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August 2009: Monthly Magazine

ICANN Monthly Magazine - Providing All the Latest News and Developments

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August 2009 — Volume 2 | Issue 8

In this issue:

  • Staff Focus
  • New gTLDs
  • Policy Update
  • Fellowship Update
  • Regional Update
  • Board Update
  • Public Comment Process
  • Website
  • Calendar

Staff Focus
By David Giza Senior Director, Contractual Compliance

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.

Contractual Compliance – A Key Priority for the Global Internet Community Now and In The Future

ICANN’s relationships with its key stakeholder groups (e.g., registrars and registries) are based on contract. Therefore, it is critical that ICANN, registrars and registries comply with the terms of their agreements to ensure the stability, security and integrity of the domain name system.

ICANN’s Contractual Compliance Program is intended to ensure that both ICANN and its contracted parties fulfill their contractual obligations. To this end, the Contractual Compliance Team at ICANN is engaged in a relentless mission to improve our contractual compliance monitoring, enforcement and reporting capabilities. We’re pleased to report that our efforts are starting to produce measurable and sustainable contractual compliance changes that will benefit the global Internet community now and in the future.

Let’s take a closer look at our drive to improve both the efficiency and performance of ICANN’s Contractual Compliance Program. During the first half of the year, we focused our efforts on accelerating the pace of contract enforcement actions by ICANN (i.e., number of compliance notices, breach notices and terminations) by carefully aligning our resources (i.e., six team members) around three key “core” contractual compliance operating principles, namely reduce complexity, improve the use of technology and increase communication/transparency.

Reducing complexity means a single point of contact, clear contractual compliance procedures and consistent handling of contractual compliance matters for our contractual compliance enforcement work. Stacy Burnette serves as this single point of contact. Stacy’s focus on improving our enforcement capabilities and the hard work of our team are producing a more efficient allocation of resources, both strategically and tactically. The result is a substantial increase in the number of enforcement notices, breach notices and termination and/or non-renewal notices issued to non-compliant registrars. For example, our team sent 105 breach notices resulting in 7 registrars terminated this year. A quick look at our Contractual Compliance Program Stats for FY 2009 reveals the following “good news”:

Contractual Compliance Program Enforcement Statisitcs

These numbers tell part of, but not the entire story. Through the use of ICANN’s enhanced Whois Data Problem Reporting System, our team was able to transmit approximately 1,147 Whois enforcement notices resulting in more than 700 domain name suspensions, data updates and data verifications. Many non-compliant registrars responded quickly to our enforcement notices taking corrective action and thereby reducing the number of inaccurate Whois records. We applaud those registrars who took action in response to ICANN’s enforcement notices. The Contractual Compliance Team will continue to invest in new software and technology to help us deliver ICANN’s Contractual Compliance Program with speed and efficiency.

But the story doesn’t end here. As part of our drive to improve communication and increase transparency, our team is asking the next question “Is anyone better off as a result of our accelerated enforcement work?” We believe it’s not enough to simply tell you “how much we did” and “how well we did it” unless we determine how our work is benefitting the global Internet community (e.g., registries, registrars, registrants and Internet users). Our team intends to develop and deploy a contractual compliance customer survey tool in FY 2010 with the assistance of ICANN’s Corporate Affairs and Media Team. We believe this survey tool will help us understand the impact of our work and better address the continuing and emerging contractual compliance needs of the global Internet community. If you would like to learn more about this new contractual compliance business initiative or wish to participate in its design and/or use, please contact me at david.giza@icann.org. I look forward to hearing from you.

Throughout the course of this year, we’ll keep you updated on our Team’s progress through the quarterly Contractual Compliance Newsletter (next issue October, 2009), Semi-Annual Contractual Compliance Report (next issue September, 2009) and regular project and enforcement updates posted on the contractual compliance pages on ICANN’s web site. We’re working hard to produce measurable contractual compliance improvements for the global Internet community we serve. Please let us know how we’re doing. We welcome your feedback.

What’s new with New gTLDs?

Consultation and Outreach Sessions

Beginning in June and concluding in early August, ICANN initiated a series of Global Consultation and Outreach events. The initial locations for these events were Sydney, New York, London Hong Kong and Abu Dhabi. The events were designed in a wide range of formats to address different community needs for those that have an interest in the New gTLD program and in the development of the Applicant Guidebook.

