- New gTLD database
Transcript: ICANN Public Forum, 17 Mar 11
Public forum opens
- Peter Dengate Thrush (ICANN chair)
Presentation by hosts of next ICANN meeting in Singapore
Presentation of Nominating Committee
- Adam Peake (Nominating Committee chair)
Public forum agenda
- Chuck Gomes (VeriSign) -- [Delay recouping gTLD program costs to support developing country applications; more resources for GNSO]
- Peter Dengate Thrush [Recouping policy set by GNSO, GNSO can change]
- Rajasekhar Ramaraj (ICANN Board member, chair of Finance Committee) -- [will look into issue of GNSO funding, a balancing act]
- Rod Beckstrom, ICANN CEO
- Rita Rodin Johnston (ICANN Board member) -- [don't have funds yet (program not open) so a little chicken-and-egg wrt financing; but do want to support developing countries]
- Chris Chaplow (Vice-chair of finance for Business Constituency) -- [Have requested additional resources; not enough detail in budget plans]
- Rod Beckstrom -- [Have hired two new compliance people]
- Xxxx Lee -- [Request ICANN adopt policy of pairing traditional and simplified Chinese strings]
- Rod Beckstrom -- [One-fifth of global Net users speak Chinese]
- Maria Farrell (NomCom member, former ICANN staff member) -- [Very concerned about how ICANN being managed; organization lost reputation and expertise; staff afraid to speak truth; request Board attention]
- Rod Beckstrom -- [Turnover for ICANN last year was 15%; have process for measuring staff satsifaction]
- Ken Stubbs (Individual) -- [Want to see a plan for how ICANN will spend $50-100m in revenue from gTLD program]
- Chuck Gomes, VeriSign [Delay recouping gTLD program costs to support developing country applications; more resources for GNSO]
- Peter Dengate Thrush [Recouping policy set by GNSO, GNSO can change]
- Rajasekhar Ramaraj, ICANN Board member, chair of Finance Committee [will look into issue of GNSO funding, a balancing act]
- Rod Beckstrom, ICANN CEO
- Rita Rodin Johnston, ICANN Board member [don't have funds yet (program not open) so a little chicken-and-egg wrt financing; but do want to support developing countries]
- Chris Chaplow, vice-chair of finance for Business Constituency
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for coming in and taking your seats. If you're at the door, there are seats on this side of the room (indicating). Could I invite board members to come and sit at this end of the room (indicating). We're inviting speakers to start, and we've put the microphones for the public forum at that end of the room (indicating).
Once again, could board members take their seats, please? We're ready to begin the public forum.
Ladies and gentlemen, we'll be putting the agenda up shortly for the public forum, which we propose to run in the usual way, an indication of some topics that have emerged from the discussion here in San Francisco, and feedback is being sought from the AC and SO chairs, and we've prepared that.
As I've already also indicated, we've spent approximately 5 1/2 to 6 hours -- sorry. I understand that you don't want me to start, so I'll wait until you're ready. We'll start the public forum when you're ready. Carry on.
I'd like to begin by inviting Choon-Sai from Singapore, who is the - - speaking on behalf of the hosts for ICANN 41 in Singapore in June. Choon-Sai, are you -- I see you up there. Thank you very much. And if your presentation is ready, we welcome you and the news about the next meeting after San Francisco in Singapore. Go ahead.
>>CHOON SAI-LIM: Thank you, Peter, and thank you for giving us the opportunity to share with you some of the details of Singapore.
I'm sure that most of you already know by now that the upcoming ICANN public meeting in June will be held in Singapore. But I'm not sure you know that the very first ICANN public meeting was also held in Singapore way back in 1999.
So it is definitely an honor and a privilege for us to welcome ICANN back to us 12 long years later.
So much has been achieved by the ICANN community since the early years, and now we are at a time when domain names are also in non- Latin characters and many more top-level domains is going to be introduced very soon.
Singapore is a vibrant city, with a melting pot of culture, and for those of you who are not familiar with Singapore, we have prepared a special video just to give you a brief glimpse into the country.
We have a little -- we have short notice, and we have managed to get this video up, so please enjoy the video.
[ Applause ]
[ Music ]
[ Applause ]
>>CHOON-SAI LIM: How was that? How you enjoy the video? And I can assure that the sunny island of Singapore definitely has much more to offer than what you saw in the video.
