No need to rush expansion of cyberspace

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The World Wide Web is not controlled by any one government or corporation. And that is one of its greatest assets.

The Web is a way information can be shared freely over the Internet and it’s also a way commerce — actually e-commerce — can be conducted.

But as the Web has grown from nothing into a communication tool most of us see as essential in our lives, the desire to control aspects of it and make larger sums of cash has grown right along with it.

If there is a buck to make, it’s going to be exploited for that purpose.

We have concerns that a plan to expand the number of web addresses by adding more than 1,000 domains (such as. buy and. casino in addition to the now familiar .com and .gov) will have some unfortunate unintended consequences.

The Washington Post reported this week that the plan has touched off a scramble among investors trying to control the Internet real estate market to make billions of dollars in license fees. Of course, other industries will also jump in to get their piece of the action.

Some see a quick expansion or exploitation of domain names as problematic because of the negative impact it could have on the Internet’s worldwide infrastructure that is literally a web of computer networks owned by businesses, universities and individuals.

A nonprofit group that oversees the designation of Web addresses — the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers — has not done enough study on the impact of the new domain names, The Washington Post reported. One of the most pressing issues is widespread “name collisions” that could happen when domains used by internal corporate computer systems — such as .corp or .home — get assigned to the Web more broadly.

Systems might be more likely to fail, blocking access to email or other internal programs, and also could open sensitive information to theft, some experts say. It could also pose a risk for domain names such as .med and .center linked to medical clinics and hospitals.

“This could affect a million enterprises,” Danny McPherson, chief security officer for Verisign, which manages several of the most popular existing domains. “It could absolutely break things.”

Beyond all that, where is the great need to expand?

It seems to be absent at this time.

But when it appears, it seems the most prudent course of action now is to move slowly so any problems can be fixed along the way.

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