05 December, 2010

Morality/Public Order WG responds to ICANN Staff Questions

Attached is the draft clarification from the Rec6 CWG Drafting Team for your review and consideration that responds to the Staff questions and includes an additional  issue clarified by the drafting team.

NOTE:  In the Board/GNSO meeting now underway the Rec6 issues are being discussed.  A question was asked by Board member Mike Silber: "What do we do when the promotion of certain cultural/religious domains may offend other people?"   Hopefully session transcripts will be available soon.

New GNSO website on its way

The proposed new GNSO website has been revealed at a GNSO working session today.  The full presentation on the website may be viewed here.

dot Love: the next smut domain?

When one hears about the notion of "dot love" the mind can roam to images of puppies and kittens and innocent romance... but what if there's a darker side?

The proponents of dot Love (their website is here) state:

"Love and caring for others is the primary purpose of dot.Love Inc. Many people carry a “torch of hope” and work to make a positive change in a world that is not always so kind. We seek to accomplish our purpose by using the Internet to generate revenue and to distribute such resources to people and organisations that are prepared to make a difference. We encourage Internet users to amplify love by caring for others locally and globally.  Dot.love Inc. is not associated with the commercial sex industry and never will be."

While the organization seeks to distance itself from the sex industry, the question that all will be asking is whether this group intends to place any restrictions on domain name registrations -- will it act to regulate content, or will one, in fact, be able to register domains such as xxx.love, hardcore.love, etc.?  Will this domain become the next smut capital of the internet just because the string "love" is in and of itself non-controversial?

GAC wants ICANN to pay for their travel expenses

Discussions in the GAC/Board Joint WG meeting today saw the GAC asking for parity with other Advisory Committees in terms of Travel Funding. We are told that ICANN currently funds the travel expenses of 6 governmental representatives and that the initial thinking was to increase that to ten per meeting.  Later in the session, however, the word "parity" came out, and the ALAC was mentioned as a group that has 25 souls funded per meeting.

My take on all of this... it's pretty damn cheeky of "governments" to be asking ICANN to fund their participation -- all governments (even the poorest ones) can afford the expense of sending a single representative to an ICANN meeting.

Let's be adult about it

From Twitter:

ICMRegistry Let the show begin! Booth #18 in Cartagena! Can't miss us!

The letter that ICANN hasn't posted

December 1, 2010
ICANN Board
Rod Beckstrom
John Jeffrey
4676 Admiralty Way, Suite 330
Marina del Rey, CA 90292

Dear ICANN Board Members, Mr. Beckstrom and Mr. Jeffrey,
I write this letter on behalf of the Free Speech Coalition (FSC), the trade association for the adult entertainment industry. FSC remains deeply concerned about the application by ICM Registry (ICM) for a .XXX sTLD.

ICANN’s mission is narrowly focused and technical in nature. Should ICANN approve the ICM Registry application for .XXX, ICANN would have dramatically exceeded its responsibility and jurisdiction by assigning regulatory authority and content control to any entity, especially one as controversial as IFFOR, the proposed overseer of ICM’s sTLD. Any shift of ICANN’s focus away from its technical responsibilities to content-based regulation not only compromises ICANN as an organization, but also threatens the security and stability of the Internet as a whole. Domains using .XXX may end up being blocked by censorious regimes, a scenario that could eventually lead to alternate domain name systems being set up, thus fragmenting the Internet. Internet governance, oversight and enforcement properly lie in the hands of national governments and multinational organizations. If ICANN ventures into highly controversial and politicized content-based subject matter, it not only will find itself woefully lacking in the resources it will need to address these issues, but also it will lose the independence and credibility that comes with being a strictly technical, non-political organization.

In her letter of November 22, 2010, Interim GAC Chair Heather Dryden restates the concerns addressed in the GAC’s August 4, 2010 correspondence, “The GAC believes it is imperative that the impact on the continued security, stability and universal resolvability of the domain name system of the potential blocking at the national level of new gTLD strings that are considered to be either objectionable or that raise national sensitivities be assessed prior to introducing new gTLDs.”

ICANN’s Chairman of the Board, Peter Dengate-Thrush responded to the concern raised in Ms Dryden’s letter, “I do not consider this to be a stability issue per se but rather a policy issue where ICANN is implementing the consensus position developed by the GNSO.” Frankly, I am a little surprised with how quickly ICANN’s Chairman dismissed the GAC’s stated and restated concerns about DNS stability. This dismissal comes on the heels of an announcement that an alternative group is forming to develop a peer-to-peer-based alternative to today’s ICANN-controlled DNS system.

Even if the Sunde proposal does not seem to represent an immediate or even realistic alternative to the ICANN-controlled DNS system, it is reasonable to assume that this proposal represents potential future battlegrounds. Controlling a competing DNS system offers compelling economic benefits. Why accelerate that process by creating such divisiveness?

As this relates to ICM’s application, there exists little doubt that a TLD dedicated solely to adult entertainment will be blocked by some countries while others will attempt to mandate its use for all adult companies. Why would ICANN want to start this destructive process in motion by delivering to countries that would feel compelled to block controversial content, a TLD ripe for censorship? While ICM’s proposed TLD may not cause the fragmentation of the internet, .XXX could contribute significantly to the aforementioned instability. It would be a sizeable error on ICANN’s part to underestimate the considerable amount of online real estate held by the adult entertainment industry as well as the adult industry’s stark opposition to ICM’s .XXX, making an alternative DNS system based on eliminating censorship an attractive alternative.

If ICANN signs a contract with ICM for .XXX, it will set bad precedence on numerous fronts. For example, ICM has established that $10 of the $60 registration fee will go to some entity to protect children. Imposing a “tax” on the adult industry sets a bad precedence for future TLD’s. As the Internet Commerce Association (ICA) aptly stated in their comments to ICANN of January 5, 2007:

Registrant fees should be properly restricted solely to supporting the registry operator’s costs of maintaining a secure and accurate database. If .XXX registrants intending to engage in legal activities can be required to fund hotlines, technology developments, and educational efforts directed against illegal activities they neither promote nor engage in, what logical argument can there be against requiring the same of all other registrants who provide adult content at other TLDs? Similarly, if the good cause of child online safety can be used to extract mandatory financial support, what other promoters of good causes will petition ICANN to mandate similar involuntary contributions to their efforts in future TLD agreements? Will the websites of corporations that manufacture tobacco products as well as websites that feature ads for those products be required to support anti-smoking and cancer research organizations? How about automakers and auto ads and global warming? Fast food restaurant chains and good nutrition and anti-obesity campaigns? Video games and youth violence? The meat and fur industries and animal rights? The list of potential supplicants is as long as the organizations which pursue “good causes”. Once ICANN establishes the precedent that registrant fees can include mandatory contributions to organizations who have claimed, however tenuously, that the registrant bears some responsibility for the ill it seeks to cure it will have opened the floodgates to being looked to as a funding source for them.

