Below is the excerpt which contains MINC Chairman and CEO Mr. Khaled Fattal’s comments during the ICANN Lisbon meeting's public forum on March 29th, 2007 on the highly controversial subject of .XXX domain application. Although ICANN rejected this proposal for a .XXX new domain the following day on May 30th for totally different reasons, the concerns remain that the current mechanisms and processes are not adequate or up to the task needed to ensure that the international community's cultural and religious needs at local language communities levels are properly factored in current and future ICANN TLD authorization.
In his public address on the subject Chairman Fattal states:
“…if we have, for example, a dot XXX and that IDN is implemented and the extensions in other languages are in, it is foreseeable that the Arabs will end up with an Arabic adult Internet long before we have an Arabic Internet”.
He then adds:
“So -- the point I'm trying to say to you is, this process, I hope, can learn from a lot of the things we've been telling you about over the years in private and in public, so that when the processes of what should be authorized or not authorized, or what should be resolved to be agreed, it should factor in other ramifications, especially that we are all considering turning this ASCII English Internet into a multilingual Internet so that we can help and assist the non-ASCII world of becoming participants in this forum”.
Chairman Fattal's comments highlighted the seriousness of the flaws in the current ICANN mechanisms and processes that authorize new TLDs. Some of these serious flaws pertain to IDNs (Internationalized Domain Names) and their future deployment. ICANN has on many occasions gone on record that they are for all people of the world and want an Internet for all. Yet the .XXX debate is one of many recent examples that have highlighted how this claim would be seriously challenged if the current processes and mechanism are not seriously overhauled.
In a recent interview Chairman Fattal has added:
“New mechanisms that factor in local linguistic, cultural and religious needs and aspirations must be created, and the ramification over local language communities have to be considered seriously in future ICANN authorizations of new TLDs. More worrying , if ICANN IDNs are to be taken seriously and adopted by the global community at large, individually at local level and collectively at international level, a new process of authorizing these new IDN TLDs must be created as the current ICANN 2 track system of GNSO and CCNSO will fall very short. Since 2003 we have been asking ICANN to really start taking the needs of the non-English based communities of the world seriously, local communities whose native languages are not Latin based, such as and especially the Arabic and whereby the Arabic script pertains to 1.5 billion Muslims around the world. Sadly we find ourselves demanding the same thing now in 2007”.
He closed his statement remarking:
“ would this have remained the case had this current structure not been a monopoly?”.
The excerpt with Chairman Fattal's comments and his dialogue with ICANN Chairman Dr Vint Cerf as posted on the ICANN website.
………….If businesses from outside the adult community have a right to, at cheap or free basis, block an equivalent dot XXX because they're outside the community, but members from within the adult community do not share that same right, that is, if I have an X-rated Web site as a dot com, if I am declined -- denied the same opportunity that a non-adult business would have, shoes dot com wants to block shoot dot XXX, but I, representing man dot com that's an X-rated Web site, would not have that same ability to block at free or no price a man dot XXX, again, the adult community is being placed in a second-class position. This has not been fully resolved, because ICM registry requires the ability to address these little problems only after the contract has been agreed to.
These are concerns that need to have been addressed, can't be addressed under the current format. And since they are outside the community, they cannot be relied upon to address those favorable to the community. And to address very briefly the question that was posed --
>>VINT CERF: I'm sorry. But I have to move to -- thank you.
Khaled, I think you're the last speaker.
>>KHALED FATTAL: What I was going to talk about is not either for or against, and I walked in the middle. I don't want to interrupt your process. If you wish for me to wait until --
>>VINT CERF: No. That's an interesting transition. We go from against to something, to for.
Let me -- you came in late. We are discussing dot XXX, just in case you weren't sure what you were commenting on.
[ Laughter ]
[ Applause ]
>>VINT CERF: If you're not for sex -- oh, well, I'm sorry. Go ahead.
>>KHALED FATTAL: Well, Vint, when I'm done, I will ask you if my comments were actually of value to the board and to ICANN, and then you can give me your opinion if maybe I was listening.
