ICANN Meetings in Lisbon Portugal
Transcript - GAC Plenary - OPEN SESSION
27 March 2007
Note: Although transcript 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.
>>CHAIR KARKLINS: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.
It is always very difficult that there is a co-presidency, and then these two heads are fighting each other and don't know who is starting.
Thank you, Vint, for encouraging me to start.
So, ladies and gentlemen GAC members, ladies and gentlemen board members, I warmly welcome you to this joint session, which is open. As Alex helped us to shed light to obscure rooms of the GAC by opening windows and letting fresh air in.
I think we will not -- We will not do a formal introduction, but during discussion, those who are taking the floor for the first time, just though introduce themselves so that we know who is speaking.
That is for my part. And, Vint, now back to you.
>>VINT CERF: Thank you very much, Janis. And thank you all once again for participating in the ICANN process, especially under what appear to be compressed circumstances.
I really want to thank you all for the time that you spend on ICANN-related matters. It's important that we have public policy input from governments around the world, and you represent our principal source of that information.
I want to begin first, however, by acknowledging one of our liaison board members and your, now, I guess, former chairman, Sharil Tarmizi, who is hiding over here in the corner.
I'm sure that you will have already said some words in thanks to his, frankly, thankless task of chairing a very, very complex group. But I want to express the appreciation of the board for the time he has served not only as GAC chair but as a member, and also as liaison in our meetings.
He has to do quadruple duty in some sense because he chairs the GAC meetings, he has a day job, he has to show up at the board meetings, and he has to show up at the joint working group meetings with the GAC and the board, and probably others that I just haven't listed.
So I will have an opportunity to go on and on about Sharil in the public forum meetings when we have an opportunity to acknowledge his service to all of us in the community. But Sharil, just in this meeting, I want to thank you again for a really wonderful tour of duty, and wish you very, very well as you go on to this new job that you took a little while ago.
So thank you on behalf of the board
[ Applause ]
>>VINT CERF: And I'll also have an opportunity, I'm sure, some day, to thank Janis Karklins for his long service. But right now I want to thank him for his willingness to accept this task. He has already shown himself a very effective player in many different venues of ICANN. And so I want to thank you again on behalf of the board for undertaking the task of chairing the GAC and of participating in all of our board-related activities as well. So we thank you again for accepting that task.
I think we should thank you officially for that, and so....
[ Applause ]
>>VINT CERF: Now, the purpose of these meetings is to put onto the table issues that the GAC may feel are pressing and need board attention, and vice versa. The board has an opportunity to place on the table issues which may have public policy import and that we hope you will take some time to consider.
I have a few things that I would like to discuss during the course of this afternoon, but I know that Paul Twomey, the CEO of ICANN, has a number of things that he would normally report to you about current state of affairs at ICANN, so I would rather defer to him for the moment and then come back to some topics that I would like to draw your attention to before we finish this two-hour session.
So Paul, let me ask you to begin your discussion.
>>PAUL TWOMEY: Thank you, Vint, and I'm always pleased to be back here in the heartland.
I'd also like to quickly thank Sharil for all his work, not only as chair but also vice chair to some unknown previous chair. And all his contribution, I think to the growth and formation of both the GAC and ICANN has been fantastic. I too will wax lyrical on Friday so I won't say anymore. And all I can say to Janis is your impact as a leading European is already clear, because the Europeans are distributed on both sides of the table, which is an unusual event. And I'll ask you your secret later.
Rather than making a slide presentation, which you have already seen if you went to the opening session, we tried to change the format this meeting, I thought I might just talk to a few topics and then particularly start dialogue, because we are interested to hear also from you about what you have been discussing.
So perhaps in some sort of -- quickly, in some sort of order, just to lay out an agenda.
The whole area of new generic top-level domains continues to be discussed. You've got policy work underway as has the GNSO and others. So that's an area we are interested in having a discussion about to see how that is going.
Similarly for the WHOIS work that's underway. We're interested to hear your views on WHOIS and the discussions you have been having.
I hope that all of you have had a chance to see the public participation site that's been made available now on the -- for supporting this meeting and other meetings. It was presented in some detail.
You can find a link to it off the new ICANN Web site, which is also a new opportunity.
And perhaps I might even quickly -- do these work? Are they linked?
>>PAUL TWOMEY: Can somebody just pull up the ICANN Web site, do you think?
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: We have a Web site? If that's what you call it.
>>PAUL TWOMEY: That was cheap.
[ Laughter ]
>>PAUL TWOMEY: I could say -- no, I need to be diplomatic now.
[ Laughter ]
>>PAUL TWOMEY: Can we enlarge that?
Take us out of the GAC one.
There's two things I would point out to the site just for people on the GAC who have not seen it yet.
>>VINT CERF: Sorry, Paul, and they can't see it now, either, unless it's being displayed -- oh, I see. You have extra. Oh, good. Okay.
I could see it fine. I was worried about people who were trying to read from all the way down there. Sorry.
>>PAUL TWOMEY: Ye of little faith.
So we have a new Web site, that's a good thing, but I would point out two particular things. If somebody was to click on public participation site, it's a link on the top there. That's it.
So as to be a heavily-used site. I won't ask the person to log in, but if you were -- this is a -- if you get a login here, which is name and password that is necessary, you will be able to track all the events taking place across the various meetings in the week and intersessionally, and you will also be able to see people's comments and you yourself will be able to make comments.
I think the latter one may be significant because this is an area where I suppose people can be more themselves to the degree you feel you can with your accreditation by your government, but this is an area where people can contribute ideas, contribute to this things early, raise issues when they are not formally yet a topic.
This will continue to be running between meetings and at meetings and each meeting that's taking place has an active process.
In each one of these..
If we were to click on board and registrars meeting, that one there, then you would see each one of them has an audio cast, Webcast, and chat room. And you can click boot chat room and have discussion. I won't ask you to do that because it requires log in and you probably don't have log in yet. That's one thing I wanted to bring to your attention because it's a multiplier for your participation, if you wish to in the various discussions that are taking place within the ICANN context.
I would also take you back up to the ICANN Web site.
If you were to go then across the page to where it says structure at the top navigation bar, that's it, go along, further.
Along the navigation bar -- yes. Of the Web site. It says "home, about, news, current topics, meetings." Just click structure.
This is a page from which you can basically find all the organizations and the various committees.
So if you've got particular -- if you want to track down inside about what's happening in various committees and things, it's a pretty easy page.
Sorry, if you click on GAC, it should take you to the GAC site.
And indeed, it does.
So if you go back.
The other page I'd like to take you to is the page that says processes. If you go up to the word processes. That's it.
This page is all of ICANN's ongoing work on a page. So I know many of you have been concerned that how do I know what's going on? What is the status of work? Where are things taking place?
Well, we have tried to put on this one page an oversight of all the work.
So if we were to scroll down this page, you would see Board, the GAC, the GNSO, the ccNSO, the ASO, et cetera, down to planning, down to the registrar tasks, task view with registries, compliance, complaint management, it's all there.
And if you keep going even further down, we've actually got a scrolling timetable of all the issues that are taking place over time.
If we can scroll back up, please, and just take the GNSO as an example. If you were to click on current policy issues, what you'll now see is, if you scroll down here, is that for each of the policy issues, you can actually see at what stage are they in the various -- in their various -- in the process they are due to follow.
