By Kieren McCarthy — General Manager of Public Participation
The “Staff Focus” is a monthly report about what is on the minds of ICANN staff. Each month will be written by a different ICANN staff member.
Public participation is a vital ingredient to the ICANN model and a fundamental pillar of its legitimacy.
In order to allow for effective participation – particularly given the precise nature of much of ICANN’s work – there is the need to get people up
to speed on complex issues quickly and simply. Which means producing materials that help people grow their knowledge to the point where they can contribute alongside those already well-versed in the topic.
But that’s only part of it – people also have to be able to find that information and they have to be able to interact with and have an impact upon
the decision-making processes that constantly take place within ICANN.
So what are we doing to make that possible? Well, quite a lot. There is a new Board Committee on Public Participation which has been looking
at a range of pragmatic issues for improving participation: everything from document deadlines to design of the public forum.
In the pipeline we have a range of online tools that should make participation much easier at low cost: we will be increasing the amount and the quality of videos we produce – and make them available in a multitude of languages through cutting-edge translation and transcription software.
The amount and the quality of translation of ICANN’s materials has rocketed over the past 12 months, opening ICANN up to the whole world and
not just the English-speaking world. We also hope to be able to offer the community a way of inputting their own translations of ICANN documents soon.
I will be using a big chunk of my time producing new explanatory materials that help people get up to speed on the issues facing ICANN so they can
not only participate but participate effectively.
We have also been making significant changes and adjustments to the way ICANN meetings are run, trying to bring down the barriers to participating, trying out new ways of interacting with the community.
We are looking to improve the production of documents, and the style of public comment periods to be more user-friendly. And we are planning
a usability study of ICANN’s many websites so it will be easier to find and share information across the organization and across the community.
As always, these changes are gradual and iterative but we hope you have noticed and continue to notice the improvement over time as we seek to have ICANN live up to its credentials as the representative of a truly global community.
If you have any thoughts, suggestions or insights, feel free to share them on the dedicated public participation website at http://public.icann.org.
The public comments period on the New gTLD Applicant Guidebook v2 ended on 13 April. Over 100 comments were received and are under review. An analysis of these comments is expected late May. The New gTLD Applicant Guidebook v3 is not expected to be published before the ICANN Sydney Meeting.
ICANN continues to engage in global collaboration with the many communities that have an interest in finding workable solutions on the outstanding issues in the New gTLD Applicant Guidebook. A WIKI has been developed to provide a working space for individuals and groups willing to offer recommendations relevant to the New gTLD Program Overarching Issues identified in the new gTLD implementation work. ICANN welcomes these additional recommendations as part of follow-on ICANN consultations. The overarching issues raised in the comment process that require further work are:
- Trademark Protection
- TLD Demand and Economic Analysis
- Security and Stability: Root Zone Scaling
- Potential for Malicious Conduct
Some other practical activities initiated:
Trademark Protection – The Implementation Recommendation Team (IRT) has been formed and held its first meeting in the U.S. in April. The team
is comprised of experts in the trademark area. It has 24 members, 6 ex-officio. The IRT's preliminary report is expected by 24 April. A final report will be available by 24 May for comments.
Demand and Economic Analysis – ICANN commissioned an independent third-party to produce reports that address consumer benefit as well as pricing issue. The preliminary reports are currently available for public comments at: http://www.icann.org/en/announcements/announcement-04mar09-en.htm. The public comments forum has closed on 17 April 2009. A final report is expected in Q2/Q3.
Technical Impact on Root Scalability (Security and Stability) – In addition to the preliminary evaluation and explanatory memoranda produced by ICANN Staff in the past year http://www.icann.org/en/topics/new-gtld-program.htm ICANN has asked RSSAC and SSAC to produce an additional study to address root scaling impact. The study will look at the root impact not only by adding New gTLDs, but also IDNs, DNSSEC, IPV6. The study is expected to be available between Q2 Q3 2009.
