Ohio Congressman speaks out on potential fraud in .cpa domain

Written on Apr 13, 2018

Congressman_Bob_LattaThe Ohio Society of CPAs has expressed its appreciation for the leadership Congressman Bob Latta, R-Bowling Green (OH-5), has shown on an issue related to internet naming that has implications for consumers and CPAs across Ohio and globally.

At a March 6 hearing before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Oversight of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, Latta raised concerns he has with the potential fraudulent use of the .cpa domain name and the process of awarding generic top-level domain strings (gTLDs) such as .cpa. He shared these concerns with hearing witness David Redl, the assistant secretary for communications and information at NTIA.

“I’ve been concerned with an issue faced by a lot of the Certified Public Accountants out there and how the Internet Committee for Assigned Names and Numbers [ICANN] manages the award of generic top-level domains,” Latta said at the hearing. “I’ve highlighted one particular example that is one of my concerns which involves how the CPA organizations were not awarded the .cpa domain.”

Latta’s questioning of the process for awarding gTLDs follows a letter he sent in December to ICANN, the entity which manages the naming and awarding of gTLDs. In the letter, Latta raised his concerns with the handling of the .cpa domain and the potential for unfair or deceptive practices by non-CPAs. In the letter, Latta wrote, “Specifically, a gTLD that has a strong connection to a regulated industry, such as .CPA, has with the Certified Public Accountant community, the protection of the public against fraud or other illegal activities should have been of paramount concern to ICANN. However, I understand ICANN chose not to prioritize that concern.

“Strong, reliable verification procedures for domains that impact regulated industries are essential to protect the public interest as they rely upon the Internet, he wrote, “For gTLD that has a strong connection to a regulated industry and the ability to ensure such verification can take place, the protection of the public against fraud or illegal activities should be of paramount concern to ICANN.”

Latta is the chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection, which has oversight authority of the NTIA. The NTIA sits on ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee and in that capacity, provides advice to ICANN’s Board of Directors on the many issues under ICANN’s authority. He represents the 5th Ohio District, which includes 14 counties in Ohio’s northwest corner.

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