ICANN: Russia Won’t Be Banned from Internet Despite Ukraine’s Demands

by Allum Bokhari, Breitbart:

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the nonprofit that coordinates management of the global internet, has said it will not act on Ukraine’s demand to cut Russia off from the internet.

In a letter sent to Ukrainian officials, ICANN expressed sympathy with Ukraine’s position in the war, but said it was both technically infeasible and against the principles of the decentralized internet to cut off an entire nation.

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky talks to journalists in his office in Kiev on June 14, 2021 before his interview for three international agencies, including AFP, prior to a summit with US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin on June 16. (Photo by Sergei SUPINSKY / AFP) (Photo by SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP via Getty Images)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. (Photo by SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP via Getty Images)

Russian President Vladimir Putin. (Photo by EVGENY PAULIN/SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images)

“As you know, the Internet is a decentralized system. No one actor has the ability to control it or shut it down,” wrote ICANN CEO Göran Marby.

“Our mission does not extend to taking punitive actions, issuing sanctions, or restricting access against segments of the Internet — regardless of the provocations.”

“Essentially, ICANN has been built to ensure that the Internet works, not for its coordination role to be used to stop it from working.”

With wide responsibility over some of the core architecture of the internet, including the Domain Name System (DNS), ICANN wields power over access to the internet itself.

According to CNN, Ukraine’s request called on ICANN to revoke access to the .RU domain name, which would have forced a wide swathe of Russian websites offline.

A growing number of companies and organizations are blacklisting Russia and Russian users. Airbnb has shut down operations in Russia and Belarus, while Google had blocked Russian state media from its app store and paused all ad sales in Russia.

Some companies are bucking the trend. Binance, the world’s largest centralized cryptocurrency exchange, rejected calls from Ukrainian officials to blacklist ordinary Russian users.

“We are not going to unilaterally freeze millions of innocent users’ accounts,” a Binance spokesperson told CNBC.

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