By now, we're all familiar with the recent practice of government agencies seizing domain names suspected of wrongdoing. But a new initiative could allow world governments to veto future top level domains. This could lead to accusations of stifling free expression, and unjust control over the internet. A meeting in San Francisco next month will be the site of the final decision on who gets to control the next set of domains that augment .com, .org, and the others.
There have been quite a few new top level domains suggested, including .xxx, which has been in limbo for years. More family-friendly domains like .nyc and .movie have also been brought up. Having a memorable site name in these new domains could help a company make a name for itself (or a big pile of money).
It's up in the air how the application for new top level domains should be applied for. Many believe ICANN (with oversight from the US government) has been doing a fine job, and should continue. But some point to recent moves by US government agencies to seize domains as evidence that the US alone cannot be trusted. Then who gets to decide? The UN? Keep an eye on this one. It could affect the future of the internet.