There were live consultations in Sydney, New York, and London and outreach/education events in Hong Kong and Abu Dhabi. The consultation events were particularly designed as part of a process to develop workable solutions to some of the outstanding issues; particularly trademark protection and malicious behavior. The attendees met with ICANN staff and heard from those who have contributed to the ongoing process, including members of the Implementation Recommendation Team (IRT) that submitted their report to the ICANN Board on measures to protect intellectual property. The participants of the consultation events had the opportunity to express their thoughts during an open mic session and also in writing via feedback forms specifically designed for these events. The consultation events in Sydney, NYC and London had between 150 and 180 participants. All events were broadcasted via Adobe Connect as well and remote participation in the chat room varied from 25 to 40 participants.

The presentations and supporting materials used during these events have been posted at a dedicated events site: http://www.icann.org/en/topics/new-gtlds/consultation-outreach-en.htm. Recordings transcripts, as well as audio and video are available.

Staff is working on summarizing the feedback received during these three consultation events and will be publishing the summary to the public shortly.

The outreach events in Hong Kong (24 July) and Abu-Dhabi (4 August) focused mainly on the New gTLDs and Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) program details. There was also an update on the current policy work. Hong Kong event had approximately 180 attendees and Abu Dhabi 40.

Additional locations for outreach/education events in Latin America and Africa are under consideration as well as a series of topic-specific webinars.

Applicant Guidebook Version 3

A summary of the 223 Public Comments received between 29 May 2009 and 6 July 2009 on the IRT final report is being compiled. Additionally staff is reviewing the IRT recommended solutions to incorporate, as appropriate, into the draft Applicant Guidebook version 3 planned to be published in September 2009.

Work is also on going concerning elements of the malicious conduct area with regard to solutions such as registry certification, abuse policies, and other measures for incorporation into the third version of the Applicant Guidebook. Staff continues to work with The Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG), The Registry Internet Safety Group (RISG), and banking and finance representatives on various possible solutions for malicious conduct issues.

Evaluation Panels

ICANN recently posted an acknowledgement of the 10 expressions of interest (EOI) received for evaluation panel roles for new gTLDs. ICANN has elected to re-open the EOI process and has posted an amended EOI summary, dated 31 July, 2009 on the ICANN website. ICANN will be hosting a responders conference call to engage with the existing responding firms to answer specific questions or offer clarification regarding the original and revised terms of the EOI.  The due date for all completed submissions will be 23:59 UTC, 15 September, 2009. Selected Independent Evaluators will be identified during Q4, 2009.

Policy Update

For an in-depth look at the following Policy topics, go to the June Policy Update at http://www.icann.org/en/topics/policy/update-aug09-en.htm

Policy Issues Currently Open for Comment

Numerous public comment periods are open on issues of interest to the ICANN community. Act now for the opportunity to share your views on such items as:

Initial Report of Geographic Regions Review Working Group. The ICANN Bylaws currently define five geographic regions. Are the criteria for assigning geopolitical entities to an ICANN Geographic Region resulting in fair, consistent, yet appropriately diverse representation in ICANN? Comment period closes on 4 September 2009.

Proposed Bylaw Changes to Improve Accountability. The latest step in the Improving Institutional Confidence process. Comment period closes 25 September 2009.

ccTLD Delegation / Redelegation Working Group Launches

The country code Names Supporting Organization (ccNSO) created a new working group to advise them on launching a policy development process on the delegation, re-delegation and retirement of ccTLDs.

Cocos Islands Arrive as Member 95

The country code Names Supporting Organization (ccNSO) welcomes a new member.

Last Call Issued for DNSSEC Survey

DNSSEC could make a major difference to the security and stability of the Internet. But does the Internet community understand and embrace what DNSSEC offers? To answer this question, the ccNSO Council re-launched a ccNSO DNSSEC Survey first conducted in 2007.

Board Approves GNSO Stakeholder Group Charters

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. To become familiar with the GNSO's new structure and organization, please see the discussion and diagrams on the GNSO Improvements webpage.

GNSO Council Charters New Working Group on Inter-Registrar Transfer Policies

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.

GNSO’s Post-Expiration Domain Name Recovery Working Group Begins Deliberations

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.

Registration Abuse Policies Group Defines the Problem

Registries and registrars seem to lack uniform approaches to dealing with domain name registration abuse, and questions persist as to what actions "registration abuse" refers to. The GNSO Council has launched a Registration Abuse Policies (RAP) Working Group to take a closer look at registration abuse policies.

