ICANN denies Ukraine request to shut down Russian internet domains

Policies and technical limitations do not allow ICANN to perform actions requested by Ukraine, according to ICANN CEO Göran Marby.

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The president and CEO of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has denied a Ukrainian request that would have effectively cut the rest of the world off from Russian websites, as Russia's ongoing invasion of its neighbor entered its seventh day.

In an open letter sent on March 2 to Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov, ICANN's Göran Marby said that the internet regulator has "globally agreed policies" that do not permit it to perform the requested actions, which included revocation of Russia's top-level .ru domain and SSL certificates, and the shutdown of root servers keeping large portions of the Russian internet accessible to the outside world.

"In our role as the technical coordinator of unique identifiers for the Internet, we take actions to ensure that the workings of the Internet are not politicized, and we have no sanction-levying authority," Marby wrote.

Additionally, the ICANN CEO noted that the SSL certificate and root server requests were simply beyond the group's technical ability to accomplish, as those features are maintained by third parties not under ICANN's control.

The Ukrainian government may well have known that the request to ICANN would be denied, but made it anyway out of a desire to spur action on other fronts, said Gartner Senior Research Director Mike Toussaint.

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