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ICANN Nairobi Kicks Off This Weekend - So What Is Cooking? .XXX , New TLDs and More

Michele Neylon

The ICANN meeting in Nairobi starts officially next Monday. However, as is normally the case, by the time Monday rolls around people will already have been working since Saturday morning (if not earlier).

All ICANN meetings seem to be surrounded by some bit of controversy and excitement, but the Nairobi meeting is possibly more dramatic than many others. The last attempt to hold a meeting in Nairobi failed, with ICANN opting to hold the meeting near LA's airport, LAX, instead. This time round there was quite a bit of controversy and tension surrounding the meeting's location.

The end result of the tension, security worries and everything else is that quite a large number of people who would normally attend the meeting will be staying at home.

Others will be traveling to Reston, VA, where Neustar has organised a US offsite location. Though with the time difference between VA and Nairobi anyone in attendance will end up working through the night!

So what's on the agenda?

New TLDs — this time round the focus will be on "EOI" — the concept of "expressions of interest" that was mooted at the last meeting in Seoul.

DNS SEC will be on the agenda again, but getting excited about it is far from easy - sorry!

IPv4 depletion will probably get a look in, but it's still a "hard sell". Until ISPs "buy in" and start deploying v6 on their public networks it's going to be nigh on impossible to make any tangible or meaningful movement in this area.

IDN ccTLDs. You can expect updates from the various countries that have applied using the "fast track". There might be more applications from other countries, as the meeting will have attracted its usual media circus.

But the real "hot potato" for ICANN is going to be .xxx

Following on from the recent decision which found that ICANN had "dropped the ball", the ICANN board will be voting on the Friday of the public meeting.

In reality you can expect to see board members being canvassed / briefed / harassed by interested parties pretty much all week. How will they vote?

Will the US government try to intervene?

If ICANN do move ahead with .xxx, will that have any impact on new TLDs?

If ICANN's board doesn't move ahead with .xxx this time round there is little or no chance that Stuart Lawley and ICM Registry are going to throw in the towel.

To start with they've no reason to. They have just won a legal battle that shows that ICANN was in the wrong. Sure, it may not be "binding", but any decision that so much as casts a doubt on ICANN's processes and procedures is a "win" for ICM — and rightly so.

So how would ICANN fare if ICM were to pursue this through to the next level?

ICANN stakeholders probably don't want to see their money being poured down a legal drain ... I know I don't.

By Michele Neylon, MD of Blacknight Solutions. More blog posts from Michele Neylon can also be read here.

Related topics: Domain Names, ICANN, Internet Governance, Top-Level Domains

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