The end? Soros-funded EU DisinfoLab says ICANN should control Internet content

by WorldTribune Staff, April 10, 2024

ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) manages domain names globally. Content control is not among its tasks. A European non-profit which is officially independent but regularly makes policy recommendations to the European Union and its member-states wants to change that.

The non-profit, EU DisinfoLab, wants to enlist ICANN as a major force in the so-called “war on disinformation,” a report said.

“EU DisinfoLab, which receives grants from George Soros’ controversial Open Society Foundations, is now testing the water regarding ‘repurposing’ of an ICANN security operation set up to combat malware, spam, phishing, etc., and turn it into a tool against ‘disinformation sites,’ ” Didi Rankovic reported for Reclaim the Net on April 9.

DisinfoLab is proposing to use “the structure already created by ICANN” to police the Internet for content that somebody decides to treat as “disinformation.”

But would U.S.-based ICANN be so willing to give up its neutrality?

It didn’t cave when Ukraine in 2022 demanded that Russian Internet domains be blocked.

The demand was raised by the minister of digital transformation and deputy prime minister in Ukraine, Mykhailo Fedorov.

Goran Marby, ICANN’s president, stressed at the time that ICANN does not monitor any access to the Internet and does not control any content.

One blog post, however, said the undertaking proposed by EU DisinfoLab would require “minimal amount of diligence and cooperation” from registries to accept ICANN-style reports and revoke a site’s domain name.

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“The justification for all this is that alleged ‘disinformation doppelganger’ sites use domain names that are deceptively similar to ‘trusted news sites,’ ” Rankovic noted.

And, according to EU DisinfoLab, Rankovic added, “who better to wipe out whatever domain name is deemed to belong to a ‘disinformation site’ than a DNS registrar – and ICANN is the top authority for them all.”

ICANN’s Domain Name System Threat Information Collection and Reporting (DNSTICR) was used during the pandemic to identify domain names that contained terms related to Covid, “but the goal was to find out if the sites abused the keyword(s) to mask phishing or malware proliferating operations, rather than to ‘moderate’ any type of Covid-related content,” Rankovic noted.

EU DisinfoLab is looking to use a system based on DNSTICR to allow for reporting of “genuinely open-and-shut (disinformation) cases” to registrars for removal.

What authority would decide what’s a “genuinely open-and-shut case”?

DisinfoLab’s idea: registries or registrars could “grant media trade associations ‘trusted notifier’ status.”

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