Indeed the very act of requiring businesses to support financially an advocacy group is an improper violation of free speech and free association rights. What if IFFOR designates monetary support for a group which some holders of .XXX domains oppose? This mandatory support provision is emblematic of the fundamental insensitivity to free expression issues which the ICM Registry proposal represents.

With ICANN’s drive for new gTLDs underway, has it been fully considered what will happen when a new adult gTLD is proposed? Does ICANN really believe that the litigious ICM will sit idly by while a .SEX or .PORN gTLD is introduced? Is ICANN so naive to believe that the purveyor of the “sponsored” TLD, who spent in excess of $10 million to bully its way through ICANN’s processes, will stop its threats of litigation with a mere approval of the sTLD? What about those in the adult community who wish to apply for a gTLD? With ICANN’s policy development in regards to “Morality and Public Order” will gTLDs be held to a higher standard than the sTLD? Does ICANN believe that it is not liable for this inequity? Any company prepared to invest the substantial moneys necessary to manage a gTLD will surely take ICANN to court to demand equitable standards for their TLD application. Imagine the devastation to the organization, after literally years of effort from ICANN and its volunteers developing new gTLD standards, to have ICANN’s introduction of gTLDs come to a screeching halt because of a legal challenge as a result of .XXX.

The GAC expressed well-founded concerns about ICM’s vague promises, as demonstrated in its Wellington Communiqué, which questions ICM’s ability to deliver on its promises relating to the following public policy issues:

1. Take appropriate measures to restrict access to illegal and offensive content;
How will ICM be able to determine what is legal and offensive when those definitions change from nation to nation? It is inappropriate for ICM to act in this role. Those activities are better left to individual governments.

2. Support the development of tools and programs to protect vulnerable members of the community;
ICM has established that $10 of the $60 registration fee will go to some unknown and undefined entity to “protect children.” Imposing a “tax” on the adult industry sets a bad precedence for future TLD’s. Registrant fees should be properly restricted solely to supporting the registry operator’s costs of maintaining a secure and accurate database.

3. Maintain accurate details of registrants and assist law enforcement agencies to identify and contact the owners of particular websites, if need be; and…

The .XXX sTLD is and will always be deliberately and inextricably intertwined with sexually oriented expression on the Internet. As such, it will be an inevitable and on-going focus of those who would criminalize such expression on the Internet and elsewhere. The day when no substantial or powerful voice will be raised in opposition to such content on the Internet (even apart from the question of children and unwilling adults) is simply not in sight. We know this from our long and deep involvement in the public debate. Some countries would make .XXX mandatory for adult businesses, effectively putting a target on the backs of many legal businesses making them vulnerable to overzealous governments and authorities. Influential members of the United States Congress have already committed themselves to that position. Moreover, if the Board moves forward with .XXX, FSC, in its role as trade association for the adult industry, will monitor policies created and implemented by IFFOR and continue to challenge decisions that are not in the best interest of our members.

4. Act to ensure the protection of intellectual property and trademark rights, personal names, country names, names of historical, cultural and religious significance and names of geographic identifiers drawing on best practices in the development of registration and eligibility rules.

This point is ironic, in that the number one complaint from industry professionals about .XXX is how much it would cost them to protect their brand and traffic should the .XXX sTLD be approved. Our industry has been hit hard by the recession and many of these businesses do not have the capital to invest in, for some, thousands of .XXX versions of their domains. For most adult businesses, the passage of .XXX would pose a serious threat to their brand and trademark.

During its meeting in Brussels ICANN Board Members were visibly shaken by the resolution to move forward with considering the application. Harald Alvestrand voiced his concern:

To say that I am uncomfortable with this situation is an understatement. I believe that our process has been followed; our reconsideration process has been followed. We have received competent legal advice on what is the reasonable path forward for what the organization should do, and that effectively this forces me to say that it is in the best interest of the organization and the interest of the furtherance of the organization’s goals to act as if something is true that I believe is not, in fact, so. This is a very uncomfortable situation, but I can see no better way to move forward.

As ICANN board members spoke of their decision, they mentioned that their decision was good for the organization. True, ICM Registry promises millions of dollars of income for ICANN, assuming that income is not consumed by the inevitable litigation which ICANN will find itself a party to if the proposal is adopted. By focusing narrowly on the economic benefits for ICANN, the organization itself, the Board has lost sight of its overall mission “to ensure the stable and secure operation of the Internet’s unique identifier systems.”

Rod Beckstrom, ICANN’s own CEO, stated in his last comment on the subject in the Brussels Board meeting, “In my view as CEO, the board must be able to use business judgment in order to protect the global public interest in the coordination of the root of the Internet and the domain name system.”
In other words, how tragic is it that ICANN’s Board is so bogged down by its commitment to process, that it loses its ability to apply truth, common sense and the best interests of the internet community.

Do not get mired in a process which forces you to side with two of three jurists and one opportunistically aggressive and litigious company. FSC urges the ICANN Board to use common sense; use business judgment; listen to your CEO; listen to the “sponsorship” community; listen to the 150 countries represented by the GAC; pay attention to the threat of instability that will come from a fragmented internet and reject ICM’s application once and for all.

Sincerely,
Diane Duke
Executive Director

Report of the IETF-79

The report from the IETF's Beijing session is out and makes for interesting reading.  An article entitled "IPv6 - get prepared to panic" caught my attention, as did this non-related tidbit:

"A new problem presented by John Klensin during the application open area session in Beijing was that the new version of Unicode disallowed characters that had been allowed before, something that had been expected to be very rare."

On a different topic:  "One interesting piece of news on the pending adding of the .arpa keys to the root zone came up during the week after the IETF. According to observers on the DNSSEC-deployment mailing list .arpa's DS records still have to be pushed to the root by the NTIA. With the Interim Trust Anchor Repository (ITAR) of IANA being put to rest .arpa validation was hampered, at least until ISC took the up the records in the DLV. Some experts seem to be somewhat upset at the delay. A request by this reporter to the NTIA resulted in a “no comment at this time” answer."

Another item of interest:  "IAB Chair Kolkman on Monday gave an update on the IAB ongoing privacy work that includes a highly political debate about how Internet developers should address policy issues like privacy in their work. One of the ideas is to add a section on “privacy considerations” to every RFC document (analogue to security considerations, iana considerations). The Center for Democracy and Technology has proposed to adopt two documents that look into policy considerations in general like „how much could new standards become a tool for censoring or third party control over users. In the privacy documents CDT references also the European Data Protection Directive as a „political“ standard. The IAB together with the W3C is preparing a workshop on data protection and privacy (Dec, 8-9) and received over 50 contributions in response to its call for papers."

