Executive Staff Focus
By Paul Levins — ICANN Executive Officer & Vice President Corporate Affairs
The “Executive Staff Focus” is a monthly report about what is on the minds of ICANN executives. Each month will be written by a different ICANN executive.
I’m writing this just prior to the start of our 34th international public meeting in Mexico City, and am amazed, yet again, at the quantity of work of that we hope to get through over the course of the week.
The biggest topic of conversation is, of course, likely to be the Applicant Guidebook – a revised version was released on 18 February following your comments and feedback from the first public comment period (see later on in the magazine for more information).
When we released that second draft, for the first time we also produced an extensive analysis of everything you told us, and correlated that analysis with changes made to the guidebook itself. We look forward to seeing what the community makes of those changes. There are some over-arching issues that need resolution and amongst many other opportunities for discussion there is a special 90-minute session on the Monday of the meeting.
The guidebook is now out for a second round of public comment – until 13 April – so please also take that opportunity to further improve and refine the process for creating new Internet extensions. We’ve said we will not open the process until concerns are addressed and so it is now clear that it is going to take some months longer than planned to get there.
The President’s Strategy Committee will present the community with its final report in Mexico City, outlining the changes that it will be recommending to the Board to be made to ICANN as the JPA concludes.
It has been 10 years since ICANN was created and the organization has said publicly that now is the time to set what started out as an experiment in a unique form of decision-making into stone. On 14 January this year I spoke at a conference called the State of the Net. The panel was called “The Future of ICANN and Internet governance”. I said that I thought we have some of the language wrong about life after the JPA. It is not about making ICANN independent – it already is; it is not about ending relationships – our relationships with all our stakeholders are crucial and we’ll always have them. To me it’s more about consolidating a model that’s been proven over ten years and taking debates about ICANN’s legitimacy off the table.
Speaking of things that have been proven – this is ICANN’s 34th meeting and I would like to note the improvements we continue to make at the meetings themselves. A new, more modular schedule will make it easier for attendees to navigate an extremely busy week. We also have more, and greater, possibilities for participation than ever before – from interpretation to chat rooms to online question boxes to telephone linkups.
I don’t know of another organization that gets it’s stakeholders together three times a year on this scale. At this ICANN meeting in Mexico City we are expecting over 1,200 people and we continue to look for ways to improve.
So whether it is discussing the future of the network, or the future of the organization itself, we hope that everyone has a good meeting. And I look forward to seeing you all – whether in person or online.
All the best,
The New gTLD Draft Applicant Guidebook: What you told us
A second draft of an Applicant Guidebook that details the process of applying for new generic top level domains was released on 18 February along with a detailed analysis of comments received so far.
A vital part of ICANN's decision-making process is the feedback that the community provides. The first draft Applicant Guidebook saw hundreds of comments submitted.
"The amount of feedback and its quality is really pleasing" said Dr. Paul Twomey, President and Chief Executive Officer. "We've listened carefully to what was said and that has produced many changes in this version of the Guidebook. It's also clear that further discussion on some key areas is needed and we will start work on those immediately."
In recognition of the response, ICANN's staff has prepared a series of analyses, totaling 155 pages, and divided up according to specific topics so that those making comments are able to see how their points were taken into account. The responses have directly influenced changes to the guidebook. In a further attempt to make the changes clear and accessible, the draft Guidebook is in "red-line" format.
The second draft of the Guidebook has been released simultaneously with the analysis so that it is possible to see the direct relationship between the comments and the changes made.
There have been a number of overarching issues raised in the comment process that require further work and so remain unchanged in this draft. Those issues are:
- Trademark protection
- Security and stability
- Malicious conduct
- Demand and economic analysis
"It is very important to take the time to resolve these overarching issues. DNS stability, user protection, and trademark rights must not be undermined by the introduction of new gTLDS. As a consequence it is unlikely that the application round will open before December 2009", Dr. Twomey said.
This is the first time this depth of analysis has occurred. Whilst ICANN relies heavily on public comment (over 50 comment periods were held in 2008) many have suggested that it is often difficult to understand how comments have shaped outcomes. This analysis is an attempt to address that concern.
The ICANN model remains one of coordination, not control, and the resilience of its decision-making has always stemmed from the process of bringing together different viewpoints.
"We are looking forward to meeting with the intellectual property community, the security community and all others that have an interest to work through specific suggestions for addressing their concerns in the next 6-8 weeks", Dr Twomey said.
For on-going updates including the Updated Draft Applicant Guidebook: http://www.icann.org/en/topics/new-gtld-program.htm
- IDN CCTLD FAST TRACK IMPLEMENTATION PLAN ON AGENDA FOR MEXICO CITY
Discussion of the IDN ccTLD Fast Track implementation plana range of related issuesplacethe ICANN Meeting in Mexico City.
