ICANN Meetings in Cape Town
Public Forum – Part 1
Friday, December 3, 2004
Note: The following is the output of the real-time captioning taken during the Public Forum – Part 1 held on 3 December, 2004 in Cape Town, South Africa . Although the captioning output is largely accurate, in some cases it is incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid to understanding the proceedings at the session, but should not be treated as an authoritative record.
>>VINT CERF: Well, good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.
It's somewhat past the hour.
I apologize for delaying the start.
But it would appear that the beautiful weather out here has distracted a great many of our delegates, who are either out doing something useful or perhaps doing something fun.
This is the first half of our open session.
We will start with a series of reports.
There will be time for public comments during the course of the day.
And we will resume this session again tomorrow morning to complete the public forum.
So I would like to begin by reminding everyone that if there is in fact interest in French translation, that Francophonie is providing -- I understand Francophonie is providing translation for this session and for tomorrow morning.
The first item on the agenda is the report from the president.
And so I'd like to invite Paul Twomey to make that report.
>>PAUL TWOMEY: Thank you, chairman.
I'd like to just give you the president's report on the ICANN for the last several months.
The -- just -- I'll go straight through, talk through some recent developments.
I'd like to talk through two areas of sort of operational reporting and focus that we want to share with the community, and there's a series of thank yous and, to a degree, some stories of what we're -- I think we're representing here that I would like to share during this session.
And I'm just waiting for a slide to reappear.
So some of the major developments that have taken place in ICANN since the last meeting in Kuala Lumpur, members of the community may or may not be aware that the ICANN budget process requires that the registrars, if the budget increases more than 15% year to year, requires the registrars to vote two-thirds by volume of names and management, or two-thirds of the contribution, sorry, to approve the budget.
There are now some over 350 registrars.
So this is now not a minor issue in terms of bringing those votes together.
As of the end of October, that number was achieved in affirmative votes for the budget, so the budget was -- it had been involved in Kuala Lumpur, but it came into implementation as of the 1st of November.
And I'd like to thank all the people involved at the registrars and all the people involved in what's over 10 months of discussion and negotiation to have that new budget structure come into effect.
One of the other main items that has been put out to public comment is the draft strategic plan.
And I'll come back to that shortly.
Other activities facing the ICANN staff and board, around generic top-level domains.
First of all, we had the sponsored level of top-level domains.
We received ten applications.
Those applications are at various stages of evaluation.
Two of them have completed the technical business and sponsorship evaluation processes and have moved on to commercial and technical negotiations.
They are dot post and dot travel.
When those negotiations are completed and only when they're completed will these proposals come to the board for consideration in terms of approval of the TLD.
The other eight are in various stages of the evaluation process and are being considered.
Members of the community and others will be aware that the dot net contract, which is -- requires another fifth year of the contract that it be available for rebid.
That date is the 1st of July next year.
The process is started putting together the criteria.
And the request for proposals is in a draft form, presently available to public consultation.
And that will be confirmed Sunday at the board meeting.
So it will then after Sunday be the final RFP, which will then move into the process of people putting forward proposals for the dot net contract.
I want to reinforce, as I do each time I talk about this, that the terminology in the contract talks about rebid.
There should be no assumption that rebid means that the present operator cannot be as equal a bidder as anyone else.
So I don't want people to misinterpret the language of rebid as having an assumption that this is something that will go to another operator per se.
I'd also remind members of the community that it's ICANN's intention that the evaluation of the RFP, of the applications, will be done via independent -- international, independent entity.
Thirdly, it is the strategy for the introduction of new gTLDs, when the board approved in Tunis last year, at this time, to move forward with new TLDs, it was a twin track decision.
One was to move on sponsored top-level domains and take applications.
The second one was to move on developing a strategy for the introduction of new gTLDs.
One is to inform the other.
Just as the past has informed.
We have received a number of reports about the past round of TLDs.
There are reports in from OECD.
There's a number of reports due to come in.
I would like to exhort us as the chair to members of the community, if they wish to prepare white papers on issues they think are relevant regarding issues of broader liberalization of the gTLD space, please go ahead and do so.
And we have a process going forward on this.
There will be more reporting.
But this is clearly not a simple area.
It has complexities.
And we would like to hear input from the community, potentially in white paper format, on some of the issues people think are important.
We have concluded the long-negotiated, long-discussed memorandum of understanding with the regional Internet registries and the NRO for the formation or the reformed formation of the ASO, the address supporting organization.
And a resolution to that effect and also a resolution putting forward the required amendments, public comment period for the requirement amendments to the bylaws, will go before the board on Sunday.
That's an important message to send to particularly I think the RIR community, this is going forward to the board on Sunday.
The staff and board, keyboard members continue to have discussions with country code managers around the issue of establishing what we refer to as accountability frameworks.
And if I can simplify the point, this is ensuring that we have some sort of paperwork written down between parties about what is the accountability each side has to the other in the operation of the zone file and in the role that CCs have and ICANN as a steward of the global interoperable Internet, responsibility of CCs have back to that global interoperable Internet.
These frameworks are taking a range of expressions.
Some we expect are being quite simple.
And if I can use venture capital terminology, they may be as simple as term sheets, just the sort of points you agree between two parties.
But some are becoming quite complex, quite lengthy legal documents.
This is a product of the discussions with various CCs and their own requirements and their own domestic situations.
So we expect we'll have varieties of these.
But the approach from ICANN is to get the key principles right and then talk about what expression makes sense in particular circumstances.
We have heard -- we had our workshop yesterday on Internationalized Domain Names.
And there will be more presentation on that today or tomorrow.
We've also had several key staff appointments.
And one of the ones I'd like particularly to point out is the appointment of the ombudsman, Frank Fowlie, who's sitting down here, but will now be standing.
Frank is the newly appointed ombudsman for ICANN.
We had quite a very positive and extensive set of applicants for the position, worked through quite a process for the selection.
Frank's background is with dispute resolution and ombuds functions in provincial and federal agencies of the Canadian government and also with the United Nations, and was part of the U.N. mission to the east TIMOR.
I think it's unifed.
>>FRANK FOWLIE: (inaudible).
>>PAUL TWOMEY: I'm -- I got the acronym wrong.
But -- and Frank will be talking more from his position.
We've also appointed recently Tim Cole, the chief registrar liaison, Andrew savage, the head of HR, and are recruiting quite a few positions now that the budget has been approved as of the 1st of November.
If I can then move on, chairman, to just talk a little bit about the strategy plan.
The strategic plan is the document that is now out for public consultation, and, importantly, for consultation with key -- with other constituencies of ICANN.
The origin of this document has got a number of origins, but at the heart of it is a -- a business -- part of the sort of reforming business model for ICANN of not being reliant only on a budget as the only corporate planning document or vehicle for the organization.
We have had until recently only annual budget documentation as the basis for corporate planning.
And we thought it important good business strategy to have -- good business sense, just to have not only an annual budget but also to have a rolling three-year strategic plan.
That document was initially started in August last year.
It's been a matter of evolution, continues to evolve as an organization as a document, as a working document.
And was one of the requirements of the MOU, coincidentally, with the Department of Commerce.
The key part of the document was to try to take what we had heard a lot in consultation with members of the community in an informal basis, the things that they think are important for ICANN to implement operationally, the things that are presently stated policy.
The strategic plan is not in any way a picture of how the constituencies, the supporting organizations, and the policy development processes of ICANN should proceed over the next three years.
It is not the role of staff or the operational aspects of ICANN to have a view on that.
What the strategic plan is is an expression of the -- of ways of potentially implementing the sort of policies and positions that have been put forward.
Certainly, I accept the point made by some of the constituencies this week that operations affects policy and policy affects operations.
So you do tend to get a reiterative factor.
But the document is put forward for consultation, but pretty much as an operational perspective.
And it is also one of these documents that you end up writing a version, then it changes, you write another version, it changes.
And importantly for us, the budget process, the nine months of discussion around the budget, essentially meant that we were constantly changing our perspectives on what should be in the strategic plan.
So we actually left the publication until the budget round was finished.
We have been requested that we could extend the period for public consultation for the strategic plan, which was due to complete at the end of February.
And I suspect the board will consider that.
But, I think, potentially extending it for another month is certainly quite feasible as far as the staff are concerned.
It seeks to put forward, as I said, the business planning for the next three fiscal years.
It's not a budget process, but it is intended to try to give some window to the community of what sort of long-term resource planning the staff and then the board are considering.
What is a budget every year is driven by the realities that emerge.
A strategic plan is really an attempt to give people a forecast of what we think budget and operational requirements will be.
And this document will be reviewed annually to ensure new objectives and will be open for public comment on an ongoing basis in that sense.
Some of the -- many of the things that are in it, it's a 63-page document and in many respects it's too long and in other it's too short.
But it's caught in that middle space.
I would let members of the community read it and ask them to and to respond on the Web site on the space we have for consultation.
But let me share some of the aspects in this which might be a little new.
If I can go to the next slide.
A couple of the sort of new operational aspects is a proposal that ICANN put aside some funds to specifically focus on security and stability initiatives and also for developing nation participation, very much along the lines of the sort of things we heard the minister in her speech point out yesterday.
Why the phrase "special restricted fund"?
We thought it was very important that if there were funds for these purposes, that the community had confidence this wasn't be used to pay my salary or to do anything else the executive thinks it might want to spend the money on.
So there is the provision under the taxation laws and our corporate laws that we can actually establish things called special restricted funds which can have their own separate oversight vehicles.
We would look for the community to participate in that oversight vehicle, oversight function, in some ways.
And that, as a consequence, makes it a clean, accountable fund for that specific purpose.
So "special restricted fund" is a -- an established process in not-for-profit law in the United States which allows the dedication of funds for that purpose while at the same time not undermining the accountability of the core NGO or not-for-profit, nor undermining its not-for-profit status.
So that's why that term is used.
In terms of the security needs, there's been a number of areas where we think there's security initiatives that are worthy of being further focused, potentially one is DNSsec.
There are other ones that are around where it should not be appropriate for ICANN to be some sort of major funder, but where it potentially can contribute in small ways to other people's initiatives to give them the sort of multi stakeholder of ICANN, especially with those initiatives which are coming up from one or two nation states.
So there are some potential opportunities there.
And the developing nation Internet community participation I think was -- was driven by a lot of input we got from, not surprisingly, developing country people, and we heard it from the minister yesterday of -- that it's not sufficient to simply say that the door is open to participate if you can't get up the front stairs to get there.
So you know, ICANN is a very open process.
The doors are open.
Everyone can participate.
But having the resources and capability to actually come and attend, participate, is a sort of key thing of participation.
It is something that is key in other international institutions.
So that's why this was an initiative that was considered in response to that request, that plea.
Key part, there would also be supporting a lot of other activity.
It is not the intention that we should in any way duplicate what ISOC and many regional organizations and others are doing.
And it was -- we also talked to them a lot about this idea before the proposal appeared in the strategic plan.
We're also looking for additional outreach efforts and partnerships to contribute to these core functions.
So that's some -- just some of the aspects in the strategic plan.
I thought I'd highlight those, too.
But we very much look forward to the community's feedback.
And there will be an active program of approaching each of the constituencies and supporting organizations and talking it through and getting their perspectives.
Can I just, sorry, before we go further, make one key point.
And it is a key governance point.
We definitely want to get community feedback and we definitely want to get the view of the community about the operations.
However, it's important to make the point that the board has governance responsibility to oversee how the staff spend the approved budget.
And so in the governance sense, we have to be careful the strategic plan is an expression of operational requirements and the board retains its key role as the governance instrument in terms of approving finances.
The second thing I wanted to talk about, because this is one of our big projects also in the strategic plan to try to improve, is I want to share a little bit from the CEO's perspective with the community a problem that we are very conscious of inside, and I'm certain many of you are conscious of, which is it's my sense that we have -- operationally, have gotten less responsive in the last six, 12, nine months.
And I'm very concerned to the degree that operationally there's a black hole phenomenon beginning to emerge of people not getting responses.
I wanted to sort of share that and talk about things we're hoping to do to address this.
Simply put, and this is a gross simplification.
But I want to give a bit of a framework, most organizations tend to, as they grow, they don't sort of grow in the complexity they deal with in sort of a straight-line projection.
There tends to be more of an S curve.
And I think ICANN is certainly an example, as it's grown as an organization and in participation.
We were in -- sort of half way through this S curve.
We actually have a sort of steep level of increased complexity of the issues and demands we have.
If I go to the next slide, one of the natural things that happens in any organization is you tend to make investments in systems and people and the way you do things.
You tend to do that in a step function.
And normally, hopefully, do you it in a step function ahead of your demand.
But often the demand comes to outstrip what you have done.
In simple terms, at the moment, it's the CEO's perspective that our existing business systems are not presently matching with the level of demand we're getting from the complexity.
And so we've got a program, starting a program in place, to actually try to address this.
And I want to be quite frank with the community about it, because I'm certain many of you are actually seeing the consequences of it, lack of responsiveness, et cetera.
If I can go to the next slide just to give you some sense.
We are presently receiving something up to 145,000 E-mails a day into ICANN's servers.
Now, a lot of that is spam.
And we are a special spam target, because we have so many particular E-mail addresses, and particular open E-mail addresses.
I don't know many organizations where the CEO's E-mail address is plastered in six different places across the Web site.
So we are harvested by everybody.
So we actually get a lot of spam.
I know in some organizations, this may not seem like a large number.
But -- so we're getting a fair amount of -- quite a lot of traffic in.
Once it's actually been filtered out, we're still getting between 10- and 15,000 business E-mails a day.
Which is averaging for staff at the moment between 345 and 520 E-mails per staff.
Now, it's not evenly distributed.
But you can begin to see, that's a bit of a problem.
And the problem, I think, is, we've used E-mail as our key instrument for how to run the business, and it's outlived its usefulness.
We still need to use E-mail, but there are other -- you know, other basic things that many of the people here running registries would be smiling, because registries have much bigger businesses than this.
But they're the sort of things that many of the people in the community have already done in their business we need to do in this one.
Just some basic needs to put in some systems.
It's not the whole answer to our operational issues, but it's certainly one of the issues.
So over the next six months, you're going to see more activity not -- over the next one month, three months, six months, you're going to see more activity as we try to put into place more work flow software, Web-based interfaces, automatic interfaces.
This is not rocket science.
There's nothing particularly new.
But we need to make that investment.
And I'm also very interested in how it's being perceived from members from the community who may have systems they think may be useful for us to consider in these senses.
We have had some CCs and registries offer us things that they do.
It's just putting people on notice that we have a problem we're trying to fix.
Some of the other areas of complexity, a little bit so you are aware.
The number of registrars, growth, you can see that on the top left-hand corner.
We have had a big spurt in 2003/2004.
But we now sit at 374 registrars.
It's a big growth there.
The registry creation and compliance, we had 8.
We now -- gTLDs.
We then went to 15.
This year, we may go anywhere from 15 to 25, depends on what happens with the gTLD process.
With the new process, we don't know what it will be.
But that's all going to increase.
Our legal actions went from 0, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 11.
And one of those 11 was very complicated, remains very complicated, takes a lot of resources.
And the IANA zone file request is an example.
While it looks quite flat, because of the backlog that was in place last year in terms of the number cleared this year, it's actually about 260.
So I just thought I'd show you some data about some of the things that are driving that E-mail traffic and -- that we have to sort of address.
So it's just sharing my problem part of the presentation, if you like.
Just on the IANA, just to make a comment on that.
That's an area we're looking to keep trying to improve its performance.
We've got issues there and we keep trying to improve that.
One of the key areas that's one of the things you can move to if you go to IANA.org, now you can find performance data and backlog data for some of the key functions.
That's posted now and regularly posted so you can actually go and check performance there.
One of the things that's also important is not only sort of processing times, but also working through areas of definitions or interpretations or handling of particular requests, working closely with the IAB, particularly with Leslie Daigle and others, we have established a pulse group, a group of people who are working together both on the IANA side and also at the IETF side.
It's been referred to as the Wednesday lunch group, because they meet at lunch on Wednesdays during IETF meetings.
But they are basically a group that you can come to and talk, that they can raise issues both sides if there are things that are becoming a problem.
And we're looking to replicate that model with other stakeholders.
So Doug Barton has started conversation with other IANA stakeholders about establishing a similar sort of -- it's not a red telephone, not a hot line, but it's a function which allows both sides to sort of raise issues that have emerged and be able to talk them through.
But the IANA performance is something that we're still working on a way to go.
Can I just finish with a couple of thank yous, and particularly I'd like to point out that the ALAC continues to grow.
It has eight new user groups.
I'd particularly like to recognize that we have new members there, ISOC DSE from the Congo and ISAC from Cameroon.
The Sudan Internet society, the Internet society of South Africa.
Highway Africa and the African academy of languages from Mali.
African civil society for -- the Arab knowledge management society from Jordan, and the WSO civil society caucus have all been present at this meeting.
And I'd like to saw thank you for their attendance and recognize it.
I'd also like to thank the Francophonie for providing the translation, which has been very effective and very helpful.
And recognize that as well as the representations from the African government, Amadeu JANA, the minister from Gambia has been here and also minister KATIB from Sudan has been here.
And we appreciate that as well.
Thank you, chairman.
>>VINT CERF: Thank you very much, Paul.
I'd like to call on Alejandro Pisanty, the vice chair, to take up the topic of the ombudsman, and to present Frank Fowlie to the assembled audience.
That's assuming that Alex can disconnect himself from all the wires.
>>ALEJANDRO PISANTY: Thank you, chairman.
Good afternoon, everybody.
It is a significant pleasure, and for reasons I will explain briefly, a matter of great pride to be able to introduce to you Frank Fowlie, who has been designated ICANN's ombudsman.
Frank Fowlie is the outreach manager -- well, has been the outreach manager for the financial consumer agency of Canada since its startup in 2001 until very recently.
In that agency, he had previously served as a senior advisor.
Frank joined that agency directly after serving the United Nations where he was on mission staff in east Timor.