04 December, 2010

One week left to apply for Governance Scholarship

From the .cat website:

For the third consecutive year we offer a scholarship to attend as pupils to the South Summer School on Internet Governance (SSIG-S), the College of Southern Internet Governance where leading experts from around the world explain the rules and procedures making decisions that shape the evolution and use of the Internet. 

The next South Summer School on Internet Governance held in Mexico City from 4 to 8 April 2011. In the grant framework  puntCAT will pay travel, hotel and the course fee of the individual scholarship. If you are interested or know someone who could be interested, please call on the basis of this link (PDF) and send us your nominations by 12 December this year.

Preliminary results of CENTR member survey


From the CENTR Monthly Roundup:

Member Statistical Survey 2010
At the beginning of November, CENTR secretariat published a new survey focusing on Member Domain Statistics.  Members responded so far have been: uk, .nl, .ru, .fr, .es, .se, .cz, .lt, .si, .is. Some the preliminary results were discussed at the recent CENTR Marketing Workshop however are again reproduced here for those who couldn’t attend.
  •  5 / 11 offer direct registrations.
  • Average registrar price of a domain (1 year) = 11.2 EUR
  • Average price of direct registration (if avail)= 44.2 EUR
  • 3 / 11 offer volume discounts
  • Average market share of top 3 registrars: 42%
  • Majority allow two letter domains
  • Parked domains represent on average 7.2% of a registry’s total domain count (compared to 9.4% in Oct 2008 – stats survey from .pl)
  • Average character length of a domain = 11.1

The IPC is launching a new website

I took the new IPC website for a testdrive today.  No... it's not quite ready (as there is no tab yet for mailing list archives) and some pages (such as the category 1B membership form) are still "under construction".  Even so, it's nice to know that some constituencies are making a serious effort to revamp and update their web presence -- it's not much comfort going to the ISPCP website, for example, to learn that the next ICANN meeting is in Sao Paulo, Brazil during the week of 2-8 December 2006.  Sheesh.

U.S. GAC Representative's Scorecard

Suzanne Sene
Having listened to today's session of the Governmental Advisory Committee on the topic of new gTLDs, I came away with a number of impressions. 

First, I was shocked by Kurt Pritz's comment that ICANN has spent between one to two million dollars on economic studies thus far. 

Second, I was amazed by the clear thinking exhibited by U.S. GAC representative Suzanne Sene who made a strong case for the GAC to adopt a high-level scorecard approach to track the new gTLD Guidebook process.  Ms. Sene cited a number of issues that remain of concern and advanced the notion that the Board and community could both benefit from a clear understanding of which specific Guidebook implementation measures still offer only limited comfort to governments. 

Ignoring Document Publication Policy

A Document Publication Operational Policy for ICANN International Public Meetings was posted about a year ago; the policy (approved by the Board) states:

Document deadline
"The Board has approved a single deadline for international public meetings of 15 working days before the official opening of the meeting."
Why then is it that every time we turn around there is yet another document posted for public comment?  Today's posting pertains to the Draft Final Report on Policy Aspects Regarding Introduction of Single Character IDN TLDs.  While I'm sure that to many this is an important issue, we all nevertheless need to play by the established rules. 

GNSO Saturday Remote Participation

Glenn de Saint Gery
The GNSO Secretariat informs:
Please find the dial – in and remote participation information for the GNSO Council working sessions on Saturday, 4 December 2010 in Cartagena  which starts at 09:00 Cartagena time. (14:00 UTC)
14:00 UTC : 06:00 PST; 09:00 EST, 11:00 Buenos Aires 12 :00 Rio de Janeiro ; 14:00 London, 15:00 CET, 22:00 Hong Kong/Singapore,  23 :00 Tokyo,  01 :00 Melbourne /Sydney.(next day)


Remote participation :
Two-Way Audio (Remote Dial-In / Teleconference)Audiocast: 
Chat Room:
Remote Participation - High Bandwidth
Audiocast: 
English
Virtual Meeting Room
 
 Saturday 4 December 2010

Draft AGENDA: https://st.icann.org/gnso-council/index.cgi?proposed_agenda_4_december_2010 
14
:00 UTC -09:00 – 10:00  - Pass code GNSO – Development of Criteria for Initiating New Projects
15:30 UTC -10:30 -  11:30 – Pass code COUNCIL – Role of the Council
17:00  UTC- 12:00 – 13:00 – Pass code TOOLKIT -  ToolKit Discussion
18:00 UTC – 13:00 – 14:00 – Pass code CWG – Discusion of motion on Rec 6  CWG  - Presentation by Margie Milam
19:00 UTC- 14:00 – 14:45 – Pass code WG – GNSO Working Group Guidelines - Presentations and Discussions
19:45 UTC- 14:45 – 15:45 – Pass code JAS  - JAS and Vertical Integration
21:15 UTC- 16:15 – 17:15  - Pass code UPDATES - IRTP B Status UpdatePEDNR Status UpdateIRD WG Initial Report Discussion
22:15 UTC – 17:15 -18:15 – Pass code RAP - Registration Abuse Policies Implementation Drafting Team – Presentation of Recommended Approach followed by Council discussion on next steps
 
Meeting Transcriptions will be available within approximately 48 hours after the meeting and will be posted on the GNSO Calendar page:
http://gnso.icann.org/calendar/#dec
Please find the draft CARTAGENA GNSO related meeting schedule,
 

which should be read together with the main  Cartagena  schedulehttp://cartagena39.icann.org/

ICANN Staff Ignores the GNSO


On the GNSO Council list, Edmon writes:

"Finally had a chance to look through the proposed final AG...

I refer to our resolution in June and July about Confusingly similar TLD
strings and our request for the AG to be updated regarding the issue:
http://gnso.icann.org/resolutions/#201006 (20100610-1) and
http://gnso.icann.org/resolutions/#201007 (20100715-1)

It seems to me (based on the redline version) that nothing to that effect seems to have been put in place."

Chuck Gomes, Chair of the Council, replies:  "Your assessment is correct Edmon."

ICANN's Governance Conundrum

Writing on Circleid, former ICANN Board director Michael Palage states:

"As I am about to begin my thirty fifth ICANN regional meeting over the last eleven years, it is a model which I still believe in and fiercely fight to defend. However, on the other hand I look back over the last eleven years and see how a humble primarily technical coordinating body which operated on consensus, appears to be morphing into a market regulator with no apparent safeguards to hold it accountable to anyone in either the public or private sectors."

On the topic of the guidebook, he writes:  "In fact, the current document resembles more a one-size fits all adhesion contract in which the registry operator must provide a total indemnification to ICANN, although on the positive side they are not asking for one's first born child as collateral."

