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ICANN Ignores Calls for Proper Management of .health and related health generic top level domains

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New health domains are coming, but unfortunately they will likely be awarded to a set of private companies that have no experience or interest in public health. ICANN's recent decision to ignore multiple calls from the public health community, World Health Organizations, World Medical Association, countries like France and Mali, and other stakeholders means that a new .health top level domain will soon be on the Internet, along with other health-related domains (such as .med, .healthcare, .doctor, etc.). However, these domains will be operated with virtually no restrictions and by companies in the business of generating profit, not quality and reliable health information. See our previous work on the .health and other health-related domains in work in the Lancet ( ) and the Journal of Medical Internet Research ( ) Specifically, on 6 June 2014, ICANN's New gTLD Program Committee, who is empowered to make board-level decisions regarding new 'generic-top level domain names' (think existing .com and .biz, but now being expanded to .health, .doctor, .clinic, .healthcare) announced that it would take no action to protect or provide additional safeguards for health domains despite multiple warnings and a call for a halt to their award process. In their decision they noted objections from the World Health Organization and others, but stated that there were 'no noted objections to move forward' (see: ). This decision means that the .health will be auctioned away to the highest bidder of 3 private companies in September, a move that could have disastrous impacts on the right to quality and reliable health information. We've called for action in our prior research, and now are calling for it again. Unless drastic action is taken, ICANN will continue to ignore public health in favor of profits and unregulated Internet expansion. Timothy Ken Mackey, MAS, PhD Assistant Professor, UC San Diego, School of Medicine Associate Director, MAS Program in Health Policy and Law Director, Global Health Policy Institute Website: Linkedin Profile 

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Friday, June 20, 2014
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HIFA profile: Tim K. Mackey is an Assistant Professor at University of California, San Diego - School of Medicine. He is also a current term member of the Council on Foreign Relations. tmackey AT

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