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Last Updated: Friday, 27 February, 2004, 09:54 GMT
Verisign sues net oversight body
The Site Finder web page
The Site Finder web page was much criticised
Domain name giant Verisign is suing the body that oversees the net, claiming it had no authority to stop it from offering its site finder service.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann) shut down the controversial service in 2003.

The site offered alternatives to web users who mistyped net addresses.

Critics said it hijacked users and inadvertently helped spammers, but Verisign said it provided web users with a useful service.

"This brazen attempt by Icann to assume 'regulatory power' over Verisign's business is a serious abuse of Icann's technical coordination function," said Verisign in the lawsuit which was filed at a Los Angeles court.

Verisign controls the computers that contain the master list of domain name suffixes, such as .com.

The case could have broad implications over whether Icann can legally rein in a company that, by effectively controlling much of the internet's core, influences how people worldwide visit sites and send e-mail.

'Net's villain'

The Site Finder service, which closed in October 2003, meant if web users were looking for a .com or .net domain that was non-existent because of typing mistakes, or it was not registered, they were sent to Verisign's website instead of just getting an "error" page.

The net policy body, Icann, was worried the website could have affected the stability of the net. Rivals claimed Verisign was taking advantage of its position as an administrator of .com domain names.

Icann also said Site Finder made spam filters obsolete and interfered with other automated tools and services.

It said the site raised privacy issues, and let spammers who send unsolicited e-mails use non-existent domain names to hide.

Last week, Verisign was crowned the web's villain of the year by the net industry because of the controversial service.

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20 Feb 04  |  Technology
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06 Oct 03  |  Technology
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22 Sep 03  |  Technology
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19 Sep 03  |  Technology

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