ICANN should strike moral objections from new TLD process.
The new top level domain process includes a mechanism for TLD applications to be rejected on morality and public order grounds. This should be eliminated.
ICANN doesn’t exist to determine what is and isn’t moral. In fact, I suspect it would rather not deal with the issue of morality and public order, but some of its international constituents want it to.
So what’s an objection based on morality or public order?
The applied-for gTLD string is contrary to generally accepted legal norms of morality and public order that are recognized under international principles of law.
That’s clear as mud. Thankfully there’s some clarification later in the draft about types of morality and public order issues: inciting violence, racism, abuse, etc.
But these aren’t regulated at the second level, and shouldn’t be regulated at the top level, either.
This issue is still under scrutiny, but the latest guidebook states:
The current thought, on which ICANN invites further public comment, is to develop a mechanism by which those objecting on the ground of morality and public order must show a legitimate interest and harm or potential harm resulting from the applied-for gTLD string. As in other objection proceedings, such a mechanism likely will lead to a two-phased process for the dispute resolution panels wherein first they would assess standing, and if that is satisfied, the panel would then consider the merits of the objection.
ICANN should scrap this gray area and stick to its technical goals. It just invites other claims, such as the Pope wanting to keep religion out of the namespace. Doing so would be a double standard.
While it’s at it, it should also eliminate the community base objection process (more on that in another post).