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San Juan to Los Angeles: A guide to intersessional ICANN work

San Juan to Los Angeles intersessional work newsletter

 

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Explanatory notes and additions

1. The ICANN Board will not vote on the new gTLD paper at the Los Angeles meeting. Instead, there will be substantial discussions during the meeting and the Board is expected to vote on the Report following the meeting. [26 Sep 07]

2. The Board will not consider suggested GNSO improvements at its Los Angeles Board meeting. Instead, the Board Governance Committee will consider public comments received up to and in Los Angeles, finalize its recommendations and send them to the Board for action after the meeting. [26 Sep 07]

3. The NomCom review will be finished and posted in time for the public workshop in Los Angeles. The RFP for independent reviewers for ALAC has closed and the Board Governance Committee (BGC) is making its selection. The BGC is considering draft terms of reference for the RSSAC review. They will be posted for public comment soon. [26 Sep 07]

4. The Board passed a resolution encouraging additional public/stakeholder ideas and input on the draft set of recommendations on GNSO improvements, rather than specifically asking for public comment to be included. [26 Sep 07]

5. A more extensive explanation of the staff's domain name tasting recommendation at San Juan would be that staff recommended that the GNSO collect data, launch a PDP if needed, and consider alternative, expeditious means to address domain tasting (these include registry action to change their contracts). [26 Sep 07]

6. Board action in San Juan included a key resolution requesting ICANN community action to advance IDN ccTLDs. Policy activity leading up to and in LA will focus on exploring both an interim and an overall approach to IDN ccTLDs associated with the ISO 3166-1 two-letter codes and recommending a course of action to the Board. [26 Sep 07]

 


A guide to intersessional ICANN work

 

ICANN's meeting at the end of June in San Juan, Puerto Rico was notable by the large amount of policy work that was tackled, and by a number of significant changes within ICANN as an organisation.

If anything, ICANN's next meeting in Los Angeles between 29 October and 2 November will see even more issues dealt with, and further changes introduced across the organisation.

As such, ICANN decided to produce a progress report to bring people up to speed with what is going on. This document will review what happened at San Juan and provide at least a partial review of what we expect to occur at the Los Angeles meeting in an effort to draw threads between the two.

Up to date

The hope is that publications such as this will keep people up-to-date plus enable everyone to spread the load of document review over a longer timeframe and so contribute to a more efficient and effective Los Angeles meeting.

The issues dealt with will be kept as concise as possible with links provided to more in-depth resources. Despite this effort though, the document remains lengthy so a contents list at the top lets people jump quickly to particular issues of interest.

All feedback and comments on this document are welcome.

Links
POLICY ISSUES
Domain name tasting
IDNs
New gTLDs
Registrar Accreditation Agreement
Whois
IPv6

ORGANISATIONAL ISSUES
Accountability and Transparency
New gTLDs
Registrar Accreditation Agreement
Independent review
NomCom
Online developments
Translation
Vint and the Board

POLICY ISSUES


This part deals with the issues that are currently going through the ICANN decision-making processes (as opposed to Organisational Issues (below) which concern changes within ICANN and its structure).
 

Domain name tasting

Background info

ICANN staff contact(s): Olof Nordling (Policy); Patrick Jones (Services)

At San Juan:

A public discussion was held on an Issues Paper produced by Staff covering domain name tasting. There was also a domain tasting tutorial (full details, including transcript).

The Staff recommended that a policy development process (PDP) be conducted i.e. that the issue became a formal discussion matter within ICANN5. The GNSO Council decided it needed more facts and figures before taking that step. An ad hoc working group was formed to do more research and draft the terms of reference for a possible PDP.


San Juan to Los Angeles:

The ad hoc group will do more research on the issue and report to the Council in October. The Council may then vote on whether to launch a PDP.

As part of that research, the group prepared a fact-finding questionnaire to gather facts and opinions from the Internet community. An interactive online poll was set up to elicit information from across the community. You can view the results here.

The Intellectual Property constituency within the GNSO also produced a supplemental RFI online poll to gain more in-depth information.

In the meantime, Staff are continuing work on other mechanisms for dealing with domain tasting that do not require a formal PDP, such as the ICANN Budget process, or registry contracts. Those deliberations will form part of the report provided the GNSO Council.


