Criminal Checks Needed For Tasting, Kiting, Spying

International organisations should step in to prevent the “tasting,” “kiting” and “spying” related to Internet domain names, say representatives from the US telecommunications and trademark industries according to an article in Intellectual Property Watch. The article claims these new activities are dramatically altering online commerce and impacting legitimate businesses, and the FTC, WIPO and ICANN should take action according to the critics. The US Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act had too many loopholes given the actual trends in the domain name secondary market, said Sarah Deutsch and Marilyn Cade. Deutsch says these issues have been discussed three times at special ICANN workshops and the “law is ripe for updating”. She proposes the US “Congress hold hearings on a number of ways to create deterrents for domain name tasters.” Cade warns that more TLDs “would come under attack from new cybersquatting techniques. ‘We also see auctioning in the .eu and .mobi zones.'”Cade says ICANN alone is not the total answer to the problem and gives four things ICANN could do, these being: close the five-day add-grace period, strengthen Whois accuracy, add an anti-warehousing rule to their Registrar Accreditation Agreement, (deterring registrars from storing large numbers of domains themselves) and to make registrars accountable for their licensees. Deutsch recommended an FTC hearing and a US congressional hearing in order to analyse possible deceptive practices and prepare for an update on the Anti-Cybersquatting Protection Act.However John Berryhill is sceptical of Deutch’s and Cade’s claims. He says when a domain name is mistyped, and the user is directed to a site of a domain taster or to a site with paid ads from paid ads, from MSN, Yahoo, Google, AOL, for example, the result is the same Berryhill says if the add grace period was closed “it would certainly benefit the large search companies”.

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