My name is Khaled Fattal. I am chairman of MINC, the multilingual Internet names consortium. But I'm speaking to you today as an Arab, also as an Arab-American.
The arguments we're hearing today, very valid, and I think the board in its wisdom will be undertaking, listening to them, and rendering an opinion and perhaps a resolution.
But I would like to draw another thought to you. And this is why my points are neither for nor against, perhaps a challenge to ICANN board to consider the ramification in what these deliberations are about.
One, if the process was purely from the two goalposts of whether an application has fulfilled the requirements or not, then I think it's a simple process for you. You can determine, and I'm sure you have the wisdom to determine whether it has or has not.
But there are other bigger issues at hand. And this is not an issue of just privacy or Intellectual Property rights. But let's consider the issue of IDNs or the multilingual Internet. And speaking as an Arab here, I can tell you, I can speak on behalf of the Arabic community. We met yesterday, and I think if you were to poll the streets or the governments, the private sector, you will get 90-plus percent that they would not be in favor of having anything to do with the adult or pornography in Arabic.
So perhaps the goal post that I would throw the challenge to the board is, the next time around when the process of application is put forth, perhaps a consideration is, how would that also affect the other communities that this process aims to serve?
And perhaps one of the fundamental issues is that once IDNs are implemented, and existing TLDs that have already been authorized will be able to go and deploy them, certain communities would really have serious concerns, because, as you all know, there is no Arabic DNS today. We have been calling for it and working for it for years in this process. And I know we have a lot of support from you on this. But the reality is, if we have, for example, a dot XXX and that IDN is implemented and the extensions in other languages are in, it is foreseeable that the Arabs will end up with an Arabic adult Internet long before we have an Arabic Internet.
So -- the point I'm trying to say to you is, this process, I hope, can learn from a lot of the things we've been telling you about over the years in private and in public, so that when the processes of what should be authorized or not authorized, or what should be resolved to be agreed, it should factor in other ramifications, especially that we are all considering turning this ASCII Internet into a multilingual Internet so that we can help and assist the non-ASCII world of becoming participants in this forum.
So now I can ask you, Vint, to tell me if I was listening to the original discussions. Thank you.
>>VINT CERF: Yes. I think you were. And thank you very much for those comments, Khaled.
We're at the point now where we would switch over to positive side of support.
Let me ask how many people are going to be speaking in favor?
Formed in 2000, MINC is the Multilingual Internet Names Consortium, aims to promote a multilingual Internet through the facilitation of research development, education and deployments of Internationalized Domain Names (IDN) and other naming systems of Internet navigation. MINC’s work dates back to mid 90’s to promote the Multilingualization of the Internet, the internationalization of Internet names including but not limited to multilingual Internet domain names and keywords. Over the years, MINC has established a wide range of links with international organizations, stakeholder organizations and other processes including The United Nations, the World Summit on Information Society (WSIS), ICANN, ITU, WIPO, IETF, as well as language groups such as JDNA (Japanese), CDNA (Chinese), INFITT (Tamil), Euro-LINC (European Languages), CYINC (Cyrillic), GLWG (Georgian), RLWG (Russian ) as well as The Arabic language and scripts WG (Arabic) and ULWG (Urdu). Our language groups develop their own language and variant tables, and coordinate with each other on these tables. They also discuss other IDN related issues like the development of Dispute Resolution Policies and the use of IDN in software applications. For more information about MINC, please refer to the website at http://www.minc.org or contact MINC secretariat at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About MINC ICMC
Formed in 2006, MINC's International Coordination Mechanism Council (ICMC) aims to coordinate with all local authorities and jurisdictions and known operators of IDN TLDs in various local jurisdictions, for a an equitable multilingual Internet and information society based on mutual respect, local empowerment and the right of all people for self-E-determination as a function of their human rights.
ICMC Technical Coordination;
This MINC ICMC ad hoc committee coordinates the technical parameters involved in supporting a truly multilingual domain name system. All deployments of IDN should be Internet RFC- compliant and registered and tracked with MINC's IDN database.