At Los Angeles:

The issue is also likely to feature in a number of public fora and in discussion at the GNSO Council.

By the time of the meeting the GNSO Council may have launched a formal PDP into the issue, in which case the first steps will be taken in Los Angeles. If the GNSO Council feels a PDP is not the best route to address domain name tasting, then focus is likely to shift onto the alternatives outlined by Staff.

 

IDNs

ICANN staff contact: Tina Dam

At San Juan:

Internationalized domain names (IDNs) was one of the biggest work issues at the San Juan meeting, and will be a key policy issue at the Los Angeles meeting.

The Board adopted a number of procedures for adding IDNs to the root in order to carry out real-life tests and also directed Staff to implement a series of recommendations issued by the root server operators just prior to the meeting.

The Board also drew attention to the work done by a series of organisations outside ICANN in order to get IDN deployment moving further down the road6. There was revision of the IDNA protocol, plus successful early lab tests and an SSAC report that it saw no security or stability risks in adding IDNs to the root for testing purposes. This all prepared the ground for real-life root tests.

There was also significant work done on the wider policy issues surrounding the introduction of IDNs. The ccNSO and GAC produced an issues paper which asked a series of questions to focus debate on how to deal with IDNs from a policies and process standpoint. The GNSO discussed IDN issues in the context of the introduction of new generic top-level domains (gTLDs). It has an IDN working group, and a "reserved names" sub-group that provided recommendations on managing IDN TLDs. All that information will be considered by the other elements of the ICANN structure.

A number of conversations between different organisations in San Juan over the issue helped keep everyone abreast of other's views and perspectives.


San Juan to Los Angeles:


With the ground prepared for inserting test IDNs into the actual root, the last piece of the jigsaw is the approval of the plan for what will be introduced, how, and how they will be evaluated. That plan has been through public review and was approved by the ICANN Board on 14 August, along with the delegation of the eleven evaluative IDN TLDs.

The next step will be to add the text labels and encourage Internet users to use the new top-level domains in their own languages and report any issues that they may find through the use of different software and hardware. ICANN plans to encourage use of the test IDNs through the introduction of wikis - where ordinary Net users can directly edit content.

In the meantime, the ccNSO, GAC, GNSO and ALAC will produce responses to the ccNSO-GAC issues paper on the public policy issues of introducing IDNs. The ccNSO is also considering launching a policy development process (PDP) on the issue.

The GNSO already has an IDN working group, formed as part of its consideration of new gTLDs. The ccNSO also has its own IDN working group. The SSAC has also opened a new project on IDNs which will develop its terms of reference.
 

At Los Angeles

It is possible that the first, earliest results following introduction of real IDNs in the root may be available for review. There remain a number of hurdles to be overcome to get to that point but the hope is that the Los Angeles meeting will present a milestone in the Internet's history.

The community and Board will consider the responses from the different supporting organisations and advisory committees on the issues raised in the ccNSO-GAC paper in San Juan. In the best-case scenario, the different groups will be able to find common ground and present the result to the Board for review. In reality, a degree of progress that moves closer to consensus for how to deal with the complex issues of IDNs would be welcome and provide a foundation for future work.

There are two GAC closed working group meeting on IDNs on Saturday 27 October and Sunday 28 October. IDNs are also likely to be a regular feature of the two main public forums on the Monday (29 Oct) and the Thursday (1 Nov).
 
New gTLDs

Background info

ICANN staff contact(s): Craig Schwartz (Services), Olof Norlding (Policy).


At San Juan:


New generic top-level domains was the topic of greatest discussion at San Juan. Three reports on the issue, two developed by working groups of the GNSO, were released and were the subject of discussion in no less than six public sessions.

The issue and the reports were raised at various public fora, in front of the GNSO Council and the ICANN Board, and there were a number of joint meetings between constituencies on new gTLDs. Links to some of those meetings, where you can find transcripts of the discussions are given below:

23 Jun: GNSO working group
25 Jun: GNSO public forum
27 Jun: New gTLDs and freedom of expression
28 Jun: Public forum



San Juan to Los Angeles:

A draft final report combining all the reports and GNSO Council input was compiled and put out to public comment. That comment period ended 30 August, and a summary and analysis of comments was posted. A review of the process was provided to the GNSO Council at its meeting on 6 September. The Council approved the paper [recording of the meeting (mp3)].

