ADC (for its Spanish acronym: Asociación por los Derechos Civiles) is a civil society organization based in Buenos Aires, in which we address civil rights and democratic values in the country. In the past few years, we have centered our work upon freedom of expression and privacy on the digital ecosystem. In this context, when we joined NPOC in September 2015, we became aware of the importance of domain names for civil society organizations. We decided to create a toolkit to describe the basics of the domain name system (DNS) with the goal of strengthening NGOs voices on the Internet.
Understanding domain names as ways of expression, we believe that if we know how DNS works and if we use it properly, organizations like ours have a lot to win even if their work is connected to the Internet or not. That ́s why we began by asking ourselves questions like what would we do if we wanted to register our NGO's website name? So first we have started the toolkit from the beginning: what a domain name is and how the DNS works. Also, we have explained the levels of the system and the different sorts of TLDs (ccTLDS, gTLDs and new gTLDs). Second, we have stressed why NGOs should use “.org” and not other extensions. Then, by focusing on the Argentinean case, we continue to explain the usage of the “.org.ar” and how organizations could and should register their domain names at NIC.ar. As things may get complex, we also decided to talk about ICANN and the dispute resolution mechanisms. To finalize, as we work on freedom of expression issues, we highlighted that when we speak about DNS we are not referring to the content that we update on our website.
We presented this toolkit during NPOC Constituency Day in ICANN55 in Marrakesh and it was well received by the members of the constituency in particular, and by the ICANN community in general. This shows the existing necessity that our community has, as to build a message than can be reached by everyone inside or not the Internet ecosystem.
This is our experience. Now, we are encouraging other organizations to address the issue. We are sharing here our toolkit under a creative common license so, if your organization is interested in creating something similar for your country, you have some ideas on how to start.
By ADC`s Team
Toolkit (in Spanish): https://adcdigital.org.ar/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Guia-nombres-de-dominio-ong.pdf ong.pdf