Fast Flux Group Publishes Final Report

Fast flux attacks refer to techniques used by cybercriminals to evade detection by rapidly modifying IP addresses and/or name servers. Though fast flux is notorious as a technique used maliciously, it also has legitimate uses. The GNSO is exploring appropriate action.

RIRs Progress on Global Policy Proposal for Recovered IPv4 Addresses

Regional Internet Registries (RIRs) are currently discussing a proposed global policy for handling IPv4 address space returned from the RIRs to IANA.
According to the proposal, IANA should act as a repository of returned address space and allocate such space to the RIRs in smaller blocks than it currently does, once the free pool of IANA IPv4 address space has been depleted.

Cross-Community Geographic Regions Review Publishes Initial Report for Community Input

The Geographic Regions Review Working Group has published its Initial Report for community review and comment.

New GNSO/SSAC Group to Explore Feasibility of Internationalized Whois

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 continues its inquiries into the suitability of Whois going forward.

Joint GNSO/ALAC Working Group to Draft Registrant Rights

In order to be accredited by ICANN, registrars sign a Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA) that commits them to certain performance standards. ICANN community groups are drafting a charter identifying registrant rights and discussing amendments to the RAA.

SSAC Recommends Measures to Protect Domain Registration Services from Misuse

The Security and Stability Advisory Committee (SSAC) has numerous initiatives underway or recently completed, all intended to assure the security and stability of the Internet.

At-Large Annual Elections Are Underway

Each year around this time, the At-Large community elects its leaders for the forthcoming year, and appoints voting delegates to the ICANN Board’s Nominating Committee. This process has an impact on the whole ICANN community.

At-Large Continues Analyzing, Advising on Record Number of Policy Issues

At-Large continues providing input on behalf of the individual Internet user community on a diverse range of issues. Thus far in 2009 they have already weighed in on an unprecedented number of issues.

Fellowship Update

Tatiana Chirev, an accomplished alumnus from the ICANN Fellowship program who hails from Moldova, wanted to share her story of becoming involved with ICANN and where that road has now led her. Tatiana is a strong believer in giving back to the community that has given so much opportunity and experience to her in the last 4 years, and with that in mind, continues to set new goals for involvement for herself, including submitting an expression of interest to the NomCom this past round.

Tatiana: It all started through an introduction to the newly created Fellowship program by ICANN Regional Manager Veni Markovski. As a ccTLD.md representative, my interest about ICANN was since I started my job for NIC.md. Unfortunately I had no possibility to attend ICANN meetings before I was selected to be in the first group of Fellows to attend the ICANN meeting in San Juan, Puerto Rico in June 2007. ICANN Fellowship Program gave me this unique opportunity to meet people from all over the world, and to be up-dated with such Internet related issues like IDN’s, IPv6, new gTLDs etc.

During my participation at that and other subsequent ICANN meetings (following San Juan, I was again selected to attend meetings in Los Angeles, Paris and finally in Mexico City) thanks to ICANN Fellowship Program, I grew up professionally, exchanged experience with professionals from all over the world, gathered knowledge and came to realize that my further steps after the Fellowship Program was to become more involved in ICANN – to become a part of ICANN Community. I also started to be more involved in issues like Internet Governance. I have attended on-line courses “European Capacity Development Programme in Internet Goverance” (DiploFoundation).

Since my first Fellowship in 2007, I have undertaken the translation of the Diplo Foundation’s Internet Governance booklet with a financial support of NIC.md (in process), begun the formation of an ISOC Chapter in Moldova, implemented new service for dot-md: “.MD via SMS” and second level IDN dot-md….and I feel like I am just getting started!

For current and future fellows, I can offer the following advice, which was included in a presentation that I made at the Mexico City meeting: attend ICANN public meetings and workshops whenever possible (finding funding through your region, your employer, becoming an active member in another ICANN constituency when your time in the Fellowship program has passed), share your opinion/experience with each other and through ICANN website blogs, public participation and public comment on specific issues, never be afraid to present your work or an idea at an ICANN meeting, Internet workshop or other venues, be an active Fellow by keeping in touch with alumni and ICANN staff after meetings, sign up for news alerts/letters, mailing lists, wiki pages etc. and never stop spreading the information about the Fellowship Program and the work that ICANN is doing.

Regional Updates—IGF Meeting in Latin America & Caribbean

Report from the IGF regional preparatory meeting in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

http://www.nupef.org.br/igf/english/

As part of ICANN’s ongoing engagement in regions it also participates in regional IGF events. These events are important multi-stakeholder forums to address and share experiences on a wide range of internet issues.

There are 100+ people in the room of the meeting; more than half are not locals: that’s good. Governments (Ecuador, Peru, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Brazil, Uruguay). Private sector (ccTLDs – .br, .mx, .ht, .uy, LACTLD—business community representation). And many NGO’s and members of civil society, are the strongest groups represented at the meeting. An ICANN Board member: Raimundo Beca and also two former directors: Vanda Scartezini and Alejandro Pisanty.

This is a very good sample (almost statistically significant) of regional stakeholders that have been actively involved, at least in the last 6 years since the beginning of the WSIS process, in the discussions about Internet Governance. It is hard to distinguish new players. It is a tightly knit group, although diverse, of the Latin American usual suspects. We wonder how many of the participants of this event will be able to attend the global IGF, occurring in November in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt?

In an opening speech there was a statement that said: “This is one effort and there could be many to bring the IGF to Latin America and also to try to gather views from Latin America to take to the IGF.” This is a fairly modest view because this actually is the IGF for Latin America and the Caribbean.

The Program of the event was structured as an emulation of the IGF, with thematic sections around the topics of access, openness, security and diversity. There were also panels on Critical Internet Resources, Privacy and Multilingualism. And some remarks about the future of the IGF, where supportive views were shared on extending the Forum beyond its original 5 years mandate.

The array of panelists that participated in the event was diverse and the level of expertise was very high: luminaries that influence the day-to-day operation of the network and key players of the institutional framework where it operates: people in charge of data protection; advocates for open access to contents and communications; experts in the studies of multilingualism and Internet pioneers that setup physical infrastructure or academic networks.

The audience was very supportive of the IGF process and showed similarly divergent views on the topics discussed. Some participants that confirmed their participation in workshops or panels of the IGF at Sharm El Sheikh in November said they were eager to convey this regional acquiescence.

During the discussions around the future of the IGF and its way forward it was accepted that this approach of the forum has actually had positive impacts in terms, not only of the obvious educational value and shared experiences from which specially developing countries have benefited , but also in the way that a framework or matrix of topical categories has started to shape knowledge of the still developing area of Internet Governance.

The venue of the meeting was not in Copacabana or Ipanema, the typical and renowned places in Rio. It was located in a centric, rather old, neighborhood, called Flamengo. Did you know that Rio was the first capital of Brazil? Actually, it was the capital of the whole Portuguese empire from 1808-1821. The week surprised us with rain.

Board Update—Discussion and Decisions

Board discussion and decisions

The Board met on 30 July and will meeting again this month on 27 August.

You can see the 27 August agenda online at: http://www.icann.org/en/minutes/agenda-27aug09.htm.

Highlights are:

  • Selection of a new Nominating Committee chair
  • Transfer of $11 million to ICANN’s reserve fund
  • Approval of new CEO compensation package
  • Redelegation of Cape Verde’s dot-cv domain
  • Update on Joint Project Agreement discussions with US government
  • Update on GNSO Council restructuring
  • Review of key recommendations in Board Review independent report
  • Selection of dates for international public meetings in 2011, 2012 and 2013
  • Selection of June 2010 meeting location

Highlights from the 30 July meeting are given below. The full preliminary report is online at: http://www.icann.org/en/minutes/prelim-report-30jul09.htm. Complete minutes will be approved at the August Board meeting and posted shortly thereafter at http://www.icann.org/en/minutes/

  • Approved, after some debate, the new GNSO stakeholder charters, to be reviewed in one year and thereafter every three years.
  • Stayed a decision on new constituency petitions until some issues are resolved
  • Approved a document deadline for Seoul of 15 working days before the start of the meeting and approved a document deadline policy with more detail to be published for public comment for 30 days
  • Received updates on the new gTLD process, the IDN process, and the Joint Project Agreement with the US government
  • Received a 30-day progress report from the new CEO
  • Reviewed and concluded that investment policy of ICANN follows best practice and approved some minor modifications
  • Adopted revised conflicts of interest policy (http://www.icann.org/en/committees/coi/coi-policy-30jul09-en.htm)
  • Created a special working group to review and update the NomCom independent review report
  • Started the ccNSO review process
  • Approved adoption of a paper that outlined changes to the system of independent reviews after a comment period that elicited no comments. View the paper online: http://www.icann.org/en/committees/improvements/proposals-systematization-of-or-processes-apr09.pdf.
  • Reviewed Ombudsman reports and recommendations and asked staff to produce responses to any outstanding recommendations
  • Reselected Professor Jan Gruntorád as Academia and Research representative on the Nominating Committee for 2010

Public Comment Process

The public comment process is going through a gradual revamp.

