IMIA News

From the International Medical Informatics Association

ICANN and Safeguards for Health Domains

IMIA, together with several other NGOs with specific interest in health and informatics, have expressed concern to ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers – www.icann.org) about the allocation of the new Internet domain names, and in particular that the proposed generic safeguards for health-related names are not adequate. They, and other organisations and individuals, are calling on the ICANN Board to delay the allocation of .health and other health-related names until adequate safeguards, and baseline conditions for their implementation, are in place.

We ask that any other individuals and organisations who share such concerns should also urgently write to the ICANN Board, expressing these concerns. A draft letter, which can be customised as people see fit, is attached here.

A letter published in The Lancet in October 2013 outlines some of the issues (http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736%2813%2962215-1/fulltext). In addition, the World Health Assembly (WHA), meeting in Geneva in May 2013, adopted a new resolution on eHealth standardization and interoperability, which also addressed the .health generic top level domain name (gTLD). The full text of the resolution (WHA 66.24) is available through the World Health Organization (WHO) website at http://apps.who.int/gb/ebwha/pdf_files/WHA66/A66_R24-en.pdf In relation to the issue of new health domains, it urges Member States ” to consider ways for ministries of health and public health authorities to work with their national representatives on the ICANN Governmental Advisory Committee in order to coordinate national positions towards the delegation, governance and operation of health-related global top-level domain names in all languages, including “.health”, in the interest of public health.”

Some background information on the issues, and current status, is at: http://icannwiki.com/index.php/.health

January 21, 2014 - Posted by | IMIA, miscellany, WHO

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