The report comes in two parts. You can review Part A here and Part B here. A Board paper will now be drawn up for consideration at the Los Angeles meeting.

ICANN has also put out a request for statements of interest to design the process that people will follow when applying for a new gTLD.


At Los Angeles:

The ICANN Board will vote on the Board paper1. The Los Angeles meeting is also likely to see some serious discussion about the practical steps forward in making the policy a reality.

The GNSO Council will discuss the issue in working meeting on the Saturday and Sunday (27, 28 Sep). It will also likely be a topic at the joint GAC-GNSO meeting on the Sunday. There is a public forum solely on new gTLDs on the Monday. And the issue will inevitably be discussed at the public forum on Thursday.

Materials will be produced to explain and guide people through the process for applying for new gTLDs, and to outline the decisions that have been made with regard to new gTLDs, complete with a timeline of the process.

 
Registrar Accreditation Agreement

ICANN staff contact: Tim Cole (Services)

At San Juan:


The ongoing review of the Registrar Accreditation Agreement had its own workshop where planned changes were outlined and a number of presentations given by representatives of different constituencies (full details, including transcript). 

RAA reform was also discussed at the Public Forum and the Board meeting. The Board passed a resolution to consult widely with the community over suggested changes and outlined a procedure for arriving at RAA amendments.


San Juan to Los Angeles:


A series of six suggested amendments to the RAA have been posted on the ICANN website and a public comment period on them, which is also open to other suggested changes, opened on 30 July and closed on 10 September.

A summary and analysis of community feedback will be made available and further discussions with the registrar community carried out in light of them. Proposed amendments to the RAA will then be posted and a second public comment period opened. Other ICANN constituencies will be invited to contribute their views.

One important development in the relationship between ICANN and registrars - that of ICANN storing (or, "escrowing") domain registrant data from all registrars in case something goes wrong - has also taken a step forward with the ICANN Board at its 14 August meeting approving the choice of Iron Mountain to peform data storage on ICANN's behalf (registrars have the option to choose their own provider at their own expense).


At Los Angeles:

Discussions surrounding proposed amendments to the RAA will form part of public discussion, both at the public fora on Monday (29 Oct) and Thursday (1 Nov), and at a dedicated workshop will be held on Wednesday 31 Oct. Discussions within different constituencies over the RAA are almost certain to form part of overall business.

 
Whois

Background info

ICANN staff contact(s): Liz Gasster


At San Juan:


Three working groups on different aspects of the Whois question (natural versus legal person registrations; access to unpublished data; and development of OPoC (Operational Point of Contact) requirements) reported in time for the San Juan meeting. The reports were compiled and debated in three sessions running all day on 24 June (9am-12am; 1.45pm-3.15pm; and 3.30pm-5.30pm).

San Juan to Los Angeles:

The Whois working group used discussions at San Juan to focus on a number of areas of contention, holding weekly conference calls to discuss the issues and try to come to agreement. The working group produced its final report [pdf] on 20 August.

That report was put forward to the GNSO Council at its meeting on 30 August [recording here (mp3)]. On 6 September [mp3], the Council reviewed several Whois reports and approved a resolution for further public comment with the intention to lead to a vote on the issue on 31 October 2007 during the Los Angeles ICANN meeting.

The resolution also called for ICANN staff to prepare a draft final report. That report [pdf] was completed and put out for public comment on 14 September. The comment period will close on 30 October.

At Los Angeles:

Whois discussions are likely to form part of discussions both within the GNSO Council at their sessions on Saturday (27 Oct), Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday. As well as in the public forums on Monday and Thursday.

The GAC will discuss Whois in a closed session on Sunday 28 October.

 
IPv6

ICANN staff contact(s): Leo Vegoda


At San Juan:


There was a workshop on IPv6 on Monday 24 June, and a GAC session on the Tuesday.

The Board also passed a series of resolutions concerning IPv6 including that it would "participate in raising awareness of this situation and promoting solutions".

San Juan to Los Angeles:

ICANN and IANA staff, as well as ICANN Board members, have given a series of presentations and taken part in IPv6 discussions at various conferences across the world.

At Los Angeles:

There will be two workshops on IPv6 run by IANA on Sunday 28 October. The issue is also likely to form part of constituencies' presentations prior to the public forum on Thursday 1 November.
 