Malicious Behavior – ICANN is commissioning the production of independent papers on economic and potential user abuse issues. The report will be made available for public comments in Q2.
ICANN's next steps will be to hold Global Consultation events to discuss the overarching issues. The first event will be held in Sydney, Australia on 24 June, during the ICANN Meeting.
The additional consultation events will be held in July/August in London, USA and the Middle East. The details are still under development.
The first applications for new generic top-level domains are expected to be received in Q1 2010.
More Information on New gTLDs:
The WIKI can be accessed at: https://st.icann.org/new-gtld-overarching-issues/index.cgi?new_gtld_overarching_issues
Responses to ICANN Mexico Question Box: http://www.icann.org/en/announcements/announcement-10apr09-en.htm
Information about the IRT members: http://www.icann.org/en/announcements/announcement-26mar09-en.htm
The public comment forum for the Applicant Guidebook v2 can be found here: http://www.icann.org/en/public-comment/public-comment-200904.html#dagv2
The public comment forum for the Preliminary Reports on Competition and Pricing can be found here: http://www.icann.org/en/public-comment/public-comment-200904.html#compri
More information about the New gTLD Program, including all documentation is available on ICANN's new gTLDs page (http://www.icann.org/en/topics/new-gtldprogram.htm)
For an in-depth look at the following Policy topics, go to the March Policy Update at: http://www.icann.org/en/topics/policy/update-mar09-en.htm
- IDC ccTLD Fast Track Implementation Planning
Discussion of the IDN ccTLD Fast Track implementation plan and a range of related issues will continue, leading up to Sydney.
- E-Crime & DNS Abuse Forum Launched in Mexico City
New challenges and ways to combat abuse of the DNS were discussed by a diverse Internet community at ICANN's Mexico City meeting, including participants from law enforcement, security researchers, consumer advocates, ccTLDs, gTLD registries, and registrars .
- GNSO Improvements Implementation Advance at Mexico City Meeting
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 Ratified by ICANN Board
Regional Internet Registries have adopted a policy to allocate the remaining IPv4 address blocks and submitted the policy to the ICANN Board for
ratification. The ICANN Board ratified the policy on 6 March 2009.
- Working Group Tackles Geographic Regions Framework
A community-wide working group has begun efforts to review ICANN's system of geographic regions to help ensure effective international diversity in the organization's structures.
- SSAC Makes Recommendations On Domain Name Contact Points
SSAC memo recommends GNSO consider steps for registrar point of contact information to reign in abuse.
- SSAC Presents Status Of DNSSEC Deployment
SSAC reports favorable progress on DNSSEC deployment.
- SSAC Comments On ICANN Strategic Plan
SSAC cites areas for additional study and need for prudence.
- Registration Abuse Policies Get Closer Look
Registries and registrars seem to lack uniform approaches to dealing with domain name registration abuse, and questions persist as to what actions constitute "registration abuse." The GNSO Council has launched a Registration Abuse Policies Working Group to take a closer look at registration abuse policies.
- CCNSO Strategic and Operational Planning Working Group Advances
The ccNSO Council adopted the ccNSO Strategic and Operational Planning Working Group charter at its Mexico City meeting.
- GNSO Council Asks For WHOIS Study Cost Estimates
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? At issue is whether the current policies of registrars on
the renewal, transfer and deletion of expired domain names are adequate. 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.
- New gTLD Process Draws ccNSO Attention
An ad-hoc ccNSO working group forms with an eye towards the protection of country names.
- ccNSO Council Initiates Formation Of Two Working Groups; Closes Two Others
The ccNSO Council adds working groups to assist with agenda, ccTLD issues; concludes the business of IANA and Participation working groups.
- ccNSO Council Re-appoints Chair and Elects Two New Vice-Chairs
The ccNSO Council re-appointed Chris Disspain, .AU, as its Chair. At the same meeting Young Eum Lee, .KR, and Byron Holland, .CA, were appointed Vice-Chairs. Patricio Poblete was thanked for his service as Vice-Chair.
The ccNSO Council welcomed the following new members appointed by the ccNSO members:
Vika Mpisane, Africa (.ZA), who replaced Victor Ciza (.BI)
Youn Eum Lee (re-appointed), Asia Pacific, (.KR)
Juhani Juselius, Europe (.FI), who replaced Olivier Guillard (.FR)
Patricio Poblete (re-appointed), Latin America (.CL)
Byron Holland, North America (.CA), who replaced Keith Drazek (.US)
A Look at ICANN's Global Partnerships
Global Partnerships was founded in 2006 to demonstrate and implement ICANN's commitment to global engagement, broadening international
participation and promoting ICANN's multi-stakeholder environment. Global Partnerships is directed by Theresa Swinehart, Vice President of Global and Strategic Partnerships and Ms. Swinehart's Deputy General Manager, Mandy Carver.
In addition to Ms. Swinehart and Ms. Carver the department is staffed by eight Managers - Regional Relations based all over the world:
Anne-Rachel Inne—Manager, Regional Relations-Africa;
Baher Esmat—Manager, Regional Relations-Middle East;
Donna Austin—Manager, Governmental Affairs;
Massimiliano Minisci—Manager, Regional Relations-Europe;
Pablo Hinojosa—Manager, Regional Relations- Latin America;
Save Vocea—Manager, Regional Relations-Australasia/Pacific Islands;
Shernon Osepa—Manager, Regional Relations-Caribbean;
Veni Markovski—Manager, Regional Relations-Russia/CIS.
While much of ICANN staff supports a specific constituency or function, Global Partnerships supports ICANN's mission and functions from a geographically based approach. Each Manager, Regional Relations is responsible for global engagement with all potential respective stakeholders and the end-user community in their regions. The types of engagement range from ensuring ICANN's presence at region-specific events and trainings; keeping abreast of developments in the international internet community; remaining consistently aware of issues in each of the regions that are relevant to ICANN's mission and the ICANN operational and strategic plan. They provide a two way flow of information, analysis and advocacy between the regions and ICANN, insuring a culturally and linguistically appropriate representation of ICANN's mission in the region, and an understanding of the issues of importance to the regions within ICANN. Managers, Regional Relations also focus on building and strengthening relationships with organizations which may show an interest in participating in the ICANN multi-stakeholder model by establishing memorandums of understanding with partnering organizations, or ccTLD agreements as appropriate; as well as acting in a liaison capacity with local, regional or international organizations to increase the global awareness of, and support for, ICANN's mission.
In addition to their geographic responsibilities, Managers, Regional Relations also have topic specific expertise that assists ICANN across regions. This might be internationalized domain names, or regulator expertise or networking abilities with specific international fora. Global Partnerships engages the global community in order to provide support to local organizations within the regions for their internet related issues. The entire Global Partnerships team works to ensure stakeholder participation in every region of the world, as well as working together with other staff within ICANN to ensure that ICANN continues to demonstrate its commitment to internationalized operations as a truly global organization.
ICANN was invited to participate for the first time in two very important international meetings which occurred in April. One was the World Telecom Policy Forum (WTPF) held in Lisbon, Portugal. The other was the Fifth Summit of the Americas which took place in Trinidad & Tobago.
The World Telecom Policy Forum (WTPF) is the meeting where policies, positions and suggested resolutions are debuted in the policy development process that culminates with the ITU Plenipotentiary. There was a great deal of activity regarding discussions of critical internet resources. Roberto Gaetano spoke on behalf of ICANN. He addressed the scope of ICANN’s responsibilities, our technical mandate, and stressed the importance of a single interoperable internet as “essential for a successful information society, a knowledge society, a contributor to the success of coming out of the current global economic situation by empowering and enabling innovation, efficiency, cost cutting measures while fostering new businesses.”
He also addressed the need for internet governance models to be adapted to the technology of the internet. That such a model – ICANN’s multi-stakeholder, bottom up consensus driven policy making process – is important because any governance of the internet has to be an “equally innovative, participative model that is inclusive of all people and organizations that have an interest at stake.” Theresa Swinehart, Baher Esmat, and Anne Rachel Inne were able to attend sessions and talk with representatives of several countries on the positions taken. This work has opened the way for better communication with the ITU and mutual understanding of priorities and policy positions.
The Fifth Summit of the Americas took place in Trinidad & Tobago; this is the first time this event has been held in the Caribbean. During this event heads of state and Ministers come together to discuss relevant issues and to plan a regionally consistent or coordinated way forward regarding issues they have in common. Topics addressed included crime, immigration and remittances, the environment, development and energy policies. Prior to the summit a set of constituency based pre-summit meetings (on April 15 and 16) were conducted. These included the private sector, civil society and youth. These sessions are for the non-heads of state stakeholders. After the pre summits, representatives of the constituencies participate in a “dialogue” with the Ministers from the participating governments with the hope that the issues raised and priorities expressed will inform the position paper shaped by the heads of state during the Summit itself.
Peter Dengate Thrush participated in the Pre-Summit Private Sector Forum on “Promoting Private Sector-Led Prosperity” supported by Shernon Osepa and Mandy Carver. Peter gave a presentation on ICANN as part of a panel entitled: “Investment in ICT: A Way Out of the Crisis”. He addressed ICANN’s mandate and the role of ICT in economic recovery and the role of the private sector in the management of resources that make up the single interoperable internet that is critical to the creation and maintenance of ecommerce.
This was the only panel (out of 11) in the pre-summit dealing with Information and Communication Technologies. Given the diverse audience Peter focused on ICANN’s technical mandate highlighting its role in the Internet’s Security, Stability, upcoming changes with new gTLDs, and IDNs and the purpose of participation in ICANN’s supporting organizations. Although the Private Sector Pre-Summit focused mostly on other industry sectors and not specifically on ICTs, participants recognized the importance of the ICT sector for economic development in the region. In addition, Peter is the most senior member of the ICANN organization to visit the Caribbean in an official capacity. His participation has further affirmed ICANN’s commitment to the region and opened the way for further dialogue with regional constituent organizations. Side meetings were held with the Secretary Generals of the Organization of American States (OAS), and of the Caribbean Association of National Telecommunication Associations (CANTO.) These have paved the way for potential future collaborations including potential Memorandums of Understanding and an invitation to address the CANTO 25 th Anniversary celebration this summer.
The Conficker worm may have burrowed into millions of computers around the world, but it also slithered into hundreds of news stories produced by major media outlets, and in so doing it fed a growing global anxiety about the malware.
In the days leading up to April 1, the date the worm was to become active, there was intense media attention. Central to the coverage was what was being done to investigate and limit any potential damage from Conficker.
In response to the Conficker threat, ICANN joined organizations such as Microsoft and Symantec in forming the so-called Conficker Working Group (CWG). It included security researchers, software vendors, domain name operators and a wide array of organizations dedicated to preserving the
security and stability of the Internet.
On March 30, ICANN issued a news release adding its voice to the chorus of others from the CWG, in advising Internet users to be vigilant about the threat posed by Conficker, but at the same time, cautioning against over-reacting to the wave of media coverage the worm was generating.
"There's no doubt that this particular worm grows more sophisticated with each new variant that is released," said Greg Rattray, ICANN's Chief
Internet Security Advisor. "But the Conficker Working Group had done a great job to make sure we are as prepared as possible on April 1 or any date thereafter."
The words of assurance, from Rattray and other members of the Conficker Working Group, proved to be prophetic, since on April 1, the vast majority of Internet users noticed nothing out of the ordinary.
Prior to April 1, Conficker has been polling 250 different domain names every day to download and run an update program. On April 1, the latest version of Conficker, usually referred to as Conficer.C, started to poll 50,000 domains a day to do the same thing.
The creator of the worm is still unknown, as is his/her motivation in developing the program. However in an unprecedented move, Microsoft has offered $250,000 for information resulting in the arrest and conviction of those responsible for illegally launching Conficker.
Perhaps one of the biggest accomplishments of Conficker was to bring together a variety of global Internet security experts with unanimity of purpose in keeping the Internet secure, safe and stable. Some believe the Conficker Working Group may well become a working model for responses to similar types of threats in the future.
ICANN Acronyms Explained
SSAC—The Security and Stability
The Security and Stability Advisory Committee advises the ICANN community and Board on matters relating to the security and integrity of the Internet's naming and address allocation systems. This includes:
- Operational matters (e.g., matters pertaining to the correct and reliable operation of the root name system),
- Administrative matters (e.g., matters pertaining to address allocation and Internet number assignment),
- Registration matters (e.g., matters pertaining to registry and registrar services such as WHOIS).
SSAC engages in ongoing threat assessment and risk analysis of the Internet naming and address allocation services to assess where the principal threats to stability and security lie, and advises the ICANN community accordingly.
SSAC projects may originate internally, or they may be requested by ICANN, the ICANN Board of Advisors, and the ICANN Ombudsman. Registries, Registrars, and Registrants and members of the ICANN community may request the committee to consider matters that are thought to affect the security and stability of any aspect of Internet name, address and numbering system administration and operation. SSAC makes reports on its activities in a public forum at ICANN meetings (see SSAC Presentations). SSAC assigns a steward for each project. Stewards assist the chairman by overseeing activities associated with a project, and may act as rapporteurs on behalf of SSAC at ICANN meetings and other public forums.
SSAC documents its findings and recommendations in one of three forms.
Advisories address a security or stability matter in a timely manner, with sufficient background information to appraise the community of the issue or threat. Advisories typically include recommended actions to remedy a problem, or reduce a threat.
Advisories may also recommend subsequent action by SSAC, ICANN, or a broader community involved with Internet security.
Comments are responses to public calls for comments by ICANN, the ICANN Board of Directors, ICANN committees, and committee task forces.
Reports provide in-depth analyses of a topic and may recommend specific actions and policy recommendations for ICANN's consideration.
Board Review: Public Comment Period on the Review WG Interim Report
As announced in the February 2009 issue, the Interim Report of the Board Review Working Group was presented and discussed at the ICANN meeting in Mexico City.
Audio casts of the presentation (EN, FR and SP), and the transcript (EN) are available from http://mex.icann.org/node/2693
The WG Interim Report presents the Working Group's "initial thinking" on the questions under review following the publication of the external reviewers' report and the further public consultation. It is available in EN, FR, SP, RU, ZH and AR from http://www.icann.org/en/reviews/board/
The WG Interim Report, while supporting some reviewers' recommendations and recognizing that others have been or are being addressed by the Board, solicits further inputs from the community, particularly on those recommendations that are particularly complex, such as the size of the Board and the issue of remuneration of Board Members.
A public comment period of the WG Interim Report is now open until the 17 April 2009 at http://www.icann.org/en/public-comment/public-comment-200904.html#board-review. Inputs will be taken into consideration by the WG in order to finalize its report to the Structural Improvements Committee and the Board.
Have An Opinion On Where ICANN Should Spend Its Money?
There is just over a week left on the public comment period for ICANN's operating plan and budget for next year, and we have received only a few comments so far. We encourage you to provide your input on how the organization should spend its money in FY10.
Why should you bother?
Because ICANN is responsible for the expenditure of tens of millions of dollars in the interests of the Internet community and the Internet infrastructure itself.
Many times a year ICANN is asked to explain its spending decisions. Each time we point to the Strategic Plan and Operating Plan processes to explain that the community itself has significant input how ICANN spends its money and on what. For the past two years, we have followed a process that allows over four months for the public to comment on how ICANN spends the budget.