So come and experience the Singapore culture for yourself. And with this, I would like to extend a warm invitation to all of you to attend the ICANN 41st public meeting in Singapore. I'll see you in June in the Lion City. Thank you very much.
[ Cheers and applause ]
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Thank you very much, Choon-Sai. It will be a poignant meeting for me, of course, because not only was it my first meeting, but it will also be my last. So it's nice to have it back in Singapore. It's a shame you've got so many exciting things going on. We may not be able to keep people in the room for everything we have to do. Thank you very much, and obviously the board joins with Singapore and extends that invitation and we look forward to seeing you all in Singapore in June.
What I'd like, Nancy, if you could now put up the agenda for the public forum, and as I was explaining before, the way we do this is to try and assess the temperature that the community has on a number of issues and we do that by including checking with the AC and SO chairs.
If we've got that wrong, that's fine. We've got time at the end for other items, and we can judge the pace by the line at the microphone.
So the first -- the first item on the agenda is another report. In fact, we've asked the nominating committee chairman if he could give us a quick report and an update on where the nominating committee is with its very important work of populating leadership positions at ICANN. Adam?
>>ADAM PEAKE: Thank you, Peter. There are not slides appearing, so I'll basically just run through what we're doing.
Adam Peake, and I'm the chair of the 2011 nominating committee. As I think many of you know, we're now trying to select the new -- some new ICANN leadership for -- to join the policy processes, and these people will be taking their seats at the end of the AGM in October 2011. And the people will be -- the positions we're selecting for are two ICANN directors, three members of the at-large who will be representing the African, the Asia-Pacific and Australian region, and the Latin American and Caribbean region, two members of the GNSO Council and one member of the ccNSO council.
The process we're going through at the moment is one of recruitment, and that is what I would be extremely grateful for, for your help.
The NomCom -- excuse me. No, it's still not there.
So the typical process -- the URL formula is the typical ICANN standard. It's NomCom.ICANN.org, and if you wish to apply -- and I hope you will -- then it's ICANN.org/apply, and something we are hoping very much for is to use your network of expertise and to try and bring people into ICANN who you know who could help us improve, and you can do that by suggesting and making recommendations of candidates. And the URL for that is NomCom.ICANN.org/suggest. And you will find an on-line form that will allow you to recommend people for various positions.
And really we're looking for your knowledge to help us improve ICANN. One issue that we're particularly concerned about this year is thinking about gender balance, so we would very much like you to think of women who can -- who can join the leadership of ICANN, and with that, please help us out. We're looking for your knowledge, you to seek back into your networks for good candidates to help us.
It's all on-line.
Thank you very much.
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Adam, thanks very much. Would you mind just being available in case there are any questions about any of that from members of the community?
Are there any questions from anybody for the chairman of the NomCom about any of the positions or any of the process? If not, we'll move to the next topic, which is the -- I see none.
The next topic on the agenda is the fiscal year 2012 operating plan and budget framework.
The next -- I'm sorry. We seem to have some trouble getting the agenda up. Just so that you know, so you can begin to prepare yourself, we'll have a discussion about the budget and the operating plan. Then there's up to 30 minutes available to talk about the IANA contract and the U.S. Department of Commerce NOI procedure. After that, a short amount of time on the accountability and transparency review team recommendations. And then some time for any other issues.
As I've explained, we've not put any new gTLD items on the agenda. We've had about 5 1/2 hours of new gTLD discussion with the community. But at the end of the time, if there's any time left and you have a new gTLD item, well, we can take it at that slot.
I'm just wondering if there's something about the yellow shirts gathering at the back of the room. Are you asking for some time at some stage to make a presentation on yellow shirtness or -- no? No? Yes? All right. Well, just thank you for that.
Okay. Questions, comments, input, please, around the fiscal year '12 operating plan and budget framework.
The microphones are at the front here. If you could come forward and ask your questions or make your comments from there. Thank you. I see Chuck Gomes. Chuck.
>>CHUCK GOMES: Thank you, Peter. Is this on?
Can you hear me? No?
Testing. There we go.
Thank you, Peter. Chuck Gomes from VeriSign.
I want to make two comments on the framework.
One of them -- the first one of what -- what I believe is of a community interest and value, the second one more GNSO-related.
The framework calls for the recouping of all of the historical new gTLD costs, and that's been in there for a long time. That's not new. I'm aware of that.
At the same time, we know there's very broad community support for support for needy gTLD applicants from developing countries, et cetera, as well as underserved language communities that may not be able to participate in the new gTLD process because of the application fees at a very high level.
So my suggestion is this: Instead of recouping all of the new gTLD costs that have historically been spent over the last several years, delay or even eliminate recouping of some of those costs and contribute those dollar amounts to support for new gTLD applicants and to underserved language communities in that regard.
Now, we know that the JAS working group is preparing guidelines for what a needy applicant would be, and hopefully those will be ready shortly, and this is an action that could be taken relatively quickly, in time for the new gTLD process; would provide some support for new gTLD applicants that have a special need, as well as underserved language communities through an approach like bundling; and could be in addition to the JAS working group recommendations, if those come out in time for the new gTLD process.
My second comment on the budget framework has to do with the support of the GNSO and GNSO improvements, GNSO policy development and so forth.
As all of us know, I think, over 94% of ICANN's revenue comes from GNSO registrants in the fees that they pay for registrations.
Now, I'm not complaining about that or concerned about the fact that that's used to subsidize just about every part of ICANN, but I do believe that when the GNSO is facing so many challenges in terms of resource requirements, that more should be devoted in the budget to support GNSO activities and help us get beyond the problem where we are continually having resource constraints in terms of staff support, in terms of financial support for the implementation of GNSO improvements that have been worked on for five or six years, and so continuing delays just doesn't seem justifiable for GNSO projects when over 94% of ICANN's revenue is coming from GNSO sources. Thanks.
[ Applause ]
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Thank you, Chuck. Some very cogent comments. I just wonder if there's any response from the board. I don't want to put anybody on the spot, but the first suggestion, of course, is that we look at the cost recovery policy and the suggestion is that we change that.
I suppose our starting point on that is the cost recovery is itself a GNSO policy position and if the GNSO wanted to take that up and change its position on the cost recovery and say, "Don't recover it all, spend some of it on this," that would be entirely open to the GNSO to do.
I think the board has indicated on several occasions, including through the formation of the JAS working group, that there's general sympathy and you will have seen through the gTLD consultation the board is sympathetic to the whole prospect of helping people who need help in that area.
So that's perhaps the first one.
In relation to the second one, restructuring and refinancing and funding GNSO activities, I just wonder if Ramaraj or -- as chair of the Finance Committee, or Rod, if there's a quick comment on that. Obviously we're not going to commit to anything, but if there's some discussion we can have -- Ramaraj, please.
>>RAMARAJ: Yeah. Chuck gave us this feedback a couple of days ago, and we're trying to see -- I think part of it is in terms of GNSO policy, the working group recommendations and increasing resources, and I think we're working on that to see how to incorporate some of that into the budget and the budget framework by the May draft.
So that input has been taken and we're working towards seeing is there something that can be done. As it is, the requests that have come from the community is already greater than revenue forecasts, so there is going to be a balancing act that has to be done.
But thanks, Chuck, for this, and we will try and see how we can incorporate that feedback into the actual operating plan.
>>ROD BECKSTROM: And this is Rod. Just to make a very brief comment, and that is that there is some tradeoff between the two concepts there, too. If we change the cost recovery method and how we're handling new gTLDs, then it's not going to -- then we lose that potential revenue in terms of what might be used in terms of what's being asked for here in terms of more GNSO support.
So -- but we hear the issue on GNSO support and we'll consider that in the future as well. Thank you.
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Rita, a comment on the needy applicants point?
>>RITA RODIN JOHNSTON: I do. Chuck, that was a helpful statistic about that 94% coming from registrants.
I think that as Peter said, the board would love to be able to dedicate a certain amount of funds to needy applicants. That's certainly an issue that myself and Katim and a lot of others on the board really hold dear to our hearts. We -- Adam mentioned that the gender balance I think, you know, going to needy countries, trying to get women and other minorities and everybody on the Internet is something that we absolutely prioritize.
The problem is we haven't started the program yet, so we're talking about numbers and estimates and all sorts of things but we don't actually have the money in the budget at this point. And we hear from the GNSO that they're short-staffed and lots of other supporting organizations that we're trying to fund so it's a little bit of a chicken and egg problem.
I think that this board absolutely would love to provide the support and look to the JAS to give us some guidelines about how we define "needy" but we need to kind of move forward in the process so we can actually figure out how much money we have for this purpose. Thanks.