ORGANISATIONAL ISSUES


This section covers changes going on with ICANN itself, such as efforts to further increase transparency and accountability, plus issues like translation and the structure and members of different supporting organisations.
 
Accountability and Transparency

At San Juan:

An extensive set of principles and frameworks were prepared and released just prior to the meeting, with a public workshop held to discuss their content, followed by an open discussion session.

The frameworks and principles cover: accountability and financial accountability at ICANN; dispute resolution; information disclosure; consultation principles; translation principles; and a code of conduct.

A public comment period was opened on the principles on 23 June.


San Juan to Los Angeles:

The public comment period closed 31 August and a summary and analysis of feedback received will be produced soon. The principles will be redrafted in response to those comments and put out to a second public comment period.

At Los Angeles:

The principles and frameworks will likely form part of discussions at the public fora on Monday and Thursday.

 
Independent review 

Independent review webpage

At San Juan:

There was an open forum session on changes to the GNSO and the GNSO Council, and the Board discussed the changes at its public Board meeting.

The Board also passed a resolution that asked for public comment to be included into a new set of draft proposed recommendations to be put out to further public comment4.

The final terms of reference [pdf] for review of the At Large Advisory Committee were posted just prior to the meeting.

San Juan to Los Angeles:

The GNSO changes will be put through to a second public comment period, as well as reviewed by the Board Governance Committee. The Board may then consider whether to approve the suggested improvements at its Board meeting in Los Angeles.

Three other reviews will be conducted of the At Large Advisory Committee. the Nominating Committee, and the ICANN Board itself. Independent reviewers are currently being sought for the ALAC review.

Review of the NomCom will be carried out by Interisle Consulting Group. It has already started carrying out phone interviews with people who have participated in or closely observed the NomCom process. It also held an open public comment period from 19 July to 17 September.

At the Board 14 August meeting, the Board announced it would wait on a revised terms of reference of the review into the Board itself. It then approved those terms at its next meeting on 11 September, and they were put out for public comment on 20 September until 11 October.

At Los Angeles:

The Board may approve the suggested changes to the structure and functioning of the GNSO and GNSO Council2. A number of sessions and public fora will cover the different independent reviews going on: GNSO, Nominating Committee, and the Board.

There is a workshop on GNSO review on Monday 29 October. The Interisle Consulting Group is holding a special session on its NomCom review on Wednesday 31 Oct. The terms of reference for the Board review should have been agreed and may form part of discussions at the Board meeting.

There should be news on the terms of reference for review of the DNS Root Server System Advisory Committee3.

 
NomCom

The NomCom is undergoing an independent review of its structure and purpose (see section above).

At San Juan:


The Nominating Committee met formally and informally with one another at the San Juan meeting. It had previously announced that there had been 93 Statements of Interest for the positions on offer: three seats on the Board of Directors; two members of the GNSO Council; three members of the At Large Advisory Committee; and one member of the ccNSO Council.


San Juan to Los Angeles:

In mid-July, the NomCom's 22 members met face-to-face and made their final choices for the positions on offer. Those chosen will be vetted before being officially announced before the end of September.


At Los Angeles:

Those chosen will participate in the meeting.
 
Online developments

At San Juan:

A redesign of the ccNSO website was revealed; a beta version of a new IANA website announced; and enhancements made to the San Juan meeting website from the Lisbon meeting site. A new maps feature on the main ICANN website was also unveiled.


San Juan to Los Angeles:

A new public comment webpage has been created to provide details of all issues out for public comment at any given time. The ICANN blog software has been updated; a new meeting website for the Los Angeles meeting prepared and published; and ICANN shifted its websites onto new, more powerful servers.

A new ALAC site built on the more flexible Drupal software that ICANN has been experimenting with since Sao Paulo is in development, and will serve as the test-bed for an eventual shift over to Drupal by all ICANN websites. A contact and registration system called CiviCRM is being experimented with to allow for a greater tie-in between individuals and ICANN's various websites.

Early experiments are due to begin with automated translation software in an effort to reach more non-English speaking members of the community.

At Los Angeles:

The Los Angeles meeting website will include a number of improvements over previous versions, making it easier for people to find information, add information, and interact online both with other attendees and with the meeting itself.

