The new GTLD program from ICANN which closed its first round of applications included a number of cultural identity and society names being applied for by corporations.
The public have been able to express their objections to strings and have been busy doing so here.
While it may seem as though it is not relevant to Māori and Indigenous Peoples, it is directly relevant and shows that Māori are susceptible to intellectual and cultural identity theft by large corporations in the same manner as are any other cultures.
The objection period which allows community groups to object to an application has a number of objections as to who owns the right to cultural names such as .indian and .zulu which have been applied for by commercial entities and not the cultural groups. There is also varying discussions about who owns the name “catholic” .
Cultural Identity strings are different than city strings as there are laws and authorities who manage and administer cities as do governments who control countries and their names. Cultural Identity strings are also different than descriptive cultural identity terms as the descriptive terms are modern and generalist terms that are more about branding and are not historically engrained in genealogy and history.
Saudi Arabia has made the most relevant statement that a new GTLD should not be created for a community if the whole community cannot be consulted. This is important for Māori and any other group defined by culture in the world that could quickly see their cultural description used by a commercial entity or government without consultation. This would simply be a repeat of cultural and Intellectual abuses on the Internet as many Indigenous Peoples including Māori have already endured.
In New Zealand it is believed that the government are likely to be able to grant permission and have the power to decline .maori as a GTLD or for .aotearoa . Others believe such a step is a breach of the Treaty of Waitangi.
I will be submitting objections on to cultural identity strings in the hope that the issue of such strings will be raised within ICANN.
Some of the Culture Identity names that have been applied for are below: