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ICANN 51 Focus: Making ICANN Directly Accountable to the Broader Internet Community

ICANN 51 taking place in Los Angeles this week may not have its customary evening Gala, but it opened with rousing remarks by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker in the first-ever ICANN appearance of the head of the Cabinet agency from which it was born and which has exercised continuous oversight of its key IANA functions. The themes of the growing importance of Internet Governance and the U.S. government's steadfast commitment to defense of the multistakeholder model, as well as the connection between maintenance of an open Internet and fostering free speech and economic growth, were key elements of Secretary Pritzker's address. more»

Some Thoughts on the ICANN EWG Recommended Registration Directory Service (RDS)

It has been my distinct pleasure to serve on ICANN's Expert Working Group on gTLD Directory Services (EWG). We put in many long months and what seemed like countless hours of research, discussion, meetings, and deliberations on how to tackle a clean-slate approach to gTLD directory services, popularly known as "WHOIS". In our Final Report, the Expert Working Group (EWG) recommended a Registration Directory Service (RDS) to replace today's WHOIS, providing a next-generation system to better meet the needs of the evolving global Internet with greater accuracy, privacy, and accountability. more»

Building a Better WHOIS for the Individual Registrant

Today, anyone can use WHOIS to identify the organization or person who registered a gTLD domain name, along with their postal address, email address, and telephone number. Publishing this data has long been controversial, creating a system riddled with problems. On one hand, anonymous access to all WHOIS data enables misuse by spammers and criminals and raises concerns about personal privacy. On the other hand, incomplete or false WHOIS data prolongs Internet outages and leaves crime victims with little recourse. more»

New gTLD Fees Threaten the Diversity of the Name Space

The great promise of the new gTLD programme is not that it will spawn dozens of .COM clones, but rather that it will lead to the creation of a global constellation of unique names embraced by specific interest groups. As an ICANN community, our challenge now is to ensure that the policy framework we've created to manage new gTLDs advances that vision by not penalising the very sorts of domains that the programme was designed to encourage. more»

So you want to apply for a new gTLD in the second Round of the ICANN new gTLD program?

New domain names are now on the market and you start to realize that you may have missed the train by not submitting your own new gTLD application. So why not get your part of the cake and consider applying for your own new Top-Level Domain in the second Round of the ICANN new gTLD program? Why not become a "Registry" and sell domain names... to the world? more»

Bringing Order to Chaos

If we were to apply themes to Internet governance world, the narrative for 2014-15 is definitely 'change'. The governance ecosystem is knee deep in the IANA transition, with a few meetings and teleconferences of the IANA Transition Coordinating Group behind us, and a ramping up of activity around ICANN accountability and governance. While the IANA transition and ICANN accountability processes are being conducted in parallel and independently, it's important to note that not only are they related, they are dependent on one another. more»

ICANN Board Appoints 2015 NomCom Chair

During its September 9, 2014 meeting, the ICANN Board selected the Chair of the 2015 Nominating Committee (NomCom). The 2015 NomCom will begin its work In Los Angeles, immediately after the close of ICANN's 51st International Meeting due to be held in mid-October. ICANN's Nominating Committee is charged with identifying, recruiting and selecting nominees of the highest possible quality for key leadership positions at ICANN. more»

The Coding of Online Brand Protection

Moore's law postulates that the number of transistors in an integrated circuit will double every two years. That law has given us smartphones and other devices with astonishingly diverse capabilities at ever lower costs. However, while it does not encompass online brand infringement, many trademark managers feel that their task is likewise expanding at exponential speed and imposing escalating costs. Potential cybersquatting based in the more than one thousand new generic top level domains is only one new source of anxiety. While the jury is still out on the level of harmful cybersquatting and the efficacy of the new Rights Protection Mechanisms (RPMs) for new gTLDs, that ICANN program is hardly the only challenge. more»

ICANN's Comment Period on Accountability Process Seeks Scope Limitations

Bowing to unprecedented community pressure in the form of a unanimous letter questioning its staff-developed Accountability Process, as well as a reconsideration request filed with the Board, on September 5th ICANN issued a notice titled "Public Comment Invited: Enhancing ICANN Accountability Process". The notice opens a 21-day public comment period on that staff proposal. However, ICANN staff apparently cannot resist asserting some form of top-down control even what that very conduct is at issue, and the notice and accompanying explanation contain attempts to restrict and unduly channel the scope of community comment. more»

ICANN Community Issues Unprecedented Letter Questioning ICANN's Proposed Accountability Process

In another unpredicted development the entire community of ICANN stakeholders has sent a joint letter to CEO Fadi Chehade and the ICANN Board that strongly questions the "Enhancing ICANN Accountability and Governance - Process and Next Steps" document published by ICANN staff on August 14th over widespread community objections. Signatories to the August 26th letter include the GNSO Council and all of the GNSO's stakeholder groups and constituencies, the Country Code Name Supporting Organization, the At-Large Advisory Committee, the Security and Stability Advisory Committee - and, most surprisingly, the Governmental Advisory Committee. more»

Accountability and Redress

In ICANN circles these days, accountability is the buzz word. Nearly everybody is talking about it. Generally everybody is in favor of it, but that's where the agreement ends. This paper urges action by ICANN to provide a means for redress of grievances as an essential element of accountability. I would like to review the ICM case (the delegation of the .xxx domain), and the role of ICANN's Independent Review Panel (the IRP). As you will recall, the ICANN Board had originally awarded .xxx to ICM, but in a subsequent reconsideration had reversed the award. more»

Prepare for the Worst, But Hope for the Best

A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about the importance of the timeline leading up to the September 2015 deadline for the IANA oversight transition proposal. In that post, I explored the nature of U.S. politics and how it can affect the transition if we, as a community, are not diligent in our efforts to meet that deadline. Since then, the IANA Stewardship Transition Coordination Group (ICG) has held its first meeting and a conference call, resulting in some new information that necessitates an update to that post. more»

Quelle Suprise! ICANN's Accountability Plan Gives ICANN Board Total Control

After a long await, ICANN's senior management finally released its plan for "Enhancing Accountability" at the private California corporation that makes global Internet domain name policy. Unfortunately, the accountability deficit crisis created by ICANN's longstanding policy of purely "self-policing" with no meaningful external accountability mechanisms will not be solved by this weak plan for more self-policing. more»

Call for ICANN to Educate and Not Mislead GAC

I read with interest the recent blog written by Theresa Swinehart a Sr. Advisor to the President on Strategy. She wrote: "The most critical element of this [ICANN Transition] process is trust and alignment. To ensure success on this accountability track, we must as a community work closely together to make sure that the final process is meaningful. There is plenty of work to be done in an ambitious period of time." more»

Is ICANN's .IR Response at Odds with the ACPA and ICE Domain Seizures?

An initial review of ICANN's response to litigation seeking it to turn over control of the ccTLDs of Iran, Syria and North Korea led to the conclusion that it had opened a "legal can of worms". A few more just wriggled out, and they threaten the basic assumption that underlies the U.S. statute governing cybersquatting and the practices engaged in by Federal officials seizing domain names engaged in intellectual property infringement. more»