i2Coalition’s Guide to ICANN 53: Buenos Aires

(Ping! Zine Web Hosting Magazine) – i2Coalition has a member meeting facilitated by ICANN & NTIA on June 24th at 2:30 PM in the Piranha Room on the site of ICANN53 in Buenos Aires.  We will be providing i2Coalition member perspective to Congressional staffers that are attending ICANN53 to observe. In particular we will be meeting with Jeff Farrah, Senate Commerce Committee; David Redl and David Goldman, House E&C; and Nilmini Rubin, House Foreign Affairs. Topics of discussion will include the role of ICANN and the IANA transition.

IANA transition is right on track. Back in March, NTIA said it would begin to transition its oversight of “key Internet functions” to the global multistakeholder community. Now three months later, ICANN President and CEO Fadi Chehadé announced that the plan is still on track. While there are still some in the U.S. government who are opposed to the plan, Chehadé has said that he believes these opponents are coming around to the importance of ICANN’s place as a neutral entity to ensure the Internet does not become fragmented. The i2Coalition continues to be involved in the process, including our most recent meeting with Ambassador Sepulveda. The ICANN community is preparing to submit its proposal on how the group will operate as an independent body by the end of the year. The review process should take between 60 and 90 days.

Congressional Support? On June 17, the U.S. House of Representatives’ Energy and Commerce Committee approved the Domain Openness Through Continued Oversight Matters (DOTCOM) Act on a voice vote. The DOTCOM Act would place additional requirements on the NTIA in relinquishing its stewardship.

The bill would:

  •  “Require the administration to submit to Congress a report certifying that the transition plans meet the United States’ objective of global Internet openness;
  • “Require NTIA to certify that changes to ICANN’s bylaws that the multistakeholder process has required as conditions of the transition have been implemented;
  • “Provide safeguards designed to make ICANN more accountable to the Internet community; and
  • “Give Congress 30 legislative days to review NTIA’s report before NTIA is permitted to relinquish its role in IANA.”‘

According to NTIA Administrator Larry Strickling, ICANN community stakeholders must now start thinking about implementation of the IANA transition plans and ICANN accountability recommendations as CCWG-Accountability and other groups finish their proposals. Hopefully, the approval of this bill helps cement the United State’s dedication to relinquishing its stewardship over ICANN.

A companion bill identical to the House’s has been introduced in the U.S. Senate.

Privacy and Proxy. Presently, there is no accreditation scheme for privacy and proxy groups nor an accepted set of best practices for such services. To remedy this, the Privacy & Proxy Services Accreditation Issues (“PPSAI”) Working Group is working to come up with recommendations that will improve the current environment and better protect providers. The working group has recently released its first report. While it only includes preliminary conclusions, these show the direction the working group is headed.

In its report the PPSAI working group addressed 19 specific questions (the outcome of the 2013 RAA negotiations). The questions cover issues from registration and maintenance of a privacy/proxy service to the establishment of terms of services to provider obligations in regards to “relay” and “reveal” procedures to handle requests for the disclosure of a privacy/proxy customer’s identity and contact details. Their proposed solutions can be found here.

The preliminary report is open for public comments until July 7. Issues that lack consensus will be further discussed and, ultimately, finalized after the public comments period has closed. The working group will release a staff report on July 22 with the results of the public comments before submitting a Final Report to the GNSO Council for approval.

Universal Acceptance. The first round of the new generic top-level domain (gTLD) program is winding down and stakeholders are examining what worked and what didn’t before gearing up for the next round, which will most likely take place in 2017 or 2018. Out of 1,930 new gTLD applications submitted, 635 have been delegated and only 29 contention sets remain. However, just one string, .art, is actually scheduled for auction. The other 28 are on hold pending the outcome of accountability mechanisms or community priority evaluations.

Need a refresher? Here’s a presentation from “ICANN 52” explaining Universal Acceptance and its problems in a mere 50 slides. Pay extra attention to slide 17 – it shows what technical devices/services still need to be fixed (everything from operating systems to routers to email clients).

Constituent Involvement in the IANA transition. The Cross Community Working Group (CWG) is in charge of developing an IANA Stewardship Transition proposal. After releasing its first draft for public comments on December 1, 2014, the CCW group was faced with serious process problems and immediately began to edit, scrap and rework many components of the proposal.

The CCG shared its 2nd draft with the public on April 22nd and accepted comments until May 20th.

55 submissions were received from all over the world (data from ICANN report of public comments released June 11):

  • 13 – Europe/Middle East
  • 13 – Asia/Asia Pacific
  • 11 – None/Global
  • 10 – North America
  • 6 – Africa
  • 2 – Latin America

The submissions were from many different stakeholders:

  • 15 – ccTLD community (both regional organizations and individuals ccTLDs)
  • 13 – ICANN organizations or related ‘Ecosystem’ organizations (e.g. NRO)
  • 8 – private sector
  • 8 – civil society and academic community
  • 4 – government
  • 7 – not identified or affiliated with any particular sector

After analyzing the submissions, the CWG came to the conclusion that the broad concepts of the proposal are supported and is aiming to deliver an approved Final CWG Proposal ICG on June 25, right after ICANN53.