The first experiments with automated translation may be ready to demonstrate. A back-end system will make uploading, downloading and handling files easier. Other ongoing improvements will be announced as and when they go live.

 
Translation

At San Juan:

A new draft translation framework was outlined as part of the draft Management Operating Principles (put out for public comment).

A special meeting to discuss the principles and ICANN transparency and accountability in general (here for full details, including a transcript), also saw the release of a translation policy outlining ICANN's plans. En español aquí.

ICANN has created an internal translation coordination team with staff across departments. The team's priority is to hire an expert translations consultant to help build a translation system.


San Juan to Los Angeles:

The translation coordination team meet weekly. A number of new translation webpages have been created on ICANN's public participation website to make the team's work as transparent as possible in the hope of encouraging help from the community.

The team has drawn up a job description for the translation expert, is actively approaching those they have the requisite skills, and is preparing the groundwork for when the expert is hired. A new page outlining what has been translated and is currently being translated is being created, and new webpages that provide all translations of particular languages are in the pipeline.

A number of experiment using automated translation software for mailing lists is being prepared, and the results will feed into an effort to translate dynamically created webpages. Technical experimentation with wikis and community rating is being prepared in the hope of involving the community in translating texts.

A call put out to the community for checkers of translated documents received a tremendous response and the current system for translation is being reorganised to make the most of this new resource.


At Los Angeles:

An expert translations consultant should have been hired and it is hoped an initial report will be possible for the Los Angeles meeting.

A translations meeting will be held on Wednesday 31 October, with real-time interpretation available in French, Spanish, Russian and Chinese to discuss plans and elicit feedback from the community.

ICANN will have a more structured translation system in place, with early results from the automated translation software efforts ready to share with the community. A glossary of translated terms will be completed and put out for review by the community.

The Los Angeles meeting will provide improved translation for attendees over previous meetings, and more documents will be available in a wider range of languages than previously. Interpretation will also be available in French, Spanish and Russian in the main room for the entire meeting.
 
Vint and the Board

All Board meeting and minutes can be found here.

Vinton G. Cerf, co-founder of the TCP/IP protocol, has been chairman of ICANN almost since its inception. He will be standing down as chairman at ICANN's Los Angeles meeting. Vint Cerf has been the figurehead of ICANN - and, in many ways, the Internet itself. As its chairman, he has played the most significant role - behind the Internet community itself - in shaping how ICANN is formed and how it works.

At San Juan:

Previous GNSO Council chair Bruce Tonkin became an ICANN Board member, taking the place of Alejandro Pisanty.

San Juan to Los Angeles:

Three new Board members, decided by the Nominating Committee, will be announced in early October. These new Board members will replace Vint Cerf, Joichi Ito and Vanda Scartezini.

Before the new members formally take their place on the Board at Los Angeles however, they will review and discuss with the remaining Board who should take over as chairman following the Los Angeles meeting.

At Los Angeles:

The new Board members will take their places, and the new chairman will be announced. Vint Cerf, Alejandro Pisanty, Joichi Ito and Vanda Scartezini will be thanked for their contributions to ICANN.

 

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is an internationally organized, non-profit corporation that has responsibility for Internet Protocol (IP) address space allocation, protocol identifier assignment, generic (gTLD) and country code (ccTLD) Top-Level Domain name system management, and root server system management functions. These services were originally performed under U.S. Government contract by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) and other entities. ICANN now performs the IANA function.

As a private-public partnership, ICANN is dedicated to preserving the operational stability of the Internet; to promoting competition; to achieving broad representation of global Internet communities; and to developing policy appropriate to its mission through bottom-up, consensus-based processes.

 

Los Angeles meeting
website

LA meeting website
The Los Angeles meeting has its own website, already up on the Internet.

You can find it at:
http://
losangeles2007.
icann.org

The site contains valuable information about the meeting, the venue, nearby hotels, visa information and Los Angeles itself.

As the meeting draws closer, the site will be updated with the agenda itself, speakers, early presentations and so on.

The website will also act as the online participation portal during the meeting.

If you have used one of ICANN's participation sites before, you should find your username and password works automatically.

Otherwise, registration is quick and easy and will provide you with full access to the site as well as the ability to post your own comments and content on the site.

 
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