03 December, 2010

ISPCP: Main Issues

From the ISPCP 1 December conference call recap:

The main topic for discussion will be the recent decision taken by the Board on Vertical Integration. There is general concern within the CSG that the Board are assuming the responsibility for policy development where the GNSO fails to deliver an answer within the required timescale.

In addition the need to continue the breakfast CSG/Board meetings will be raised. Some Board members appear to be questioning the validity of these meetings which is of immediate concern to all CSG Constituencies as this provides the sole opportunity for members to have an active dialogue with the Board.

More Comments on the Economic Report

From the BC list:

Deutsch:  The data certainly doesn't seem to support adding new gTLDs.  The data also confirms the fact that large trademark owners are engaged in purely defensive registrations outside of .com.  The smarter brand owners use the other gTLDs to try to redirect whatever traffic they can back to their primary sites.

Chaplow:  Lots of interesting data all pulled together in one place.  Short conclusion at end.  I agree with Sara  that the data does not offer support to any economic argument.  I find the .aero case the most instructive: 

55. The .aero experience with airport codes as second-level domain names indicates that airports have not perceived significant benefits from the gTLD.

56. In short, although there are thousands of airports around the world, and SITA reserved all of its three-character IATA codes, totaling over 13,000 pre-registered domain names, only about 210 airports registered their codes prior to the announcement that they would be released, only about 25 registered the codes after the announcement that they would be released, and only ten registered them after the  release occurred.
Deutsch: .Aero is very instructive. Any industry that charges money for micro-packets of peanuts is an excellent proxy to test for real demand. I learned two things. First, the numbers show that this entire industy is not willing to fork out unnecessary money for domain names outside of .com. Second, apparently your seat cushion can serve as a floatation device in case of a water landing.

Corwin: Hitting water at several hundred miles per hour is the equivqlent of hitting concrete, so those "flotation devices" are seldom tested. Whatever the merits of this new study (and I have not yet reviewed it), releasing it the day before meetings start in Cartagena gives scant time to digest it and incorporate it in comments on the proposed final AG -- one more good reason for ICANN to push back the comment deadline and for the Board to defer any final action at its Friday meeting.

Mueller: Why ICANN should ignore the NTIA's letter

Milton Mueller
From the IGP blog:

Like a clinging, overbearing parent, the U.S. Commerce Department just can’t seem to let go of ICANN. Yesterday Lawrence Strickling, the Assistant Secretary in charge of the NTIA, sent a stern letter to ICANN’s CEO in an attempt to dictate the course of domain name policy.

Strickling called for yet another delay in the implementation of new top level domains. Why? Incredibly, the Commerce Department is claiming that the issue hasn’t been studied enough! Strickling thus ignores ten years of research, deliberation and debate both inside and outside ICANN – some of it commissioned by the Commerce Department itself.

It ignores the fact that the current policy process began in 2006 and made a decision to add new TLDs long ago. It asks ICANN to perform a “comprehensive economic analysis” comparing the costs and benefits of new top level domains – as if we were in the earliest stages of policymaking. The NTIA’s claim is so patently absurd and so late in the game that it can almost certainly be written off as a political gesture by the Commerce Department to show the trademark and law enforcement interests who are hostile to new TLDs that it is supporting them.

There is a huge disconnect at work here. From ICANN’s perspective, we are in the end game of a (sort of) bottom up policy process that has been going on since 2006, a process of multiple rounds of comment, studies, revisions and consultations. The process has consumed enormous amounts of time and effort. Certainly there are still legitimate grounds for debate about a few remaining implementation details (such as the censorship issue), but to ask the basic question “do we want new TLDs at all?” at this stage is pretty ridiculous. We’ve been there and done that.

OK, OK, I admit that, so far, no systematic study addresses whether new gTLDs cause cancer.

Let’s pretend that this is a sincere and good faith request from Mr. Strickling. For his benefit, we recommend some homework, a little bedtime reading to bring him and the rest of the NTIA up to speed on the ongoing debate over the economic implications of new top level domains. The following list includes commissioned consultancy reports, reports of ICANN working groups that dealt with economic issues, and reports commissioned by the US government itself.  [To see the list click here]

This will be a stressing week...

Marilyn Cade
From the BC list we have this comment from Ms. Cade:

"I am also disturbed to see that once again, staff [and presumably, with the agreement of Rod] have eliminated the commitment to 'bottom up, consensus based, private sector led organization.  This has been an ongoing struggle since I was on the President's Strategy Committee [PSC] that formulated many of the recommendations in the AoC.  That phrasing is very important to business, and especially as we strive to help ICANN board come to a better approach to collaborating with the GAC in a constructive dialogue, without changing the role or authority of the governments within ICANN. 

This will be a stressing week, and an important one."

ETNO Comments on the ATRT Recommendations

The European Telecommunications Network Operator' Association (a member of both the BC and the ISPCP) has submitted formal comments:

"ETNO is concerned that issues related to the Address Supporting Organization were not deeply analysed. Particularly, the absence of ASO public meetings, the rejection of the Global Policy Proposal for the Allocation of IPv4 Blocks to Regional Internet Registries, which - while it was approved by 4 of the 5 regions (see here) - it was rejected without any discussion within ICANN, are interesting examples where a public debate would have been very useful."

First Critique of Economic Study

George Kirikos writes:

Now, on to the latest "paper". Briefly, it is junk, and mere intellectual masturbation. It once again lacks any empirical rigour. It also ignores what the
Department of Commerce letter of 2008 *told* ICANN to study:

http://www.ntia.doc.gov/comments/2008/ICANN_081218.pdf

Take a look at PAGE 1 of that PDF!! Where is the work about whether the domain registration market is one market or separate markets? Where is the work about substitutability? Where is the work about switching costs? And so on? Is ICANN trying to pull a fast one on the public, by not even instructing its paid consultants to do the right study??

The authors have not even attempted to perform a true study of the AFTERMARKET for domain names. They make only anecdotal references to a handful of transactions, rather than doing a *systematic* study of ALL reported transactions. That's the difference between a casual "survey" paper and real original research that is rigorous.  The data *is* available (e.g. DNJournal.com and other sources have years worth of transactions). But, it appears the authors were rushing to slap together something, anything, that ICANN can "claim" is supportive of the new TLD process. Perhaps ICANN was counting on an assumption that a last minute publication would be "overlooked" or "ignored". That assumption is incorrect.

The "empirical" work, if you can call it that, is hilarious to read. These are supposed to be papers by EXPERTS, not newbies. Paragraph 17 (page 9) talks about a "non-random sample of five generic words." You *must* be kidding. Is that a statistically significant sample? Where did these authors study statistics?? I really want to know. Five words. Not even "random". This is basic "anecdotal" hand waving work, not anything experts would call "empirical" work.

