ICANN explains why it didn’t publish Verisign’s letters

Group it doesn’t usually publish counsel-to-counsel letters.

ICANN logoVerisign sent several letters to ICANN earlier this year highlighting concerns about the new registry agreement. ICANN never posted those letters, and they only came to light when Verisign posted a message in a comment period.

Verisign said there was lack of transparency in ICANN’s correspondence posting policies, and that “we are left to conclude that ICANN posts only those letters it believes will advance its positions and withholds those thought to be critical.”

While anyone who reads ICANN’s correspondence page knows there are plenty of letters critical of ICANN that are posted, it was somewhat of a mystery as to why Verisign’s letters weren’t published.

In a newly published communication between the two organizations, ICANN gives an explanation: it doesn’t publish counsel-to-counsel letters absent a specific request to do so. (I suspect a lawyer out there will suggest this is not the case.)

“Not until reviewing Verisign’s 20 May 2013 comments submitted to the public comment forum on the New gTLD Registry Agreement was ICANN aware that Verisign wanted those letters publicly posted,” ICANN explained.

I don’t think Verisign will be satisfied with that response, given that its February 20 letter asked why the previous letters had not been published.

[Update: ICANN also responded to a formal Verisign DIDP request by saying “To maximize transparency in its posting practices, ICANN is in the process of developing a formal Correspondence Policy regarding the guidelines and practices for the posting of correspondence received by the organization. Once completed, this Correspondence Policy will be made available on the ICANN Correspondence page.”]


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