recommended reading

Senator Wants to Save the World From 'www.you.suck'

Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va.

Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va. // J. Scott Applewhite/AP File Photo

It's a joke that would be funny only to a sixth-grader. But a top Democratic senator has real concerns over the possibility that website addresses ending in ".sucks" may be used to mock people or organizations.

Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller said Wednesday that a Web domain like .sucks has "little or no socially redeeming value" and could be used for extortion.

"I view it as little more than a predatory shakedown scheme," Rockefeller wrote in a letter to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the independent group that manages the Web's address system. "The business model behind this [domain name] seems to be the following: force large corporations, small businesses, nonprofits, and even individuals, to pay ongoing fees to prevent seeing the phrase 'sucks' appended to their names on the Internet."

ICANN is currently implementing a plan to expand Web endings, known as generic top-level domains, well beyond the traditional .com and .org. Websites could soon end in words like .car, .music, .love, .pizza, or thousands of other possibilities, including brand names such as .coke.

Three companies—Donuts Inc., Momentous Corp., and Top Level Spectrum—have all applied to own .sucks, and ICANN will have to decide which company (if any) to award the domain to. Momentous has already started soliciting applications so that people can defensively buy .sucks Web addresses to prevent them from falling into the control of others, Rockefeller wrote.

Mason Cole, a spokesman for Donuts, acknowledged that "in certain hands, the domain name could be problematic." But he said trademark owners can ask Donuts to block certain terms for a "small fraction of the cost" of registering new websites.

"Donuts' business model is focused on providing Internet users around the world with real choice in how they craft their online identities," Cole said. "We are not soliciting, and have no plans to solicit, 'defensive registrations.' "

ICANN is an independent nonprofit, and there is little the U.S. government can do to override any of its decisions.

"As a committed supporter of the multi-stakeholder model of global Internet governance, I feel a responsibility to speak up when I see ICANN considering steps that could damage its reputation," Rockefeller wrote.

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Close [ x ] More from Nextgov
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from Nextgov.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • It’s Time for the Federal Government to Embrace Wireless and Mobility

    The United States has turned a corner on the adoption of mobile phones, tablets and other smart devices, outpacing traditional desktop and laptop sales by a wide margin. This issue brief discusses the state of wireless and mobility in federal government and outlines why now is the time to embrace these technologies in government.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • A New Security Architecture for Federal Networks

    Federal government networks are under constant attack, and the number of those attacks is increasing. This issue brief discusses today's threats and a new model for the future.

    Download
  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    Download
  • Software-Defined Networking

    So many demands are being placed on federal information technology networks, which must handle vast amounts of data, accommodate voice and video, and cope with a multitude of highly connected devices while keeping government information secure from cyber threats. This issue brief discusses the state of SDN in the federal government and the path forward.

    Download
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.