- E-CRIME & DNS ABUSE FORUM SLATED FOR MEXICO CITY
ICANN’s Mexico City meeting will feature “ E-Crime and Abuse of the DNS Forum: a global perspective” on Wednesday, 4 March.
- AT-LARGE PREPARING FOR HISTORIC SUMMIT IN MEXICO CITY
An At-Large Summit will be held 28 February through 5 March in conjunction with ICANN’s Mexico City meeting. The Summit will enable representatives of over 100 At-Large Structures (individual Internet user groups) to advance their work with ICANN.
- GNSO IMPROVEMENTS IMPLEMENTATION EFFORTS KICKING IN TO GEAR
The Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) community is working to implement a comprehensive series of organizational and structural changes designed to improve the
efficiency, effectiveness and accessibility of the organization. Interested community members are encouraged to offer their expertise and brainpower by volunteering to participate in the effort.
- GLOBAL IPV4 POLICY SUBMITTED TO ICANN BOARD
Regional Internet Registries have adopted a policy to allocate the remaining IPv4 address blocks and submitted the policy for ratification by the ICANN Board.
- CCNSO SENDS SILBER TO ICANN BOARD, GOMES RE-ELECTED AS GNSO VICE CHAIR
The ccNSO Council selected Michael Silber as ICANN Board Director number 12. Chuck Gomes was re-elected
unanimously as GNSOVice Chair.
- WORKING GROUP TACKLES ICANN GEOGRAPHIC REGIONS FRAMEWORK
Last November, the ICANN Board authorized the formation of a community-wide working group to review the organization’s system of geographic regions to help ensure effective international diversity in ICANN’s structures. Interested ICANN structures have named their participants for this effort.
- SSAC WORK CONTINUES ON A RANGE OF ISSUES
SSAC pursues a range of studies and activities aimed at assuring the security and stability of the Internet.
- REGISTRATION ABUSE POLICIES GET CLOSER LOOK
The GNSO Council will take a closer look at registration abuse provisions in registry and registrar agreements. A public discussion at ICANN’s Mexico City meeting in March on this topic is being planned.
- CCNSO STRATEGIC AND OPERATIONAL PLANNING COMMITTEE FORMS
Byron Holland, .ca was appointed Chair of the ccNSO’s Strategic and Operational Planning Committee Working Group. The Working Group is currently drafting its charter and will provide input into the ICANN Strategic Plan.
- FOCUS NARROWS ON POTENTIAL WHOIS STUDIES
WHOIS is the data repository containing registered domain names, registrant contacts and other critical information. Questions persist concerning the use and misuse of this important resource. The GNSO Council must decide whether studies of this matter are warranted and, if so, which topics need to be addressed.
- GNSO CONSIDERS EXPIRED DOMAIN NAME RECOVERY CHANGES
To what extent should registrants be able to reclaim their domain names after they expire? An Issues Report requested by the At-Large Advisory Committee (ALAC) on this topic was submitted to the GNSO Council on 5 December 2008.
- MAKING IT EASIER TO TRANSFER DOMAINS BETWEEN REGISTRARS
The Inter-Registrar Transfer Policy (IRTP) aims to provide a straightforward procedure for domain name holders to transfer their names from one ICANN-accredited registrar to another. The GNSO is reviewing and considering revisions to this policy.
- HOW DO WE DEAL WITH FAST FLUXING CYBERCRIMINALS?
Fast flux hosting refers to techniques used by cybercriminals to evade detection by rapidly modifying IP addresses and/or name servers. The GNSO is exploring appropriate action.
Public Comments: Your Comments Matter
As you saw with our posting of the new gTLD draft applicant guidebook analysis of public comments, a vital part of ICANN’s processes is the opportunity for there to be public comment on each substantial piece of work before it is put forward for final approval.
Public comment periods typically last 45 days (with some extending to 51 days.) There are several topics currently open for public comment.
Fast Track Proposed Solutions
Opened: 18 February 2009
Closes: 6 April 2009
A public comment period is open on a number of proposed implementation features in the “Fast Track” process, as well as an updated version of the Fast Track’s Implementation Plan .
The Fast Track is a mechanism to introduce a limited number of
non-contentious internationalized country-code top level domain names (IDN ccTLDs) to the Internet.
In the initial draft of the Fast Track Implementation Plan, a number of open issues were identified that require further input from the community and need to be resolved to complete the implementation.
There are separate papers of proposed implementation details (described below). The papers are based on comments and input received from the community, notably from meetings held at ICANN’s international public meeting in Cairo in November 2008.
Along with the papers are: an updated Draft Implementation Plan; a document providing a consolidated overview of the comments received and document containing staff considerations regarding the comments received on the initial Draft Implementation Plan. This new version of the plan is intended to elicit further community feedback both during and after the ICANN meeting in Mexico City (1-6 March 2009).
