CNR was involved in Internet critical resources matters since the ARPAnet times. While the authors are coming from a technological background, they are the promoters, within CNR, of a new multi-disciplinary research project on Internet governance to study questions connected to legal and regulatory matters, public policy and societal issues. The authors intend here to report about a recent relevant ICANN initiative. Last June 2008 ICANN announced a process to add a non-limited number of new gTLDs to the existing ones. Two versions of the “Applicant guidebook” have been already presented and discussed. The process is expected to lead to a first call for applications in the first quarter of the next year. It is interesting to observe that, as the process goes on, the complexity of the discussed issues is increasing. ICANN has to provide an answer but should not delay any more the implementation of the process; otherwise ICANN risks to loose credibility on a major commitment recommended in occasion of the WSIS in 2005.
Some of the problems at stage are:
If we look at this series of issues, we outline the big challenges that ICANN has to face in the coming future:
The authors are supporting the fact that there should be an in-depth multi disciplinary study not influenced by the strict timetable of the ICANN’s decisions making process. The results of the study we are presenting will be precious in order to evaluate the intermediate steps during the implementation phase and will contribute to better define the overall picture; it is intention of the authors also to promote an elaboration of the rights/duties that are connected with this important innovation.