.wtf

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Status: Proposed
Registry: Donuts
Registry Backend: Donuts
Type: Generic
Category: Technology
Priority #: 1274 - Donuts (Hidden Way, LLC)
nTLDStats
Registrations: 24,296
Parked Domains: 8,945
Parked Domain %: 36.82 %
Important Dates
Delegation: 23 April 2014
General Availability: 06 August 2014

More Information: 1}}

.wtf is a proposed TLD in ICANN's New gTLD Program. The applicant is Donuts (Hidden Way, LLC).[1] "WTF" is a largely understood acronym in English that stands for "What the fuck?", it became popular related to chatting, texting, and other ICT networking formats. The applicant does not actually define the acronym in its application.[2]

Objection

Saudi Arabia's Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) filed an objection against the TLD.[3]


The application was subject to a GAC Early Warning from the representative of Australia and GAC Chair, Heather Dryden. The warning system is noted as a strong recommendation on behalf of national governments to the ICANN Board that a given TLD application should be denied. The warning states the the .wtf string has an overtly critical nature and that the applicant had not sufficiently adresses how it would prevent massive Defensive Registrations in its application.[4]

Independent Objector

The Independent Objector is responsible for determining if a new gTLD application is in the best interest of the Internet community. If not, he or she will file formal objections against a new gTLD application. Alain Pellet, a law professor from the University of Paris and a former member of the United Nations International Law Commission and International Court of Justice, was chosen by ICANN to serve as the sole independent objector for the New gTLD Program in May, 2012. [5] The position was created by ICANN in accordance with the implementation of the New gTLD Program. As defined, the IO may be an individual or organization and must not be affiliated with any applicant and must carry out their responsibility without bias.[6]

In December 2012 Mr. Pellet released his first correspondence on actual TLDs, commenting on so-called "Controversial strings". Those strings include: .adult, .sex, .porn, .sexy, .hot, .gay, .lgbt, .persiangulf, .vodka, and .wtf. A string seemed to have been deemed "controversial" by Mr. Pellet if it received a substantial amount of objections during the public comment period. He addresses each TLD separately and at length, noting the objection, and turning to International law and precedent to determine whether an objection from his point of view, of defending the public interest, is warranted. In each case he concludes that the objections are not supported by international law and that regional, cultural, and personal issues influence the objections rather than broadly accepted treaties, laws, or international cultural trends. He has reserved the right to later object to the strings, but at that time it was deemed that the "controversial strings" are in fact not offensive to the greater public interest and Internet users.[7]

With regards to .wtf, the IO notes that the objections hinge on the fact that the term, and its operative word, are considered vulgar or obscene by many people and societies. Mr. Pellet goes on to note the International protection of free speech, specifically "Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which stipulates that “everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers”, and a large list of other documents and treaties. Given that International law does not have a uniform code of morality with regards to the content of speech, the IO defers to freedom of speech and does not make objection with the string.[8]

References