The authors throw around buzz words like "principle of revealed preference" to attempt to pretend that there is deep underlying scholarly understanding behind their work. Ultimately, though, they failed to do the real work. They could have done proper statistical tests, the systematic study of the entire universe of domain names (zone files, hello??) broad surveys of real domain name participants/registrants, but instead did not do the proper work. They could have studied *actual* preferences, via real world data. They could call up Amazon.com, and ask them what it would cost for them to switch to a different domain name. Did they? Of course not.

Similar to the "benefits" section of the paper, the "costs" work was a joke. It was a series of anecdotes, without reference to rigorous real world data. Ask Verizon or Microsoft or any company why they own tens of thousands of domain names (99% of which are *defensive* registrations). Oh, I forgot, it was the *job* of these authors to ask them, but they didn't. Ooops.

A proper study would have said "the benefits of new TLDs" would be $X billion, and the costs would be "$Y billion" and would allocate those costs to various parties (consumers, registrars, registries, etc.). The number of new TLDs would have been discussed (rather than "unlimited" or "1,000/year"). The lack of any financial numbers of this nature, or even an *attempt* to get to those numbers, tell us that the study was completely worthless.

Guidebook changes plucked out of thin air

Writing on behalf of the Coalition for Online Accountability, Steve Metalitz notes:

The PFV is sprinkled with radical changes in various important aspects of the guidebook that could have a serious detrimental impact on the public. None of these lurches is explained, and some seem to have been plucked out of thin air. COA will mention three:

1. Ultra-high standard for community objection: The PFV has suddenly and without explanation raised the bar for community objections so dramatically that it is doubtful that anyone – government, community group, cultural group, language group, NGO, or business sector representative – could possibly win such a proceeding. Section 3.4.4 now requires, not only that the objector prove that the community it represents is likely to suffer a “material detriment” if the objected-to application is approved (the word “material” is newly added and undefined), but also that “material detriment” (presumably the same one) is likely to be inflicted on “the broader Internet community.” Critically, this new term is also undefined.

To use an example that has been brought up countless times over the last 4 years: if the Navajo Nation were to object to a proposed commercial .navajo TLD, it would not only have to prove how it would be materially injured if the application were approved; it would now also, for the first time, have to prove how billions of other Internet users, most of whom have never heard of the Navajo, and might never visit the TLD, would also suffer “material detriment.”  In sum, ICANN staff seems to have unilaterally and without explanation chosen to eviscerate the community objection process. This hardly advances ICANN’s fulfillment of its public interest obligation.

2. Anonymity of applicants: While ICANN will still conduct a background check on new gTLD applicants, it has effectively cut the public entirely out of that process by removing from public disclosure all information about directors, officers, partners, or controlling shareholders of new gTLD applicants. In attachment A to module 2 of the “proposed final guidebook,” a new column has been added indicating whether particular application items will be publicly posted. Among those items with “N” (for no public posting) in this column is item 11 (“applicant background”), which calls for identification of directors, officers, partners, or controlling shareholders of the applicant. ICANN will contract for the performance of a background check on these people; but the public will not even know who they are, and therefore will have no way to submit information about them to the evaluators, even if that information might reflect on their fitness to operate the TLD.

3. Searchable Registry Whois: While not entirely unexpected, the ICANN staff’s treatment of this issue in revised application criterion 26 invites confusion and misunderstanding.  COA has long called for ICANN to incorporate the best practices reflected in the most recent gTLD registry agreements (e.g., .mobi, .asia, .post) and require new gTLDs to offer (or to insist that their registrars provide) a fully searchable Whois service, along with several other features of the most recent registry agreements that set Whois data quality standards on registrars.  ICANN has consistently refused most of this request, but did invite public comment on the concept of a fully searchable Whois requirement.

Now, for some unexplained reason, ICANN is condemning the provisions it entered into with the 3 existing registries, and stipulating that, while an applicant can receive “extra credit” in the application process for offering fully searchable Whois, it only receives that credit if the facility is not open to all members of the public, but only to those qualify as “legitimate and authorized users,” apparently as defined by the registry. In effect, this arrangement would penalize registries that choose to operate their Whois service as ICANN states is required by the .mobi,, .asia or .post agreements. 

Registrars Still in the Shadows

Garth Bruen writes:

In June of 2008 KnujOn reported that 70 Registrars did not have a business address listed in the InterNIC Registrar Directory. Only after reporting a month later that little had changed did ICANN perform a mass update of the directory. On further inspection we found many of the newly disclosed addresses were phantom locations, false addresses, and PO boxes. This lead to a push to amend the RAA and require Registrar location disclosure and resulted in RAA 3.16: "Registrar shall provide on its web site its accurate contact details including a valid email and mailing address." However, policy without policy enforcement is useless. So far ICANN compliance has failed to enforce this rule even after being provided with extensive evidence in June, 2010. In fact, several Registrars cited five months ago for not posting their address have been allowed to renew their accreditation without complying.

The following Registrars still do not disclose their address on their website as required in RAA 3.16 and are in continued violation:
  • Active Registrar, Inc. (activeregistrar.com), 
  • COMPANA LLC (budgetnames.com),
  • Directi Internet Solutions Pvt. (publicdomainregistry.com), 
  • DOTALLIANCE INC (dotalliance.com), 
  • EVERYONES INTERNET LTD. (resellone.net), 
  • NICCO LTD. (nicco.com), 
  • RESELLER SERVICES INC. (ResellServ.com), 
  • UK2 GROUP LTD. (uk2group.com), 
  • VOLUSION, INC. (volusion.com), 
  • YNOT DOMAINS CORP (myorderbox.com), 
  • PREMIUM REGISTRATIONS SWEDEN (premiumregistrations.com), 
  • AB CONNECT (hosteur.com), 
  • DOMAINPROCESSOR.COM, DomainContext, Inc.(isregistrar.com), 
  • NEW GREAT DOMAINS (newgreatdomains.com), 
  • ONLINENIC INC. (onlinenic.com), 
  • OPEN SYSTEM LTD. (turbosite.com.br), 
  • OWN IDENTITY INC (ownidentity.com), 
  • PACNAMES LTD (pacnames.com), 
  • QUANTUMPAGES TECHNOLOGIES (ownregistrar.com), 
  • ULTRARPM INC. (metapredict.com), 
  • WEBAIR INTERNET DEVELOPMENT (webair.com), 
  • ZOG MEDIA, INC. (zognames.com),
  • NAMEHOUSE, INC. (namehouse.net). 

Additionally, KnujOn has discovered that nine Registrars have non-functional contact email addresses posted in the InterNIC directory: RU-CENTER, Best Bulk Register (also has a breach notice for failure to pay fees), Dynamic Network Services, Europe Domains, Homestead Limited, HTTP.NET, Namescout, Hostmaster.ca, Nameshare Inc, and Universo Online. Details of the email failures along with other results will be published in our supplemental report on Monday December 6th.

