September 30 2022. Online

Past, present and future of domain names

11.09.2019

Security and DNS development dominated TLDCON 2019 agenda

TLDCON 2019 started its business program with a session titled Cybersecurity: How Registries Collaborate with Law Enforcements, during which participants shared their experience in working with law enforcement agencies. Mikhail Anisimov from the Coordination Center for TLD .RU/.РФ moderated the session. Registries across the world face the same challenges despite the differences in their legal frameworks and approaches. This was the conclusion made by John Crain (ICANN) and Richard Leaning (RIPE NCC), who noted that any investigation of a cybercrime begins with an explanation of how the internet works and why it can be said that it is governed by everyone and no one at the same time.

Benedict Addis (Shadowserver) called on the participants to find ways of promoting closer and more effective international cooperation at all levels: all countries have to deal with cybercrime, but their response is determined by their national laws that vary greatly from one country to another. International cooperation is a special challenge, especially when it comes to obtaining information on suspected wrongdoers operating on foreign territory. So far this problem has been addressed through “technology diplomacy” and horizontal ties, while what we need is a system-wide solution, he said.

At the same time, some country-code registries have developed their own know-how that they are happy to share with their colleagues. In her presentation, Hilde Thunem (UNINETT Norid AS) talked about an ecosystem in which the Norwegian registry operates, based on the national laws and the registry’s regulations. Interestingly, under Norwegian law a domain is treated as an intangible asset, which means that it can be arrested or seized, if used to commit an offence.

Olga Baskakova from the Coordination Center for TLD .RU/.РФ talked about the efforts being made by the Coordination Center and its partners to introduce user data validation technology using Russia’s Single Identification and Information System. “We have to overcome a number of challenges before we get there, including the requirement to take out special licenses for getting connected to the system, as well as the fact that the set of indicators we can obtain from the database is not enough for accurate identification. To overcome these challenges, we need to amend our regulatory framework,” she said. Kirill Mordan (Operations and Analytical Center under the President of Republic of Belarus) talked about the approaches used by law enforcement agencies to cancelling domain delegation.

During another session, titled Legal Issues of Domain Name Registration, participants from various countries discussed interaction between the domain industry and rights holders, as well as the factors that affect them. Mzia Gogilashvili from the Georgian National Communication Commission and Kateryna Oliinyk (Arzinger) made presentations on the approaches used by Georgian and Ukrainian country-code registries and shared their experience in facilitating these ties in their respective countries.

The session included a talk given by Yekaterina Kalinicheva (Semenov&Pevzner legal firm) as a representative of the rights holders. It was the second time she was attending TLDCON as a speaker. She vigorously defended the rights holders and their rights to domain names, just as she did during last year’s conference. And just like last year, her opponent in this debate was the session’s moderator Sergei Kopylov (Coordination Center for TLD .RU/.РФ), while WIPO representative Gonzalo Manuel Bleda was asked to act as an arbitrator. He said that domain name disputes involving trademarks were a recurring issue in terms of internet governance. To this effect, WIPO developed and introduced the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) as an alternative procedure for settling out of court domain name disputes opposing domain owners and rights holders. WIPO can help TLD registries streamline domain name dispute resolution processes, and benefit from this kind of assistance free of charge. It takes 68 days on average to settle a dispute this way which is much quicker compared to standard court proceedings. In addition, this does not require hiring an attorney. More than 75 registries already use the UDRP for its promptness and cost-effectiveness. Based on rulings in 45,000 similar cases we also developed tools that enable participants to weigh their chances of winning the proceedings, as well as prepare their arguments, Gonzalo Manuel Bleda pointed out.

The session titled Is There a Future for Domain Names? focused on new technology and processes that affect the use of domain names in the internet industry. It was moderated by Yelena Voronina, MSK-IX CEO. At the event, leading domain market experts talked about the evolution of the domain name system and offered their vision of what the future holds for domains and web applications.

Pavel Khramtsov (MSK-IX) briefly outlined the history of DNS. “In most cases what is viewed as new technology is simply a reinvention of the past,” he pointed out, referring to how domain names were used in the past. He also noted that while it is not uncommon for new technology to impact business processes, it rarely affects the domain system itself.

Andrei Kolesnikov from the IoT Association shared some interesting examples of using the domain name system in unconventional ways. He talked about using DNS for building the Internet of Things, primarily for home appliances. Konstantin Chumachenko (Ngenix) picked up this subject with a presentation on how domain names are essential in a number of economic sectors when creating web applications.

During her talk, Madina Kasenova (MSSES) outlined the future of DNS in terms of its legal status, taking into consideration the different definitions of domains that exist in various countries. She said that soft law, i.e., international agreements and extralegal regulations, are expected to become increasingly more important in the future.

The first day of TLDCON 2019 ended with a presentation given by Dmitry Belyavsky (TCI), who talked about an OpenSSL patch developed at the initiative of the Coordination Center in order to ensure email address internationalization (EAI) support in electronic-signature certificates. This solution enables IDN domains to enjoy the same standing on the domain market as other players, which contributes to promoting Universal Acceptance within the DNS.

TLDCON 2019 will continue its work on Thursday, September 12. Come and join us at the conference!

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