In east TIMOR, he was a deputy administrator for the capital city and was appointed as the U.N.'s Olympic games officer.
To show the variety and commitment of Frank to his interests and betterment of the people, he was the man who took the world's newest country, east TIMOR, to the Sydney Olympics.
Frank is an alumnus of the University of Manitoba, University of Regina, and royal RHODES university.
He was previously employed with the British Columbia -- and was a policy advisor to the British Columbia attorney general.
Frank was a member of the RCMB, that's, if I remember, the royal Canadian mounted police, serving on the Montreal drug squad, and in rural Saskatchewan.
He is involved in swim Canada, commonwealth and Pan American games and the royal life-saving society.
He is a coauthor of "freedom marathon" a book about the Olympic games and east TIMOR.
Not only is there reason for giving this presentation so emphatically in Frank's own accomplishments, but it should be remembered that the position of ombudsman for ICANN was created during the evolution and reform process.
We faced a very difficult situation, because ICANN had been founded with a mechanism for appeal and redress through the independent review panel which had a lot of history and many reasons for which it was tactically and practically impossible to actually populate it and get it into operation.
When we decided to redesign these processes in ICANN, it was very important to find an effective way to provide the community, the broader ICANN community, with a mechanism for appeal of things that went wrong and to actually get some redress on them.
And it was decided by our committee and by the board in general that this could be better done through first a reconsideration process, that's he's available, works through a committee of the board, and so forth, it's well known, and is being revamped in terms of practical energy put into it to get it to work, and a mechanism such as the ombudsman, which is for the more general complaints where people have -- there has been gross unfairness in their treatment by ICANN.
So it's the combination of the person of Frank Fowlie and this extremely important element of ICANN's design that I'm very glad to welcome Frank Fowlie as ombudsman.
I understand he's be --
>>FRANK FOWLIE: Mr. Chairman, Vint Cerf; Mr. President, Paul Twomey; members of the boards of directors and liaison, honorable ministers, esteemed members of the ICANN community, ICANN staff, ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much for your warm welcome this afternoon.
Before I begin my remarks, I would like to thank Alejandro for his kind welcome.
It's a great pleasure for me to be here to address the public forum this afternoon of the ICANN community.
And I cannot think of a more appropriate venue to introduce you to the office of the ombudsman.
I'd like to preface my remarks by taking a short moment to thank the board for the confidence that you've placed in me by making me the first and inaugural ICANN ombudsman.
I promise that I will do my level best to discharge my duties with independence and fairness.
Certainly my successor, and I hope that will be many years from now, by the way, Paul, will have a much different set of challenges as the systems, the protocols, relationships, procedures, and, most importantly, the expectations of the office of the ombudsman will have been established.
But for me, the next several months and years will be a time of creativity, consultation, testing, action, and adaptation.
My challenge will be to take a fundamental set of principles as described in the ICANN bylaws and bring them into a vibrant working framework which serves and reacts to the needs of the community, the interests of the parties, the authorities set out by the bylaw, and takes into account the capacities of a sole ombudsman to meet the volumes and complexities of the issues.
So just how will a single-practitioner office meet those challenges?
First, just a little bit of information about me and my skill set to be able to do the job.
Now, I don't want to take the wind out of the sail out of the bloggers who have already been researching and reporting about me on the Internet, but I think it's fair to give you, the community, some transparent view of who I am.
Firstly, as has been reported, I am Canadian.
I presently live in Ottawa, and I grew up and was educated in central Canada, and I obtained my first undergrad degree in political science before I joined the royal Canadian mounted police, where I served on the Montreal drug squad and later as an investigator in western Canada.
I went into government service in the late 1980s and completed a second undergraduate degree in human justice.
After working for several years with a provincial ombudsman in Canada, my wife and I went to east TIMOR as part of the United Nations staff.
And that's where I had my first experience with ICANN as my wife attended the Melbourne conference in her capacity as the head of the east TIMOR IT unit, along with a colleague.
I got to hear all the stories and see the pictures.
On our return to Canada, I was appointed as the senior advisor to the commissioner of a small federal agency that concerned itself with consumer protection.
And in that role, I helped to implement a new set of reforms to federal banking law designed to improve the balance of power between consumers and OLIGARCHIC financial institutions.
These especially included laws relating to disclosure, corporate social supportability, and access to basic services.
Along the way, I finished a master of arts in conflict analysis and management.
In each of these roles, I've had the opportunity to work with and develop skills in conflict management, alternative dispute resolution techniques, negotiation, mediation, et cetera.
The office of the ombudsman.
The ICANN ombudsman is an executive ombudsman, which is to say that the ombudsman is an executive officer that is independent, who receives his powers from the bylaws.
It most closely resembles a classical ombudsman which one would find in a governmental setting.
I am responsible for a mandate which is established for me in the bylaws. I have no direct reporting relationships with ICANN staff, and I must produce an annual report of my activities to the Board of Directors.
These are all analogous with the classical ombudsman.
I have been hired on a fixed term, and I cannot be removed from office except by a resolution of the board.
And one would assume that a nonrenewal or a dismissal other than for nonperformance of duties or, God forbid, incompetence -- you can laugh at that part, thank you -- would cause criticism from the ICANN community. This is typical of a ombudsman, and this check and balance helps ensure my independence in the performance of my duties.
By bylaw, my budget is self-determined and is sanctioned by the Board of Directors, ensuring that there are adequate resources for me so that I, as an independent officer can meet the goals necessary to discharge my obligations under bylaw 5.
Once again, this budgeting process separate and apart from the ICANN administration provides the independence required by my office.
My primary work site will not be located with ICANN, although there will be frequent contact with both the Marina del Rey and Brussels offices to reference stacks and files under my jurisdiction. This will also appLy to all other ICANN offices as they open around the globe. This further demonstrates independence.
While I have been on the job for exactly a month and a week of that has been devoted to travel to this lovely place, my office has made headway in several key areas, including completing a draft budget with considerable research into the many factors, writing a draft ombudsman framework which has been posted to the ICANN Web site for public comment, actively searching for case management software, planning for an ombudsman Web site which will be a key component in reaching and interacting with the ICANN community, and planning for a web-based complaint taking system so that anyone in any part of the world can contact me with a complaint.
My perceptions of an effective ombudsman's office.
In my view, the role of the ombudsman is to act as a professional, neutral, independent fact finder, and if possible, to draw parties to reasonable, mutual resolution of complaints.
From time to time in the finding of those facts, the ombudsman may discover that there have been errors, omissions or activities which require further work by both the ombudsman and by ICANN.
The ombudsman is not a judicial authority. The ombudsman, by himself, cannot reverse, change, or set aside any decision or action by ICANN staff or the board. But the ombudsman does practice ADR to resolve complaints and, where, in the course of my investigations I feel that there is an issue of administrative unfairness or procedure, policy, or a decision of ICANN which cannot be resolved by normal ADR processes, I have the power to make recommendations to the Board of Directors.
This is the same power of making recommendations that is given to classical ombudsman in governmental settings.
It is a traditional view of ombudsmanship and I agree with it very strongly that the role of the ombudsman is to deal with issues when all other normal administrative Avenues have been exhausted. In my mind, managers have the responsibility to manage, and committees and supporting organizations have the responsibility of recognizing varying points of view in the conduct of their work.
Once issues have come to an end process and a party still feels aggrieved, this is the appropriate time for the ombudsman to become involved.
Alternative dispute resolution, as practiced by the office of the ombudsman, is the use of any of a number of techniques outside of the formal review processes found in the bylaws or the courts, which attempt to resolve the matter between a member of the community and ICANN.
ADR requires the participation of two willing parties, and I firmly believe that ICANN has taken a firm and positive step by developing and staffing the office of the ombudsman to achieve this.
ADR will fail if the issue being discussed is trivial, vexATIOUS or made in bad faith. It will similarly fail if ADR is not used as a serious alternative to the courts or other mechanisms, and ADR will also fail if the disputes between the parties and ICANN or the positions that people take in those disputes are intractable.
Ombudsmanship will work when the complaint has meaning. Ombudsmanship will work when there is a potential solution to the problem. Ombudsmanship will work when the parties that have a genuine interest in an informal process to resolve their issues and when the parties are willing to be open, flexible, and respectful towards each other and the process.
Based on my observations over the past month, I am of the impression that the ICANN staff are more than willing to participate in these last two points. That is, that they have a keen interest and are willing to engage in an informal dispute resolution process.
As a result, ombudsmanship in the ICANN setting can produce timely, appropriate, creative, cost effective, and lasting solution to problems.
To come back to my earlier question of how can a single practitioner office meet the challenges and expectations of the duties required by the ICANN bylaws, I, as the ombudsman, look forward to doing the following in the short and medium term.
Relying on my past experience to give me guidance in establishing the office, setting reasonable and good standards of independence, impartiality and fairness. Developing transparent tools early on such as a Web site and an operational framework. Employing appropriate case management systems and complaint-taking systems. Setting standards of practice equal to my peers in the ombudsman field. And by being accessible to the ICANN community, the board, liaisons, and staff as a resource for preventive ombudsmanship and outreach.
A wise gentleman once told me that when it comes to public speaking there are three things you have to remember. Stand up to be seen, speak up to be heard, and sit down to be appreciated.
Mr. Chairman, I think it's time for this audience to appreciate me.
>>FRANK FOWLIE: Thank you very much for your attention. I look forward to serving both ICANN and the ICANN community as your ombudsman and I wish you well with your deliberations over the remainder of the conference. MERCI BEAUCOUP.
>>VINT CERF: Thank you very much, Frank. I hope everyone notices a sense of humor was one of the requirements in the job description. I think Frank clearly demonstrates that. Also, an interesting trilingual opening presentation and closing.
A reminder to everyone, the ombudsman reports to the board. He does not report to the CEO. I hope that was clear from Frank's commentary but the independence is very important.
The other observation I'd make is that we have several mechanisms for redressing concerns. One of them is the independent review panel in addition to the reconsideration committee and the ombudsman process, as well as the normal escalation chains that you would experience in dealing with staff on day-to-day matters.
So with -- thank you very much, Frank. We welcome you to our midst, and honestly hope you don't have too much business that would require automated case analyses and take a number and stand in line. I hope that you'll be like the Maytag repairman: A lonely person up there in Vancouver with nothing to do.
With that, I'd like to call on Jean-Jacques Damlamian who is the outgoing chair of the nominating committee to make his report to the board.
>>JEAN-JACQUES DAMLAMIAN: Thank you, it is my pleasure to be here and an honor also. I will report to you on the work we have done in the NOMCOM. It is not only my work, it is the work of a group. A work of three dedicated people who worked very hard to meet our obligations.
So please, here is my presentation.
We'll have -- we'll present the results, and we'll give you some information on how we worked and how -- or what is, for the next year, our recommendations.
So here you have an extract of the policy document that is posted on the web. We took it just for background.
You have the board structure -- the Board of Directors structure, and in the middle you have the green square with eight people, eight seats. This is the seats that the NOMCOM year after year has to populate and to renew.
Besides the eight, you have six other seats. This is very obvious to you, and the seat of the CEO.
Every year, the number of seats we have to fill may change. This year, we had three seats to fill. And, well, let me go ahead.
The seats would be for three-year terms, through the annual meeting of 2007.
We elected, we nominated, the following people: Vint Cerf from North America. I mentioned the region. Excuse me for the nationalITY. It's more the way we do it. JOICHI ITO. I ask you to stand up. I didn't ask Vint to stand up, but JOICHI is perhaps less known to you. He is from Asia-Pacific, and the third person is VANDA SCARTEZINI from Latin America.
So you have the three members that we elected.
Now, as for the other positions to fill, we had to fill some others.
As for the GNSO, you have here all the seats that are supposed to populate the GNSO council. Each of them being designated or elected by a constituency, and on the right side you have in the green circle the NOMCOM seats, we have three of them to fill. And this is something that we -- is staggered. So this year, only one had to be filled. And it was for a two-year term through the annual meeting of 2006.
And the person we nominated is Maureen CUBBerLEY from North America. Is Maureen around here? Oh, yes. Maureen. So she will serve until the conclusion of the 2006 annual meeting.
As for ALAC, ALAC is still an interim organization. You may see in purple the seats that are devoted to each of the regions and supposed to be filled by the RALOs. This is still to be done.
As for the NOMCOM, the NOMCOM has the green-painted seats as you can see, and this is again something that is staggered. This year, we had two seats to fill, one for Europe and one for North America region. And it would be two year terms for each of them.
So the person we nominated are Roberto Gaetano, a well-known -- where is he? Roberto is not there but he is well-known anyway. Oh, he is there. Sorry, Roberto
>>JEAN-JACQUES DAMLAMIAN: And we nominated also jean ARMOUR polly from North America. Here she is.
>>JEAN-JACQUES DAMLAMIAN: As for the ccNSO, here again you have some geographic restrictions with, on the left side of the regions, and the NOMCOM has three seats to populate.
This year, we had the three seats with staggered one, two, and three years term. And the persons we nominated, YASSIN MSHANA from Africa, Africa region, so here is YASSIN. His term will be until the annual meeting of 2005. Eva Frölich from Europe and here she is. Her term will be UNTIL the annual meeting of 2006 and Charles Shaban from Asia-Pacific and his term will be until the conclusion of the annual meeting of 2007.
Here are some statistics about our work. We had 84 candidates to scrutinize. The distribution and geography of the candidates are given here, and the distribution of nominees on the right side. We tried to make things balanced. And as gender was some of the considerations that we very, let's say, keen to meet, we just present here the results for genders.
Now, if you go for countries, we were very pleased to see that so many countries -- countries didn't send, but happened to be present among the candidates pool.
It is something that ICANN should take an advantage from. This number of countries means that ICANN is international, and there is a lot of things to do out of it.
The outreach worked well as for the geographical origin of candidates.
And as for the nominees, obviously the number of nominees being only nine, we (inaudible) make better than this, but anyway, this is also very satisfactory that we spread the results among a significant number of countries.
Now, I may recall some information about the NOMCOM process. Just to let you know how it happened and why is it important that it goes on.
It emerged from the 2002 comprehensive ICANN reform and restructuring process. It is a key element of ICANN 2.0 organization structure. And it is, as I presented it to you, a new way to fill a portion of key leadership positions.
It operates in parallel to other selection processes for leadership positions, and it is functionally totally independent.
We have no boss. This is clear. I have no boss here. I report to no one except to all of you, all of the stakeholders of the Internet throughout the world. And when I say "I," I should say we as a group. The whole of the NOMCOM acted in this spirit and I was very happy to say so.
This is the charge of the nominating committee. We should pursue broad public interest of global Internet community, not any particular interest of any constituency, employer, organization, anything like that.
We should develop and publish committee procedures. That has been done. It's publicly visible on the Web site.
We should make final decisions on nominees, taking into account come consideration. They should be of highest integrity and capability. They should be committed to place broad public interest above anything. They should be knowledgeable about environment in which ICANN operates.
We have very strict bylaws to stick to, and we did. And among the bylaws we have very strict criteria about how to choose and pick the nominees.
So the composition of the NOMCOM, I'll give you the name of the people a bit later, reflects also the diversity of origin and the diversity of vision and experience that is needed.
So all the members of the NOMCOM that were designated by the various constituencies came in as such, but when they came into the NOMCOM they acted as individuals responsible for the common interest and I'm very pleased to say that it happened that way.
So now, this is the time line for this year. In blue, you have the major events. End of June, we issued the formal call, and I would say this is not the right moment to do it. We should have done it at least three months earlier. So I urge the next NOMCOM to send out its formal call in March, at last, and it would be much easier for the NOMCOM to do its work, and you will have more, let's say, continuous and smooth process.
At mid-September we had the single face-to-face meeting of this NOMCOM where we made the final decision about the slate. And in October, October 11th, we announced the results publicly.
So this is the time line, and those are the three major events.
Now, I give you this as a general time line for the board member selection. We have also for the councils a similar time line.
You have on the left side the past year, 2004, and on the right side you have the 2005 coming year.
As you can see, the supporting organizations make their own selections. And in parallel, the NOMCOM is making its own selections.
The bylaws provide that we take into account the competences and balances of origin, gender, and all the criteria that we have to meet of the ongoing people that are in the board in order to make our own decision. So in a way, we are dependent of what is in the board, in the ongoing board.
So this is to make you understand that the process of the NOMCOM is dependent in the process of the SOs as for nominating their delegates to the board or the delegates to their own councils.
My advice is that this schedule is much more precisely synchronized as for -- in order that the work is smooth and the administrative work is reduced, making it available for everyone to focus on the quality of the people to choose without going -- without making too much efforts.
So this is it.
And here are the selection factors. I will just elaborate on the six detailed criteria which are in the bylaws. So here they are.
Those are the criteria we have to meet for the people we nominate. And it is very clear that we do not nominate -- we are not looking for the best people, as such. It's not a beauty contest. It's not miss universe that we're electing. We are picking a group of people, a group of people that will be, as a whole, able to provide all the competences and all the references, all the background that may be needed for preparing for the future.
But everyone, every of the nominee, should be of stature and have specific characteristics.
They should understand of ICANN's mission and potential impact. They should be committed to ICANN's success. They should be familiar with one or more of the specific functional areas needed, and you may all know that our business in ICANN is quite complicated, but it has many facets.
Everyone should not be a specialist of every facet, but as a group, they should be all the competences. They should be willing to serve as an uncompensated volunteer, and they should be able to work and communicate in English.
As for our work in the NOMCOM, we addressed key issues quite rapidly.
We understood among us the balancing between the two pathways, the pathways of the NOMCOM and the pathways of the Supporting Organizations. What makes the difference? What should we look at specific? High caliber. What type of background in people less visible from the SOs should be considered more than anyone else.
We also agreed on gender diversity as critical part of the cultural diversity.
We agreed on all the confidentiality issues, and there are a lot.
We agreed also on how to manage the balancing between continuity and renewal.
An organization such as ICANN relies on its competence coming from the past but also renewing constantly its personnel, I would say.
So this is the mix of the old blood with the new blood. And this was a very important issue that we addressed very rapidly, and I think we did it well.
We also decided, as previous year, to keep all candidates under consideration up to the end of the process. That means that of the 84, no one was discarded forever at the certain stage of the discussion, but could come back again in the scope of the selection if this person would mix better than anyone else into the slate, even though this person would not be the best for all in the beauty contest race that I described.
We also agreed upon how due diligence would be done when the choice would be made.
So now I come to some recommendation. We have a full paper on recommendation that we will give to our successors and also to the board but I just want to mention those because we are -- I think it's quite important that everyone understands what it is about.
First, the NOMCOM should begin much earlier, and I urge all the ICANN communities to understand very well what it means. It means that next year at the similar meeting as this one, the NOMCOM of 2006 should be already ready to work. That is to say, people should be designated and the chair should be also designated. So please, be careful for that, because it will avoid a lot of unnecessary work if we start later.
In such a meeting, a first face-to-face meeting will be possible and will clean a lot of details that are not necessary to work upon on things like teleconferences the way we did.
So please, make that happen.
And as for this year, I urge all the constituencies to come together and designate the successors of their representatives in the next NOMCOM so that my own successor is able to bring together this team and make them work very fast.
The second recommendation is don't concentrate too much on the processes. They are here. We have documented them. It could be improved, but concentrate and focus on recruitment -- that is to say, how to bring more people into the pool -- and evaluation -- that is to say, having a good understanding of all, each of the candidates.
The third recommendation, and this is something rather new, it happened during the year that some of the seats that we had the obligation to fill and I have shown them to you were vacant. That is to say the person in charge would, for any reason, move away and leave the seat vacant. In that case, the NOMCOM has to renominate someone in this position. And the bylaws are not very completely, let's say, clear about it, how we should do it. And the process should be also evaluated. So our proposal is the next NOMCOM works on it and brings some proposal to the board for decision.
And finally, the final proposal would be that the nominees, and they are here today, should be oriented thoroughly. That is to say that it is not a matter for the NOMCOM to do so, but it's the matter for the board to do so and the councils to do so. The new members of the board and the new members of the council should be given thorough orientation with a lot of information.
ICANN is quite complicated, and I think that's something that all of us know, but fulfilling a duty like a board membership or council membership requires a lot of work. Make this work easier, please, for them.
So these were our recommendations. You may have further information on the site. Here is the site. But let me, before finishing, give you some pictures of the members of the NOMCOM. This is my pleasure. We have -- we don't have all of them, but the members are not ghosts. They are made of flesh and blood, and here they are. They are among this room for many of them. They served very loyally and very intensively, so I would like them to be part of my presentation also.
And here is -- you have my picture on the left side. The left side is my picture with the sheet I used for making my own evaluation, but that's not readable from here. Don't worry. I don't reveal any secret.
Anyway, Pindar is here, so where is Pindar? He is there in flesh.
So he didn't want to have his picture anyway.
And here is Linda.
Linda Wilson, my predecessor.
She was my -- our advisor.
And I want to pay her a special tribute.
She was so much helpful.
And she has had such a huge track record with ICANN that, really, I wanted her to be there.
But she's not present.
But she's on the screen.
And you may have also a picture of us working together in the Paris face-to-face meeting.
And this was -- the picture was made by Mike Roberts.
Thank you, Mike, for it.
And that's it.
So that was my presentation.
You may have a lot of details on the site.
And my -- our final report would be available beginning of next year, and it will be also available on the site.
>>VINT CERF: Thank you, Jean-Jacques.
Please don't step down yet.
Jean-Jacques, I have to tell you that you cemented together a true team of people.
And they all appreciated that.
In fact, they wanted me to present to you, in our gratitude for the hard work and the fabulous results that you produced, you and your team produced, this rugby team shirt.
>>JEAN-JACQUES DAMLAMIAN: Oh, thank you.
Thank you very much, Vint.
And I hope ICANN goes ahead and goes on making the Internet universal.
>>VINT CERF: I think I can also say that we will certainly take up the recommendations that Jean-Jacques has made with regard to improving the process.
It's something we always look forward to is learning from our experience to try to make the ICANN processes more effective and more efficient.
It's an opportunity now to have some open comments.
You had reports from the president, from the ombudsman, and from the nominating committee.
So if there are any questions or comments on those three topics, I'd like to open the floor with the microphone down here in the front for anyone who has questions or comments.
And then we'll proceed with the rest of the agenda, scheduled agenda.
>>AMADEU ABRIL i ABRIL: Hi, surprisingly, I'm the first, yeah.
Amadeu Abril i Abril, former member of the board, former member of the names council and GNSO Council, and back to my originally role of ICANN groupie, following ICANN around the world.
I have one question for the ombudsman.
First of all, I think that I have expressed some reservations about how the ombudsman function will be performed.
I think that what has finally come to mind, it's really much closer to what I expected in terms of independence from the staff and the role that perhaps from a European perspective we're more used to.
But I would like asking the ombudsman whether -- I think there is something in the bylaws, but how he expects to deal with probably a slough of, let's say, trivial and superficial and not within his competence inquiries that he's most probably get and whether there is any established procedure or he has in mind something in that regard.
>>VINT CERF: Frank, it sounds like that nuisance question is one that needs to be responded to now.
Thank you, Amadeu.
>>FRANK FOWLIE: Thank you very much for the question.
Actually, in the document that's been posted onto the ICANN ombudsman site, the ombudsman framework, it's on for consultation for the next three weeks.
Under the jurisdiction of the ombudsman, I list several things.
The ombudsman may decline jurisdiction over a complaint in the following circumstances: The person making the complaint knew or ought to have known of the decision, recommendation, act, or omission to which the complaint refers more than 60 days before the complaint was received by the ombudsman.
The subject matter of the complaint primarily affects a person other than the complainant and the complainant does not have sufficient personal interest in it.
The complaint is repetitive, trivial, vexatious, nonsubstantive, otherwise abusive or not made in good faith.
Having due regard for all of the circumstances, further action by the ombudsman is not necessary to resolve the complaint.
The complaint is abandoned or withdrawn in writing by the complainant.
And, finally, the complainant revokes the ADR process by engaging in either a familiar review process under article IV of the bylaws or engages in an outside legal process.
So those are the times where I would decline jurisdiction.
And that's in the framework, and you can comment back to me on the public consultation Web site.
>>VINT CERF: Thank you very much, Frank.
Are there any other comments or questions at this point?
Please remember to introduce yourself as you speak.
>> ERICK IRIARTE: It's broken.
>>VINT CERF: There we are.
>> ErICK IRIARTE.
I am Erick Iriarte from the at-large advisory committee.
I have a question for the ombudsman, especially about in which language the people need to write their complaint to the ombudsman, because we understand that the use of the system have different cultures, have different language, and in which way or what is your idea to try to resolve that?
Do you create some at-large staff or something like that which are people with different language skills?
Or the people need to speak in English only for have a complaint?
>>FRANK FOWLIE: No, that's a very good question.
And having worked in an inclusive office in the office of the human rights in British Columbia, I understand how important that question is.
I speak two languages, English and French.
I am more fluent in English because it is my mother tongue.
If someone were to use in the tool that I will primarily be looking for people to use is the online Web-based complaint form.
And if an online complaint comes in in a language other than English and French and it's clearly identified what language it's in, there are a number of ways that we would look at that.
Obviously, because of confidentiality, I wouldn't be simply wandering down the halls in Marina Del Rey, finding a staff member to translate it.
And I would probably build some funding into my budget to look at -- there's sort of a place in my budget for other investigative costs.
And if it's necessary to go out and hire translation services or to use volunteer translation services for multi cultural accounts, then that's what I would do.
But it's the ability for me to understand which language the form, the complaint is coming in in the first place that would be important.
Because I only can sort of manage two very well.
>>VINT CERF: Thank you very much, frank.
>> MIKE STEFFEN: I'm mike STEFFEN from the center for Democracy and Technology in Washington, D.C.
And I just wanted to express our appreciation and, you know, we applaud and appreciate the board for taking this step to appoint the ombudsman, Mr. Fowlie.
And, you know, we're very pleased to hear about his plans in particular to make himself accessible is an important step towards accountability and accessibility.
And I particularly wanted to express our appreciation to Alejandro, who I have talked with about this and I know has worked particularly hard to bring about this step, and also Mr. Fowlie himself for coming around to talk to NCUC and make himself available and to the other constituencies as well tomorrow.
So I just wanted to make sure that was said.
>>VINT CERF: Thank you very much.
It's much appreciated.
It doesn't look like we have any other comments or questions at this point.
So thank you for those.
We can go on now to the next report.
And this is from Kurt Pritz on the subject of new StLDs.
So Kurt, the floor is yours.
>>KURT PRITZ: Good afternoon.
As you know, in Carthage, the board resolved that the ICANN staff post an RFP soliciting proposals for the establishment of new sponsored top-level domains.
So the staff did that.
This is the resolution authorizing that.
In response to that RFP, I'll briefly review the history.
We received ten applications for the establishment of new sponsored top-level domains.
The application process we developed is essentially laid out here, where, after the posting of the application materials, the applicants applied for user name and password and completed an online application.
Then there was, essentially, a two-step process to evaluate that application with the goal of establishing a new sTLD.
First, the application was reviewed by a panel of independent evaluators.
And having passed that hurdle, the applicant would enter into technical and commercial negotiations with the target of establishing the new sponsored top-level domains.
So it's important and a very important part of the process, then, was the establishment of these independent evaluation panels.
First, we retained an independent panel program manager so that all conversations between the applicant and the panels and the application and ICANN could be held at arm's length.
Then we established three panels: A technical panel -- three panels to measure the application in three different ways: A technical panel, a panel to measure the business and financial aspects of the application, and then one to test whether the applicant fairly represented a sponsored community.
The panel was -- the panel was and is an internationally diverse group.
They're very well respected in their fields.
And they represent the entire globe.
These independent evaluations began in May 2004.
As I said earlier, the -- all communications were at arm's length and blind through the project manager.
Each team met six to eight times by teleconference.
Given the geographical diversity of the panels, there were not face-to-face meetings.
As part of that evaluation process, there was iteration, there was a series of questions posed to the applicants to fill in any blanks that may have occurred in the application or that where clarification was sought.
And then each panel wrote a separate report to each applicant concluding whether or not the applicant met the baseline criteria laid out in the RFP so that each applicant received a -- three reports back, essentially, attesting whether they met the technical and then the business and then the sponsorship criteria.
So where are we now?
These independent evaluation reports have been forwarded to each of the applicants.
Now, in the case where the applicant passed all three sets of criteria and there were no other contingencies associated with the application, it's proceeded right directly into this negotiation process.
In cases, however, where the evaluators indicated that one or more sets of the criteria weren't met, ICANN requested clarifying documentation from the applicant so that the applicant was afforded the opportunity to more or less cure the deficiencies that the evaluators found to be in the application.
So this added a new iteration to the evaluation process and added some time onto the process.
As appropriate, the evaluators then were reconvened to respond to the responses of the applicant.
So this new iteration, this new -- the one step independent evaluation step that you saw in the earlier chart was replaced by the sort of iterative process where, after the independent panel gave their written report, the applicant was afforded the opportunity to respond in writing.
Then in certain instances, we had a teleconference between the evaluators and the applicants.
We thought that that was a much quicker way to get at the issue -- potential resolution of the issues rather than a trading back and forth of documents.
And our goal here was to get to resolution as quickly as possible.
So after each teleconference, there were notes written and jointly agreed to and distributed.
And then the applicant made a final report in writing to the independent evaluation team, seeking to answer all the questions they have.
And in the interest of making this a complete process, if it was required, we held another iteration of that evaluation.
So after that process, if contingencies -- this gets complicated -- but if contingencies remained at the -- if there were still contingencies remaining at the close of that iteration process, we asked the ICANN board, giving them full information, meaning the original application, the independent evaluators' report, the questions that were asked, and the written responses of the applicants, we asked the board to determine whether the contingencies on the application had been satisfied and that the application could move on to the negotiation step or whether the contingency had not been removed or, perhaps, thirdly, the board may determine that more information was required to make a determination.
So if all the contingencies weren't resolved at the end of the independent evaluation, the application was passed on to the board for a final determination as to whether the application met the stated criteria in the RFP.
Those that were determined to meet that application then go on to negotiation.
And then at the end of this negotiation, I will ask the board to confirm and authorize the formation of a new sTLD.
So given that complexification in the process, here's where we are.
There's two applicants, dot post and dot travel, there are presently in negotiations to establish a new TLD.
Nearly all of the remaining applicants have been through this iterative evaluation procedure, and documentation of that process has been sent to the board for consideration in the near future.
And as of yet, none of the applications have been formally rejected.
As these independent evaluation processes are completed, the proposals are being managed separately, one by one, based on the timing of when it gets through the process and based on how the applicant responds to questions.
So each application is essentially on its own.
And that way, applications can move forward at greater speeds.
And it's determined that we'll get most, the majority of these, determinations as to whether the baseline criteria are met by the end of this calendar year.
And we plan to have them all through the process by February of next year.
Then at the close of this process, ICANN will publish the detailed description of the process and of the evaluation teams.
We've asked the applicants if they would like to redact some of the information in their application, if it contained proprietary or confidential information.
And then final reports will be published by ICANN, and, most importantly, one of the reasons we -- one of the reasons for being in this process is to inform the gTLD process.
And this extended process has provided a wealth of information, and we've been able to go to school on it and feed substantial information into the gTLD strategy and the implementation of the gTLD strategy.
That's essential my report.
>>VINT CERF: Thank you very much, Kurt.
A process which has a good deal of work associated with it.
We'll have opportunities for public comments later on.
But now we want to move on to the other important element of gTLD expansion.
And I'd like to call on Paul Verhoef to tell you where we are on that process.
>>PAUL VERHOEF: Sorry.
Trying to get some of the technology here to work with us.
There it is.
I will have a few slides on the strategy for the introduction of new generic top-level domains.
As you know, we posted a draft at the end of September, beginning of October, on how we would approach this rather complex area.
We have asked for public comments on the draft strategy which was posted, and we have received that.
You can find on the Web site those comments.
We have also posted in this context reports which were undertaken with OECD and by an independent consultant which we engaged.
Further input is expected from a number of organizations, among them WIPO, the security committee, input is expected to be available from the current round of sponsored TLD which Kurt just described.
And we are expecting, actually, to see from time to time input from the community on a voluntary basis directly, maybe a bit outside the process, which we will run in a structured form.
The strategy implementation which we are commencing we foresee to contain at least five elements.
The current we foresee are certain aspects of the staff will be proposed for public comments.
We expect to see development of PDPs by the relevant supporting organizations.
We expect to be putting requests for specific recommendations from the advisory committees, among them the Government Advisory Committee in particular in this area.
I think, as has been discussed the last two days, there seems to be a swell of ideas around the possible use of white papers to assist in community discussions on particular topics.
And we are considering the use of test beds for still untrialed elements or mechanisms which are part of the overall strategy.
Let me give you a few examples of issues to consider.
One of them, obviously, is introduction of IDNs at the top level, which plays a role in this, how that is going to actually work out.
The choice of appropriate allocation methods and the mechanics around that, such as beauty contests, auctions, and other methods.
There needs to be a discussion on the level of scrutiny of business plans and proposed consumer protection mechanisms, to what extent that will be picked up and how exactly.
And, presumably, there will be a discussion where there is a need for types of gTLDs, and if so, what conditions should be -- possibly be associated with those types.
Another one I think which is important in this area is a discussion on the level and type of innovation which we would like to require or not.
And I think an issue which is emerging as well is how would we consider any cultural, social, and political issues which are associated with this and which are starting to be identified by a number of people interested in this domain.
Let me conclude by -- I hope it's clear.
It's not very clear -- the Web site.
And I will try to do this in the future as well in order to protect the CEO from receiving all the E-mails of the organization, I will put in the responsible staff person and the responsible senior manager.
So please contact those two people if you have anything on a particular area.
That is my report.
>>VINT CERF: Thank you very much, Paul, for making such a crisp and succinct report on a topic that's bound to be filled with a good deal of complexity.
The next report comes from Doug Barton on the -- the general manager of IANA on the IANA process.
Doug, if you'll hook your machine up and start your engine.
>>DOUG BARTON: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
My very large laptop was not designed for this very small lectern.
So give me just one moment.
There we go.
Mr. Chairman, Mr. President, distinguished members of the board, honored guests, and dear friends, it is my great pleasure to provide a report to you on the IANA process between now and the time we last met in Kuala Lumpur.
Here's a brief outline of my presentation.
And I would like to, with your permission, get right to the good news, which is that performance of the IANA function by ICANN staff is improving on a regular basis.
This is a chart which demonstrates the performance of the root management function.
The index on the X axis are the dates that various requests entered the IANA queue, and the index on the Y axis indicates the number of days it took to complete the request.
As you can see here, the number of days that IANA staff took to work on a project is indicated in the darker color; and the total number of days that the project took to completion is indicated in the lighter color.
Now, there are two things here that I would like to note.
One is that I am very happy to say that overall, IANA staff performance is -- has remained consistent and well within the projected time line that we have as a management goal.
The other thing I would like to point out is that while there are certain aberrations where responses from TLD managers and other appropriate parties have taken longer than we hoped, the overall trend for the completion of all requests in both areas is quite properly down towards the bottom of the graph.
And we would like to thank the TLD managers who have assisted us with this process.
It is our goal always to have the best possible service to the community, and the ability of the TLD managers to respond in a timely manner to our requests for the verification of their various applications is always appreciated.
Here's one more picture of the root management process.
This graph is a little more dense, but on the -- the X axis once again we have dates that at this -- on this graph are simply dates in time.
And on the Y axis we have the number of requests that were present in the queue on that date, where the colors indicate the age of the request at the time that is indexed on the X axis.
The things in green, light green, indicate 0 to 15 days.
And darker green indicates 16 to 30 days.
Those are the areas where the IANA staff has met their goal of processing the thing in as timely a manner as possible.
And those times include the time needed for the ccTLD managers to respond to requests.
The other requests are consistent of various ongoing questions that either require cooperation in the local Internet community or require extensive research on the part of IANA staff to complete.
And while our goal is obviously to provide the best possible service, we don't want to rush to conclusion an issue that may require more extensive deliberation.
You will notice the big hump here.
This is not, AS SOMEONE HAS ACCUSED ME OF, an attempt to represent the beautiful mountainous region of south africa in ascii art.
This occurred consonant with the ability to receive IPv6 glue requests right here in this period between July and October.
And if you look at that same period stretched out, you can see we had a large number of interdependent requests that entered the queue at this point that affected each TLD manager affected by the request, and those requests were processed in a fairly reasonable time period, and then completed here, and then the queue size went back to roughly the normal level that it has operated in over the past year.
So we currently have 39 TLDs that have IPv6 glue, and we actually have requests from several more Top-Level Domain managers to add IPv6 glue to their delegation data as well.
So ICANN has been very pleased with the response to this project.
Going on now to the performance of the role that we play with the IETF, which is to create registries and other various items in response to the Internet draft processing, this chart is not quite as even as the other. Once again, on the X axis is the date that the request entered the queue, and on the Y axis is the number of days it took to complete that request.
You can see a very nice period here and that corresponds directly to one of my key staff members, Michelle cotton, returning from maternity leave and being able to devote her full attention to her primary task which is the IETF.
Unfortunately there's a little bit of a rough patch here where we lost another of our key staff members, who we're very happy for her. She went on to arguably bigger and better things, which is to say that she went to law school. And here you see, as we adjusted from her departure and added new staff members in this period, the queue size -- or the queue processing times went back down to a normal level.
And our goal with the IETF, as we recently negotiated with the liaison group that they developed, is to process all of these Internet drafts within a 30-day period. And as you can see, the 30-day line is roughly here. And as you can see, we are well within that parameter for the last several months.
Here is another view of the queue. This is similar to the chart you saw earlier. Everything in the zero to 30-day period is represented in green, and as you can also see, throughout 2004 we've been dramatically decreasing the number of older and stale requests in the queue. And our goal within the next several months will be to be completely caught up within the 30-day period.
And we've had excellent cooperation from the IETF folks who are involved in these various drafts to achieve that goal.
Next, we're very happy to announce that the graphs you just saw and some additional materials that will be -- that are currently available are online at this URL.
We are working diligently to provide the best possible reporting services that we can in order to inform the community of how we are performing our job. And we have retained some temporary help to try and improve the existing processes, and there are ongoing projects, which I'll detail in a moment, that will allow us to do much better and more refined and more detailed reporting on the way we are, once again, doing our job.
And the various methods which we're reporting now has been informed and developed with community feedback, and we certainly intend to continue that process.
So in order to further improve the IANA function, the first order of business you can see there is the work flow and request tracking system. I'm very happy to say that due to the diligent efforts of John Crain and his team in developing the system that we're using, we actually have a functional version online, and it is being tested both by my staff and by John's. We're very excited about the developments here, and we look forward very soon to actually using the system to assist with the public interaction. Currently, the version that we have is private to the staff, but very soon we will have a better version that allows the public to see where the requests are at in the system.
And the next priority in terms of improving our ability to do the IANA function is the template system for the TLD managers that we've discussed in the past. We actually have the redesign based on the feedback that we received complete, but in order to facilitate the development of the work-flow system, we have slightly reduced the priority of that project. Once we are satisfied with the work-flow system and using that system to provide feedback to the public, this is the very next priority.
In concert with the template system, we are very happy to announce that IANA will be working with the TLD managers to accept their PGP keys and use those keys as a verification method to speed up the process of handling requests from the TLD managers. And we've had extensive discussions with the community on this topic, and it's been clear to us that there's a very important role for the regional ccTLD associations to play here; in essence, helping us to bootstrap the authentication model, because the easiest way to make sure that the people who are sending us keys really are who they say they are is to get all of the people that know them together in a room and be able to say yes, that is, indeed, you know, this person from this TLD. And then we can move forward on that basis with a high degree of reliability.
We have agreements in principle already with the A TLD group and the centr group to have these meetings at their next regional forums, and we are eager to discuss similar meetings with the other regional associations at their convenience.
There are some other things that are in the hopper, and i'll just quickly point out we'll be resuming on December 15th the tradition of the IANA Top-Level Domain manager's mailing list. The 24-hour access thing has already been discussed, and that is something that, once again, is in responsibility for John Crain's team. And we are hoping now that we have some budget to cover this item to get that up and running as soon as we can, so that if there are emergency situations that affect ICANN resources or IANA responsibilities that we can be notified of those in real time and begin working towards a solution.
Multilingual resources are an important focus for my department as well as ICANN in general. The new staff person that I hired recently is it from Taiwan and is fluent in both Mandarin and Cantonese and functional in several other languages that originate in that region. And we're very happy to have her. She's been a tremendous asset to the staff. IANA has support for various areas of new technology. We discussed IPv6, the IDN issue is still something we're very happy to be assisting with, even if it is in a small way. And the DNSsec projects, we're very happy about. The spec is more or less finished in the IETF. There are a few little items that need to be ironed out and one big item that needs to be ironed out that is of interest to several of the TLD managers, which is finding a way to avoid enabling DNSsec causing the ability to walk through the zone and get a list of all the host names in the zone.
That problem is currently being worked on, and it's being worked on in parallel with deployment of the established parts of the specification. And for that reason we have as a goal getting ICANN ready to either sign the zone or cause the zone to be signed in advance of the root zone operators being able to receive a signed zone so that as soon as all the technological pieces are in place, we'll be able to move forward with that as quickly as possible.
And because all of the technology questions haven't quite been settled yet, the plans for that are still to be announced, but it is something that's actively being worked on.
And last but not least, there's the poor little orphan project of revising the IANA Web site. This has been placed on hold until we get some more staff on board and we're able to more easily handle the day-to-day work. But as soon as that is accomplished, then we will definitely be returning to that project.
And as I mentioned to my friends at the ccNSO this morning, our goal is not necessarily to bring it all the way into the 21st century but we would like to at least get it into the close of the 20th century.
So lastly, I'd like to point out one of the really exciting developments that's happened over the last six months, and that is the joint IETF/IANA working group. And essentially what happened is a very knowledgeable and functional group of people essentially identified themselves as being interested in assisting with the development of the IANA function as it relates to the IETF, and we have been meeting together at IETF meetings to discuss the progress in the IANA function and also to discuss making sure that we are meeting the needs of the IETF community. And this has been a successful collaboration both in the sense of the IANA staff having a good sounding board for discussion of our day to day work and new initiatives and for the IETF community to have a streamlined channel of communications to make sure we are once again meeting their needs. And I am also pleased to announce say it was announced in the ccNSO meeting that they are interested in creating a liaison gro!
up and we are very much interested in working with the ccNSO on that and extending the value of that model to our relationships with the country code Top-Level Domain managers.
And last but not least, I'd like to point out that there are still two positions available on my staff. Filling those positions has not been quite as easy as we had hoped, but we have several good resumes in the queue at this point, and we're still interested in any other resumes or C.V.s that members of the community might be interested in submitting to us. It's very important to us not only to fill the positions quickly but also to fill them well and to make sure that we get the people with the right set of skills, talents, and relationships to the community to assist us in further improving the IANA process.
And with that, I will turn it back to the chair. Thank you.
>>VINT CERF:Thank you very much, Doug.
We have an opportunity now to open the microphone once again for public comments and questions and a break.
So if we complete -- or when we complete any public comment or questions -- holy smoke. Yes, Mouhamet.
>>MOUHAMET DIOP: Thank you, Vint.
I just want to say to Doug that if you have one supporter here, I am the first one. And if ICANN have a very critical mission to perform, it's the IANA function. So I just want to know if what he said about getting enough staff or not, is that something that -- I mean, that is critical for him or something that can be solved very easily, because if there is one function that have to be performed 100% without any error accepted, it is his function inside our job.
So I want to have clear from him, I mean, what he really expected to get in staff numbers is something that is -- that can be performed in which time line.
>>VINT CERF: Sounds like an answer that Doug needs to make.
>>DOUG BARTON: It also gives me the opportunity to fix my mistake with the microphone here. So thank you, Mouhamet.
And I do appreciate both your support and the support of the other board members.
There's two answers to your question. The first is that the budget provides for two additional positions on the IANA staff. And we've had a very interesting year in the sense that we have been successful in streamlining several of the IANA processes so that they can happen more efficiently, and at the same time, because we've been essentially clearing a backlog of requests and establishing a relationship with the community, more work has come in.
And so we've been trying to balance both of those and address the staffing needs adequately.
Without going into too much detail, we had a successful applicant that we made an offer to recently who we felt was a very strong candidate and seemed very eager to join the ICANN staff, and I am sad to say that, unfortunately, once the offer was made he actually made a different decision. And that has admittedly set us back somewhat in our schedule because there is a significant amount of interviewing, background research, and confirmation of his bona fides that went into that process.
We are currently beginning again the process of vetting the resumes that have come in between now and then, and the addition of the H.R. manager to the ICANN staff has already borne fruit in the sense of his assistance to me in that process.
So shorter answer to your question is that my goal is to complete interview processes this month with some of the candidates who have indicated their interest and get them on board as soon as possible after the first of the year.
The other item that I might draw the board's attention to in regards to this issue is that we have been, as appropriate, been bringing on temporary clerical staff to assist with functions where they don't have confidentiality or other matters associated with them.
If I might elaborate slightly on my report. There are roughly 400 requests for assistance that come into IANA every month, and those vary from simple first-come, first-served protocol parameter assignments that are handled on a strictly clerical basis all the way through the most complex delegation requests which extend to my team, Paul Verhoef's team and in some cases to other ICANN staff members.
We've tried to balance temporary employees who have a learning curve with permanent employees who are both excellent, dedicated, and, unfortunately, significantly overburdened. And I think that while things have not gone quite as well as I would have liked them to have in regards to the hiring issues, they are well on their way. And if there is more interest on that topic I'm happy to elaborate further.
>>VINT CERF: Thank you very much, Doug.
>>PAUL TWOMEY: Thank you, Vint. Just to reinforce that recruitment and management of IANA remains one of the highest priority of the CEO. It has very strong support, and I'd like to reinforce that it's a particular set of skills that some of these positions need, and it has to be carefully, carefully achieved.
But it is an exceptionally high priority and I think we are making progress.
I think the other thing which has been key is quite a number of the issues, particularly around zone file requests and changes, have both an IANA technical aspect, they have something more of a policy, political understanding aspect. I'd particularly like to put on record my thanks to the staff in the Brussels office who has done a fantastic job in part of that in being able to operate at least in the time zone of Europe and Africa, particularly to Anne-Rachel Inne and Paul Verhoef. It's the people who have interactions with the zone file and the other aspects of the IANA, although it is good judgment and people skills and not just straight technical and administrative skills. And I think having the operation in Brussels has been a big plus, and it's certainly given us a lot of lessons about how one can serve the core business well by being in the right time zones and taking the right phone calls. So I thought that I would put that on the record as well.
>>VINT CERF: Thank you very much, Paul. It's pretty clear that being in the right time zone can sometimes speed processes up because they don't have to take an extra day for round trip times.
I see Amadeu is waiting at the microphone, so please.
>>AMADEU ABRIL i ABRIL: Okay. -- how is that working? Now it is working? Okay. Thanks.
Two different issues, one regarding the sTLD process and then the gTLD process. Let's start with the first one.
And I will be more cryptic than normally I am because I will speak on behalf of one of the applicants, (inaudible). So I will try not to mention any material issues. Only some questions relating to the process.
The first one is I essentially wanted to thank those who are behind the application process because even under those conditions of pressure, it's been very helpful everything we got from the ICANN side. And even found sometimes, it is difficult to believe, and especially with MIRIAM Shapiro and kurt pritz afterwards is the faces we know, and we still don't know who else has been involved.
The second thing, related to that, Kurt mentioned that there were published the whole record and report.
We have some issues with the past procedure. There are some issues that are really solved but we would like to have an opportunity when this is published to comment on things we believe should be addressed in a different way and in the future have three of them, and some of them are quite small but I think it could be useful that the applicants have an opportunity to comment on that before and after publication will occur.
The second question is a small question for Kurt, is that we don't feel very well represented in the characterization he made about where the applications are. We are not in the category of those who handle problems with evaluation are really in the negotiations, and we don't feel very well represented on those who are still in the evaluation process. We are in between for different reasons that are completely reasonable.
Anyway, that's a minor question.
Finally, a request to the board and the staff.
We got from several sources that in dealing with our application, besides what was requested to us and we answered, some of the considerations regarding general ideas about how these things in general repeat beyond our concrete application today should be taken into consideration. Our formal request is if this is the case, we would like you to keep two things in mind. The first one is there were some rules we're trying to follow in that, and we would deem very unfair that the rules are changed down the road. Translation for lawyers. No, we are in litigation. This is the last thing we will do. We completely rule it out. It's not our style.
But we want to make this point.
The second one is if there is these concerns, we understand that there are these concerns that apparently I cannot mention or I should not mention. But I would want to say that the board or the staff registers in public and we are given a chance to comment on that. Because I repeat, it was not the type of things that were in the RFP, so it was not the type of things that were in our response and having been dealt with with the evaluators and the staff at this time.
And I think that we should also be given a chance to give comments on this. They are very general questions. More often, this is in the public forum, the teleconference, the happier we are. But you have the choice. We only have a request sending to you.
Now, on the gTLD area, I also have a request to the board, is that to be courageous. ICANN was invented to take decisions on new gTLDs and many other areas. But new gTLDs was if not the main one, one of the main two. And what Paul Verhoef said today is fair and true. But what we are getting through this meeting, constituency meeting, et cetera, gives us the impression, perhaps the wrong impression, but I got the impression that we are trying to kick the ball around and running in circles once again, as we could pretend that we don't know why there is a pressure for new gTLDs, whether this is strong or not, where are the ideas? The ideas have been there for years, even before ICANN was created. What we lacked was an instrument for taking decisions. And this is ICANN.
So please, ICANN, use it. If you make mistakes and you're afraid -- if you're afraid of making mistakes, I think that most people, including governments, will forgive you for doing your job and making mistakes. It's difficult to do a process more strange than the one in 2000, but the result was better than acceptable. And, you know, I think we have lived with that.
So my request is that be courageous. We will be with you if you really take these on your hands and try to go to solutions. But if you only want to, you know, run in circles to win time, and we have many of us this impression, don't be surprised if you don't get much answers to the white papers or the procedures. Tea not lack of interest. It's simply that 99% of us have already said everything we have to say at least seven times over the last several years.
>>VINT CERF: And I suspect given the opportunity you'll say it again.
Let me respond specifically to an example of a concern. This is in the gTLD space in general.
I want to go on record as saying, because I said it in another session a couple of days ago, that I am no longer sure that I have a strong understanding of why I would be motivated to create a new TLD.
I'd like to have a much better philosophical basis for making that decision than I feel I have right now.
For many, many years we didn't create any new ones. And it wasn't because we didn't have an apparatus for doing it. It was because it wasn't clear what the rationale was for creating new TLDs.
Second issue. If we pick the wrong philosophical basis and we try to codify that and we end up creating so many TLDs that we actually create a problem with the domain name system, we have a problem.
The system was designed to be pretty hierarchical. Creation of new TLDs expands the top-level hierarchy. And I only raise this not to suggest to you that I'll stand up and say we shouldn't have any more new TLDs at all. I'm just suggesting that having a solid philosophical basis that doesn't lead to a serious problem later will make me a lot more comfortable than I am right now, which is why the gTLD process, this whole discussion about criteria and everything else, is so important. That's why the white papers will be very helpful.
Let's have the next comment.
>>MARK McFADDEN: Hi, I'm Mark McFADDEN with the address council. This is going to be for Doug. Although I would say that the board should be courageous as well.
In September, I think at the end of September, the Internet architecture board issued a letter that expressed some concerns about the performance of IANA, and on their Web site, I think for the last year, at least for the last nine months or so, they've actually been collecting data on what their perception is on the response time of IANA to protocol number assignments and document throughput. And one of the things that I can't get to match up are your graphs and their graphs. That's something that's of interest to me.
But what I think is of more interest to the addressing and protocol community, and what I hope you'll talk about, is since the end of September, what progress has been made in terms of addressing the IAB's concerns? And at the last -- at the last IETF in Washington, D.C, was part of that working group to actually make an attempt that we cut through this need to shift letters back and forth and make sure that when the IAB and the IETF have concerns about response times and requests for delegations that those are speedily taken care of.
>>PAUL TWOMEY: Chairman, I wonder if I can take that question because I want to reinforce the degree of urgency I place on this topic.
Two things, or three things in response. The questions in reverse order. The third one is absolutely right, and it's a consequence of meetings that Doug helped set up and I also reinforced with Leslie Daigle of the IAB about bringing people together people who had perspectives about the IETF and with the staff actually working together common expectations about return times, what were people's expectations and what reasonable performance was.
We had a -- quite an intense workshop together in Marina Del Rey.
Doug and Kurt Pritz, myself, others, and Michele were involved on our side.
And it was an interesting experience, not least because what it did show was there wasn't a common understanding of process, there wasn't a common understanding of what was involved.
It was really quite interesting.
To a degree, a lot of the IANA detail processes in the maps that we got from the IETF staff or the IESG staff to start with were hidden under things like requests goes to RFG editor."
So it was a useful engagement of what is it that is actually involved.
And I think that was sort of fleshed out over a two-day period.
So we actually ended up remapping out together what were the process steps that the IANA would perform in terms of IETF requests and where do they interact with the RFC editor and there was a discussion there.
The second thing that came out was that it's not just a question of processing.
It's also a question in -- there's two things that struck me.
One is a question about interpretation, where there are many, many RFCs, and how do you actually interpret them and how do you actually say to somebody who is put an application in or somebody who is doing a draft, well, actually, this is potentially in conflict or potentially has a difficulty with another five drafts but they agree with your interpretation or what have you.
Now, essentially, the IANA does not make policy, okay.
And as you would appreciate, it's pretty easy if you are one step removed of accusing IANA of making policy if it's interpreted one way and you have a different interpretation of it.
So what we have worked through with Leslie and others was the establishment of a pulse group, as we called it, a group who could come together and actually have that dialogue such that we could get away from this natural accusation or natural tension that if you are making one decision about an RFC description and you had a different decision or interpretation, that you would end up with a conflict.
And that's what the purpose of the so-called Wednesday lunch group is.
And it's now meeting at the IETF meeting.
It's a successful model that we want to have more.
Leslie said from her perspective when she looked at a number of things across the IETF IAB generally, the interpretation issues emerged whenever had you the new generation coming in.
Whenever you had new people coming in, you had an inevitable period of differences of interpretation in things.
She gave me some other examples that would be inappropriate to quote here.
So I think some of this tension was something we were trying to address.
It's got some structural aspects, therefore, we wanted some structural solutions.
To come back to your first question, yes, the graphs were not the same, and they were partly because of the understanding of the process and where you start measuring from and finishing measuring from and who's included and who's not were not commonly viewed. And there's an ongoing activity to get that aligned.
So it's a good question.
>>MARK McFADDEN: Can I just follow up and ask Paul one other thing, and that is, that one of the concerns that the IAB had was lack of responsiveness from the IANA.
And I guess what I am hoping to hear from you or Doug is that those new liaison efforts are a mechanism by which either side can make sure that the process is in place to make sure that what happened earlier in the spring doesn't happen again.
>>PAUL TWOMEY: That's right.
That's exactly right.
>>VINT CERF: Thank you, Paul.
Can I interrupt for one second.
Since at the end of this Q and A period is a coffee break, let me suggest that we cut the queue at this point so that -- there will be plenty of time for more Q and A later.
The queue -- everybody who is on the queue stays on the queue.
When we're done with the last person in the queue, we're going to have a coffee break for half an hour.
>>ELLIOT NOSS: Elliot Noss from Tucows.
I wanted to follow on the comment about new gTLDs and at least for my ears more importantly, Vint's comments.
There was one encouraging element of Vint's statement, which was that it doesn't seem that he will be a bidder for new gTLDs, so a rather formidable potential competitor has been removed, it sounds.
>>ELLIOT NOSS: Other than that, I was extremely discouraged to hear the rest of the comments.
You know, it is my view, it is Tucows' view that we have seen very little in the way of evolution and real innovation in the new gTLD process.
We believe that the -- and understandably, the overhead and the scrutiny that the previous process was placed under served to essentially spit out a couple bits of "me, too" TLD and a couple of others that were burdened with huge overhead that, in our view, led to their, let's say, less than roaring success.
We believe that there has really been no opportunity to date at a market level -- I'm going to leave the technical issues aside -- you know, at a market level, to see innovation in the gTLD space.
You know, I don't know -- when at Tucows we're looking at potentially entering a new market or trying something different, what we have learned demonstrably time after time is, studying it is extremely difficult.
Doing it yields the real lessons.
And I would urge you that the same applies here.
We can study this issue until we're blue in the face and we can get the smartest people in the world to provide opinions and input on this.
At the end of the day, that's all they are, and they're in a vacuum.
We will not know what innovation looks like in the gTLD space until we truly open it up and truly allow some to do place.
You know, Amadeu and I were talking about this issue last night.
We fundamentally disagreed on, you know, a number of issues around new gTLDs and how it should happen and where and what would work and what wouldn't.
And that's the beauty of it.
So I strongly urge you all to not spend inordinate amounts of time and research and thinking.
The previous process was a test bed.
We learned some lessons.
Let's take that and let's move forward.
>>VINT CERF: Okay.
And thank you, Elliot.
First of all, I always enjoy your cogent and crisp comments.
Second, my retirement plan was originally to spend the next 15 years studying the gTLD question before I came to any conclusions at all.
Plainly, that wouldn't sit well with a couple of people participating today.
Let me actually try to explain why you would hear such a, you know, disappointing thing from me.
In the architecture of the Internet, the Domain Name System was intended to be a very hierarchical structure so as to avoid extremely large bottlenecks anywhere.
You always had the freedom to expand outward.
So for many of the functions that one might claim a top-level domain is needed, one could argue that function could do just as well at second-level or third-level.
It's an almost fractal-like design.
Now, the conflict between that rather engineering perspective and the one which you and maybe Amadeu would put forward is that that has nothing to do with business.
That has everything to do with engineering.
The notion that the Domain Name System as a business was not in its original design.
Today it is a business, and, in fact, I'm very sympathetic to people who are trying to make it a business, whether it's a TLD level or even secondary or tertiary level.
Because as a business it's very different from the engineering design.
On the other hand, the engineering stuff still has to work.
So you won't have a business if you broke it.
So the reason that you and I might have such different views is that I come from a tradition, maybe an old FART, who was always worried about the thing always working and not walking into a trap.
But I appreciate the business of making these things always work.
>>ELLIOT NOSS: Would you be prepared, then, to say, in your opinion -- and we can qualify it fully at that -- how many TLDs it would take to get within hailing distance of breaking the name space?
>>VINT CERF: Probably not.
Because I don't have a good sense of that.
However, there have been some estimates.
Did I see John waving his hand?
John has a response to that.
>>JOHN KLENSIN: I actually wanted to respond a little bit to your earlier comment rather than trying to make up numbers, because I think it's a strange exercise.
There's a third dimension, I believe, to the distinction which you drew between the engineering answer and the business answer.
And that third dimension applies when somebody comes forward and says, "Gee, it would be interesting to find out what would happen if we."
Because it is not clear, given stability concerns and a variety of other concerns, that moving the DNS from an engineering-driven set of criteria to a business-driven set of criteria requires that we go the next step to turn it into an experimental laboratory for carrying out experiments which may or may not work but which would be interesting.
There are all sorts of experiments which I would find very interesting but can't justify on a stability basis.
And that feeds things back into a piece of your original question.
>>VINT CERF: So let me -- I don't want to speak for Elliot, who's sitting here just cringing.
All is not lost, Elliot.
This is a discussion.
This isn't a decision.
>>ELLIOT NOSS: Well, I hear that.
But I'd like some framing on the discussion.
You know, we have two quite eminent technologists up there.
There's real hesitation to -- you know, I'm not hearing if, boy, the number that would scare you, perhaps, John, is 50 or 500 or 5,000.
It may not be an interesting exercise to you to provide a number.
Boy, it's real interesting to me.
And I suspect for a big chunk of the audience.
>>JOHN KLENSIN: If you're asking my personal opinion.
>>ELLIOT NOSS: I am asking your personal opinion.
>>JOHN KLENSIN: If the justification is, my, would this be an interesting thing to try.
>>ELLIOT NOSS: No.
>>JOHN KLENSIN: I understand that.
Let me finish the sentence.
If the justification ultimately is or sounds like, my, would it be an interesting thing to try and that comment applies rather more to ways of doing allocations than it does to how many allocations are made, then I get frightened at one.
And that's the laboratory experiment answer.
There have been several pieces of advice in the community that indicate that in terms of preserving DNS stability, that if it's done in an orderly way and all the other qualifications which we have been over a hundred times, that it is certainly safe to add chunks of domains to the DNS in units of tens or twenties or something like that a year or every other year or every third year or something for quite a while without any significant likelihood of instability.
Whether I personally believe those numbers or not is irrelevant.
Those numbers certainly feel safe to lots of people who spend a lot of their time worrying.
There are other people who spend a lot of time worrying about upper limits in terms of sustainability of the system.
And those upper limits are very large compared to the order of magnitude of the current number of domains.
So it's probably also safe to say very conservatively that there's some consensus in the community that we can do almost anything within the same order of nag magnitude with the same number of domains without anybody losing any sleep over it.
And maybe larger numbers are okay and maybe they aren't.
But that's the answer to that question.
I think the distinction I tried to draw in making the laboratory argument is that I, again speaking personally -- and I'm one of the most conservative people about this you're going to find, far more so, I think, than any of my colleagues at the table -- is that I'd like to see more justification for doing this and making more of these than, gee, we think there's an opportunity here.
Now, that can be done either forward or backward, again, speaking very personal opinion.
The forward way is, gee, we think there's an opportunity here, and shouldn't that be enough.
And my personal answer is, no, that's not enough without a stronger story.
And the other way of addressing it would be to say, well, we think there's an interesting opportunity here, and here are the guaranties we're willing to make the broader Internet community and the structures behind this in terms of the broader Internet community to make certain that the effect of a failure, should it fail, is almost zero impact for some -- or some value of almost.
I personally am much more sympathetic to an application which says, okay, this could fail, but if it fails, ICANN doesn't get left holding the bag, the registrants don't get left holding the bag.
There isn't disruption somewhere from this activity.
And if I were writing the rules, which I assuredly will not be, then I would say that the more flighty an application seems in terms of other kinds of models and justification, the more strongly I'd like to see some model coming in along with it as to what we do about the risk side of the equation.
Again, personal opinion and nothing else.
>>ELLIOT NOSS: For me, that's extremely helpful.
I don't know if you want to add anything there, Vint.
>>VINT CERF: Only one observation.
It's very hard to realize that there's quite a difference between the processing involved at the top level in the root and the kind of processing that goes on in the second and third and fourth-level domains.
The reason for that is the amount of coordination that's involved among the root zone servers and the care that's taken in the management of the root zone.
So scaling at that particular level has some different work factors associated with it than any of the rest of the system, in my opinion.
It's that kind of thinking that has led me to be somewhat conservative, too.
I agree with John, though, in the terms of order of magnitude, we could certainly double the size of the system without a major problem.
>>ELLIOT NOSS: That's great.
Thanks, thanks very much.
That's very helpful.
Oh, hang in, because there may --
>>VINT CERF: Yes, go ahead, Mouhamet.
>>MOUHAMET DIOP: I think that whenever the issue of the domain name expansion comes, it's just an issue in which I am not sharing a lot of the views that have been expressed, just because from a technical point of view, I respect a lot of the points that have been raised here.
But to be honest, I'm not seeing the system being destabilized by giving the opportunity of that domain name expansion.
I just want to elaborate a little bit about it.
This is the only issue where ICANN have full responsibility.
We are not sharing this with anybody else.
Nobody will give us the chance to recuse ourselves saying we have a problem from that job.
If we declare it openly that we cannot, because we fail to have something that leads us to perform that job correctly 100%, I can tell you many names of people who are really willing to do that job and to make that expansion, because they are just willing to take over that ICANN business.
It can be a disturbing point of view.
But doubling just the domain space by year will not help me look at the second core value of ICANN, that is, enable competition and choice.
We want people to have choices.
And ask the people to go to the second or third-level domain name to do whatever they want to do, they don't need ICANN's advice to do it.
They can do it by their own.
So I just want us to be focused, really, on what can be done besides the fear -- we might be afraid about the -- the amount of jobs we have to perform in order to do that correctly.
But, again, we have to answer the first question, are we so -- I mean, responsible for the domain name expansion.
If the answer is yes, we have to give us the means in order to perform that job correctly.
>>VINT CERF: Did I see -- let me get Mike, then Ivan.
>>MICHAEL PALAGE: Thank you, Vint.
I think one of the concerns that I think Elliot and some of the other people in the Internet stakeholder that have been advocating the expansion of the name space are concerned with is a lot of the people looked to the MOU that had that, if will you, drop-dead date of implementation by December 31st.
What was a little concerning was the statement about how the process is ongoing and we're going to have to wait to get the evaluation of the sTLD process to incorporate it in and the fact that some of that won't be done until February, and then the report's posted after.
It's sort of that the -- if you will, the slipping of that time line, or, if you will, the evolving of that implementation that I think concerns some people in the marketplace.
And, again, you and I have had some philosophical differences on the expanse -- healthy, constructive disagreements on the expanse of the name space.
The one thing where you and I do agree is that we do not need any new TLDs.
But I think the question that Elliot and some of the other people in the community are looking, there's a difference between need and want.
And, again, what Mouhamet was pointing to, looking at the bylaws, where ICANN is supposed to promote competition in the name space is if the market wants new TLDs, then what we should do is we should set up a mechanism by which that competition, that free-market competition can happen, as long as it is done in a stable environment so that the security and stability of the Internet is protected.
So, again, I think these are some of the things that need to take place in this discussion.
>>VINT CERF: Thank you, Mike.
>>IVAN MOURA CAMPOS: First of all, I would like to state that you can be very tranquil about my statement, because whatever I say here, this is my last meeting on the board, so I won't be voting.
So this -- a couple of comments.
This business of if the market wants, I would rather have a strong statement from the registrant community, the at-large community, saying that they are in need of more TLDs, needing more power of expression, that they cannot express themselves with the number of TLDs that they have today.
I would rather -- I would have a very strong appreciation of a statement coming from that community in that regard.
Now, if somebody says to me, "I can -- I think we should have more TLDs because we can innovate," whatever that means, "on a system that was not designed to do that."
And, of course, "I can also make money."
I have another statement that hasn't been covered yet.
There's so much bandwidth that ICANN can process in terms of responding to the community.
There are people, and there are many people, in that community who think that ICANN should be focusing more on the implementation of Internationalized Domain Names, that we should be encouraging and reinforcing the deployment of ccTLDs.
And if we -- and a decision has to be made where to allocate the limited resources that ICANN has.
I just wanted to transmit that there is an intrinsic competition for the bandwidth and the capacity to process these requests and things.
gTLDs take, as you well imagine, not only a lot of processing time, but that's where most of -- I don't want to say "problem" -- where challenges come from, including litigation.
>>ELLIOT NOSS: There's an element there I'd like to pick up on, if I may, Vint.
You know, Ivan, there's one thing that you said there that strongly troubles me, which is that -- in fact, that I would strongly disagree with, is that this is a system that wasn't created for innovation.
I would argue --
>>IVAN MOURA CAMPOS: I didn't say that.
>>ELLIOT NOSS: I'd like to hear your words again, then.
Or maybe I didn't read them properly.
>>IVAN MOURA CAMPOS: It wasn't created to do things that we are receiving proposals that should be done through the DNS.
>>ELLIOT NOSS: Well --
>>IVAN MOURA CAMPOS: It's not everything that should be done in the DNS.
It's a simpler way to say that.
And there are people who think that some things should be done on the DNS which I strongly disagree.
>>ELLIOT NOSS: I would argue that, to date, we haven't had the opportunity to see the proposals that might actually address exactly what you are describing.
I found it bordering on ironic when you referred to IDNs as an area that needs more work, because it's certainly in my contemplation that new TLDs are exactly the type of place where innovation might manifest some very important progress there.
The other thing that I think is -- that I must note is you talked about priorities and ccTLDs.
We're talking here about gTLDs.
I think the ccTLD community has been very clear, and I've been supportive of their position, that ICANN has a tangential or peripheral role in their futures.
That's really where the nation state plays a very important role.
When we're talking about gTLDs, that's the purview of this institution.
And I think that in terms of the priorities of this group, and there I'm talking about staff and board, you know, there's a very clear higher set of responsibilities and involvement around gTLDs than ccTLDs.
>>VINT CERF: Okay.
I have -- well, no, actually, I'm sorry.
Let me look.
I had Alex and then Roberto and then Professor QIAN okay, Roberto.
>>ROBERTO GAETANO: Yes.
I would like to make a disclaimer.
I might be biased in this, because when I joined this community, I joined it with one objective in mind.
That was the creation of new TLDs, with the idea that create new TLDs with a different business model than the then-prevailing commercial model of the operation of dot-com, dot org, dot net could have been beneficial for the Internet.
And that could create also competition between -- among TLDs.
This said, seven, eight -- eight, eight years later, I have to recognize that we have missed the train.
Dot-com is the de facto default TLD.
And there's nothing one can do, and there's nothing that one can wish to do.
It's just a fact of the market.
I mean, when somebody is thinking about a TLD, they are thinking about dot-com.
So it is very difficult, if not virtually impossible, now to create TLDs.
And I think that the recent test bed -- recent, I mean the TLDs we have added in 2000 -- have proven that they are not a serious threat, if we can speak in these terms, to the -- I wouldn't say monopoly, but the predominance of dot-com.
Now, a different story will be with the ccTLDs.
But we are talking about generic TLDs now.
So this is now past and gone.
So we have to analyze the situation within the current circumstances of the market.
So once we have abandoned the dream of creating a system that would have competition at the TLD level, what remains?
Well, do we have the need for TLDs?
Of course we don't.
Go back to -- go back one century when people were moving on horses and carts and these kind of vehicles.
Do we need a car empowered by an internal engine?
Of course we don't.
However, this has happened and has proven to be beneficial.
So this is the approach that we should take.
If we go back only a few months, I think it was either in Tunis or in Rome, I can't remember, I remember having made a statement that we needed something like a kind of a business case that could tell us what was the real market opportunity and what was the real market expectations for the creation of new TLDs.
Of course, it's not the board of ICANN that is going to do this.
But I haven't seen -- nothing like this.
I haven't seen a serious attempt to prove the benefits of the introduction of new TLDs.
Now, if we go back eight years ago, that was probably more a kind of a religious war than a real evaluation of the market opportunities.
But, then, now, with the changed situation at the end of 2004, that's probably what we should do.
And somebody who is serious about launching new TLDs should probably come with a kind of a market study about the business opportunities with figures that end up being a little bit more reliable than the figures we have seen in 2000 for the market projection of the then-proposed TLDs.
The last thing, I am still in favor of the introduction of new TLDs, but I'm a little bit more cautious now.
And what -- having studied the situation over these last eight years, I think that one thing we need to make sure, that the introduction of those new TLDs should do no harm.
And in this, I'm with John Klensin.
How can the introduction of new TLDs do harm?
In two ways.
First of all, in introducing TLDs that, with the excuse of providing innovative models, bend the DNS to do SYSTEMS that it was not designed to do for.
So I'm very much afraid of certain of the applications that go in this sense.
When we use the DNS to do things that should be done in a different way.
That's the first thing.
And the second one is to find ourselves in a situation where not having definite rules, a very well defined filter to say, okay, under these circumstances, we accept an application, and if the application fails to have those -- to fulfill all those things, we reject it.
We found ourselves that in delegating some TLDs, and then we are forced to delegate hundreds of thousands, or thousands, that are more or less of the same type. And we are forced to continue in the same -- in the same way, because otherwise, we will be the object of lawsuits from applicants that say, AH, why XYZ yes and ABC not?
And this is something that we should, as ICANN board, take, to clearly define a set of rules, and that is the object of a study that we are going to do in the next month, a set of rules where we can find the conditions under which a certain number of TLDs can be introduced without -- without any harm. And your question is legitimate.
I personally think that a few hundred TLDs will not be the end of the world. But I would have serious doubts about the hundreds of thousands.
>>VINT CERF: Okay.
>>ROBERTO GAETANO: And I'm not willing to take the risk, incidentally. But again, I'm not a voting member.
>>VINT CERF: Okay. I have a procedural problem now, because I didn't realize this was going to generate such an interesting discussion. I'm not trying to terminate discussion, but I am going to ask a question.
We have the choice of continuing this discussion and trying to get to the end of the queue or we can, alternatively, stop now and have a coffee break, and then come back and continue the discussion.
I would propose if we do that that we also extend the session for at least a half an hour, not at 5:30 but 6:00. If that's acceptable to everyone I suggest we now take a break and return in half an hour's time. Is that all right? All right.
>>VINT CERF: Okay, ladies and gentlemen, we're going to reconvene and reassemble the queue.
I also have the queue of board members who wanted to make comments. I'm not sure all of them are back.
I think professor QIAN and Hagen Hultzsch were on the list, so Dr. QIAN, would you like to make your comment now?
>>HAULIN QIAN: Okay. Thank you, chairman. I have three points to share with you. One point is that the system, we should take some experiment or testing our root server systems to see what its capacity. Of course this should not be done on the production system. You should set up a technical group to make test to set more domain name -- Top-Level Domain in the system and very strong testing to see what's the limitation for the system to be running very stable. This is the first point.
The second point, I support what Michael said; that we don't -- I don't think we need a more -- too much gTLD, because when we create a new gTLD, the company has to be registered on the different gTLD. That makes quite a lot of duplications. This is unefficient.
And gTLD is only for some very big and internationally operated companies. It's a good way to register domain name, because many company, they are very small. They are only in that -- in some country, they don't have international branches or offices. They don't need to be registered on the gTLD. Because why I'm worried about this is because my third point is gTLD is not an independent issue. It's not -- we cannot say it's not related to ccTLD. Because when we create a new Top-Level Domain, we should make a balance between gTLD and the ccTLD, between ASCII ccTLD and the non-ASCII; I mean, IDN TLD.
Now the system is not -- very, very unbalanced. The gTLDs is very side sourcing. And the gTLDs lost their (inaudible), maybe only a few hundred of thousands domain name registered. There are many more room for people to register their domain names. So that's unbalanced, the system.
So I think for the whole Internet, for its stability, we should try to make it balanced between gTLD and ccTLD, between ASCII domain name TLD and non-ASCII TLDs.
So we need to leave some more room for the future for IDN, because it's necessary for different languages, because this world is full of diversity and different languages. Many people, they don't know ASCII. Especially English. So that's their requirement.
So that's my three points.
>>VINT CERF: Thank you, professor QIAN.
Hagen, you actually had your hand up so would you like to make your comment?
>>HAGEN HULTZSCH: Yes. Actually, I do understand the considerations and also the comments which were made.
I would like to convey a rather liberal and, let's say, open opinion by comparing our industry to -- the Internet industry to another industry.
Let's say it's much more efficient to the world economy that we would just have General Motors and PEUGEOT supply cars to the global economy and the cost of running this development of car automobiles could be reduced and these kind of things. We know that this is not effective and that it does not work.
If the Korean industry decides that they would build automobiles like KIA, they do it certainly with a lot of investment.
If, on the other hand, we have difficulties in, let's say, the infrastructure regarding root server and so on, we may consider that in order to support gTLD, costs to support such a gTLD would have to be increased, like investing in an automotive plant, an automotive infrastructure, there are certain costs related.
We also see that ccTLDs also are always an alternative, and that's why I'm favoring a rather liberal and open, let's say, attitude, because one of the missions of ICANN also is to promote competition.
That's all I wanted to say.
>>VINT CERF: Okay. As with all analogies, there are probably strengths and weaknesses to that one.
Elliot -- oh, before you respond, clearly you would like to, let me ask if the other people who are in the queue, for the other people in the queue, are any of you having questions for IANA? Are there any IANA questions in the queue? I'm sorry? Doug, I know you're here.
I'm sorry; I can't hear a thing.
>>DOUG BARTON: I apologize, I'll just stay for the whole (inaudible).
>>VINT CERF: Okay. In that case you can ignore that question.
>>ELLIOT NOSS: First I want to thank you all. This discussion is great, and I believe that I'm just two board members short of a straight flush right now. So if you haven't weighed in yet on this one, please do.
I want to restate something that I was discussing with Roberto out in the hall.
I think that Roberto and I first met back in '97 or so in the core process. As it was with so many people that are still involved in ICANN today, unlike Roberto, my faith in the ability, as he put it, to compete with com, to impact on com being the de facto TLD in the world has not been shaken. And for me, on the basis of the experiments that we've conducted to date, I refuse to have that have any impact on my belief that more broad experimentation can fundamentally change the way that the TLD world operates.
I mean, I'm really struck by the fact that this stuff has, in essence, really only been in common parlance and use since probably '97 or '98 at a mass level. One could at most argue '95.
You know, at one point Xerox and copiers were synonymous, and at one point IBM and PCs were synonymous. And I'm sure if we were talking to people about those markets at those times, people would have felt the same way.
And I think that we're -- we really should not restrict our ability to look forward. And I think with that I'm just going to walk back to my seat.
So thank you all very much.
>>VINT CERF: Thank you very much, Elliot, for this very stimulating question that you asked.
Okay. Professor QIAN asked for one other opportunity to respond.
Did I see Mouhamet? All right.
>>HAULIN QIAN: I just want to remind you that my institution also running a ccTLD. So that maybe have some conflict of interest with my talking before.
But my -- my original thinking is to see the IDN and ccTLD as a whole, not special to some ccTLD. But if this cause conflict of interest, I will give up my opinion. Thank you.
>>VINT CERF: You surely don't have to give up on your opinion but people should know you may be biased because of your exposure to the dot CN.
Mouhamet, and then we'll come back to the queue.
>>MOUHAMET DIOP: Thank you, Vint.
I just want to come back on what Ivan was explaining about if the system is designed for or not.
And, Vint, my question is in '69, when you were building your first connection between U.C.L.A. and other universities, did you think there would be any commercial evolution of what you were doing at that time? I don't think so.
I think that initially what have been done in that network did not have at that time any visionary commercial perspective. And I don't think at that time people thinking about IDN implementation, even at that time.
This network have been evolved a lot, and we're not -- I did not see any evolution from 2002 to now in term of necessity. I mean, if in 2002 the same argument we're using today, saying that maybe nobody need to get more domain name space in order to register, because maybe the innovation comes or people can't find themselves into existing gTLD, I can tell the representative for all the new business that have been launched after the dot com. But people say no, they want choice, and they demonstrate that if people want choice they want new identities and they recognize themselves, they see themselves feeding perfectly into the choice they have made with the new gTLD.
So I'm not pushing to just get a standardization in the gTLD process.
For me, we have to think about the registrant perspective, and the registrant perspective is we're dealing with community. Even if it is a community of 100,000 people, it's something.
If these people did not feel themselves it's convenient to register a existing domain name, if somebody can explain why it would be relevant for ICANN to explain to him he did not the have the choice, he has to go into existing gTLD because we felt there was no business for it.
I'm not saying that all we're doing is just for business. If the community is there and if the interest is there, people have the choice, and they have to deal with it.
And I am really concerned about the choice, because competition, we have maybe another definition of competition because I'm coming from the telecommunication world, and I'm not trying to explain on that point but I just want to stand on the choice point. But we have to be really careful that what we are talking about is about choice.
And the community may be small or big. We just have to consider that if they want to have a choice and demonstrate the ability to run this type of thing, we just have to give them the occasion to demonstrate it.
>>VINT CERF: There is a RADICUO absurdUM argument that your theorem leads to especially if um divide six billion people up into 100,000 people chunks.
>>JOHN KLENSIN: I just wanted to insert a very short factual correction, Vint, which is that while you and I may have been too young and too close to being students to think about commercial developments, licklander was talking about commercial developments of the ARPANET before the first note went up.
>>VINT CERF: Okay. We'll end this -- this will not end the discussion by any means, but we will go on to whatever the next topic is.
Please, go ahead.
>>VITTORIO BERTOLA: Vittorio Bertola, At-Large Advisory Committee, and I wanted to talk about new gTLDs.
And well, I start by commenting your initial question about do we need new TLDs. For example, I need one because I wanted a domain name with my family name and I couldn't get any because they're already taken in all gTLDs, and even in my ccTLD. So I do feel the need for new gTLD.
But even -- I mean, another thing you could think of is maybe you will not need -- you might think that you don't need more ASCII gTLDs, but certainly you will need non-ASCII gTLDs. Chinese gTLDs, Arabic gTLDs.
So simply forget about any possibility of not having to add anything to the root zone.
I mean, I think there are still a number of domain names that will have to be added at the root level.
So just say no is not an option. What you have to do, in my opinion, is to find as soon as possible a process through which anyone can come up with proposals, and they can be extend examined on a fair basis and then rejected if we think it's the case, or approved. Possibly on that no-harm basis that was mentioned. I don't think that 20 people around a table, even if they are the board of ICANN, have the right to decide that no one else in the world needs a new domain name at the root level.
They have the duty to pose criteria and to ensure that this happens in an orderly way and does no harm and preserves the stability of the Internet. But I don't think adding new domain names at the root level can ruin the stability of the Internet. We have 25 million domain names at the second level so it's perfectly possible from a technical standpoint. And even from the organization and political standpoint I think it's perfectly doable to have many, many more than we have now.
Especially, as At-Large Advisory Committee we have released a document, I'd say over 18 months ago, and the second part of it was explicitly talking about how this process could be structured or at least some basic points that we wanted to make. And one point I'd like to reiterate is that you must not assume that new TLDs will necessarily be focused on commercial or business purposes. I think that there are many new ways that the TLDs can be used, and ways that maybe cannot happen with the existing gTLDs. Maybe just because the names have been taken.
And we just have to discover them.
But if you just start with the argument that oh, we don't need another level domain name, do we need yet another search engine when Google was proposed to the world? It was doing exactly the same thing that Alta Vista and others were doing. And now Google is mostly the only search engine most of us are using. So I don't think you can have this forecast and say no to new people who want to try.
>>VINT CERF: Okay.
John, did I see your hand up again? No. Okay.
Oh, Paul; I'm sorry.
>>PAUL TWOMEY: Thank you, Vint. Perhaps if I can make an observation as a board member about this debate or this discussion.
Just to -- in response to Roberto's comment, I think I hear that the board is certainly very conscious of the RFP process underway and we have an sTLD process underway. That's my first observation, and my second observation is that I see various strands of issues and discussion and thoughts emerging in this discussion which are all part, I think, of a range of issues that we need to work through with the communities as well about the gTLD process.
I think my only observation is there's enough learning from the first round and now from the second round of new TLDs to indicate that a simple fully open, free market, anything goes, just apply and get a license type model has enormous problems. And I think aspects of that problem are things that are being discussed here.
But I personally don't read all of the discussions and all the viewpoints that are personally emerging as being final, definitive, or necessarily, you know, much magnified. I don't want to diminish what my colleagues are saying. I'm just making this as a personal observation. But I hear this in the context of a rich dialogue, and I'm certainly one of the people very interested to hear from the rest of the community how this sparks a counter dialogue. I think that's going to be very valuable for us.
>>VINT CERF: Okay. Please. Go ahead. It's Christopher, isn't it?
>>CHRISTOPHER SPOTTISWOODE: My name is Christopher Spottiswoode. I'm not going to talk -- don't worry, I'm not going to talk about TLDs. I have a very short question, short and simple.
Frankly, how long, members of the board, is frank still going to have a job?
>>VINT CERF: I'm sorry; what --
>>CHRISTOPHER SPOTTISWOODE: How long is Frank still going to have a job? Fortunately, frank here has had experience of drugGIes so he recognizes somebody who is intoxicated by ideas as I am. The simple idea I'm intoxicated with, it's not my idea so I'm not a druggy, is marshal McClure's, the medium is the message. On this floor here this morning, I spoke as an Internet outsider as somebody from cape town, and I expressed a lot of disappointment about the present consensus process, so-called, in ICANN. It really made me sad to see the inefficiencies, to see all the delays and the waste of time by so many talented people.
So the medium is the message.
Fortunately, this organization, which I described as rather sick this morning, and I may say to some approval both from the platform and from the floor, this sick man realizes that he's sick and that's the first step to health.
And what has really made me switch around this afternoon, to make me feel like an ICANN insider, is to see the self-examination, to hear the admissions of inefficiencies, the dissatisfaction which Paul expressed with e-mail as a medium, to hear Frank setting as one of his first targets to find software for case management. And in general, to improve the mechanisms, the internal mechanisms.
So this Internet, of course, is the medium, the medium is the message. The message is that this organization is going to get it right. And if this organization gets it right and heals itself, then Frank will be out of a job, because he --
>>FRANK FOWLIE: No, no, no.
>>CHRISTOPHER SPOTTISWOODE: He's very diplomatic, Frank. He set it as his personal target to be out in a couple of years; to have healed this organization with this organization's help. And I think that's just great.
>>VINT CERF: Well, thank you very much. Frank, I think you probably don't need to respond to that.
>>STUART LAWLEY: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, my name is Stuart Lawley. I'm the chairman of ICM registry which we currently have an sTLD application pending for consideration by ICANN.
We want to thank ICANN for their energy and effort they devoted to the whole sTLD process and to our application in particular, and to say that we look forward to the board's review of our proposal and, thereafter, to moving into the commercial negotiation phase of this process.
Whilst I'm here, I would also like to make a few general comments or one major general comment about one exciting potential development of the sponsored Top-Level Domains that has only come into clear focus during this process, which may also shed some light onto the previous discussions about why TLDs, what's their purpose and what's their value.
ICANN itself emerged during a period of near universal recognition that responsible industry self-regulation was critical to the successful global deployment of the Internet.
While we may all be a little bit less starry-eyed about the benefits of self-regulation in the intervening years, I do feel sure that we can all agree that there continues to be a need for responsible, inclusive, private sector leadership in this inherently global environment.
Without expanding ICANN's role and without detracting from the traditional authority of sovereign governments, ICANN can, through thoughtful expansion of the sponsored Top-Level Domain space, facilitate new stakeholder efforts to construct forums in which such stakeholders can participate in the creation and implementation of voluntary but enforceable best practices and self-regulatory codes of conduct designed to protect and serve Internet users.
We have seen several such proposals in this round, including our own, which is for dot XXX, and we want to encourage the board as it considers the proposal still before it to appreciate the unique opportunity it has to permit sTLDs to evolve as a tool for bottom-up private-sector decision making in the global digital environment.
>>VINT CERF: Thank you. maruyama.
>>NAOMASA MARUyAMA: Thank you, Vint. My name is marUYAMA with JPNIC. I want to give additional comment to what Mike Palage said. I think it's very important to think about the want or desire of the general public. And to the board, I want to say please think about the importance of the desire. Please think about the what would happen if people in power try to pressure the desire of the general public.
Now, also, I want to say please recall the hell, the nightmare, please recall the nightmare which happened, that some people try to run alternative roots. And that is a very important thing.
Now, this is the seam -- my speech today is the same content of the -- of what we stated in the ICANN meeting at Montevideo. Thank you.
>>VINT CERF: And that was a timely reminder. Thank you.
>>MICHAEL PALAGE: Thanks. One of the things I wanted to go back and sort of build on Mouhamet and Hagen's comment, and it's something I have BEEN thinking about over the last year when we look at the expanse of the name space.
I do think it has the ability, when we talk about the WSIS, the World Information Society, the ability to represent a society. And one of the things we do in a society of six billion people is they like to distinguish themselves. And they like to distinguish themselves in the cars they drive.
In Florida where I live there are 40 customized license plates that recognize the Miami dolphins, the University of Miami, the manatee. You name it, there's a license plate for it, and people pay fees because they want to distinguish themselves. You hear ring tones, it's a multimillion dollar market. People want to distinguish themselves and I think this gets back to what Mouhamet was saying and I think other people, that if a community of people want to come together and say we would like to distinguish ourselves on the Internet by having a top-level name, I think we need to make sure that there is a process by which they have that ability. And we want to make sure we don't have restrictive practices in place.
So again, I just wanted to get those other two analogies or two other market comparisons out there because I do think they provide a little insight to mouhamet's earlier comments about providing a virtual identity for people.
>>VINT CERF: Just the engineer's reminder that the system has a finite amount of capacity to deal with that. So if you want to introduce something which has an absolutely unlimited, no stopping algorithm, you guarantee eventually that the system won't work anymore. So please be careful about that.
Let's take the next question. Oh, I'm going to go on, Mouhamet. I'll put you in the queue but I'm trying to be fair to the people who have been waiting for all this time. So I have you in the queue. Please, go ahead.
>>JORDYN BUCHANAN: Thanks, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate that.
