate the potential of domain theft, until they take down rogue domain registrars and deliver to them more than just a slap on the wrist, they will continue to be part of the problem – not of the solution.

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