Again, I think this is an important page for GAC members because it does let you actually see, for instance, if the press says ICANN has decided on WHOIS, you can actually quickly come here and see that we're actually only at the final report stage and we haven't yet started the council deliberation and it's not yet approved by the board. And you can actually see what the status is of a particular thing.
So wring that should give you more detail about exactly what is the status of any particular piece of work that's underway in the organization.
So that's a bit of a show-and-tell. I hope they are two useful tools for your work.
>>VINT CERF: Oh, may I just intervene and mention one thing. This represents an enormous amount of work by one of the ICANN staff, Marc -- I'm sorry, it's -- Marc's last --
>>PAUL TWOMEY: Salvatierra.
>>VINT CERF: I reason I wanted to bring this up is this huge amount of work over the last several months is only going to be useful if he is able to keep the information up-to-date.
So he needs inputs from the various parts of ICANN that are carrying out various tasks, and that includes the GAC.
So in sort of an open message to the chair and to those of you who are, in fact, tracking various working group activity, to the extent that you want it to be visible to everyone as to where you are, that information needs to get back to Marc in some way.
So I just encourage you to do that because it's so valuable for everyone.
>>PAUL TWOMEY: Another step we're taking to try to improve support for the GAC is that we are appointing, as we indicated last meeting, a GAC liaison from staff as part of efforts to improve support for your work, and that person will be taking that position on the 12th of April. It is Donna Austin. Some of you may know Donna. Yes, I see Annebeth smiling. And Donna has been the ccNSO staff liaison person for the last 12 months or so, so she will bring that experience. Some of you may not know because in he several incarnations prior, Donna was actually the Secretariat of the GAC. So she does bring a historical view of the GAC itself.
Moving on from that, if I might quickly talk -- again, go back to the agenda. I mentioned new gTLDs, I mentioned WHOIS. We would both like to hear details of that from you.
Clearly one of the things coming up for the board decision on Friday is triple X, and there has been a communique from this group in Wellington. There has also been a letter that was received from the chairs, so we will be interested to hear any further discussion you would like to raise on that topic.
Two things I might finish with. One is WIPO II recommendations, and I thought I might quickly give you an update on that.
The implementation of the WIPO II agreement regarding intergovernmental organization names and abbreviations is under development in the GNSO and specifically the intellectual property constituency was tasked by the GNSO council to refine its suggestion on this and provide the council with a more detailed analysis and proposal on how to proceed.
The text is prepared and has been waiting IP constituency presentation to the council. And now, as you may appreciate, the council and the constituency's efforts have been focused on other pressing areas, including WHOIS and new TLDs, which has frankly caused a delay in the consideration of the issues.
But I am told that the intellectual property constituency will be raising this matter at tomorrow's GNSO council meeting, and will ask that it be agendized, it will be put on the agenda for the council consideration for the first council meeting after Lisbon.
You should also be aware that the GNSO has a reserved names working group that is reporting to the council on a range of related issues and has paid careful attention to GAC concerns on a number of reserved names categories.
Indeed, the report of the reserved names working group, which is posted, contains several recommendations of interest to the GAC, several recommendations that you put forward. This work has been presented to the council which will ensure that it is coordinated with the GAC's WIPO II intergovernmental work at its next council meeting.
And the GNSO liaison will ensure that the GAC is apprised of these actions.
So that's an update on that.
Finally, just from me, you will be aware that some of your citizens have been registrants who were involved -- have been involved with a particular registrar called RegisterFly, and that we have had some extreme difficulties with that registrar.
If you want to follow the full history of input on that and responses from the community, I would suggest you go to the ICANN blog. It has been very busy on this topic for the last month. But we have been moving forward in a series of actions available to us under the contract to try to get some certainty about what the situation was with RegisterFly's management, and then we have moved to tell them that they have been terminated as an accredited registrar, and to get the data escrow transfer process.
We are continuing to go through that process. They still have some rights under the contract for exercising concerning arbitration, but this is an area where we have already announced that there is a need to learn the lessons from this and to have further consideration of issues that relate to the registrar accreditation agreements and the general environment around the protection of registrants.
We had a workshop on this, some of you may have been present for it -- the representative from France was an active participant, on Monday -- and we continue to have a dialogue about that.
We have just come from the registrar constituency and very pleasingly, they are taking a real leadership position here to try to move forward ahead of the curve and talk on a number of areas where we can improve the registrar accreditation agreements and the whole operation of the registrar processes with registrants.
So just to report that to you, that's an area that should be naturally of interest to you because it comes to the rights of your registrants. It deals with issues where, it's one of these markets where one of your citizens may register a domain name for their business and today it's worth $6.75 and in three years' time it might be worth a hundred million dollars depending how well their business has done. And therefore the protection of how their registration occurs and how it's transferred and how it's protected is a pretty important issue. So I exhort you to keep an eye on that and be involved in that dialogue.
Perhaps that's a sufficient introduction, and I can come back to the three topics of new gTLDs, WHOIS and triple X as being topics of dialogue for further discussion.
>>CHAIR KARKLINS: Thank you, Paul. Thank you, Vint.
Maybe I will make a brief overview, what we have done so far in Lisbon, and what we are expecting to achieve. But then I will ask conveners of specific working groups to go more into details, particularly on WHOIS principles and new gTLD principles.
So it is very good that you are sitting. Otherwise, you would have been fallen
[ Laughter ]
>>CHAIR KARKLINS: This is just a prelude to the very long list of good accomplishments, what we are expecting to present during open session on Thursday.
So namely, I can report to you that in general, in principle, we have reached agreement on GAC WHOIS principles. We are very close to agreement to the new gTLD principles.
We will announce, as requested by the board, the five persons from the GAC who will be serving in ENAC during 2007, with very clear understanding that ENAC would never be enacted.
We will equally present further views on transparency and accountability.
We had the very interesting discussion today, this morning, as a continuation of yesterday's introduction of issue paper on IDNs in CC space.
Away clearly understood how complex this issue is, and how much effort, joint effort, will be needed to deploy in order to reach agreement or reach consensus on answering those questions.
But we may wish to go deeper in details on all these issues during this discussion.
And equally, intersessionally, we had one conference call in the framework of joint working group -- ICANN/GAC joint working group. We discussed issues on better interaction between different constituencies, as well as how GAC could participate and contribute to ICANN's outreach exercise. And we hope to continue this fruitful exchange on these two particular issues, which include also a master calendar of activities which will be useful to all constituencies during our next face-to-face meeting tomorrow.
By saying that, I would like now to invite first Suzanne Sene, who is the scribe of working group on WHOIS, to explain what we agreed upon.
And after that, I will ask Bill Dee to brief on new gTLD principles.
>>SUZANNE SENE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I'm very pleased to follow on with your report, noting that we have -- we are prepared, we believe, tomorrow morning during our plenary session to approve GAC WHOIS principles.
As many of you know, we have been reporting on our discussions amongst ourselves, and with the community since June 2005, fleshing out law enforcement, consumer protection, other relevant national laws such as privacy protection, outlining our sense of what we consider to be legitimate activities involving access to and use of WHOIS data, signaling some concerns.
