Verisign responds to NTIA: There’s a difference between “ability” and “advisability”

Verisign says it will agree to add lots of new TLDs to the root, but advises against it at this time.

Verisign has responded to the U.S. National Telecommunications & Information Administration (NTIA)’s demand that Verisign verify it will add new top level domains names to the root upon request.

The company confirmed (pdf) that it will add new top level domains to the root, but essentially said “if something goes wrong, don’t say we didn’t tell you so.”

The NTIA had called Verisign out for apparently contradictory stances on new TLDs. It said that Verisign previously stated it was in position to add 100 TLDs to the root per week, and that it now seemed to be backtracking on this statement.

Verisign said this is not the case. Although it said it has the ability to add this many domains to the root, it doesn’t advise that this be done.

Armed with the latest data on name collisions, Verisign reiterated that there are numerous security and stability problems that still haven’t been resolved.

It said that its warnings about new TLDs “very likely helped prevent substantial damage and disruption to users of global Internet.”

Perhaps writing words to be used as a future “we told you so”, Verisign wrote:

Therefore, if NTIA believes, as stated in your letter, that the authority to order delegations, along with the ability to order the removal of delegations together comprise sufficient controls to manage instability and security risks, and that the timeframe articulated by ICANN’s senior management for the delegation of new gTLDs is appropriate, we can agree to disagree and Verisign will still act in accordance with its contractual obligations.

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