The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), said in a statement Wednesday that it does not have the ability or authority to comply with a proposed court order that it suspend the Internet service of the Spamhaus Project. Spamhaus is a volunteer-run antispam service.
In a proposed order last Friday, Judge Charles Kocoras of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois called on the organizations responsible for registering the Spamhaus.org Internet address to suspend the organization's Internet service. Both ICANN, the nonprofit organization set up to manage the domain name system of the Internet and Tucows, the Spamhaus.org registrar, are named in the order.
The court threatened to shut down Spamhaus for ignoring an US$11.7 million judgment against it. The proposed order followed a Sept. 13 ruling in which Spamhaus was required to pay damages and stop listing an e-mail marketing company called E360Insight in its database of known spammers.
Spamhaus, based in London, has said that it ignored the judgment because it cannot be enforced in the U.K.
"Even if ICANN were properly brought before the court in this matter, which ICANN has not been, ICANN cannot comply with any order requiring it to suspend or place a client hold on Spamhaus.org or any specific domain name because ICANN does not have either the ability or the authority to do so," the organization said.
ICANN said that in most cases only the Internet registrar with whom the registrant has a contractual relationship can suspend an individual domain name. Tucows officials could not be reached for comment.
ICANN said it plans to continue to monitor the situation.