And I think you'll find in a very constructive way, certainly it is intended to be constructive, we hope it's received that way, some suggestions for some further additional analytical work, some focus on inaccuracy of data, and a proposal that perhaps more data might need to be gathered on how WHOIS data is used and as well as abused, which we often hear the reports. We think it would be extremely helpful to have a little bit more data on that.
I believe our communique will also -- we haven't drafted it yet so I can't put too many words in my colleagues' mouths, but there is a great deal of sentiment around the table in support for continuing the collaboration and the ongoing dialogue and exchanges we have had over the years with the GNSO council, the WHOIS task force, which we understand now has completed its work.
I think we were particularly struck by the challenges faced by the WHOIS task force and now the GNSO council, and we are hoping to send a signal that we would like to continue the dialogue and the discussion, if that would be helpful, to perhaps look at alternative approaches or proposals that might not be so diametrically opposed.
So we are hoping to signal that tomorrow as we approve our principles.
>>VINT CERF: Suzanne, it's Vint. This topic, of course, has been almost perennial now, and came up again today in other contexts.
It occurred to me that we may have set ourselves and others a potentially impossible task by starting with an object that was created in an environment of collaboration and collegiality and not much in the way of monetary value. The WHOIS database originally was just a bunch of people in the academic world trying to make sure we could find the guy who was running that host or that piece of the network and fix something that broke. And everyone knew everyone else, so it wasn't as if we were exposing information that wasn't available in some other form already. Just a convenient database.
Now, project that forward 30 years. This database actually preceded the invention of the Internet. It was part of the ARPANET environment.
Projecting that forward 30 years, we have an amalgam of information which now has become much more sensitive, partly because the public its information embedded in it. Financially useful information, or let us say abusable information is in the database. But it's still this aggregate database.
It's possible that the information in that database doesn't deserve uniform treatment. And that the attempt to even create tiered access to this aggregate database still creates an impossible problem, one which is overconstrained.
So I haven't read the communique, and I'm eager, of course, to learn more about your conclusions, but I would like to at least place on the table the thought that we might need to transform the problem we were trying to solve in an effort to make it solvable.
So I only put that on the table to suggest that away ought to allow ourselves that degree of latitude, if in the end, trying to take the object which we call the WHOIS database and make it satisfy all the conflicting requirements might actually be solvable if we change the problem.
>>CHAIR KARKLINS: So, Bill, would you take the floor and brief on new gTLD principles.
>>BILL DEE: Sure, thank you, Janis.
Well, I think I got the easy job, actually, compared to Suzanne, because gTLD principles have proved to be a process within the GAC, actually, that's been fairly free of -- let me put it this way. It's been very consensus driven right from the beginning.
We started in December 2005 shortly after the Tunis process, the WSIS process, where there was specific reference for the governments to need to try and develop principles in this area.
And as with the WHOIS principles, actually, we have a draft which is, I think, ready for approval tomorrow.
But as I say, it's been a high degree of consensus, which wasn't entirely predictable at the outset. I have to say as the person who drafted the first version, I expected there to be a lot of debate. But I think the reasons are good, actually.
I think we've realized that away do share a lot of commonality, and that a lot of the public principles that we believe in are principles we apply to other sectors. You know, promoting competition, protecting prior rights, there's some DNS specific provisions like geographic names in there. But that's, I think, entirely predictable to anyone that knows this area.
And it was helped as well, I think, by the fact that we were able to draw on ICANN's core values, which in the current draft we make explicit reference to. It was felt useful by myself and Peter Landen, Norwegian GAC member responsible at the time, actually, for this, to restate them in full. And actually, it was a very useful starting point because many of the things I think we realized we wanted to say are actually there in ICANN's core values.
So that's where we are. And hopefully by the close of play on Thursday, whenever we deliver the communique, you'll see for yourself. But it should be predictable, not least because an early version of it did leak out, actually. You've probably seen that.
This one is different in some ways, and I think in good ways, actually. I think we dealt with some of the concerns people had then.
>>VINT CERF: I realize that it's a little premature to ask any questions, since you haven't been able to unearth this for other than GAC consideration.
When principles are offered, they can be tremendously helpful as guidance. They can also be perversely difficult as you try to translate the principle into something that you implement.
So I -- just out of sheer curiosity, in the course of your discussions about the principles, was there much consideration about how they might actually be applied in practice? And if so, were you comfortable that they are actionable?
>>BILL DEE: Well, I think it's fair to say that that was a constant theme, actually. People asked that question regularly.
I think this is probably more of a personal view, but it's one I shared in the working group, and that is that I think we need to agree on what we agree on first, actually, in terms of public policy objectives, and then look at how we might like ICANN to implement them.
And you're right, actually, there's a direct connection between the two. But sometimes you need to decide where you're going to before you decide how you're going to get there.
And to try to deal with both at the same time, actually, is difficult. And I'd just argue that we often and from a political perspective -- not that we are political, of course, actually, but our ministers and commissioners are -- state public policy objectives and then send people scurrying off, actually, to find a way to implement it.
And I personally felt this approach was right, because it kept the principles up at the level that we primarily are interested in and avoided not us having to answer difficult questions of implementation, but it kept us away from getting too involved in the micromanagement of ICANN in terms of how the community more broadly will decide how to proceed based on multistakeholder, bottom-up approach.
So I think it was kind of healthy that we acknowledged that there's some very important questions there, but we didn't try and produce a comprehensive document which specified at too high a level of granularity actually what we expected from you. And I think you wouldn't have appreciated that if we had.
>>VINT CERF: On behalf of the board, thank you for that, I think. And, of course, we'll know better as we attempt to take the principles and actually apply them. And if there is a problem, I hope you'll forgive me for coming back, or the board for coming back to say, "And here's where we had some difficulty implementing that one."
Are there any questions from board members so far on the topics that we've discussed?
Apparently, clarity prevails. So let's press on, Mr. Chairman.
>>CHAIR KARKLINS: We have one -- we had a discussion on transparency and accountability of ICANN.
As you remember, in Sao Paulo, GAC offered preliminary views on this issue, responding to the board's call.
We understood that during this meeting, the One World Trust or One Trust World -- One World Trust would present a report, and we would like to ask when it will be and what would be opportunity for the GAC to express opinion and views on that report, because during discussion of our further input to the question, it was acknowledged that for the GAC point of view, the questions of transparency and accountability are of extreme importance, and we would like to remain in the loop and in contact on these issues and would like to provide our input in ongoing discussion on these issues.
>>PAUL TWOMEY: Thanks for the question.
My understanding is the report will be made public on Wednesday and that we're waiting for the One World Trust just to finalize some points that they wish to finalize.
And I'm not certain if Paul Levins is in the room. Is he in the room?
>>VINT CERF: No, he's not.
>>PAUL TWOMEY: Paul has been sort of managing that particular initiative. So I -- the One World Trust people themselves, for a number of conflicts they've got in their work schedule, are not attending here on Wednesday. So the report will be made available on Wednesday, and I think we are scheduled to have some sort of presentation on the major issues. But I have to check with Paul to get the detail, I'm afraid. Happy to come back to you and let you know the answer on that.
We, of course, welcome the individual and group GAC input on the questions of transparency and accountability and have been following a -- an established program that we announced in Sao Paulo.