This public comment period that covers both the Draft Implementation Plan and the papers. Comments received will be used to revise the plan in preparation of a Final Implementation Plan.
Please note that the papers listed below are proposed discussion drafts only. Potential IDN ccTLD requestors should not rely on any of the proposed included details as it remains subject to further consultation and revision.
Please also note that it is expected there will be several updates to this announcement as papers are released and as they are finalized and translated.
The papers describe:
- Documentation of Responsibility between ICANN and prospective IDN ccTLD Managers
- Development and use of IDN tables and character variants for second and top level strings
For more information and links to the papers visit:
Proposed Framework for ICANN’s FY10 Operating Plan and Budget
Opened: 17 February 2009
Closes: 30 April 2009
The release of ICANN’s Proposed Framework for the Fiscal Year 2010 (FY10) Operating Plan and Budget kicks off the operational planning process for ICANN, providing the community the first look at the planned work and financial resources required for FY10. The framework will be discussed with members of the ICANN community at the Mexico City meeting in March, through online public comment areas, and through conference calls with ICANN constituencies. A more detailed draft FY10 Operating Plan and Budget will be posted by 17 May 2009. more public comment and feedback, the budget is expected to be adopted by the ICANN Board at its Sydney meeting in June 2009.
ICANN has now completed its 10th year, and this framework reflects a growing organization that is attaining operational maturity in many areas. Many of the organizational support elements envisioned for ICANN are at levels adequate to provide sufficient support for the current scale of community work. This means that ICANN’s spending growth is anticipated to slow substantially in the FY10 budget as compared with previous years (4.9% compared with 30.1% in FY09).
The world economic environment has dictated that costs that can be deferred will be. ICANN will likely under run its FY09 budget through some explicit cost controls as well as through the shifting of some program expenses into FY10.
As always, the community is encouraged to comment on how well this plan addresses priorities identified in the Strategic Plan. year, specifically in light of the world economic climate, the community is encouraged to comment regarding the plan
elements that might be streamlined, reduced, or deferred:
Other current comment periods include:
RSSAC Review—Independent Consultants’ Draft Report
Closes: 27 March 2009
ALAC Review WG Draft Final Report
Closes: 17 April 2009
New gTLD Draft Applicant Guidebook. Version 2 (V2)
Closes: 13 April 2009
Proposed Charter of Geographic Regions Review Working Group
Closes: 24 March 2009
.BIZ Proposed Admendment for Single and Two-Character Names
Closes: 15 March 2009
Board Review: Interim Report Published
ICANN appointed the Boston Consulting Group/Colin Carter & Associates to perform the external review of its Board of Directors.
Following publication of the independent reviewers’ report and of the feedbacks received from the community during a public comment period, the Board Review Working Group issued an Interim Report for consultation with the Community, which will be presented at the ICANN meeting in Mexico City.
This Interim Report presents the Working Group's "initial thinking" on the questions under review following the publication of the external review report and further consultation. A public comment period will then be opened to allow for further inputs from the community before finalization of a Board Review Working Group report to the Structural Improvements Committee and the Board.
The Interim Report is available in English at
(other linguistic versions will follow shortly.)
ICANN Acronyms Explained
ALAC— At-Large Advisory Committee
"At-Large" is the name for the community of individual Internet users who participate in the policy development work of ICANN. Currently, more than 100 groups representing
the views of individual Internet users are active throughout the world.
At-Large provides a way for the worldwide individual Internet user community to engage in all the issues that are a part of ICANN’s work such as:
- Guidance on how internationalized domain names (“local language” domain names) are to be implemented;
- How additional new top-level domains (the part of a domain name after the dot, for example: .info, .name, .museum) are
- How to transition from the current Internet addressing system (“IPv4”) to the next-generation of Internet addresses (“IPv6”) in a stable and equitable manner.
How At-Large works is that groups throughout the world that deal with individual Internet users' interests are encouraged to register and participate in ICANN by submitting a simple
application form (found on their website). Groups that meet the minimum requirements will be certified as"At-Large Structures", or ALSes.
The ALSes located in each of the five geographic regions of the world have federated into Regional At-Large Organizations (RALOs), which provides a forum for them to work together on issues that affect their region.
Each RALO selects representatives to the At-Large Advisory Committee, which is a statutory body of ICANN that grants it official standing to advise the larger ICANN community, including the Board of Directors of ICANN, based upon the views of the individual Internet user community worldwide. It also works to bring more Internet user groups into the decision-making processes of ICANN.
You can learn more about the At-Large community and its activities on the ALAC website , as well as how to join and participate in building the future of the worldwide Domain Name System (DNS) and other unique identifiers which every single user of the Internet relies on every time they go online.
ccNSO—The Country-Code Names Supporting Organization
The Country Code Names Supporting Organization (ccNSO) of ICANN is the policy development body for a narrow range of global ccTLD issues within the ICANN structure. It was established in 2003 under the bylaws of ICANN. It is responsible for developing and recommending to the Board global policies relating to country-code top-level domains, nurturing consensus across the ccNSO's community, including the name-related activities of ccTLDs, and coordinating with other ICANN Supporting Organizations, committees, and constituencies under ICANN.
