In the wake of many recent internet giants restricting their services in Russia, ICANN has rejected Ukraine’s request to block Russia’s access to the web.
ICANN stands for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. It is a non-profit organization based in Southern California which was set up to assist the US government with the management of some of the most fundamental parts of the internet.
ICANN coordinates the internet’s naming system. In simple terms, when you want to reach another person or file system on the internet, you have to type an address into your computer. Each address has to be completely unique in order to ensure that you reach the right person; hence the name URL or “Uniform Resource Locator”.
As such, you might say that ICANN maintains the backbone of the internet; controlling the central repository for IP addresses, coordinating the supply of IP addresses, whilst also managing the domain name system and root servers.
Why did ICANN refuse Ukraine’s request?
“Our mission does not extend to taking punitive actions, issuing sanctions, or restricting access against segments of the internet—regardless of the provocations,”
You can read the full letter here:
In essence, ICANN, as explained by Marby, was “built to ensure that the internet works, not for its coordination role to be used to stop it from working.”
Thus, it would go against the very principles of ICANN to attempt to cut off any part of the world from the internet. The general concensus at Vanilla Websites is that the Russian people have a right to access reliable information from the internet, regardless of what their governing party is attempting to achieve in Ukraine. That is not to say that we agree in any way with what Russia is trying to do, quite the contrary.
This is why Vanilla Websites chooses not to block Russian IPs from viewing the content on this site, like many other companies have chosen to do across the UK.
The Vanilla Websites team agree with Marby in that if such a system were to operate on the basis of requests from one territory which is at odds with another, it would have “devastating and permanent effects on the trust and utility of this global system.”