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IMPORTANT: Governments' ccTLD Agenda at Berlin ICANN meeting


Please be sure to read the agenda for the meeting of the Government
Advisory Committee (GAC) to ICANN in Berlin, at:


It shows that the leadership at GAC, at least (Australia, with support
from France and the UK), clearly intends to take an interventionist
approach to the current process of managing ccTLDs across the world.
Such an approach is dangerous and could destabilize the current,
long-established, system of administering ccTLD domain names across the

First, the GAC decides in the agenda to look at changing the current
(RFC 1591) policies on ccTLDs by considering a "Report from USA and ITU
on applicability of specific business rules/regimes to ccTLD's which are
classified as *"open"* or *"restricted"*...(my emphasis). Who gave GAC
the mandate to decide, or even to consider how to decide, how to
classify ccTLDs?

This sounds like the GAC is playing the same tune as NSI when it comes
to re-creating the ccTLD structure to be redefined as "open" (which
translates as "regulated by ICANN") and "restricted" (or closed, which
translates as "limited to only being allowed to register domain names
inside its own territory"), with different rules for each "class".

And then there is this agenda item:

"Report from France, UK and Australia on Jurisdiction and

This topic should give any ccTLD administrator in a territory of France,
UK or Australia reason to get nervous.

And then, just to be sure GAC can get at us *all* by reconsidering the
whole process under which ccTLD delegations have been made since 1984,
there's this wide-ranging agenda topic:

"Report from ICANN/EU/ITU on current administrative arrangements
concerning ccTLDs, including: 
                    Access to information for users 
                    *Basis of delegation decisions* " 
(my emphasis again).

This tells me the GAC may be looking at creating its own system of
delegating ccTLDs to administrators, post IANA, perhaps via local
telecoms - else why is ITU involved? 

It is still my reading of the ICANN bylaws that GAC's role is to advise
ICANN, when requested by ICANN, on the impact of ICANN decisions on
government, especially as it relates to local laws or international
agreements. As far as I know, ICANN has not yet made *any* decisions on
Domain name policies or any other matters that may impact on national or
international laws, nor should it, since it is merely an interim board.
But ICANN seems to be encouraging GAC's self-defined expansionist role
with respect to ccTLDs any way.

*Not one of these topics has any relation to any decisions the current,
temporary ICANN Board, must make in its current, interim phase.* 

So why is ICANN encouraging GAC to start work on these issues when we do
not yet even have a true, elected, ICANN Board?? And what will the
current, tempoary, ICANN board do with any of the recommendations that
come out of GAC's Berlin meeting with respect to ccTLDs? 

It is important to remember that the role of the current ICANN board is,
under contract to the Department of Commerce (see
http://www.ntia.doc.gov/ntiahome/domainname/icann-memorandum.htm) and
via its own bylaws ( see http://www.icann.org/bylaws-09apr99.html#V) to
facilitate the election of a real, Initial ICANN Board, via the
currently-nonexistent Supporting Organizations, which we are all
supposed create at the Berlin meetings. The current temporary ICANN
board members' terms expire on Sept. 30, 1999 - just a few months off. 

And *we*, as members of the DNSO, are among the ICANN members who will
elect the "real" ICANN board. The current, temporary ICANN board needs
to be reminded that it should not be encouraging any activist agendas,
either of its own or of GAC's, before there is a true, functioning,
decision-making and policy-setting "real" board elected and put in place
by the supporting organizations. The current, temporary, board of ICANN
is not that board.

If you can arrange for a supportive government representative to be in
Berlin to attend the GAC meeting on May 25, it would be a good idea.
These meetings are closed to all but government reps, and their
designees. And it appears only one attendee can be designated by any
government entity or treaty organization.


Bill Semich (NIC JWS7)
.NU Domain (Niue, the South Pacific)