I'd like to perhaps blend the comments of each of the last two speakers by recognizing that there is an important community here, which is the community of ICANN stakeholders. And I think as we hear today, there seems to be strong support throughout the community for an ongoing expansion of the gTLD space.
And first, I'd like to encourage the board to strongly consider advancing that process as rapidly as possible and making it as broad as possible. And I understand that some are concerned about risks, Vint and John and perhaps others on the board or elsewhere are concerned about the risks of the expansion and perhaps the risks to ICANN as well. And I want to assure you that while we may not be charged with perhaps the explicit responsibility for ICANN's health and survival that board members are, many of us in the community, nonetheless, think ICANN's success is extraordinarily important and we think that the expansion of the gTLD space actually is completely harmonious and important to the ongoing health of ICANN. And I think as you hear that message more and more from the community it's hard to disassociate the community from the important needs that we face.
But I do want to talk about two specific risks that Vint and John talked about earlier. And one, I think Vint pointed earlier -- not Vint and John. Vint and others have talked about earlier.
Vint talked earlier about sort of the hierarchical nature of the DNS, which is, I think, some of its elegance and some of its beauty. But I think to a certain extent we've actually diverged from the hierarchy and the fractal beauty of the DNS today because in a true distributed hierarchy or in a fractal, where you have an infinite layer of richness regardless of had which layer of the fractal you're on, we don't have that today in the DNS. We have a strong concentration of names in some parts of the second level space. Dot com is huge, 30 million names. And we lose some of the resilience that we might have if those names were spread out amongst a greater number of TLDs. And I think the fact that there is essentially an emerging single bottleneck because dot com may be the marketplace sort of winner today reflects a risk that could be averted by expanding the top level space to a certain extent. The second point I'd like to reflect upon is something that some speakers !
have raised which is the DNS wasn't designed to deal with a lot of problems that were solved by or intended to be solved by various gTLD applications and it's probably true. Of course it's true. The DNS was designed a long time ago and many of these problems either didn't exist or the technological solutions weren't imagined at that time but the DNS is an evolutionary creature. There have been countless new types of resource records added to the DNS over the years. There's applications like eNOM that ride on top of the DNS and have the full support of the technical community and that enrich the DNS and allow us to make better use of it than we were before. And the fact that those solutions weren't imagined at the time of its creation I think reflect the ability of the Internet to evolve over time and I think it's important to consider gTLDs and some new innovative solutions in that context as well. And in fact, I'll just note that in addition to various new types of re!
source records, a proposal that wasn't carried but I think no less eminent authority than John Klensin proposed not so long ago a new class of DNS in order to deal with IDN problems. And that is, I think, a truly radical change. And I'll acknowledge perhaps that John was perhaps in that proposal trying not to tinker with things that work today. But I think we can have important discussions about new and interesting and exciting things that don't exist today and advance technologically over time.
>>VINT CERF: Okay. And since I'm trying to alternate back and forth, Mouhamet had his hand up, but Mouhamet, I think John has a specific response to this point. So I'm going to just switch the two.
>>JOHN KLENSIN: Thank you, Vint. This comment raises questions that I would love to talk about, but if I get started we'll be here until sometime tomorrow.
It may very well be that one of the things that we should do is to plan workshop time at some future meeting, to really address these boundary questions about the DNS. Where the design constraints get us that adding RRs doesn't make any difference to. Why some of the original RRs failed and why that's important to us. Why the new class proposal was a safer proposal despite being more radical than some of the things we've done instead, and a whole series of other issues. These are extremely interesting topics. The community should probably understand them better. But I think they need to be a little bit better organized and give it a little bit better block of time than trying to do it on a question and answer basis in the middle of the forum.
>>VINT CERF: So noted. Let me get Mouhamet and then we'll come to Martin.
>>MILTON MUELLER: Milton.
>>VINT CERF: Apologies. Mouhamet Mouhamet thank you very much, Vint. I just want to come back to state really the problem and two issues, because the rationale behind the numbers was not so important, unless it addressed something that touched the base with the boundary that I think John Klensin raised. I think that the first question was we have to ask ourselves do we think there was any need for that expansion? And if you ask that question, it clearly comes out we have two different answers to that. And some people say no. And if you say no we don't need to have any technical question about the boundary, did we fill the limits or not. Because they see no need or no market for gTLD expansion. So if the answer is no, I am not saying any technical answers or any technical questions about the limitation of the DNS domain name space. So the second thing, if the answer is yes, because we just think that there was some interest to a lot of people based on community int!
erest or coming soon, for example, the question of the IDN or any other new area that we didn't have explored soon because people can demonstrate based on their interest the new launch of the new TLD show us that. We've got all these people who demonstrate interest and who are going to give time and money to build some community of interest. It can be just business oriented, it can be cultural, it can be whatever people can imagine because if you look at the presentation of Paul Verhoef, it shows there were many issues when talking about community that can illustrate the need to get something community based.
And I think that if we just fix this -- the second question, that we need based on that new approach, allowing community to get new TLD launch, the second question will be, on which type of rules we will base that domain expansion.
And that's the vacuum now.
I mean, we -- we have received on this second launch of TLD different type of sTLD.
And the question comes out, and we -- that's the most important thing, if we agree that there was space for domain name expansion, the second thing is, what are the new rules that will be our guideline in order to avoid to have such discussion at any meeting in any week, any month, just because everybody will have the same question written on the table.
I want my new gTLD.
What's going to be the rules that we have to apply on the new RFP in order to complement with that expansion.
>>VINT CERF: I am certainly agreeing having a set of rules, including guidelines as to how much of this we can reasonably do, is exactly what's needed.
>>MILTON MUELLER: Okay.
Do I need to introduce myself?
>>VINT CERF: No.
>>MILTON MUELLER: I guess I don't.
My name is up there.
Milton Mueller, Syracuse university.
I really think I can contribute something to this discussion, and I wouldn't have stood here for half an hour if I didn't.
As I understand it, we started this discussion because we're supposed to be developing a process for the addition of new top-level domains.
We are not having a general debate about whether we like the idea or not; we are supposed to be developing a process.
Now, as an initial observation, I was amused to hear chairman -- or, excuse me, CEO Twomey say that, well, whatever we conclude, we know that a free and open market process has a lot of problems, because a free and open market process is precisely what you have never tried.
You have done almost everything else.
You have shut the market down completely; you have tried trickling in additions through laborious and painful beauty contests; you have tried to spin off the evaluation to independent people; you have done lots of things.
But you have not tried an open and market-oriented process.
However, there is a glimmer of hope here in terms of developing a process.
And that is, I have heard elements of this discussion today which say that the parameters of the debate are actually fairly narrow now.
For example, I heard the most conservative member of the board, avowedly so, John Klensin, say that he saw no technical stability concerns about the addition of ten to 20 new top-level domains to the root.
So we have these technical stability concerns.
There is a difference between the root level of the hierarchy and other levels.
But it's clear that those concerns go away if we add something in the neighborhood of tens of top-level domains.
We have one of the most liberal people regarding new top-level domains, myself, submitting a policy paper over a year ago calling for the annual addition of 40 new top-level domains.
So are we really here talking about the difference between 20 and 40 per year?
Isn't that a difference that we can reconcile?
If we agree that there's going to be an annual cycle, if we agree that it's going to be somewhere between 20 and 40, I think that's tremendous progress.
I think you should take it and run with it.
Now, there's even more than that.
There is, as I understand, somebody, maybe it was Elliot or somebody associated with the registrar constituency, proposed a registry accreditation process some time back.
So if you have concerns about failure of registries, about the technical feasibility of registries, you have -- you could discuss this registry accreditation process and make people go through that before they can apply for a TLD.
So there's another element of your process that could be built into it.
The one part of this that probably doesn't fit into a smooth transition is if this board decides it wants to get involved in the content of the top-level domain.
However, there are certain parameters there that we can agree on.
For example, in the proposal that we issued a year and a half ago, we talked about a trademark-oriented dispute resolution process for the top level in which you would prevent, you know, me from registering my, you know, MCI, you know, at the top level because it's an -- obviously, it's a well-known trademark of a corporate company.
So you can set up a challenge process, and that can deal with a lot of the issues regarding new top-level domains.
So, in conclusion, I would say that if we have a general debate about whether you like new top-level domains, you're not going to get very far.
But if you look at the actual parameters of what we're debating and how to solve these problems, you can make a lot of progress.
>>VINT CERF: Thank you, Milton.
Let me get -- John Klensin and then George will be next.
>>JOHN KLENSIN: Milton, I just want to make the same observation I have made the last dozen times when you've said I've just said ten or 20 is okay, and therefore we should add ten or 20.
Let me make it in a different and more graphic way on the theory that it might be more effective in getting the message through from a technical restriction standpoint, there is nothing to prevent me from taking my shoe off and throwing it at you.
I might even make it.
>>JOHN KLENSIN: There are a number of -- not the shoe.
There are a number of social and policy constraints that, if nothing else, prevent me from doing that.
I'd consider it a -- probably inappropriate in this setting.
But the ability to do something technically does not imply that one should.
And the ability to agree that something is not a technical problem does not imply advocacy for doing it and never has.
>>MILTON MUELLER: I know, John.
This is just a one-sentence reply.
We've always had a difference about the value of new top-level domains and we probably will never resolve that.
But in terms of technical constraints, if you want to resolve that problem, it's resolvable.
>>VINT CERF: Just an administrative point, how many people are in the queue right now?
>>VINT CERF: One, two, three, four.
I'd like to close the queue, then, with those four people so we can try to do a little more on another subject.
>>GEORGE SADOWSKY: Thank you.
I'd like to use humor to make a point with regard to -- I'm going to exaggerate and give you a suggestion.
I propose that we open up a new top-level domain called dot experimental or dot laboratory or dot kindergarten or dot sandbox or whatever you want, and then leave that open for people to truly innovate with the Domain Name System.
And to the extent people can find things that can be distinguished from automobile vanity plates, let them show it and let that particular domain be eligible for graduation to the top level.
The serious point is that we don't -- we want and we need innovation.
We don't want to confusion innovation with vanity plates or giving people whatever they want.
And I know that's a loaded term.
But we don't have to do it at the level of our prime real estate.
>>VINT CERF: Thank you very much.
Let me get Marilyn and then Paul and then Veni.
>>MARILYN CADE: Thank you, my name is Marilyn Cade and I am an elected representative from the business constituency.
I want to make a few comments by starting out by commending the board and the community, really, for where we are today.
It may be hard to tell it from the conversation we're having right now, but we actually have made progress.
It wasn't just motion.
We are now actually at the point of talking about a strategy for the introduction of new gTLDs.
And there was a time when I think some people thought we weren't going to get there.
In speaking for the business user constituency point of view, I would just like to remind people that there was a time only two or three years ago when you heard us coming to the microphone and saying we opposed the introduction of new gTLDs.
We now -- we then moved to we support the introduction of new gTLDs, taking into account all the input that we heard, in an organized, logical, and managed way.
And we have consistently supported the introduction of new gTLDs.
But we have also urged the recognition of all of the points that have been made by the technical folks who are here.
And we are, of course -- as business users, representing particularly business users who are concerned about failure of a domain name that we may be building a business on, we're concerned about making sure that there are safeguards.
And we know that that's part of what's inherent in the strategy that we the community are talking about developing.
I want to make another point, however, one that I really resonated to when I heard it offered somewhat earlier in the little dialogue we've been having.
I like the idea of a balance or coexistence of the different kinds of TLDs.
I like the idea that we have ccTLDs and gTLDs and IDNs.
And I think it's a little disappointing to me that I haven't heard from people who might want to be operating the registry for the introduction of an IDN TLD at the top-level space.
I haven't heard them expressing their point of view about perhaps how that should be our priority and how we ought to keep working really hard on addressing the technical questions and other issues and try to move that ahead.
We are resource constrained, we have to realize that.
So I think our strategy has to offer balance and take into account not just the interest of those who want to open a business by opening a registry or registering it, but those who want to register above that.
>>VINT CERF: Thank you, Marilyn.
Paul and then Veni.
>>PAUL TWOMEY: My maximum contribution, Vint, was that I was trying to say there were five in the queue, not four.
My hand was like that.
>>VINT CERF: Sorry about that.
>>VENI MARKOVSKI: It's just a note to the people who are watching us on the Web.
There was a question why the sound is not so good.
And there is (inaudible) in the sound.
I just asked Steve CONTE who said that's the best that we can do at this moment.
We are pushing this thing 10,000 miles, and apparently they have to follow not the voice, but have to see the script.
>>VINT CERF: Thank you.
Let me now take the next question from the floor.
>>SEBASTIEN BACHOLLET: I am --
>> No one is following the translation to give them some work and to help them work on -- I am going to speak English.
The issue is there are 15 to 20 people who listen to what I am going to say if I speak English.
You have to understand, we have translation and no one is using it.
The Francophonie Agence has paid for it, and the money should have been used more usefully.
>>SEBASTIEN BACHOLLET: I will speak English because I think more people will understand and it will be easier.
Sorry for the translating people.
I just want to add two points on the discussion about the new gTLDs.
First, it's that when you look what's happened with the seven new gTLDs, you have a situation where it was not so easy for the end users -- and when I say "end user," it's both individual end user or business end users -- to understand how to cope with these seven new gTLDs.
Because the way of registering a name was different, very difficult and so on.
And then there was a real problem on how you cope with those new gTLDs.
And the second point, it's just a remark.
If you add a lot of gTLD, you will kill the TLD, because people will use more and more tools with -- what is the name in English?
Research engine, and you will not need any more domain names.
You will find other things to tell where you go and how you go.
Then just take care of that.
Maybe we -- you are killing the (French word).
>>VINT CERF: Let me get from the floor one more and then Roberto.
>> Hi, I'm Heather Shaw with the U.S. council for international business.
For those of you who don't represent us, we represent U.S. multinational companies, indeed, some of the largest business users in the world.
We did submit comments on the introduction of new gTLDs.
They haven't been posted online yet, and we've requested that they be added.
They very much echo the comments that Marilyn made, so I won't reiterate them now and just encourage you to look at the comments online.
>>VINT CERF: Thank you very much for that.
And then we'll take the next one, James Seng.
>>ROBERTO GAETANO: I would like to answer to my colleague Sebastien, because I would like to rectify the last sentence that he stated in French.
I do not agree with him.
The money Francophonie invested to provide translation service is not lost.
And he said it could have been used otherwise.
I think we need the translation in the languages that are spoken in the countries represented here and that's used in the ICANN countries.
And I think I would like here to invite you to use the means provided instead of eliminating those means.
Thank you very much.
>>VINT CERF: I have to say in English that it's wonderful to have the translation going into English and then up on the screen.
And so I just want to note again our realtime scribes being so helpful to all of us, including the people who are out on the Web trying to watch all of this.
>>VINT CERF: James, you're next.
>>JAMES SENG: Sorry.
I know I'm the last one.
I just want to make a quick comment.
And this is my personal comment about -- in response to Marilyn Cade's comment about there's no one -- no registry that came forward to ask for IDN TLDs.
And, actually, if you have attended IDN workshop two days ago, and if you have attended the IDN workshop in KL, it's very clear there are registries from the CJK committee and from the Middle East committee who is interested to run the IDN TLDs.
>>VINT CERF: Thank you, James, for that clarification.
I have one online comment that I want to read to you.
This comes from aVRY DORIA.
She says in relation to the creation of new gTLDs, while it seems reasonable to use them as a business vehicle, I would also hope that they would be made available for social and cultural needs that may not be motivated by a profit motive.
We heard this earlier.
There should also be consideration in the distribution of the needs and capability to pay of the businesses and cultures in the less-developed nations and among the indigent populations.
I think that echoes some of the other comments that have been made earlier today.
Alex, you had your hand up.
>>ALEJANDRO PISANTY: Thank you, chair.
I think an overview of this discussion that has taken place here would bring out a very few important points.
One of them is that at moments, it was like you say in the states, deja vu all over again, in that the discussion about the existence or need or not of new TLDs seems a repetition from a long time ago.
On the other hand, as Marilyn correctly pointed out, the discussion was really focused on structuring a process that allows for a much more predictable addition of TLDs and the test space.
It's difficult to do, as already others have noted, to do the type of experimental platform that George Sadowsky has proposed in the sense that it is very difficult to test the scalability of the whole function, not only of the servers and the computer and network components behind it, but how this actually interacts with people and companies and businesses and so forth.
So test beds, unfortunately, we have to be very close, if not within the live system.
And therefore the experimentation has also the need for a careful framework around it.
That's inevitably a balance that is much harder to do than when you're experimenting in laboratories.
And they're -- I mean, if we use this very bad analogy between cars and TLDs for innovation, which -- I mean, it's a very risky analogy.
I do like the fact that Hagen has proposed much more that we look at the highways than at the cars in the innovation.
You can do a lot of innovation in a test bed or a private circuit with cars.
It's a lot more difficult to bring in massive innovation in the road system.
You can do it.
It is done all the time.
The road system is much better in most countries than 20 years ago thanks to this innovation.
But, again, the innovations were tested mostly in limited test beds.
The most important conclusion, I think, that we can take from this discussion today is that we are doing most of the things that have been asked for.
We have introduced a sudden pulse of gTLDs in 2000.
We have measured the results of those.
The most important conclusion that stays in my mind from the study that was made on the evolution of the new gTLDs is introducing new TLDs is not for the faint of heart.
And that's a very important conclusion there.
We have done culturally motivated, community oriented and so forth as well as commercially oriented TLDs.
We continue to do so with dot travel and dot post and several other applications in the pipeline.
This is going on.
I refuse to view the whole discussion as a complaint that something doesn't exist which is actually going on.
And even IDNs, James Seng has given testimony that we are moving forward on all of these.
That we can move faster, it's possible.
That we can move in a more safe way it's possible that we can do .
That we can do both things at the same time is more dubious.
One point that we are still not able to free ourselves of is that there will be the need for some subjective judgment in the introduction of new TLDs.
