Leahy Welcomes News That ICANN Will Extend Public Comment Period Ahead of New Generic Domain Program; Urges Further Steps

WASHINGTON (MONDAY, August 13, 2012) – Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) welcomed the decision of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to extend the time for public comments to be filed concerning ICANN’s program to expand the number of generic top level domains available on the Internet.

The announcement came just days after Leahy, along with the House Judiciary Committee chairman and ranking members from both panels, called on ICANN to work with the broader public and seek meaningful input as ICANN expands the number of generic top level domains from the 22 existing generic names (such as “.com”) to potentially thousands of new extensions (such as “.app” and “.charity”).  The decision extends by 45 days the deadline for public comments to be referred to ICANN’s initial evaluators, and states that ICANN will keep the public comments forum open throughout the entire application process.   

Leahy said, “A program of this reach and magnitude deserves to have extensive input from the public.  I welcome ICANN’s commitment to keep the public comment forum open throughout the application process, but more can still be done.  I urge ICANN to take meaningful steps to inform the public about this program and to listen to the concerns and comments that are raised.”

Leahy, Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Ranking Member John Conyers (D-Mich.), highlighted their concerns about the public comment period in a joint letter to ICANN last week.  The Senators and Congressmen also pressed for information about the steps ICANN will take to address the risk of fraud and cyber-squatting in the new domains.  The lawmakers’ voiced similar concerns in a letter to ICANN in December.


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