This public comment period that will close on Thursday 30 April is the last time you will be able to provide input that will have a significant impact on next year's budget. Per ICANN's bylaws, we will post a draft of the FY10 Budget by 17 May. Then there will also be an opportunity to post your comments on the draft before the final FY10 Operating Plan and Budget is put before the Board for approval at the Sydney meeting in June.
What's so special about FY2010 for ICANN?
The next year is especially significant for ICANN and the community because it represents the financial plan that has been developed for dealing with the introduction of new generic top-level domains and internationalized domain names.
There has been a significant amount of discussion about the impact that new gTLDs and IDNs may have on ICANN and the Internet itself, and particularly the potential financial impact.
Internally, ICANN has tried to assess what this expansion of the domain space could mean for the organization – and the money received, spent and its allocation is a vital element of that. We will be posting a budget amendment focused purely on the new gTLD rollout several months before the program is launched but the community's views on where we are currently would be invaluable.
Other significant issues addressed in the Operating Plan and Budget requesting community input includes:
- Is the approach to meetings scaling with the ICANN community's size and diversity, and work style over time? Should ICANN take action in FY10 to reduce or redirect the substantial expense - both directly by ICANN and indirectly by participants - in three meetings around the world?
- As ICANN grows to support application processing for the new gTLD program, what is the best way to staff (hire vs. outsource) and what are the appropriate geographic locations for this effort?
- How does the community want to explicitly prioritize work such that the costs to support additional work don't just grow?
- How can ICANN better report on and measure the effectiveness of many activities such as outreach and policy development, so as to allow these areas to be tuned/improved?
- What other ideas does the community have for prioritization or cost reduction consistent with the Strategic Plan goals?
If you have views on these or another other parts of the budget, please do review the Operating Plan and Budget and email us your comments within the next 10 days.
All the information you need should be available on the public comment webpage here: http://www.icann.org/en/public-comment/public-comment-200904.html#op-budget-fy2010
Chief Financial Officer, ICANN
Responses from Mexico City Question Box Published
Read responses to questions about:
- ICANN as an organization
- Registrars and the RAA
- The Applicant Guidebook and new gTLDs
ICANN has a new Jobs website
The new site can also be accessed from the ICANN homepage by clicking on the "Apply for a job" link
- 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
- 16 April: Board Finance Committee Meeting
- 22 April: Board Meeting
- 6 May: Board Governance Committee Meeting
- 7 May: Board Structural Improvements Committee Meeting
- 12 May: Board Finance Committee Meeting
- 12 May: Board Public Participation Committee Meeting
- 14 May: Board Structural Improvements Committee Meeting with Review Working Group Chairs
- 14-16 May: Board Retreat
- 21 May: Board Meeting
- 26 May: Board IANA Committee Meeting
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.
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.
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
A Fellowship Alumni's Personal Journey on the Path to Re-delegation
Denzil West, a fellowship alumni of the San Juan, Los Angeles, and Mexico City meetings, has led the effort to run the .ms registry since 2001, and after realizing the successful conclusion of that goal in Mexico City this past March, decided to offer a presentation at the 34th ICANN International Public meeting in Mexico City on "The Impact of the ICANN Fellowship Program on our Journey through the Re-Delegation process" to the other fellowship participants. It was so well received that the presentation was posted to the ICANN Fellowship Alumni wiki site so that others might benefit, and now we would like to share this journey with the ICANN community. His story is about gaining knowledge through the ICANN community and network, as well as perseverance and belief in the right thing to do.
In his presentation, Denzil stressed to the fellowship participants that he had chronicled MNINET's journey through the Redelegation process and is not meant to be a blueprint or recommendation of standard practice. MNINetworks does not advocate the Redelegation of a ccTLD for political reasons or simply because their respective Government wants ‘control'. Domain Redelegations should only be undertaken in the interest of the local and international Internet community.