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Thanks very much.
Let's move to the next speaker. Could I just make an amendment to the agenda? It's been some time on xxx, which is on the board's agenda for tomorrow, let's treat that as the last item before any other business. Thank you. Sir?
>>CHRIS CHAPLOW: Thank you, Peter. My name is Chris Chaplow and I'm vice chair of finance and operations for the business constituency, and the business constituency naturally welcomes this opportunity to comment on the FY '12 operating plan and budget.
Many of our members are, well, naturally extremely interested in budget, being business people.
The business constituency also submitted five key requests for budget support as part of the new -- this is the first time this year -- the ACSO SG policy request process, and that was back in January. And externally we underlined our support for budget increases in compliance and we're pleased to hear that the two vacant positions have just been filled.
But our members remain concerned that staffing needs to be brought up to the FY '10 budget levels of 15 staff and supported by the best technology tools, and in the words of the FY '11 plan, 'ICANN will continue to aggressively enforce contractual compliance of registrar and registry agreements'.
We also support the work on organizing the WHOIS studies, and of course all resources and support for -- to support the excellent work of the policy staff.
Internally, we requested budget support via the constituency toolkit of services. And finally, for an outreach support project. This was all last January.
The framework plan has now been published and is open for public comment until the 6th of April.
As it's presented, it's a very user-friendly 17-slide PowerPoint deck format, whereas last year I think it was a 70-page PDF document.
So naturally I'm going to underline our request for more detail.
I particularly support the new -- well, new format this year, putting the gTLDs aside, which we don't need to talk any more about those at the moment, of separating core activities from policy, from project activities, and I think the budget actually -- the framework actually lists about 12 project activities and gives them a global budget of, I think, 11.1 million, about 20% of ICANN's budget. But as yet, we don't have any detail. It's difficult to comment on them when we haven't got any detail of the -- of the individual amounts that are suggested as being allocated for those projects. Thank you very much.
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Thank you. Rod, do you want to respond on the questions in relation to the detail or staffing?
>>ROD BECKSTROM: Sure. Thank you for noting that we just made two excellent new compliance hires, one who is in the back of the room right now, Carlos Alvarez, who is from Colombia, who has joined us in compliance, and we also have another, Maggie Seratt (phonetic) joining us very soon.
And I think the staffing levels should be about the same as they were in 2010 but I'll get back to you on the precise details.
Also with respect to compliance, there's a couple of moves that we have made to enhance the focus on that program. One is taking the compliance function and moving it from services and rather to now being in conjunction with the legal services group under the general counsel.
It's separate from legal services, but there are some synergies there.
You will note that we have been taking compliance actions, including serving the first -- the second breach notice in ICANN's history with respect to a registry.
So we're very focused on compliance. We've got some excellent new people coming in. We also have a plan for growth when the new gTLD program opens up. So thank you, Chris, very much for those points. We appreciate that.
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Thank you. Again, just a reminder, could you state your name and you'll see on the screen behind you, I'm -- we've expanded the available time. Everyone now gets 3 minutes. Thank you.
>> Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
>> XXXX LEE: I'm (saying name) Lee and I'm here to speak on behalf of the Chinese community.
Out of every five Internet users, there is one who speaks Chinese. 50 million micro-blocks, 200 million blocks, 400 million users, and that only accounts for end users within Chinese territories.
All of these members amount to one voice: Chinese gTLD is in present need. Thus, we sincerely hope there is much more material to go first and Chinese gTLD be the first to jump in.
As revealed in this meeting and previous ones, working groups like GIG, working groups at IETF and other ones, have already provided applicable solution to IDN in Chinese script. Existing Chinese TLDs like dot (saying name) also depict a promising scenario for Chinese community, yet allowing for users experience to be facilitated (inaudible).
On December 2nd, 2010, Chinese domain name consortium submitted a letter demonstrating that a solid foundation has been laid which encourages ICANN to adopt the policy of delegating paired traditional Chinese and simplified Chinese TLD strings, and we've expressed our consensus repeatedly to work closely with ICANN to ensure the acceptable implementation. We will keep our work continuity in the future. Thank you.