RAA 3.16 is not the only unenforced contract obligation. In fact, most of the RAA is unenforced with the exception being the Cardinal Sin of failing to pay ICANN fees. KnujOn will actually detail an unprecedented case in which a Registrar termination was reversed after back fees were paid.

While Registrars control the content of their websites, ICANN really is to blame for the failure to enforce the RAA and the anti-transparent practice of having one Registrar directory for public consumption with bad information and another internal list for their use.

Full article:
http://www.circleid.com/posts/20101203_two_years_later_dozens_of_registrars_still_in_the_shadows/

New gTLD Economic Study Phase II Report is Released

From the ICANN website:

Phase II of the independent economic analysis has now been completed.  See Economic Considerations in the Expansion of Generic Top-Level Domain Names, Phase II Report: Case Studies (Phase II Report) [PDF, 782 KB].

In this Phase II Report, Greg Rosston from Stanford University and Michael Katz from the University of California Berkeley, with the cooperation of Compass Lexecon and its Theresa Sullivan, provide an analysis including a taxonomy of gTLD types, potential benefits of new gTLDs, potential costs of new gTLDs, results from empirical research on the domain names associated with top international brands, and a high-level summary of the empirical findings of their overall analysis.

02 December, 2010

NTIA sends a warning shot across ICANN's bow


You can almost feel the rage behind the pen in the letter sent by the NTIA to Rod Beckstrom.  No mere note sent by some administrative assistant, this correspondence is straight from the top, direct from Larry Strickling, Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information at the U.S. Department of Commerce.  The letter states:
  • I am writing to express my concern regarding the apparent failure of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to carry out its obligations as specified in the Affirmation of Commitments (Affirmation). 
  • You and I have discussed the importance of performing this comprehensive economic analysis on more than one occasion since we signed the Affirmation.  Nonetheless, it appears that ICANN has not completed this important analysis.
  • In addition, ICANN agreed in the Affirmation "to provide a thorough and reasoned explanation of decisions taken, the rationale thereof and the sources of data and information on which ICANN relied."  In the context of the new gTLD program, ICANN is failing to meet this commitment.
  • As a signatory to the Affirmation, my expectation was that ICANN would make significant improvements in its operations to meet the obligations identified in the Affirmation (e.g., transparency, accountability, fact-based policy development).  Over a year later, I am concerned that those improvements have yet to be seen.  As such, I urge you to carefully consider the next steps of the new gTLD program and ensure that ICANN meets its obligations as contained in the Affirmation prior to implementation.

UPDATE:  from the ICANN blog:

US Government Opposes Launch of New gTLD Program in Cartagena

by Rod Beckstrom on December 2, 2010

We appreciate the many comments received so far on the draft Applicant Guidebook in its five full versions. We thank the community and all who contributed for their engagement, thoughts and opinions during the course of this process.

One of the most recent comments we have received is a letter today from the US Department of Commerce (DoC).

ICANN’s success and legitimacy derive from the multistakeholder model, the basis on which new gTLD policy was developed. The policy process decision to undertake this program was approved by the GNSO Council in 2007 and adopted by ICANN’s board of directors in 2008.

In the Affirmation of Commitments, the US government and ICANN reconfirmed our mutual commitment to the multistakeholder model. ICANN confirmed our commitment to solicit public comment and to hear all voices.

As with all contributions, ICANN will give DoC’s comments careful consideration as part of the implementation of the GNSO policy.

SSAC Operational Procedures

ICANN's Policy Department has finally posted their Policy Update document which surprisingly contains a link to a new SSAC document that isn't even on the SSAC portion of the ICANN website.

This document is a 45-page presentation covering all aspects of SSAC Operational Procedures.  If you were ever curious as to how the SSAC gets its job done in such an outstanding fashion, this is definately the document to read.

WIPO assails ICANN Staff's Guidebook conclusions

Writing to the public forum, WIPO states:

"Regrettably, our preliminary review of the Guidebook confirms our previous observation that ICANN’s determinations rely principally on an institutionalized framework of committees and processes stated to cover the views of broader communities, but appear synchronized with registration purposes. Merely by way of illustration, the ICANN Summary and Analysis of public comments on DAG4 states that “[s]ome think they [RPMS] are sufficient, some think they are not…”; whereas a review of comments shows 6 comments supporting trademark RPM sufficiency, but over 30 comments (including those of major representative bodies) indicating the opposite.

Such substitution of process for substantive dialogue can hardly be reconciled with the Affirmation of Commitments calling for ICANN “to provide a thorough and reasoned explanation of decisions taken, the rationale thereof and the sources of data and information on which ICANN relied.” "

WIPO goes on to describe the URS as "an overburdened procedure", they state that "ICANN’s current PDDRP fails to account for profiting from willful blindness", and finally they write:

"The June 2010 ICANN-sponsored Economic Analysis advised among other recommendations, “to continue ICANN’s practice of introducing new gTLDs in discrete, limited rounds.” By contrast, ICANN seeks to facilitate a program which foresees an unprecedented 200 to 300 (and up to 1,000) TLDs in a first round. Whether driven by legal concerns, business interests, or technical capacity, again, the apparent discrepancy between advice and action calls for adequate explanation."

MarkMonitor asks: Where's the concern and respect for the community?

In comments submitted on the Applicant Guidebook, MarkMonitor writes:

ICANN has only allotted a 28-day window to the Stakeholder Community to review the considerable revisions to the PF-AG and analyze all of the supporting and ancillary documents posted by ICANN.  We acknowledge that in earlier comment periods, ICANN demonstrated more concern and respect for the Community stakeholders who are affected by the proposed introduction of new gTLDs and allocated the following time frames for comments:

DAG 1: October 23 ­ December 15 (53 days)
DAG 2: May 31 ­ July 20 (50 days)
DAG 3: October 4 ­ November 22 (49 days)
DAG 4: May 31 ­ July 21 (51 days)

The revisions to the PF-AG are largely driven by the recent ICANN Board decision to allow Vertical Integration (VI). This decision departed dramatically from the previous versions of the DAG, and the Board's stated position of adopting a more conservative, vertically separated distribution model.  If this is the "Final" DAG and it integrates significant change, logic would dictate that ICANN should provide adequate time to the Stakeholders and Community to enable review and development of substantive comments to this critical document.  A longer comment period, equaling or exceeding previous periods would be much more prudent, especially considering that the Board and Staff have stated that they will evaluate the quantity of comments in relation to previous periods as a measure of support or lack thereof for the PF-AG .

The time allowed for comments is also constrained by the Cartagena ICANN Meeting which is being held concurrent with the comment period.  Many attendees are arriving on December 4nd and leaving on December 10th and would be unable to provide substantive input during this period.  Furthermore, many within the Community expect to receive additional information from ICANN at the Meeting that may impact the substance of their comments to the PF-AG.  Based on this deadline, it is impractical for attending participants to take the information gathered at the Meeting to their respective constituencies, discuss issues and then incorporate their learning into their comments while meeting ICANN¹s comment deadline.

