Consumer Project on Technology
P.O. Box 19367, Washington, DC 20036 http://www.cptech.org
Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)
4676 Admiralty Way, Suite 330
Marina del Rey, CA 90292 USA
This letter is to propose that Essential Information be permitted to establish a registry for new top level domains (TLDs). It is our intention to create several TLDs that would facilitate free speech and criticism, and enable consumers, workers and others to organize. Each of these TLDs will be operated under its own management charter. The particular TLDs that we propose include:
Our plans for each domain are as follows:
The .union TLD will be a "union label" for cyberspace. EI is working with the international labor union community to develop a management system for .union. Use of the domain would be restricted to bona fide labor unions. Examples of use of this TLD would include:
nike.unionas well as other uses, such as dcprinters.union, for links to union printers in Washington, DC. EI will be holding meetings with members of the labor community to discuss the policies for the management of this domain. It is our goal to use the .union domain to strengthen union organizing efforts, and to make it easier for workers at a firm to communicate with unions that represent workers at the firm, or who are seeking to organize workers at the firm, and for unions in different countries to coordinate efforts with each other.
EI will create a self governance management organization for .customers. This domain will be used to create democratically managed membership organizations of the customers of particular companies. The customer organizations would be able to address any number of consumer problems. For example, ford.customers might organize to address safety, service or warranty issues on Ford automobiles. Safeway.customers might organize in favor of labeling of genetically modified foods. Bellatlantic.customers might address Bell Altantic service and pricing issues in regulatory proceedings. Bankofamerica.customers could address ATM charges and other bank fees.
The .customers domain will be a cyberspace version of the "Citizens Utilities Boards" that were set up in several US states in the 1970s, funded by voluntary contributions from customers of public utilities.
EI is studying different models for the use of .complaints, to give consumers specific information about mechanisms to address product or company specific complaints, and to permit customers to share information about company practices with each other.
This TLD will be used to facilitate criticism of a firm or organization, such as aol.sucks, wipo.sucks, or even greenpeace.sucks. We would not permit the organization that owned an associated domain to also own .sucks, so it would expand the name space in an important way. The domain would also be available for other uses, such as work.sucks, life.sucks or television.sucks.
Our plan is to create an independent non-profit free speech foundation that will be funded by fees from the .sucks registration. The Dot Sucks Foundation (http://dot.sucks) will fund Internet related free speech fights.
We recognize the .sucks TLD will be offensive to some persons, but we do not think that this should exclude .sucks from being approved by ICANN. We believe the .sucks domain will be popular in the marketplace, and also generate important funding for the free speech rights of individuals and small organizations.
This TLD would be used by civil rights groups to discuss issues of discrimination or workers rights. We will be holding discussions with a variety of civil rights organizations to determine the management structure for the TLD. It is our intention to create a space where the public can quickly review a company's record on employment practices. For example, Texaco.isnotfair or coke.isnotfair might have links to information about discrimination suits involving these companies, or to organizations working on various discrimination or fairness issues.
This TLD will be used by church groups who organize shareholder suits on issues of conscience.
The .taxpayers TLD would be given to democratically elected taxpayer organizations that would monitor budgets and management practices of governments. Examples of this TLD would include Arlington.VA.Taxpayers, Anchorage.AK.Taxpayers, London.UK.Taxpayers, Sydney.AU.Taxpayers.
EI is evaluating different models for the use of .unite.
These are serious proposals to use the power of a TLD to enable citizens to improve civil society. We believe the creation of domains like .union, .customers, .isnotgreen, and .isnotfair will create powerful mechanisms to share information and organize.
We would like to meet with the ICANN staff to discuss these proposals further.
Consumer Project on Technology
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