>>ROD BECKSTROM: Ma'am, I just want to thank you very much for expressing the needs and concerns of one-fifth of the global Internet users who speak Chinese as their language, and to recognize that the current gTLDs are all effectively from the English language and are expressed in Latin characters and that doesn't offer the full -- the same set of choices to Chinese-speaking people in the Internet root today, so we think that's a very good and important point that you share and a very good reason for moving ahead with the new gTLD program, when appropriate, and we've worked through the issues.
Thank you very much for sharing that.
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Thank you. Maria?
>>MARIA FARRELL: Hello. My name is Maria Farrell. I am a member of the -- this year's nominating committee, appointed by the NCUC, and I was previously a member of the ICANN staff.
I have the distinction of being the first of many mass exodus of staff from the ICANN organization in a series of forced departures which continue to this day.
I have kept -- not spoken about this out of loyalty to the organization and respect for the leadership and also my desire not to make a difficult situation worse for the ICANN staff, but my profound disquiet about how the organization is operationally being managed has moved me to speak to the board today.
There has been a vast hollowing out of expertise of relationships, of institutional memory, and of goodwill of this organization, and I believe the impact on ICANN's operational effectiveness has been profound.
The impact on the international reputation is also quite an issue.
There's a climate of fear stalking the ICANN staff. People are afraid to speak and frankly internally in a way to speak unpalatable truths behind closed doors, the sorts of things that need to be discussed to allow the organization to function efficiently.
People are afraid of losing their jobs by doing their jobs.
The collegiality that we knew as a former ICANN staff person seems to have evaporated as we have hemorrhaged talent over the last year or so. The culture of collegiality has made way for one of managing up, managing expectations, rather than serving the community.
Operational planning is in some disarray, as budgets are made up as we go along, priorities change, and internal communications is nonexistent.
I believe also that relationships that have been cultivated around the world over many years and with much assiduity have been trashed.
This hollowing out of the expertise of the ICANN organization of goodwill and the trashing of its international reputation has come to such an extent that I believe it does require urgent board attention.
These are very harsh words. I don't deliver them with any sense of ease or happiness, but I do believe although the board doesn't wish to be involved in micromanagement, that it needs to pay attention to these issues. Thank you.
[ Applause ]
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Thank you. Thank you. Can I say the board gets regular reporting on these matters from the staff, and I'll just ask the CEO to report briefly on staff matters.
>>ROD BECKSTROM: Sure. First is we do track our turnover. Total turnover for last year was below 15% for the organization. The industry comps for non-profits in the U.S. are between 20 and 30% a year; for high-tech companies, a similar range. Our turnover rate is actually quite low.
We don't publish statistics on voluntary versus involuntary turnover for privacy reasons.
We have also done a survey of our staff satisfaction, and we have an entire process that's working on that overall. We're very proud of our accomplishments. We've added some outstanding people to the organization and are very focused on execution. At the same time, I really appreciate your sharing your own views. Thank you.
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Thank you. Ken?
>>KEN STUBBS: Yes, my name is Ken Stubbs. I'm speaking as an individual here in my individual capacity.
I'm -- won't say concerned but I'm looking forward and I am hoping the board is looking forward. In the next three years, ICANN is going to come into a windfall that could approximate somewhere between 50 and 100 to $150 million.
To the best of my knowledge, and I would love to be corrected, I've not seen any formal plans. Now, those of you wondering what this is, this is going to be the proceeds most undoubtedly from the auction of TLDs that are contested.
I am hoping that we can start to see from the board a sense of direction as to how you plan on dealing with this, what kind of purposes you're looking at. There's an awful lot of good things that are left to be done out there. And I think that it would not be a good service to the community to inject this at the very last moment. I think that you really deserve to reach out inside the community from your various sectors and find out where you can use this in a way that will benefit users in the future. So I just needed to get that out on the table.
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Thanks, Ken. It is good to see your faith that there will be a new gTLD program and it will launch and that there will be proceeds. Sometimes in the past months we've wondered about that.
>>KEN STUBBS: And I'm looking forward to Singapore as well.
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: We all are.
Ken, I think our typical response on this has been we will be looking for community guidance. It is a community asset. It is a community process. We are implementing GNSO policy on this. I think what you are calling for is a call for a policy discussion on this topic.
I suppose we have been holding it until we got to this stage where we're reasonably confident that the program is going to be launching reasonably soon.
So I think, yes, I think it is probably now time for us to start formalizing the discussions around this.