I can tell you that the -- as I reported, I think -- or I think as Paul has reported, the overall report will say that of the organizations the One World Trust, if you like, tracks or audits -- and these are a series of intergovernmental organizations, international not-for-profits, and multinational corporations -- that ICANN could well be the most transparent organization that they track. But they make the point I think that some of us have made before, that accessibility to that information is really where there's a downfall. And I think there is a series of recommendations they have for improving that accessibility.
I suspect, actually, some of them have already been achieved in the last week or more.
But that'll be for Wednesday for further discussion. We're very keen, obviously, to have more feedback from people who have ideas of how to improve that. So....
>>CHAIR KARKLINS: Does anybody want to ask questions on this particular issue, transparency and accountability?
>>VINT CERF: In my view, of course, this is sort of the -- a beginning, because the One World Trust report is just another attempt at evaluating our transparency. And the report is made -- if the report is made public, I would expect commentary to come back from many different sources. But we value the commentary especially from the GAC, because you operate in an environment where transparency and accountability are paramount. I assume that the intent of the One World Trust report is to help guide us towards better ask more effective accountability and transparency. So this is an ongoing process. It's not one that gets done by having one report written and then it's all over.
>>PAUL TWOMEY: Yeah, that's right.
>>CHAIR KARKLINS: During our discussions of this issue, the questions of accountability were linked in some sense with the report of the President's Strategy Committee, which is published and will be presented and discussed tomorrow, because it is obvious that without a clearly-set accountability framework, the further internationalization and institutional change would become very sensitive and difficult, and questions of potential change of ICANN's institutional structure and legal structure and introduction of very well-defined accountability framework are intimately linked.
>>PAUL TWOMEY: Yes.
The -- I think we're at an interesting stage where the documentation and the response by the board and staff that you are seeing is a reflection of a range of expectations or pressures from different parts of the community.
So you've, I think, quite rightly pointed out, as we've certainly heard on that strategy committee, even heard from the Portuguese minister on Monday, strong emphasis about internationalization, to agree what that means, emphasis then, obviously, about accountability, clearly issues that are affected in that report about the rule of law, the application of law, how actions can be accountable that way.
I would also stress in a way it's worth remembering that there is corporate accountability that we have. We have corporate law accountability, we have fiduciary obligation accountability on the board members, we have elections as a form of accountability.
And so even now, ICANN as an organization, in some respects, the word "accountability," because of its makeup and structure, it is a diffuse sense of accountability. But I would not want anybody to make the sense it's not accountable.
I think also, with due respect to my friends from the United States, it would also be a mistake to think that at the present stage, ICANN is accountable to the United States government, full stop, end of story, which I do think there's a bit of a tendency in some respects to see even the joint partnership agreement as seeing that these people are only accountable to one government, that's all they're accountable to.
If you look around at the way ICANN operates now, the board's elections, the legal responsibilities that we have, you look at the way the structures work, it is a fairly intricate and balanced form of accountability.
I don't want to underestimate in any way or try to see off the dialogue you're talking about. I think this is a very real discussion that needs to be had. So I agree with that. I'm just saying we need to have a fairly multifaceted view of what that accountability would be.
I'd also point out to members of the GAC that the Board Governance Committee is overseeing potentially four or certainly four reviews, potentially five reviews, over the next six-month period. These are reviews that are part of our bylaw requirement, and they are part of our ongoing business-as-usual, if you like, which is to review ourselves and reform ourselves where it's necessary.
They -- one is, that you're aware of, is the GNSO review. But other ones are the At-Large Advisory Committee review, the Nominating Committee review, for which the documentation is presently being posted, and the review of the board itself.
The fifth one is a review of the root server advisory committee.
Three of those reviews are actually interrelated with the issues of accountability potentially, in the sense the NomCom, the board, and any potential future of the at large and its representation at the board are sort of related issues which also come to accountability questions. And in this sense of accountability of the board members to a constituency.
So we actually have a number of ongoing evolutionary questions in that area.
>>VINT CERF: I just wanted to add one thing to that.
We all, I think, experience -- I -- let me personalize this. I experience a certain appreciation for the multistakeholder model during the WSIS unfolding and then again with the IGF.
We are a multistakeholder structure, and we are accountable or should be accountable to all of those stakeholders.
So when people talk about accountability and they think of it only as accountability to governments, that probably does an injustice to the structure of ICANN and its purpose, which is to be accountable to and transparent to all of those stakeholders, governments included, but the others not excluded. So our ability to be accountable for all of them is pretty important. And so this list of things that Paul just mentioned is a partial example of the many different parties to whom I think we should feel and must feel accountable.
So that's -- I hope everyone finds that to be an agreeable perspective.
>>CHAIR KARKLINS: When I started -- I started this discussion, I never thought that you would interpret my comments as Government Advisory Committee insistence that ICANN board or ICANN should be accountable to governments. By no means. We are part of the community. We have announced that we are moving in that direction as a part of reform of the GAC and revitalization of our relations.
So -- and I beg pardon if my English was not sufficiently clear. I didn't mean that. But I --
>>VINT CERF: Janis, you have no reason to apologize.
My paranoia is the problem, not your English.
>>CHAIR KARKLINS: So I know that there is another issue what one GAC member indicated that we would need to address, and that, in some extent, relates to the Web site.
I really want to congratulate ICANN. It seems to me that this is a very excellent job, at least as much as I could see that, and particularly this page which is displayed. I think those who invented that or proposed that should be extremely proud. It is a very good tool for all of us to follow what is going on.
From our side, we had a discussion today in the plenary that the GAC Web site also needs to be improved. And now, when our secretariat has entered into role and made the ball rolling, now they have a little bit more time, they will focus on this issue of improvement of GAC Web site.
We also hope, and we're thankful for nominating liaison to the GAC. We think that that also will be very helpful for the GAC, including helping us to improve our Web site.
But I know that there is a request from United Kingdom on one issue related to the Web site, and most likely -- more precisely, to the links.
If you would like to dwell on that, Martin.
>>MARTIN BOYLE: Thank you, chair. And apology to Paul for the cheap jibe earlier, which fortunately wasn't picked up by the scribes for the permanent record.
And certainly I have, over the last couple of weeks, seen the developments of the new Web site, and compliment you on a lot of the innovation that you're putting in there. I think that is very good.
What sparked all of this, though, was concern earlier this year to see that there were a lot of references on the ICANN Web site pointing to hopelessly out of date GAC material, including communiques that seemed to come to an end at the Montreal meeting, which I thought was perhaps being a little bit cruel on the GAC's speed of work.
But, in particular, there were a number of references to out-of-date ccTLD principles. And I was very pleased at the speed when that was flagged for your people to put that right.
However, for reasons that now completely escape me, I ended up looking at a number of the IANA redelegation reports, and I was rather horrified to find that the most recent ones even are still referring to the 2000 ccTLD principles.
In the Mar Del Plata communique -- in the Mar Del Plata communique, we presented our ccTLD principles to the board. So I would actually like to understand why the board -- why the IANA function is still not using the correct version of the GAC ccTLD principles in the exercise of the IANA function.
>>PAUL TWOMEY: Well, I think -- first of all, thank you for pointing that out. And I really can't give you great detail as to why those links were the way they were. I'll have to get that checked. As you pointed out, as soon as we had received -- I received that, I made certain those changes were made.
The Web site -- a vast amount of the Web site work has been to make all this change and not change any links, so that people who had anything that was -- they had saved as a favorite, any link that had been saved as a favorite was not broken by the change of the Web site.
That is an inherently conservative process, and I suspect what we've actually gone and done is constituted those links. But I just wanted to point that out.
I think when it comes to the redelegation process, I think, really, the -- while I think it's just an error in terms of reference back to the document, in terms of the actual principles, this is actually the same principles that relate for the points that matter for the way in which the IANA operates in that process, in particular, the government -- the role of the government, and then the consultation with the local community, so that the government -- the key thing in that redelegation is that the role the government plays in giving its -- its indication of its support for any change. And I think that hasn't changed between the versions of the documentation.
But the point -- I will certainly go back and look at the written reports. I think that's a question of just -- of error.
>>CHAIR KARKLINS: I -- simply taking into account our experience, we were planning, with Paul, to exhaust all other issues before we are entering the one -- the most exciting.
>>VINT CERF: I see.
>>CHAIR KARKLINS: And in that respect, I wanted to ask whether there are some -- whether there are any other issues that GAC members or board members would like to raise before we are entering the issue of ICM application.
>>VINT CERF: So before we get there, just a reminder: The new head of the ITU, Hamadoun Toure, is going to come to the ICANN meeting on Friday morning.
And I'd like to invite all of the GAC participants, if you are able, to join us in the morning. We asked him to address those of us who are still present on Friday. And it would be nice to have a full house.
So we'd like to encourage you to come. I think we've scheduled that for 8:30 in the morning on Friday, prior to the actual board meeting.
As Paul has mentioned several times this week, this is the first time that an ITU Secretary-General has even expressed an interest in participating in an ICANN meeting, let alone actually attending one.
I've had a few personal interactions, once at Davos, for example, with Dr. Toure. And I can tell you that it's -- speaking of breaths of fresh air and light, he seems very committed to pursuing development activity to spread access to Internet where it isn't right now.
He seems to be very committed to Millennium Development Goals, as opposed to a focus on ITU and ICANN in some conflicting way, which is quite a change from the previous management at the ITU.
So I hope that you'll all have an opportunity to attend and interact with him on Friday morning.
>>CHAIR KARKLINS: Bertrand de la Chapelle.
>>BERTRAND DE LA CHAPELLE: Thank you. Bertrand de la Chapelle, France.
Just a brief remark relating to the President's Strategy Committee report, to purchase that there is a deep level of interest within the GAC on those issues, and that we will welcome, in general, feedback from the board on how it intends -- what kind of activities it will have to follow up on this report, and on the secondhand, how it intends to interact or allow the interaction between the GAC and those activities in the future.
>>PAUL TWOMEY: Yes. Yes, we will do that, take that on notice. Sorry.
>>CHAIR KARKLINS: The GAC -- and now we are on ICM application.
The GAC today had a discussion on the status of ICM application. And before letting GAC members express themselves, if they wish so, or board members ask questions or express themselves as they wish, I can inform the board that GAC explicitly endorsed the text of communication of 2nd February, which was sent and signed by chairman of the GAC and cosigned by chairman -- chair-elect of the GAC. This was done online, and operating principles allow such a means of communication, or such a way of endorsement. But we felt that explicit endorsement in the face-to-face meeting would be necessary to clear all doubts on the status of that communication.
So I would like to stop here at the moment and invite GAC members or board members to take the floor on this issue.
>>VINT CERF: I've arranged that during the open sessions, I'm not sure which day now, but it's during the next public forum day, that 20 minutes be set aside for pro and con public statements with regard to the ICM proposal. So just FYI, I'm dedicating some time during the public forum to allow commentary either for or against the proposal. That's just for your information.
>>CHAIR KARKLINS: So the floor is open.
[ Laughter ]
>>VINT CERF: So this was the hot topic.
Can I suggest to you that this topic has been heavily debated within the board, and that the board is quite split on the subject. I think if you've been reading board minutes, it should be obvious that there's very strong polarity right now, and for a variety of different reasons and for different rationales.
So what you can expect on Friday will be a final vote on the subject. Either we will conclude that we should in fact proceed with this top-level domain or we will conclude that we should not. If we conclude the latter, it's the intent of -- my intent, anyway, to ask that the resolution be definitive with regard to the proposal. And if a vote is against, we don't expect to see a renewal of -- or renewed contractual discussion, that the matter will end if the vote is negative.
There's always the possibility that somehow the board will end up not having a decision because it's split down the middle and we don't have a sufficient majority of either "yes" or "no." At that point, we're in a very odd state. I hope we don't end up there. But that's a possibility.
>>CHAIR KARKLINS: Bertrand.
>>BERTRAND DE LA CHAPELLE: It's an amazing situation where the hottest topic is so hard to address because everything that is going to be said has so many implications for the future.
So I'm in a strange situation of being the one that volunteers to get in the middle of the fire. And to avoid being trapped into the difficult situation, I will address one point that you are mentioning, which is the fact that the board is split.
And I would like to make a parallel with the interactions, the very fruitful interactions, that we've had as the GAC with the GNSO on the two issues we discussed earlier, the issues of WHOIS and the issues of introduction of new gTLDs.
As you know, it is obvious that within the GAC, the positions on WHOIS and on the TLDs were absolutely not the same in the onset.
In a strange manner, after lengthy discussion, some form of consensus has managed to emerge, particularly by distinguishing the factual analysis of the situation and the principles for moving forward.
I must say that on the three cases that we are studying here, the WHOIS, the gTLD, and the dot xxx application, we see that the internal processes for dealing with those issues within ICANN apparently do not seem to produce a convergence of positions and of interests.
I read very carefully the WHOIS task force report from the GNSO, which is a very, very thorough and important work.
I was very surprised by the tone of some of the comments and the fact that a certain number of positions basically were the same as when the study started, for many reasons. Probably because the knowledge that the weighted voting in the end didn't encourage convergence.
The presentation yesterday by Bruce Tonkin on the draft TLD process somehow was referring to the same thing, saying the arguments pro or against the introduction of new gTLDs are the same as they were a long time ago.
I just want to stop here and stress the fact that the three cases seem to indicate that something within the policy development process mechanisms is, for one reason or the other, not conducive to a convergence of interest. I don't know if it is the voting mechanism in the end, if it is the process and the way issues papers are prepared in the beginning, whether it is the fact that maybe the interaction with the GAC, for instance, is not done early enough.
But what I notice is that on the new joint GAC ccTLD -- ccNSO working group, the approach that we have taken is actually not even to start with discussion on answers but just a discussion on what are the questions.
And I don't know how it will evolve, but I think the three cases are certainly, in terms of process, elements from which we should draw lessons for the future interaction between the GAC and the other SOs, and for the internal process on the PDPs.
>>VINT CERF: Just an observation. If you actually have any concrete ideas about improving the methods by which consensus could be reached in ICANN processes generally, please don't be shy about sharing them.
>>CHAIR KARKLINS: Italy.
>>ITALY: Yes, thank you, Chair.
So concerning the XXX string, we hope that the problem will be over by the end of this week.