MNINetworks Ltd. is an IT company located in Montserrat, a British Overseas Territory located in the Eastern Caribbean, and operated under the laws of Montserrat, which provides a variety of ICT services and consultancies including: programming, web development, network design, network installations and maintenance. Under agreement with the Government of Montserrat, MNINetworks Ltd. is the Sponsor and Administrator for the .MS ccTLD.
Their journey started in 2000, when Denzil found out that the .MS Registry had been operated by AdamsNames Ltd., UK since 1997. AdamsNames was unsanctioned and did not contribute any funds or equipment to the Government or any local organization; indeed, it was marketing in Mississippi. From 2001 through 2006, Denzil investigated how to get the .MS Registry localized but there was no real interest and so the dilemma was how to get this thing started.
The breakthrough came in February 2007, when Denzil attended an ISOC ccTLD workshop in Guyana and met ICANN staff and Fellowship Manager Jacob Malthouse and CTO John Crain. With their knowledge and encouragement, Denzil was able to find the way forward and in May 2007, entered into an Agreement with the Government of Montserrat to manage the .MS domain name. At the same time, the Government notified AdamsNames and ICANN of their position.
From this initial meeting with ICANN staffer Jacob, Denzil learned of the launch of the new ICANN Fellowship Program, which is a "means tested" grant of support awarded to eligible individuals from stakeholder groups around the world to attend ICANN meetings. He applied for and received one of those first fellowships, and attended the 29th ICANN meeting in San Juan. Here he was able to meet many more useful contacts and gain confidence in his work and vision. Right back to work after the meeting, MNINetworks Ltd. started to work with CoCCA in hopes of using their Registry Management software. By August 2007, the company had set up NameServers and Database Servers in Montserrat and initial contact was made with ARIN, so there was no turning back now!
Fast forward to November 2007 to the 30th ICANN meeting in Los Angeles, where Denzil once again had received a fellowship and could return full of confidence, connect with previously established network of associates in the ICANN community and begin a relationship with IANA staff in order to gain
the knowledge needed in order to be successful in the last leg of the redelegation journey. Leaving Los Angeles full of information and determination, Denzil and MNINET focused on policy development and research as their attempts to contact AdamsNames to negotiate a Registry transition were still unsuccessful as 2007 wound down to a close.
At last, in April 2008, AdamsNames and MNINET signed an MOU for the smooth handover of the .MS Registry Operations, allowing MNINET to file a Redelegation request (and lots of supplementary information and documentation) with IANA in May and then waited……and waited…..until FINALLY! In August 2008 the ICANN Board approved the Redelegation and within several months, the root zone changes were complete, thanks to continual communications with the IANA staff.
On December 23rd 2008, MNI Networks Ltd. was now the official sponsor and manager of .MS, allowing them to start operation of the registry in January 2009. But the story wasn't over yet….until the 34th ICANN meeting in Mexico City, where MNI Networks Ltd. joined the ccNSO as the 90 th member, and Denzil became a "graduate" of the ICANN fellowship program and a lifetime mentor to the many new fellows who will need his guidance in the years ahead.
Denzil pointed out to the other fellows and alumni in Mexico City that the journey was a personal and professional one, and that the benefits were well worth the years spent achieving the goal. Due to the work of MNI Networks Ltd, Denzil, and the collaboration with ICANN staff and community members, this company was able to: implement a locally operated domain Registry for .MS, create local employment, generate an additional revenue stream for the Montserrat Government, contribute financially to the local community, and prove that small countries can operate a Domain Registry to international standards. And there are future plans already laid out for expansion and growth to continue in the years ahead.
The Fellowship program is proud of Denzil and his accomplishments, and we look forward to his continued growth and participation in the Internet and ICANN community.
As this program continues to grow, we will bring the ICANN community monthly updates from the alumni themselves, sharing what they have learned, how they have benefited and grown due to the fellowship program, and their expectations of participation and leadership in the future.