The policy development process is managed by the ccNSO Council, which consists of 18 Councilors (15 elected by ccNSO members, three appointed by the ICANN Nominating Committee).
The ccNSO also provides several Working Groups, which are dealing in more detail with specific issues of importance, such as IANA or Internationalized Domain Names. It is also working closely together with related organizations, such as the Government Advisory Committee (GAC), or the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO).
In order to encourage true global cooperation, non-ccNSO members are also invited to participate in most Working Groups, as well as all ccNSO meetings.
A ccNSO Membership is open for all ccTLD managers responsible for managing an ISO 3166 country-code top-level domain.
For more information visit: http://ccnso.icann.org/
What Do You Want to Ask In Mexico City?
ICANN's 34th international public meeting taking place in Mexico City is upon us.
An intrinsic part of every ICANN meeting is the ability of the community to ask questions and make comments in a public setting. In Mexico City, we will have two main public forums,
as well as numerous other open-microphone periods during specific meetings.
The first main public forum will be on the opening day of the conference, Monday 2 March, and will be specifically dedicated to questions covering the New gTLD Applicant Guidebook and the process for creating new generic top-level domains. It will run for 90 minutes, starting at 11.00 in the main conference room.
The second main public forum will be on Thursday 5 March. It will run for three hours, with a half-hour break, starting at 10.00 in the main conference room. The forum will be open to any topic relevant to ICANN and its work.
To allow community members that are not able to physically attend, to account for those attendees that do not wish to speak into a public microphone, and to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to ask a question directly of ICANN staff and/or the ICANN Board, we have set up an online question box.
You can find the online question box at: http://icann.wufoo.com/forms/mexico-city-question-box/
The box should be straightforward to use and you will receive a
receipt of your question. Those questions/comments will then be compiled and introduced at each session where the expectation is that as many of them as possible will be answered (and the responses captured by the meeting transcript).
In the event that time runs short, a response will be produced in the weeks following the meeting that will provide answers to unasked questions. That response will be sent to the email address supplied when you use the form. There is no limit to the number of questions you are able to ask.
The Thursday public forum will enable the community to ask questions in one of three ways:
- You can use the above form before 17.00 local time Wednesday 4 March to submit your question. These questions will be compiled and provided to ICANN's chairman for introduction into the meeting itself.
- You can queue up behind a microphone placed at the front of the room and wait your turn in line to ask the Board your question directly and in person.
- You can queue up at the back of the main conference room during the forum and provide an ICANN staffer, who will be at a desk with a computer, your questions (as well as your contact details) and they will note down your
question and provide it to the chair.
ICANN's chairman, Peter Dengate Thrush, will be moderating the forum and will be in charge of introducing topics and questions, as well as asking for Board members and/or other
audience members to respond to any particular topics that arise.
We hope that the community takes advantage of this open and transparent system to provide questions and in so doing allow for additional accountability of ICANN, its staff and its Board.
For those attending, we look forward to seeing you in Mexico City; for those unable to attend, we hope this system will provide you with an effective system for remote participation.
Mexico Meeting Goes Mobile
The Mexico City meeting is now accessible on your mobile phone. The full schedule is available at http://icann.mobi
ICANN would like to thank dotMobi for its help in setting up and hosting the icann.mobi site. Please note: the site is specifically designed to be fast and simple to use through a mobile phone but accessing it will still incur data-roaming charges through your provider.
ICANN’s 34th International Public meeting will be held in Mexico City on 1-6 March 2009. For the most updated information on the Mexico City Meeting, please visit: http://mex.icann.org/
- 1-6 March: 34th International Public Meeting
- 6 March: Board Meeting
- 7 April: Board Finance Committee Meeting
- 8 April: Board Governance Committee Meeting
- 14 April: Board Public Participation Committee Meeting
- 15 April: Board Structural Improvements Committee Meeting
- 22 April: Board Meeting
Policy update: http://www.icann.org/en/topics/policy/
Compliance newsletter: http://www.icann.org/en/compliance/newsletter/
Monthly magazine: http://www.icann.org/en/magazine/
Public Participation: http://public.icann.org
Have Your Voice Heard — Visit the Public Participation Site and let us know what you think about the current issues. If you care about the Internet and how it evolves, your voice will only be heard if you get involved. We look forward to seeing you.
We Want To Hear From You
If you have a comment about an article you’ve read, want to know more about a particular topic, are confused about an acronym, or if you would you like to submit an Op-Ed article? We invite you to submit your thoughts, ideas, and feedback to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org