Ukraine has asked ICANN to take down Russia’s top-level domains.

Andrii Nabok, the Ukrainian official on ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee made the request, asking the Org to “Revoke, permanently or temporarily, the domains .ru, .рф and .su” in a widely circulated email last night.

He also asked for DNS root servers in Moscow and St Petersburg to be shut down, and said he’s written to RIPE NCC to request IP addresses issued to Russian organizations to be withdrawn.

The request came on the fifth day of the Russian invasion, amid widespread, swingeing international sanctions targeting the Russian economy and high net worth individuals.

Accusing Russia of “war crimes”, Nabok wrote:

These atrocious crimes have been made possible mainly due to the Russian propaganda machinery using websites continuously spreading disinformation, hate speech, promoting violence and hiding the truth regarding the war in Ukraine. Ukrainian IT infrastructure has undergone numerous attacks from the Russian side impeding citizens’ and government’s ability to communicate.

Moreover, it’s becoming clear that this aggression could spread much further around the globe as the Russian Federation puts the nuclear deterrent on “special alert” and threatens both Sweden and Finland with “military and political consequences” if these states join NATO. Such developments are unacceptable in the civilized, peaceful world, in the XXI century.

Reaction in the community has been more mixed than I would have expected, but I think on balance more people are saying that turning off .ru et al would be a terrible idea, and I’m basically with that majority.

While there’s no doubt that Russia is spreading a lot of misinformation, I’m not sure there’s a direct, clear, demonstrable causal link between propaganda published on .ru domains and the missiles currently raining down on Kyiv that could be remedied by deleting a few lines from a database.

I’ve no doubt ICANN now has a painful decision to make, but I don’t think ICANN is the place to achieve this kind of goal and I think ICANN agrees with me.

We don’t want those clowns deciding what can and can’t be published on the internet, trust me.

Not even in the extraordinary circumstances we find ourselves in today.

ICANN is not competent enough, smart enough, or ethical enough to have that kind of power.

It is smart enough to accept its own limitations, however, and it has a strong enough sense of self-preservation to know that to accept Ukraine’s demands would be to sign its own death warrant.

ICANN only has power, and its execs only pull in the big salaries, because it has the consensus support of the internet community.

For 20 years outsiders, such as the ITU and more lately blockchain projects, have sought to chip away at that consensus and replace the multistakeholder model with multilateralism or crypto-based wish-thinking.

Turning off a nation’s TLD would play exactly into the narrative that DNS oversight is dangerously centralized, dangerously Americanized, and ripe for replacement.

That could not only lead to the death of ICANN but also the death of the open, interoperable, international internet.

As much as I support sanctions against Russia, and have nothing but respect and admiration for the people of Ukraine, I fear this is an ask too far.

The post Ukraine asks ICANN to turn off Russia’s internet, but it’s a bad idea first appeared on Domain Incite.

Original article: Ukraine asks ICANN to turn off Russia’s internet, but it’s a bad idea

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