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NCL: ICANN’s domain name expansion plan a boon for scam artists

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Release Date: January 6, 2012

Contact: 202-835-3323, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Washington, DC – The planned expansion of the generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD) name system poses significant threats to consumer protection from online scam artists, according to the National Consumers League. Starting January 12, 2012, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) plans to begin accepting applications for new gTLDs despite the significant concerns expressed by hundreds of stakeholders in the non-profit and business communities as well as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and members of Congress. As an organization that receives thousands of complaints from consumers about online fraud, NCL is extremely concerned that expansion of the gTLD system will be a boon to scam artists intent on deceiving consumers.

In particular, NCL is troubled by the findings of the FTC that:

“[a] rapid, exponential expansion of gTLDs has the potential to magnify both the abuse of the domain name system and the corresponding challenges we encounter in tracking down Internet fraudsters. In particular, the proliferation of existing scams, such as phishing, is likely to become a serious challenge given the infinite opportunities that scam artists will now have at their fingertips.”

In a letter sent today to ICANN Board Chair Stephen Crocker and ICANN President and CEO Rod Beckstrom, NCL called for a delay in the implementation of the gTLD expansion program until safety and security concerns can be more adequately addressed.

“We are wary of changes to the domain name registry system that could allow unscrupulous scam artists to proliferate to an even greater extent than they exist today,” said NCL Executive Director Sally Greenberg. “A delay in the implementation of the new gTLD program is urgently needed to allow adequate time to address pressing security concerns and, ultimately, to better protect consumers from abuse of the domain-name system by fraudsters.”

To view the full text of NCL’s letter to ICANN, click here.

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About the National Consumers League

The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America's pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit www.nclnet.org.