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Medical Experts call for moratorium on health internet domains
Medical Experts call for moratorium on health internet domains

Medical Experts call for moratorium on health internet domains

A coalition of health policy academics and clinicians believe commercial interests and the generation of profits will take over the future integrity of what they call the Health Internet.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) plans to launch health-related generic top-level domains such as .health and .doctor.

“The ICANN’s ‘lack of adequate stakeholder participation andÂ…transparency’ has fueled an awards process that disregards the public’s interest in reliable health information in the interest of contracting .health to the highest bidder,” the coalition claimed in a commentary published in the open access journal Globalization and Health.

They note the six-figure application costs and bidding award system make participation in the domain delegation process unfeasible for health care non-profits.

“The oversight body has failed to acknowledge concerns submitted by organisations such as the World Medical Organisation, the World Health Organisation and Save the Children among others,” said Tim Mackey of the Global Health Policy Institute.

“While ICANN has chosen to disregard these cautions, it has favoured applicants from other sectors including larger corporations,” authors explained.

According to the coalition, promoting such health-related domains means the future web could easily see: http://www.smoking.health, owned and administered by tobacco companies and unscrupulous vendors operating http://www.cancer.doctor to lure vulnerable patients.

The authors encourage ICANN to enter into active consultation with members of the global public health community.

“We would recommend the formation of an expert working panel comprised of a diverse set of eHealth stakeholders to constructively discuss the appropriate role and governance of generic top-level domains to ensure universal access to quality health information online,” the commentary emphasised.

Agencies/Canadajournal




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