I don't think -- I mean, after hearing all the arguments, I see evidence that could be discussed in more detail, that an automatic process for addition of new TLDs is not very close.
It's not around the corner.
We will still need COMBINED subjective judgment of interested communities, expert communities like those that can be provided up THROUGH the gnso and the bottom-up process for different types of experiments.
And that, ultimately, someone not that much that wishes to shape things, but someone or some group or collective, and it has been up to now the ICANN board, has to take that responsibility for starting something in a way that can be corrected, and eventually, if something is really experimented in this ways in a live system can be taken in an orderly and safe way.
>>VINT CERF: Thank you, Alex.
I assume that the queue is now empty.
Is that correct?
Oh. Mouhamet, and then we need to go -- you're actually next in the line anyway to make a presentation.
So in case you didn't remember that.
>>MOUHAMET DIOP: I would be the one who made the next presentation.
So I can make my comment and go on the floor.
Now, I mean, I just want to follow up on what Alex is -- Alex has made a comment about the implementation.
If we see our two domain name areas like the CC and the generic, I have never heard a problem concerning the ccTLD in terms of are we doing something or doing that, because, I mean, this is a well-set area.
And when I say a well-set area, it means the rules, everything have been set up and we agree that this is a way that we're going to do the job, and we perform it well.
The only discussion that happened now in the CC is, if they're implementing IDN under the CC or not, and we have some of them starting the experimentation in order to, even at that stage, you are looking for some harmonization about the policy in order to involve any situation that adds complexity or confusion to the customer.
The second is on the gTLD.
And I am not going to recall all of the discussion that we have already made.
But I just want to raise one point, is I am not seeing anybody accusing ICANN, I mean, from trying to implement something that everybody was expecting to be done for many years.
That's the only -- I mean, -- and this will give us a great excuse, I mean, because if we -- if, due to the complexity or due to -- I mean, we think that it's really hard to do that, people are avoiding implementation of IDN at top-level domain name, it will be harder for ICANN to give excuse than trying to implement it even if people see that there was many problems that occurred during the implementation and just trying to solve it in the future.
And we have done a lot of jobs before in terms of implementation.
The standards have been done.
I did not see -- I mean, if the IETF standard was not done in order to have the implementation at the top-level domain name, maybe the discussion would be maybe useless.
But there was a time frame, and in the time frame, there has been a technical period in which people have worked very hard to issue the standard that helped to deal with non-ASCII TLD and to implement that in an environment that was the existing one.
So I did not see us moving, I mean, through something that everybody is seeing as a time frame, coming at the middle of the line, and stopping there, saying that we don't want to move because it's too complex at the end.
Because we have done part of the job.
And that's the only balance I am trying to put on the table every time we are talking about IDN, is half of the job have been done.
The remaining one cannot be harder than the part that we have already achieved.
>>VINT CERF: You actually have the floor now for the next portion of the presentation.
Let me just tell everybody what we're hoping to accomplish.
One thing I had hoped to do which we will fail to do is to have the extra hour for discussion about WSIS.
At least I don't see how to do it today.
I will try to make that happen tomorrow.
We have reports on the African regional update from Mouhamet on the schedule and an update on the IDN workshop.
My guess is that by the time we get through those, that we will have reached probably 6:00 p.m., when I promised that -- when I promised that we would end today's session.
So we're going to have to continue the other material tomorrow, and we'll fit into the open microphone more discussion on WSIS at that time.
So, Theresa, I hope that works okay for you.
All right, Mouhamet, please go ahead.
>>MOUHAMET DIOP:Thank you very much, chairman. This is an African regional update about activities that have been important to the region.
We have three main areas that we're going to talk about. The first is the meetings; the second one is Internet related organization and what have been done in the continent, and the last one will be the WSIS and we're going to end with greetings and thanks.
The past year, a series of meetings went on in the Africa region related to the Internet. The first one is the AfriNIC in Dakar where the body elected its first board and set up its policy process.
It is receiving even more support from the community, and it's participating in regional meeting to outreach to the community.
The second one is an ISP and local Internet registry training in three regions. They helped AfriNIC to set up meetings in the process. AfriNIC is holding trainings for ISP and local Internet registry, and one of them have just recently taken place with the help of the French foreign ministry and the Francophonie.
For the first time ever, it was all done in French.
The CTO wrote a roadmap where the organization invited ICANN to be part of its activities and outreach and education.
The African development forum, the UNECA, also invited ICANN to this forum which is a regional one, and whose turn this year was governance for Africa. In terms of support for AfriNIC and ICANN, participants agreed that stakeholders, civil society and private sector could start with a step at a national level, such as setting up solid national TLDs.
Capacity building and awareness raising on queue, governance issues also need to be tackled with the assistance of ICANN. Full stop.
Highway Africa in Grahamstown in South Africa and (inaudible) for media meeting, ICANN participate and explain what it does related to the Internet for the media community.
The ccTLD trainings, hands-on training with explanation on ICANN IANA (inaudible) delegation, technical change also have been made.
African at large meeting here in cape town also have been done. Staff and board members participate in all these meetings and others, and this has definitely given increased visibility to ICANN.
Most countries on the African continent have also -- also have economic commission for Africa called national communication and infrastructure plan. In those plan, the Internet is paramount, and of course the national ccTLD a priority.
So quite a few delegation and reorganization of ccTLD are ongoing in the region as a result of that.
The Brussels office, because of it, it is in the same time zone, is dealing with quite a lot of requests on that side, and Theresa will give you some more news on that part.
Interrelated. The afTLD, the association for TLD managers, met here in cape town, there were about 14 ccTLDs from the region represented at that meeting. AfriNIC, as you all know AfriNIC has received provisional recognition from ICANN and is working very hard to a final recognition, and it has its meeting tomorrow in cape town as a board meeting. The at large Africa will get full group registered at the at-large and many others interested. The ALAC Africa users meeting of people representing over 50 different user and civil society groups which shows that the users and civil society interest from the region is increasing. The AFNOG, Africa network operating group, have meetings every two years. The last one took place in Uganda last year and also there was one this year in Dakar and next year's meeting will take place in Mozambique.
AFRI spa is general assembly here in cape town. And its secretary, who is among us, will give anyone interested an update on their activities.
And we have also received strong support from the secretary of AFRIspa showing their support to ICANN activities. The WSIS. Africa regional preparatory conference will be taking place from 28th January to 4th February in Accra, Ghana. ICANN will be participating to the Internet Governance workshop.
ICANN have announced that it will have regional offices, so input is being sought from the community. More members are applying to the GAC and to the ccNSO. A few regional organizations would like to sign MOU and partnership agreement with ICANN.
The ICANN meeting is the first one in the region, and I hope that you are having a good time in cape town on behalf of all the African Internet communities, and especially South Africa. Welcome again.
And I'm happy to say that outreach is allowing both parties, ICANN and the Africa region, to know each other better and participate in one another's worK. We hope this will be even better when the Africa offices will be in place. Thank you very much.
>>VINT CERF: Thank you, Mouhamet. I know all of us are looking forward to further progress on AfriNIC and the other initiatives that are moving this continent closer to much increased use of the Internet.
The next subject is the IDN committee and workshop, and Tina Dam has the floor.
>>TINA DAM: Thank you, Vint.
IDNs is an increasing, interesting, and very important topic. It's something that is of high priority to ICANN, and so I'm pleased to give you some information about what our current activities are and what the next plans are for ICANN in this area.
So far, we've had two workshops on the topic of IDNs. The workshops provide a mechanism and a forum for facilitation of sharing of experience and knowledge in the IDN field. It basically works in the way that we gather a large amount of experts on IDNs and ask them to provide different types of presentations on their experience and initiatives that they take in this field.
The latest workshop was here in cape town, and we had topics related to specific African initiatives.
We had presentations from the African academy of languages, unicode information reflection of African languages, information about variant bundles that are used in the dot IR ccTLD, presentations of display of IDN characters in SSL certificates and information about museums, African museums positions in regards to the use of IDNs and characters.
So that first session was followed by two panel discussions. First one was mainly oriented into application developments, such as registry implementation, browser, and other types of applications. The other panel was discussing topics that was mainly related into policy challenges. And as you can imagine, it can be difficult to have panel discussions divided into those specific topics, so there was overlaps on the panels, and one example is the IDN.IDN discussions which took place on both.
The first workshop we had was in Malaysia earlier this year. That meeting or that workshop started with a four-hour very extensive tutorial provided by ISOC, and it was essentially to give the audience some general information about the issues and challenges that we face in relation to IDNs.
That was followed by presentations of specific Asian experiences and initiatives as listed, and also some other international developments from different registries.
The presentations and information relating to the workshops are located online under the different ICANN meeting agendas, and we also have a specific area for the IDN topic, and we are going to continue updating that and providing more information on that site. It's located at ICANN.org/topics/IDN.HTML. It's also linked from the main ICANN.org Web site.
So what are the plans for the next several months?
As I mentioned, the workshops are being set up to facilitate sharing of information and knowledge, and this is something that we're going to continue.
Those issues and topics that are the result of these workshop sessions and other types of events is something that needs to be treated in appropriate procedures and decision-making processes. So development of those procedures and processes will take place in the next several months as well.
Other plans are including revision of the IDN guidelines. We currently have version one. And that will be changed over the next time. And also, we'll be systemizing the setup and solve some of the current issues related to the IANA registry of language tables. This registry is something that is available for ccTLD, gTLD registries or other parties to display their language tables so that that can be shared globally.
The way that we intend to fulfill and realize these plans is that ICANN will launch and task the president's committee on IDNs. This is something that was resolved and decided upon in Kuala Lumpur earlier this year. And we're currently in the last step of finalizing the plans for the committee, after which invitations will be sent out to members, and we'll make announcements of the committee.
Other new steps is the assignment of dedicated ICANN staff. And this also means that there will be more dedicated participation in different types of IDN-related events.
And that concludes my short update. And I want to say thank you to everybody who has been helping with the workshops and helping to provide information to us on this topic.
There's a great amount of individuals who have been extremely helpful and whose expertise and assistance is very much appreciated. So thank you.
>>VINT CERF: Thank you very much, Tina, and thank you for your work on IDN as well.
It's past the time that we originally planned to finish but then I threatened to go until 6:00. If that's okay with you, we have an opportunity to pick up at least one more report from Theresa Swinehart on global outreach. So Theresa, if I can ask you to take the lectern, we'll get one more done. After that there would be a WSIS update, but I think that's going to be scheduled for tomorrow morning in order to let everyone go ahead.
>>THERESA SWINEHART: Did that go? No. Is it not working?
>>VINT CERF: Our global outreach works but our electronic outreach doesn't.
>>THERESA SWINEHART: Exactly. It's not switching. Okay. There it goes. Perfect.
Okay. Here we go.
I'll keep this very brief. This is an update on what we're doing on the global outreach.
In the areas, and I think being here in cape town demonstrates how important all of this is, and Mouhamet's report demonstrates some very good progress in global outreach and also connecting with local Internet communities that have a lot of expertise and can contribute to ICANN.
The demand for global outreach I think is pretty clear. There's operational sides of it and that relates to supporting and engaging the local community members, such as ALAC and the regional parts of ALAC, ccTLDs, and specific issues or participants in the respective areas of ICANN stakeholders.
Part of it is also the interaction with governments. We're getting an increased interest from governments in what ICANN does and does not do. That in part was triggered by the WSIS process and is a welcome opportunity to help educate and create a better understanding of why participating in ICANN is important.
On the operational side it's also facilitating local input and liaising for ICANN supporting organizations and advisory committees and all of their work into ICANN's core functions. And that includes any of the policy development processes and anything else that occurs.
There's also some political pressure. Governments are starting to use the term the internationalization of Internet Governance or the globalization of Internet Governance, and that's often attributeD to organizations and whether they're global or not. I've received numerous questions about when we are opening offices and governments are welcoming the fact that a presence outside the U.S. is a positive thing.
I actually think it reflects that ICANN is succeeding in doing quite a good job; that we're getting this increased demand.
We have several undertakings on the outreach front. We have several offices, Brussels is the first. We also participate in appropriate events at the regional level. And in particular, try to help support those at the regional or local levels in their participation, including providing slide presentations and other things.
And we're also looking at partnering with relevant organizations, either globally or regionally that have an interest in partnering with us, having information, sharing information to make sure that they have a good understanding what have ICANN does.
I thought I'd share a little bit our experience with Brussels. That's the one office that we have already opened. And their activities have been focused on what's happening in Europe and getting stakeholder participation there in addition to supporting some of the fundamental core functions of ICANN, in particular in the ccTLD area. About 40 to 60% of the work on ccTLD issues in Brussels relates to the Africa region. There have been an increased level of interactions with the European ccTLD managers. Registrars that are based out of Europe.
And an enormous number of calls for please attend a meeting that we have; we'd like to get a better understanding.
There's also a lot of traffic coming through the Brussels office in relation to people who are interested. A lot of business people, a lot of government people come through Brussels.
It's also had a rather positive impact for some of the staff in Marina del Rey, I'll exclude myself from that one right now. And less long haul flights, especially down to this part of the region. I'd say about 60% of the travel from the Brussels staff is into the Africa region. And it's been allowing us to attend more meetings and be present.
So essentially the globalization of ICANN is to establish a local presence where there is a demonstrated need. And where there's a demonstrated need to also support ICANN's core functions. It's based on an assessment of input of an appropriate location and the means for regional support. It's to ensure, during that process, we also have to ensure that there's a continued management cohesiveness; that we don't have information vacuums. That our management structure is able to manage the entire globalization as effectively as possible.
The regions moving forward will be Africa. We are looking into whether it's worthwhile to have a presence in the Middle East. Latin America, Asia-Pacific, and the time line for that would be over the course of the next six months to two years.
Basically proceed but make sure we're demonstrating the need and ability to improve ICANN's efficiency overall.
We have several criteria we use to assess the appropriate locations and that will also be for this region. Legal implications, including the legal environment in order to set up an office. Business environment, including the ability to hire local staff. Country risk. Obviously we need to be cautious that we're in a politically stable environment. Acceptance by stakeholders. Is there one place that's less politically desirable than another location. We need to be sensitive to that and understand from the region. Transportation and communications infrastructure. And security. I think these would be the rational things to think about for any organization that opened something.
For the Africa region in particular, in September we made an announcement to engage the a African community to identify the appropriate modes and location on the African continent for an ICANN regional presence. We've gotten feedback and input from the community either through public or offline comments and we've engaged them to get a better understanding of what the needs are for the region. And our next step is to compare possible locations with the criteria and identify what might be the right place. And with that I end my presentation.
>>VINT CERF: Thank you very much, Theresa. You finished in splendid time.
Let me ask -- I was about to ask if there were any questions from the floor.
Let me find out if there are any questions on the last topics that we just discussed, from the floor.
Paul, you have the floor.
>>PAUL TWOMEY: Thank you, Vint. I just wanted to reinforce a couple of key points about this outreach process and the program for regional presenceS. And I do this partly from we had quite a discussion about this with the registrar constituencies, the key things we put there and some of the other constituencies in the last two days. I also make observations because I used to manage an organization that had 128 offices around the world. So the whole process of what to do in terms of when you move from one to two to several presences I think is see to point out.
The overall test that has to apply and will apply as we bring things to the board for consideration is the facilitation of the core business and the focus on doing the core work.
And as I pointed out in the registrar constituency, if you just take the core support for the gTLD business functions that we operate -- registrar, registry assistance, registrant assistance -- about 30% of the registrars now are in the Europe area. 50% are in the Americas, about 20% in the Asia-Pacific. I can report to the community that sitting at Paul Verhoef's desk for a week is an indication of how much, even though we haven't promoted it, people have found out the office exists, taking calls from registrant complaints, registrar issues, even some registry issues.
So time zone -- I mentioned before about the support for the IANA and the difference having a presence in Brussels has made to our being able to do a lot of zone file requests for IANA purposes. It's been very important. As I said before, particularly Anne-Rachel's ability to interact people with that time zone has been essential.
So both in terms of IANA core business, gTLD core business, this -- our experience in Brussels has been a very positive one. As I mentioned to the community, we've got things that we need to keep fixing IN the way we do our own processes. As we do that in Brussels and in Marina del Rey, I think we want to future proof those things to make sure that they are replicable in other places and replicable in ways that make sure those places assist us in our core business. So I wanted to support that that is a priority in management bringing forward the regional presence processes.
>>VINT CERF: Thank you very much, Paul.
>>MOUHAMET DIOP: Thank you, Vint.
I just want to talk a little bit about the preservation abroad for ICANN, which is -- for the WSIS. It's just -- I have been in the WSIS using two hats. The one is ICANN and the one is from my governmental perspective.
And I just want to share something with the constituency here.
I think that ICANN as a whole with its constituency have to be toward the WSIS process seen as a whole entity. With a harmonized approach with a coordinated organized point of view. And I think that I salute this type of emerging approach that we are getting, because I think that we need to be strong in front of a process that I think is looking for its ways to find a new model. And what we have put in place is something that is unique.
And because people do not understand the whole process, so they're trying to address individually the ICANN constituency and try to deal directly with them in order to find a way to work directly with them. And this thing is not helping a lot ICANN as a whole organization with its own history and a way of functioning. And I'm just calling again for all the constituency to understand that it's also providing an approach in which all the CCs, the registries and ICANN itself can gain getting an approach that will harmonize and coordinate as a sole body.
>>VINT CERF: I'm sure everyone reflects the same feeling, Mouhamet. Thank you for that.
I believe we've come to the end of the available time today. I thank all of you for being patient about spending an extra half hour. Tomorrow morning we'll convene at 8:30 and we will continue at that time with reports on WSIS. And then we'll have roughly an hour of discussion, or up to an hour of discussion on WSIS for those people who would like to talk about it further. And then we'll have remaining reports from the various board committees.
So I commend to you an evening in cape town. I hope you'll all find wonderful places to eat and drink, and I hope you'll be awake enough at 8:30 to join us tomorrow morning in this auditorium. So I'll adjourn until then.