Finally, the Board is currently scheduled (1) to discuss the PF-AG on December 10th, the day on which the comments are due.  It is not possible for Staff to gather and analyze the comments, prepare briefing documents and submit them to the Board in the required time frame.  The Board itself requires submission of documents several days before a Board vote on any specific topic. Considering that the public comment period does not end before the Board meeting the Board will not have enough time to review and analyze the comments nor will staff have the time to react to them. Given the significance of its decision, we believe that the ICANN Board must take sufficient time to consider the comments made by the Community to the PF-AG before making decisions about the schedule for implementation of the Guidebook(2).

ICANN & the Exploitation of a Public Resource

A new TLD is launched and before the public can even queue up to register their domain names, a treasure trove of "premium names" is set aside for private exploitation by either the registry or by its registrars.  We've seen this happen before with the .mobi launch where 5108 names were "reserved" by the registry for their own private auction, and we've recently seen the same phenomenon in the .рф launch where ICANN-accredited registrar RU-CENTER registered 24,500 domain names for its own private auction.

This is not how a public resource is supposed to be managed. 

In the first instance, we expect a registry to function as a trustee for the community, and as a designated resource manager this registry "must be equitable to all groups in the domain that request domain names" (RFC1591) - so setting aside a private hoard of premium names for its own exploitation is not what anyone would consider to be an equitable approach -- and yet ICANN has nonetheless approved this abomination.

In the second instance we have ICANN-accredited registrars acting to register premium names for themselves before they process registrations for the balance of the community -- a behavior that should not be tolerated under any circumstances.  ...and yet ICANN has taken no steps to ensure that such practices won't arise in the upcoming new gTLD launches.

In its Affirmation of Commitments, ICANN has agreed to ensure that as it contemplates expanding the top-level domain space, the various issues that are involved will be adequately addressed prior to implementation.  I'm still waiting for this public policy issue to be addressed.

01 December, 2010

Changes at GetIPv6.info

From the ARIN website:

ARIN made available a public wiki site focused exclusively on IPv6 in May 2007 at http://getipv6.info.  In the time since that release, there have been hundreds of contributions made by many active participants in our community.  To help facilitate this on-going effort to expand and share knowledge on IPv6, ARIN recently shifted the content on the website into more intuitive groups and to outline some new areas where we believe additional information would be helpful to the large and diverse community we serve.

While much of the content has been simply regrouped and remains unchanged, we hope these new categories and the reorganized home page assist the community in sharing knowledge and getting the right answers to those most in need.

All interested individuals in the community are invited to use the site, at http://www.getipv6.info, to post information they believe may be helpful to others looking at implementations or migrations of networks to IPv6. This can include recommended practices, success stories, case studies, and general information on using IPv6 in the ARIN region.

As the Internet comes closer to the eventual end of the global IPv4 address pool, the need for the type of information on this site will grow as the immediate need for IPv6 deployment is more broadly recognized. Whether you're someone with IPv6 expertise to share or just someone looking for answers, we hope these recent changes help you accomplish your goal.

Project IDONS: Internet Distributed Open Name System

An announcement on Lauren Weinstein's blog:

As regular readers know, I am a vocal critic of ICANN's plan for a massive expansion of new Top Level Domains (TLDs), and of the increasing abuse of the domain name system both for the profit of the "domain-industrial complex" and for Internet censorship and control purposes -- among other related concerns.

Recently, in Take a Tiny First Step Toward Controlling Your Internet Addressing Destiny, I noted:

"An alternative Internet name to address mapping system -- fully distributed, open source, fault-tolerant, secure, flexible, and not subject to centralized constraints, meddling, and censorship -- will take significant time to develop, and a long transition period for deployment."

And I asked readers to take part in some initial experimental activities (thanks to all who responded). What I didn't say then -- in the hope of having this project a bit farther along before any public announcements -- is that I've been talking to my colleagues and others about this issue for quite some time, and I believe it's fair to say that we've agreed that it is not only necessary to move beyond the current DNS and naming environment, but that such a project is entirely practical -- if managed in an organized and reasonable manner.

Ad hoc attempts to bypass the existing system (such as those newly proposed by Pirate Bay) are likely to create fragmentation and confusion, and therefore ironically tend to further entrench the existing system. But, even though it may seem on its face like suggesting that the electric grid move from A.C. to D.C. throughout, a fundamental evolution in the way that we handle names and addresses on the Internet is an idea whose time has come.

The scope of the project on which I've been working, which I call IDONS - Internet Distributed Open Name System -- is in early stages, but would ultimately be significant both in terms of technology and time. It may perhaps be reasonably compared with the scale of IPv6 deployment in some ways.

For reference only, since working documents have evolved beyond this, the original set of objectives for IDONS included:
- Fully distributed
- No centralized control
- Fault tolerant
- Open source
- All communications encrypted
- Local databases optionally encrypted
- Extensible and expandable to any foreseeable size and loads
- Finite, deterministic time for “settlement” of new name/identifier registration requests across the entire IDONS space
- Gateways during extended transition phase for interoperation with non-upgraded network segments, clients, etc.
- Decoupling of locally-defined (e.g. human-meaningful) names and related addressing elements (aliases, etc.), from actual “random string” network identifier objects and constructs
- Minimal constraints on name selections and changes
- No central registries
- No registrars
- No fees nor charges necessary for any name or address operations across IDONS

There's a whole lot more involved of course -- both technical and nontechnical. Nor do I believe that such a project can succeed without serious community support and significant funding. Like I said above, ad hoc won't fly for this. Enough for now.  Interested parties are invited to contact idons@vortex.com.

Announcement from ICM Registry



From the ICM Registry website:

"Following successful attendance at a number of recent Adult Industry trade shows in Barcelona, Amsterdam , Berlin and Most recent as Sponsor of the Eurowebtainment show in Vienna, Austria, we are pleased to announced that we now have over 10,000 members of the Sponsored Community that have applied to pre-register over 187,000 domains ahead of our scheduled launch in Q1 next year."

Another Senior Staff Member to Leave ICANN

ICANN CFO Kevin Wilson
Writing on the ICANN blog, ICANN CFO Kevin Wilson announces his upcoming departure:

On a personal note, this will be my last meeting as ICANN’s CFO as I’ll be leaving by the end of January. It’s been an honor to serve the ICANN community, Board and staff. ICANN has progressed greatly these past few years in all areas of operations including finance. I’m proud of the progress we’ve made especially in accounting controls and financial reporting as ICANN has grown from $31 million to over $65 million. I believe with the continued help of the staff, the Board, and the community the future is even brighter. Onward and upward.

