Bliley Accuses ICANN of Collusion With DOJ

The Internet Corp. for Assigned Names and Numbers went on the defensive this week after House Committee Chairman Tom Bliley launched another attack.

Bliley’s latest criticism was aimed at the organization’s dealings with the Department of Justice. He charged Justice with improperly discussing its investigation of Network Solutions with an ICANN attorney.

ICANN recently went to the DOJ to present its views on domain-related antitrust issues.

That prompted Bliley, who represents Virginia where NSI is based, to write a letter accusing the two groups of collusion.

He called the talks “highly inappropriate,” and said ICANN appeared to be making an end run around the Commerce Committee, which is authorized to oversee the domain name registration organization.

Dyson admitted to speaking with the Department of Justice, but said she did nothing inappropriate.

“In this particular case, ICANN’s counsel was urging the Department of Justice, which as part of its official mission is the principal advocate for competition within the Executive Branch, to urge the more rapid
transition of domain name registration services from a single monopoly government contractor to a competitive market,” Dyson wrote in a response to the charge.

“We do not believe that this exercise of the constitutionally protected right to petition government could even arguably be considered inappropriate… ICANN is entitled to express its views on such subjects, just as any other person or entity may.”

Dyson came to ICANN’s defense in July as well to answer Bliley’s criticism of the group’s procedures and operations, including the fees ICANN charged registrars.

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