I think we spent a lot of time, maybe the board much more than we did.
But I think that this point should teach something to us, looking at the future, and remembering the fact that we could say that ICANN was created among other scopes, but for increasing the domain space. Or at least when it was discussed in ISOC in '95 or so before ICANN was created, we were discussing about how to make a process to increase the number of gTLDs.
So -- But the point is that now we are discussing the new gTLDs and the GAC is preparing the principles. And what is worrying a bit is the fact that, in a way, we are obliged when evaluating the strings that are proposed to get into the content issue. That is something that is outside the strict, let's say, scope of ICANN.
But in this case, this is something mandatory. And it was certainly interesting to learn from GNSO the fact that there is a provision to have external bodies that make judgments. But in the end, the decision-making will be with the board.
So it will be interesting to know how you see this problem for the next future.
>>VINT CERF: First of all, I dearly wish that we could consider this particular proposal in the context of a new gTLD framework, which I hope would have contemplated controversial proposals for new TLDs.
This particular one I don't think was anticipated when we opened up the sponsored TLD opportunity, and that taught me a lesson in the sense that you have to be careful what you ask for because you may get something you didn't expect.
But we're now forced in some sense to come to grips with this one in the present context.
There are strong feelings in some quarters that content is absolutely not in the ICANN scope and that we should not expand our scope to take that into consideration.
That we should treat the TLD question as purely a mechanical one. Does the proposal -- Does the proposer show financial and technical and performance capability to operate a TLD? Does the TLD have any technical flaws in it that would somehow be inimical to safe operation?
But it seems to me that because we open all TLD proposals up to public comment and we open all contracts up for them to public comment, that we are going to get comments that are not so confined to the matters I have just suggested.
There are other members of the board, and I'm sure others in the community, who see TLDs as having a larger significance than just those rather quantitative things that I have just mentioned. And it seems to me that when it's a matter of public policy, which is a key responsibility of GAC to advise the board about, that we can't shut our eyes or ears to what are important public policy considerations.
So the board is now faced with a good many pieces of input that are -- that are beyond the scope of a narrowly conceived ICANN, and yet which seem to me very relevant.
They are also in conflict with each other. So the board is now faced with trying to resolve this matter in the presence of advice which is, in fact, not uniform.
I don't think this is going to be an unusual circumstance. In the future, I expect similar kinds of problems will arise, but frankly I hope, to go a moment into the new TLD direction, I hope that when there is controversy for a proposed TLD in the future, that we will invent mechanisms that can deal with the controversy in some way other than having it end up solely in the hands of the board to decide.
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Peter Dengate Thrush, board member. I thought it might be helpful to give an indication, there have been hundreds, I think, in the last month of e-mails on the board list as we have grappled with this. And I can't do justice to the depth or complexity of that debate. But I think it probably comes down in the end to two key issues for board members that we're grappling with. The first is the concept of sponsorship and how that's met. And the difficulty here for most of us is that we have, in the apparent community that this is intended to serve, opposition to the TLD. That's new.
We may have had people in the community who were ambivalent or even opposed but silent previously about a new TLD. But in this case, we have active opposition from members that might be thought to be the intended community. And so the question is does that make any difference at all, and if so, how much. And is there some kind of balance between support and opposition from within a particular community.
Clearly, we don't expect the entire community to be actively supporting. But what do we do when a significant proportion of them are actively opposed? So that's one thing we are grappling with.
And the other one is the contract itself and the compliance issues with applicants for registration in this TLD. If there are apparent applicants who breach the terms and conditions, what can be done and by whom.
And we're concerned about the role that ICANN itself might have to play in that.
So I just offer those up as an indication of the kind of arguments and debates and thing that we're facing.
This is a very complicated issue for us, and one that's being taken extremely seriously.
That's partly why I think we're all absolutely determined to make sure we don't go past 12:30 Friday with this unresolved.
>>CHAIR KARKLINS: So I see no further requests for the floor.
Maybe I should also indicate or provide you with the sense of discussion we had within the GAC and which will find reflection in communique.
I cannot guarantee that the communique language will be exactly as I am saying because we haven't started communique drafting, but at this point I can say that there were a number of countries or GAC representatives speaking who said that they remained -- or their respective governments remain opposed to introduction of the string.
Some of them were emphatically opposed. Some of them said that they are opposing the idea, but not emphatically.
There were a number of GAC representatives who spoke or who said that their governments have neutral position to the issue.
I must admit that no GAC representative during today's session spoke in favor of introduction of the string.
The GAC reiterated that the Wellington communique remains a valid expression of its opinion, as well as GAC thought that it would be useful to issue a note of caution that the -- in case of adoption of contract, ICANN may enter into an area that falls outside its core mandate.
Meaning that it would enter into an area -- potentially could enter into an area of oversight of Internet content, which certainly is not the function of ICANN.
So these were points which, in one way or another, will find reflection in the GAC communique which hopefully will be adopted tomorrow before 12:30.
>>VINT CERF: Just a thought, Janis. The observation that if we adopt, we might enter into an oversight role which is content related is interestingly in conflict with another view which says if you don't adopt, then you will implicitly expanded your role, our role, into content-related decisions, and, therefore, in both cases we somehow manage to have broken into territory that none of us wanted to be into. Which makes me wish that the earth would open up and swallow me right now --
[ Laughter ]
>>VINT CERF: -- so I wouldn't have to worry about the problem anymore.
I can tell you, though, that the board does wish to come to a conclusion, one way or another. And generally speaking for this board, once we make a decision, we will -- all of us intend to support the decision.
But getting there is really hard, and I hope in your own discussions you appreciated some of the difficulty.
I want to thank Peter for very careful pinpointing of two key matters that have been the source of a great deal of discussion and debate.
It does give me some pause that members of the community that -- or, shall we say, the industry who, in fact, seem to be in favor have changed their minds, some of them. And others who said nothing have said more within that so-called sponsored community. So that certainly gives some pause to the proposal.
But nonetheless, the debate continues, and we hope it will come to a conclusion at the end of this week.
>>PAUL TWOMEY: I have some appreciation that on occasions, things can emerge out of two groups who spend really good time thinking about something and then say questions that might seem contrary to each other.
So I know what it's like to be inside the GAC and to work up a communique and think you know what it said. I know what it's like to be on the board to talk about something, receive something, and say I don't fully understand what it means.
So I think we do have a question which you may want to consider in terms of your communique that you are talking about at the moment is this question we have about advice from the GAC, which is a bylaw term. Public policy advice from the GAC.
And you said that you have confirmed your Wellington communique, but one thing you may wish to consider is the careful wording in that communique because it does actually refer to a previous contract. And so you may just want to think about that.
Peter has raised it, and it has been another point of discussion or just a question that has been before the board, which is what is the nature of the Wellington communique. Is it advice and is it still valid?
Now, you are having those discussions and you have said yourself you have confirmed Wellington, and that you will have more language in the communique tomorrow. So rather than asking for an answer now, I will simply just say at least one board member has risen the question do we have advice from the GAC, "advice" being in inverted commas relating back to the bylaw language.
>>CHAIR KARKLINS: I don't know whether GAC members want to respond to this question, but I think our letter of 2nd February provides an answer to that question. And that question -- that answer is....