One of the key points that came out of a recent Sydney meeting was the fact that the community felt there is a lack of visibility of the impact that volunteer input has on decision making, particularly for Board decisions.

A vital part of that process is public comment periods and so we have put that issue – a lack of visibility – as well as the other raised by the ACSO session out for public comment (see “New interactive comment period” above).

The public comment process itself is also under review by the Board Public Participation Committee. The ALAC has prepared a note on where improvements can be made and both Board and staff are looking at ways to improve it. Feedback on the public comment process has also been received from a number of community members crossing all ACs and SOs.

On a minor note, the public comment page will shortly be revamped with a more pleasant design.

Question Box Answers

The response to the online question box for Sydney have been published online. You can see them at: http://www.icann.org/en/participate/sydney-public-forum-response-en.html

The question box is opened a month prior to international public meeting to allow any community member to ask any question of the staff and Board. It closes just prior to the meeting and answers are provided where possible during the public forum on Thursday and then in a subsequent publication on the ICANN site.

Website

The general manager of public participation has hired external experts Revere Group to carry out a usability study on the ICANN.org website.

Community members may recall an online survey that nearly 250 people filled in during and just after the Sydney meeting asking for their views of the current website. Since July, the project has been progressing fast and ICANN staff expect to be able to demonstrate the fruits of that work at the Seoul meeting.

Of most importance is a complete revamp of icann.org navigation to make it much easier to find material and to break down the work ICANN produces into a more logical structure.

At the same time, staff and Revere are looking at redesigning the look-and-feel of the website to make it appear less dated. The website will also be completely pulled into an open-source database for the first time – which should open up a world of future possibilities for sharing content and interacting with the community.

New CEO Rod Beckstrom has already expressed a desire to have far more community interaction and control over content that appears on ICANN’s websites, and this process is a first step in providing that.

A Document Deadline Policy

The Board decided at its July meeting that it was established a 15 working-day deadline on international public meetings – meaning that all documents, including meeting agendas, should be posted online before Monday 5 October (the meeting starts Monday 26 October). Other elements of ICANN's document publication strategy will also be posted for community feedback soon.

Upcoming Meetings—September 2009

  • 15 Sept—ICANN Board Participation Committee Meeting
  • 16 Sept—ICANN Board Structural Improvements Committee Meeting
  • 30 Sept—ICANN Board of Directors Meeting

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: michele.jourdan@icann.org

Links

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/

Blog: http://blog.icann.org/

Announcements: http://www.icann.org/en/announcements/

Participate

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.

http://public.icann.org


New Interactive Comment Period

A new approach to public comment periods is being trialed until 24 September.

Collaborative software is being used to break down a summary of the joint meeting of Advisory Committees and Supporting Organizations at Sydney into easily discussable points so that community members themselves can work on possible solutions.

The hope is to increase the speed and effectiveness of consensus-building while allowing for broader, simpler participation in ICANN's processes.

You will need to register with the site to post comments, responses and blog posts as well as rate other's comments and vote in polls.

The AC/SO session drew out six main issues as well as seven suggested solutions to fix those issues. The top two issues identified by the community in Sydney were frustration and exhaustion at the huge volume of work, and the lack of visibility of the impact of volunteer input on decision-making.

The top three suggested solutions were: prioritization of the workload; better scoping of issues at the start of policy processes; and improving
accessibility to issues by providing summaries.

Now we need you as the community to flesh out these broad points into specific ideas and suggestions.

The discussion space will be shut down after 30 days as the experiment closes, so if you want to make your voice heard not only about how ICANN can improve but the ways in which those improvement discussions are held, then please login on today and start interacting.

You can log-on to the collaborative space at: https://jive.dev.icann.org/
community/acso
.

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