I am always pleased to hear from community members, so please contact me directly if you have any questions or comments.

With much gratitude for all that you do,
Kevin Wilson
Chief Financial Officer

Not-for-profit Organizations Constituency submits comments

The new kid on the block, the GNSO's Not-For-Profit-Organizations constituency, has submitted a set of comments on the Applicant Guidebook.  Clearly this group will be giving the NCUC a run for its money in the NSCG.

Unfortunately, we don't yet know who the members of this constituency are as no members are listed in their submission (although the submission itself was tendered by Debra Hughes (Senior Council to the American Red Cross).  Perhaps we'll finally find out when their Constituency Charter is posted -- the posting of the Charter is on the consent agenda for Cartagena.

As for the comments themselves... here's the overview:

1) The Board should instruct the appropriate ICANN staff (“Staff”) to initiate the Applicant Support Development Program.
2) The Board should instruct Staff to establish an evaluation fee/application fee that is appropriate for not-for-profit organizations/NGOs.
3) The Board should consider requesting an Issues Report on the feasibility of adding the names of not-for-profit organizations/NGOs to the Reserved Names List.
4) The Board should require its selected Dispute Resolution Service Providers to provide reduced fees for not-for-profit organizations/NGOs for all steps of the New gTLD Dispute Resolution Procedures that incur fees.
5) The Board should instruct Staff to reconsider the impact of the auction procedure on not-for-profit
organizations/NGOs.
6) The Board should instruct Staff and the approved Trademark Clearinghouse Service Provider(s) contracted by ICANN to add the names of not-for-profit organizations/NGOs and any trademarks owned by not-for-profit organizations/NGOs into the Trademark Clearinghouse databases without a fee.
7) The Board should encourage the URS Provider to provide discounted fees for complaints brought by verified not-for-profit organizations/NGOs.
8) The Board should instruct Staff to target outreach about the new gTLD Program to not-for-profit organizations/NGOs.

New Correspondence from Rod Beckstrom

ICANN's president and CEO Rod Beckstrom has written to the Joint DNS Security and Stability Analysis Working Group with some thoughts regarding their working plan.  He writes: 

Some of these suggestions may be appropriate for the Working Group's consideration:

  • Documenting known risks to the DNS;
  • Documenting the current work to mitigate DNS-related threats and identifying gaps;
  • Providing recommendations on the development of risk management models (and risk metrics) for the DNS;
  • Gathering data on the global volume of the DNS, including traffic volume and flows;
  • Mapping the topology of systems within the DNS; and
  • Providing recommendations on DNS security coordination.

30 November, 2010

GNSO Chair Preliminary Election Results

Stephane Van Gelder

From the GNSO Council list:

Report for election:  Non-contracted Parties, 2010-11-19 (as
attached)

0        None of the above
8        Olga Cavalli = 61.5%
5        Stéphane van Gelder = 38.5%

Report for election: Contracted Parties, 2010-11-19 (as attached)

0        None of the above
0        Olga Cavalli = 0%
7        Stéphane van Gelder = 100%

According to the procedures http://gnso.icann.org/elections/election-procedures-2010.htm approved by the Council on 28 October 2010, Stephane van Gelder, with a total of 138.5% goes through to the second round.

The ballots for the second round will be distributed on Wednesday, 1 December and the voting period will run through until Tuesday, 7 December at 22:00UTC (17:00 COT Cartagena). Please respond by voting on the web form.

The ballot will  look like this:
[ ] Stéphane van Gelder
[ ] none of the above

Motion to move forward with RAA amendments

The GNSO's Kristina Rosette has submitted a motion to approve the recommendations in the Final Report on Proposals for Improvements to the Registrar Accreditation Agreement.

The text of the motion (minus all the whereas language):

RESOLVED, that the GNSO Council appreciates the effort of the Joint GNSO/ALAC RAA Drafting Team in developing the recommendations and proposals delineated in the Final Report for improvements to the RAA;

RESOLVED FURTHER, that the GNSO Council hereby accepts the Final Report and approves of the Form of the Registrant Rights and Responsibilities Charter as described in Annex D of the Final Report;

RESOLVED FURTHER, that the GNSO Council recommends that Staff commence the consultation process with Registrars in the RAA to finalize the Registrant Rights and Responsibilities Charter for posting on the websites of Registrars as specified in Section 3.15 of the RAA;

RESOLVED FURTHER, that the GNSO Council recommends that Staff adopt the process specified as Process A in the Final Report to develop a new form of RAA with respect to the High and Medium Priority topics described in the Final Report. 

Process A states:

"1.     Prioritized list of topics goes to GNSO council (i.e., final form of this report).  Staff and council review may filter out topics that fall under consensus policy.
2.      Negotiations begin with negotiation group consisting of Staff, the Registrars (as a whole, not individually), and certain observers representing the interests of affected non-parties to the agreement.
3.      During negotiations, if Staff and Registrars agree, parties may vote to hold discussion on specified topics in executive session (excluding observers), then reporting back to the full negotiation group re progress.
4.      Negotiating group reports [to GNSO and ALAC, or to the public] periodically (such as monthly) on status and progress.  Negotiating group is expected to make bracketed text, and/or agreed items, available for public comment and feedback.
5.      Negotiating group reviews comments and continues negotiations and repeat step 4 as necessary.
6.      Staff and Registrars, after consultation with observers, determine when full final draft of new RAA is ready to be posted for public comment.
7.      GNSO Council reviews and considers public comments and votes on approval of the RAA. GNSO Supermajority Vote to be obtained in favor of the new form.
8.       If Council approves, the new RAA goes to Board for approval.
9.       If Council does not approve, goes back to negotiation team with appropriate feedback for reconsideration. Repeat from step 6." 

RESOLVED FURTHER, that the GNSO Council recommends that this process be initiated by ICANN immediately.

IANA Free Pool now down to 7 unallocated unicast IPv4 /8s.

Leo Vegoda writes to the NANOG list:

The IANA IPv4 registry has been updated to reflect the allocation of four /8 IPv4 blocks to ARIN and RIPE NCC in November 2010: 5/8, 23/8, 37/8 and 100/8.  The IANA free pool contains 7 unallocated unicast IPv4 /8s.

Comments from the Government of Norway

Interesting set of ATRT comments from the Government of Norway:
  • According to the ICANN Bylaws, the Board members are obliged to act in the interest of the global Internet community but they are not accountable in the normal meaning of the word.  This especially applies to the Board members selected by the NomCom.  In our view it could be argued that this system indicates that there is insufficient accountability and perhaps even a shortage of classical democracy within ICANN.
  •  Norway is of the opinion that the present practice of communication between the GAC and the ICANN Board handling the GAC advice is not very good.
  • With reference to the recommendations by the President's Strategy Committee, we strongly believe that ICANN should continue to explore the ways in which an international legal entity could be established.