>>VINT CERF: I love it when I see two former chairs of the GAC fussing over the wording of a thing that was sent two months ago. This is really cool.
Could I make a suggestion to cut to the chase. If you have advice for us tomorrow on this matter, it would be good to be absolutely precise and say that this advice is intended to refer to the present context in which the matter is being considered, so that there isn't any doubt about the basis of your advice.
Does that make sense?
>>CHAIR KARKLINS: The formal advice can be given if formal request is issued.
This was the meaning of what I was looking for in the letter.
We said that we would be -- we would consider providing a formal advice, further formal advice if further formal request would be received.
So we do not interpret letter of 14th March as a request for a formal advice from the GAC.
So we had discussion today. We will issue a communique which in -- or has been so far had an official meaning, official expression of the views of the GAC.
If the board wished to take the communique of the GAC as the official expression of its opinion, please do so.
>> Mr. Chairman, if I may, I consider myself to be fairly literate. (inaudible) I read the GAC communique what does it mean. And I would sincerely (inaudible) sentiments by your thoughts. I would sincerely at least like to take them into consideration.
But I do have to understand what they mean.
>>CHAIR KARKLINS: Bertrand.
>>BERTRAND DE LA CHAPELLE: Well, Vint, you're in difficult territory and just trying to help the discussion move forward.
The Chairman of the board has rightly said that he wished that the process for introduction of new gTLDs that is under discussion were already in place.
As a matter of fact, the GAC principles for the introduction of gTLD are not yet adopted either.
But still, to illustrate the framework for our discussion and what the GAC is actually about to propose for the future gTLDs, those elements maybe highlight a little bit the feeling within the GAC on how to proceed.
One of the key elements of the draft GAC principles for gTLDs is a relatively simple distinction between three elements: the introduction of a TLD, the delegation to a given registry, and the modalities of operation for this TLD and registry.
The fact that they are successive in the document doesn't necessarily mean that they are successive in the order of decision. They are somewhat in a logical order, but there is not a first step where you decide whether there's a string and then you get to the delegation. You study the three and they have interrelationships.
But of course, you cannot very much get into the details of the precise modalities of operation if the decision on the introduction or not is going to be no.
So how does that apply to the present discussion? You have been mentioning very frequently that a lot of comments have been brought to the knowledge of the board and to the process on this application. I must confess that I didn't read the hundred thousand e-mails of sorts. I saw some of them. And I can imagine that there are some that are basically about "we don't like porn," or "we like porn" less, because normally you don't get out of the closet.
[ Laughter ]
>>BERTRAND DE LA CHAPELLE: Those have not much to do with the application per se. They have to be taken into account, especially if the application has a sort of public-policy purpose which I understand is a bit the case.
But there are other categories, and once again I didn't saw it, there might be a certain number of comments that say we don't want a TLD, or maybe some who say we don't want this applicant, or any applicant for that matter, or we don't want those operational modalities.
The situation, as we understand from the outside, within the board is that on those three elements, the board is split, but not only on the third part. Also on the first part, which is the opportunity to introduce the TLD itself.
Therefore, the key element in here is to see, as it is a controversial TLD, the amount of public benefit there is in this introduction -- that is, we suppose, going to be the main criteria for the board. It's not the intricacies of the concrete detail. I think on this question, the GAC is pretty clear, Janis has reiterated that there is fundamentally no explicit support within the GAC for the creation. Some GAC members are neutral, and most -- or at least some are emphatically opposed. If that is not a clear interpretation of the position of the GAC members regarding the creation of the string itself, I think that's okay. It's clear.
On the precise modalities, this is true. And most of the comments that have been made regarding the fact that the board or ICANN as a whole might get into the management of content relate to the third part, the precise modalities for operation.
In that respect, this is only a constraint if in the first criteria -- and once again, it's not in order that much -- the first criteria, the decision is yes. But you are split on the yes or no.
So on that criteria, the GAC position is clear.
And so to finish, if I want to answer directly to Paul and Peter Dengate's questions of the precise advice of the GAC, on that point, there's no reason we go further than a clear advice. Otherwise, that would mean that the board is actually explicitly asking the GAC not to give advice, but to give an advice that is so precise that is amounts to an explicit recommendation to do or not to do, which is actually requesting the GAC to take the formal decision that the board has difficulties to make.
And so it is a very strange situation that we might be asked to actually get ourselves out of the advisory role that is ours to take the decision on the critical subject.
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: I would just like to respond to that, if I might, Mr. Chairman. I certainly was not suggesting that we wanted explicit advice from the GAC in any way to relieve us of our obligations. My point was a rather legalistic one, and that is that your communique referred to a previous draft of the contract. Secondly, it doesn't actually contain any advice. It identifies various issues of public policy, but makes no comment about them. And in my view, speaking as a, say, rather legalistically, the communique and the letter don't actually constitute advice. They raise issues and they ask questions, but they don't constitute advice. And that is with a really my point in raising that via Paul. Particularly when Janis said that by reference to the Wellington communique, there may be an inference that that is advice. I just want to be very clear about that.
I don't think at this stage we have received advice.
I certainly don't have advice from the GAC which helps me solve those issues that I mentioned earlier about what to do when an area of the community of interest seems to be opposed, nor do I have any advice from the GAC on how to resolve that issue about compliance and ICANN intervention in that.
>>VINT CERF: Thank you again, Peter, for clarity.
One other observation to make about sponsored TLDs. As you know, a number of them were proposed more than two years ago, and many of them have been approved. Some withdrew and we're still dealing with this one.
With regard to the sponsoring community view, I can say that we actually did not proceed with some of them until the sponsoring community disagreements dissipated.
In the case of dot travel, there was a very, very strong disagreement with the proposed TLD coming from IATA, as I recall. And we asked the proposer to attempt to resolve that, and he did so positively, so a support very direct and explicit support was obtained from a very significant player in the travel community.
So we have at least a precedent or at least an experience in which the disagreement of the -- of the significant part of the community was resolved favorably. I don't have the sense at this point that the parts of the community that are -- appear to be opposed, based on their communications, are at this point inclined to change their views.
So we have in this particular case an unresolved element in the sponsoring community, unlike the previous ones.
If I remember correctly, Mobi had a similar kind of uncertainty within the sponsoring community, which itself was also resolved in part by adjusting the participation opportunities to accommodate.
So perhaps that's helpful. Anyway, it's helped me think about the difference between this particular case and earlier ones in which we had some community debate on the question of that TLD.
>>CHAIR KARKLINS: Maybe I need to clarify a little bit the way how GAC operates.
The communique text is the -- is an expression of consensual view of the GAC members. And sometimes if you need to get agreement from all GAC members, it takes some time, and it takes -- sometimes it's a piece of masterwork, because you need to reconcile not diverging opinions, but opinions which are not really similar. And sometimes the sentences are constructed in a way which reflects different concerns and different sensitivities.
So if you read the Wellington communique, I maybe would like to try -- and I'm not pretending to be a final judge on that -- to decode what is written there. And what is written there, that GAC or GAC members did not understand why board did not follow the advice of evaluation report.
Basically, in other words, at that time, GAC tried to express concerns that sponsorship criteria may not have been met.
So at the same time, there is explicit reference to some GAC members who were emphatically opposed. That, again, that some members were emphatically opposed, means that not all, but some. Again, this is a consensual language which allows us to issue that communique.
So that is the way how GAC operates. And this is the way in which we can provide our opinion and communicate our opinion to the board.
I hope that that explains a little bit and answers also your question.
Kind of pessimism in the room.
I don't see. You are in the shade.
>>RAIMUNDO BECA: Raimundo.
>>CHAIR KARKLINS: Raimundo, please.
>>RAIMUNDO BECA: I would like to make a position, which is the following: The sponsorship criteria is not definitely met until the moment in which a contract is approved. Even if the panel of experts would have said that the sponsorship criteria was met, that would serve only to initiate the negotiations. But at the end of the day, when the negotiations are ended, a contract is proposed by the applicant, and the contract goes to the public comment. And at that moment, the board has to decide if it takes -- if it approves or not approves the contract, the wording of the contract.
A first contract -- well, the story is known. The panel of experts said that the -- that the sponsorship criteria was not met.
The board said that the negotiations could come, even if there was an opinion against -- different opinion than the panel of experts.
This is still under the rules. The rules never said that if the panel of experts said that the sponsorship criteria wasn't met, you could not go into the negotiations.
We went into the negotiations.
A first contract was presented in September. In September, the board didn't accept the contract.
At that moment, the board entered again into negotiations to approve the contract. To improve it for what? Obviously, because the sponsorship criteria was not met.
Then, when the board -- when the staff was in negotiations, the Wellington communique came in. The Wellington communique came in, and it couldn't be concerned with the other contract than the one, the only one they knew, which was the one presented in September.
Then, the applicant presented a second contract. At that moment, the board rejected the contract.
I am not here telling nothing that is not in the minutes that you cannot read it. It's not secret. I am not disclosing nothing.
And at that moment, the board decided that the sponsorship criteria was not met, and for those reasons, the contract was rejected.
The applicant then came with a new contract, we are speaking of a third contract.
This third contract has new concepts, new ideas. And now the board has to decide if this new contract meets or not meets the sponsorship criteria. That's the decision.
Well, I think that everyone here has heard what is the general opinion of the GAC. But if the GAC could say something about this precise contract, it would be helpful. But if not, well, we have to decide anyway. Because we cannot continue forever and forever. If we reject the contract and then come with a new contract, and then new contract.
Thank you very much.
>>BERTRAND DE LA CHAPELLE: Thank you, Janis.
I don't want to monopolize the speech and give the impression to the whole room that I have a personal particular interest in the subject because of the substance.
As a matter of fact -- I mean on content.
I want to raise a very -- not a procedural point, but the fact that the positions, the -- sorry, the explicit positions of the GAC so far have, because of the timing, been chronologically related to a previous version of the present contract proposal, cannot be considered or taken as an argument to consider that the GAC hasn't provided formal advice.
Why? Because of the three categories that I was addressing earlier. On the three categories, and at the moment, I agree this is not on a formal basis. And it will be up to the GAC in the coming days to see how much of this will be embedded in the communique. So that it is available.
On the three different elements, opportunity to introduce the TLD itself, delegation to a specific registry, modalities of operation described in a lengthy contract. The GAC at the moment has the following position.
On the opportunity to introduce, no GAC member supports explicitly the introduction of this TLD. Some are neutral and some are vehemently opposed. This is a clear position.
On the second element, which is the opportunity to delegate to this specific applicant, the GAC has repetitively addressed a key issue, which is the degree of support in the sponsoring community. And as the list of sponsors is not public, which is, I agree, not a requirement, it is very difficult for the GAC to evaluate the reality of the degree of support.
Nonetheless, the advice of the GAC is that the board should pay particular attention to the criteria of the sponsoring and the degree of support.
On the third element, which is the present contract, I believe that the position that has been expressed by some members of the GAC, including Canada, I think, in a public comment, that under the present terms of the contract, there is a risk that the repartition of role between the registry, the supporting organization, and the ICANN community on a regular basis drags ICANN into a content management function is an explicit advice regarding the present stage of the contract.
So, once again, I think the board -- if it is something that can be useful for your own process, the board has to address the three questions: Does the board believe that the balance of controversy and global benefit to the community in the creation of this specific TLD is sufficiently in the favor of the benefit to the global community that it is validating overriding the controversy, yes or no.
If at that stage the board decides "no" on that, there is no purpose of going further. If at that stage the board decides "yes," then the advice of the GAC is to say, get deeper into the sponsoring. We don't have enough information on the nature of the support. But this is the advice of the GAC.
And on the contract, it is the present contract. If it is needed to formulate, we will have to decide whether we should.
>>VINT CERF: Thank you very much. That's actually very helpful.
I have to excuse myself to go and take care of a television interview.
But I want to suggest to you that your line of reasoning leads me to think that all three of these components have to be taken into account by the board, since all three of the components are before us, and that in some sense, the decision about the first question you raise is colored by the contract that's before us, because that tells us whether and how that particular top-level domain will in fact operate, how it will be managed, and what implications there are of it with regard to ICANN.
So we are already into all three of the components by virtue of the board effort so far. And so I don't think we get to make the decisions in the sequence that you've just described, because we are already at the point where we're looking at detailed contracts.
But the question is, is the implementation of that contract in fact going to be workable with regard to this particular TLD.
So, actually -- you may not think that that was helpful, but I consider it helpful for my own thinking.
I apologize, Mr. Chairman, that I have to escape from this really interesting discussion, but I'm looking forward to the fresh air out there.
Let me thank you again for hosting the meeting, as always. And look forward now to the communique that you'll produce for tomorrow.
>>CHAIR KARKLINS: Thank you.
I think that this sounded to me already like a good ending of the meeting.
I am not sure that we need to go beyond that, unless somebody explicitly wants to take the floor at this point.
I don't see any.
Of course, the chair of the GAC always is in the difficult position, because he needs to speak on behalf of all of the GAC. I hope that I did not disappoint you.
I want to thank GAC members. I want to thank board members. I hope that this exchange was mutually useful.
And by saying this, I give the floor to Paul for concluding remarks.
>>PAUL TWOMEY: Thank you, Janis.
Can I also say thank you very much to members of the GAC and the board for this dialogue.
Both here at ICANN and from your experience in WSIS and Internet Governance Forum, perhaps I can make the observation as someone who's been involved in governmental discussions around this topic for ten years, broadly -- I don't mean triple X, I mean broadly -- that there does seem to be a growing -- subtle but growing shift in tolerance for and even embracing more public dialogue with different stakeholders as the GAC does its work.
And similarly, from the board, for that matter. I think today's dialogue was a very useful exchange, just to hear people's thinking. And I would just sort of both congratulate you as the GAC, and also, I know Janis has made this something of his own agenda.
I think this is a very fruitful way to not only -- not only to help build on ideas, but, to be frank, potentially minimize the number of letters to be exchanged between each other saying, "Please explain." It might be good to have these sort of dialogues more often thank you very much.
>>CHAIR KARKLINS: Thank you. This session stands adjourned. Information for the GAC members planning committee is meeting 8:30 in this room. And the GAC plenary resumes at 9:00 a.m.
Enjoy gala dinner, those who have tickets.
[ Laughter ]