>>KEN STUBBS: I would thank you. One quick response, Peter. There are a lot of rumors going around about trusts and administration arrangements already. And that's somewhat disquieting because, I think, you know, we've got to start at the beginning rather than at the other end on something like that. Thank you.
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Yes, I have been trying to persuade the board that it should go into my retirement fund. But so far, the board has insisted that there are better uses for it. But, yes, we should talk about that. Thank you.
>>STEVE METALITZ: Steve Metalitz. I'm attending this meeting on behalf of the Coalition for Online Accountability. ICANN has done a number of newsworthy things lately. It is doing a lot of newsworthy things.
The news item that attracted the most attention and raised the most questions among my clients and contacts was the decision to appoint a vice president of organizational effectiveness.
I think we all join in the hopes that ICANN would become a more effective organization, but I didn't see anything in the budget materials, at least that I've seen, about this position, the vice president for organizational effectiveness, where it fits in.
So I would be interested if the board could provide information about the vice president for organizational effectiveness position, what its purpose is, what's expected of the incumbent in that position and where it fits into the fiscal year '12 budget. Thank you.
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Thank you, Steve. I will just ask Rod to respond to that.
>>ROD BECKSTROM: Sure. I want to use some quick pieces of response. First, it fits into the organization. It reports directly to the chief operating officer, Akram Atallah.
Secondly, it relates exactly to some of the issues brought up earlier of staff development,investing in staff and evolving the culture of the organization to being an even more effective organization. They're running a bottoms-up process with 12 teams across the company of ten people each, led by team members. It has been extremely well received.
And it's towards simply improving institutional quality. When I came in, I looked at the organization structurally and began making enhancements because ICANN had evolved in some fashion, in some form. I can't exactly describe how. I wasn't here.
All I know is what I inherited needed to, in my view, further develop both structurally, culturally, process-wise. So it is part of the overall upgrade of the organization.
I think it is why you see events like the board-GAC event running as smoothly as it is this week, the largest meeting ever, et cetera. That's where it fits in.
In terms of the activities in the group beyond what I've stated, it is included in the strategic -- there is information on it in the operating -- draft operating plan that's online and you can look at that there. Thank you.
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Thank you.
>>WERNER STAUB: Werner Staub in my personal capacity. First, I'm not quite sure how we do the public comments. Is the gTLD subject not on the agenda?
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Correct, but if there's time at the end. So we are trying to get through operating plan and budget. And I've taken the other comments about staffing and the positions as generally operating plan and budget discussions.
If we've finished that, we're ready to move to the IANA contract and after that the ATRT. And if there's time after XXX, we can come back to new gTLDs.
>>WERNER STAUB: So the 20 minutes will be sufficient for the amount of comments we have or we can add more comments tomorrow? How do we do that? I think there is way more than we could possibly accommodate.
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Well, we'll do what we do when we run out of time, which is open up fora for filing written public comments. Perhaps we should start using our time talking about our time and move through the agenda.
If there's anything more on the fiscal year '12 operating plan and budget framework, please could you come forward.
>>ROELOF MEIJER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. My name is Roelof Meijer. I'm the chief executive officer of Sidn, the registry for dot nl. I'm also the chair of the ccNSO strategic and operational planning working group. So let me be clear that I'm definitely not speaking in my personal capacity.
The SOP working group will submit comments to the framework, but there's one thing that struck us when we had our exchange with the ICANN staff, and that was the answer to our question about the personnel costs.
It was mentioned to us that the figures for the fiscal year 2011, there was a total expenditure in personnel costs of 25.9 million U.S. dollars and that this was for 135 full-time equivalents.
That would come up to an average of 192,000 U.S. dollars for full- time equivalent, which seemed to us to be a fairly high amount.
So I would like to get a reaction to that one.
>>ROD BECKSTROM: Sure. First, that's a pretty typical number for a high-technology organization that has offices where ICANN does in terms of a fully loaded costs, when you are looking at all the features. Secondly, the 1099s -- I'm sorry, the 990 document online has some more breakdown on that topic if it's of interest.
>>ROELOF MEIJER: If you said that's a fairly typical number, is that a personal opinion or is it based on benchmark?
>>ROD BECKSTROM: It is based on 20 years of experience of running high-technology companies and we can certainly get some data -- it is out there if you look for it online. It is plentiful. If you find a variance -- Let me tell you this. We do surveys of our compensation. And our goal is, I believe, to be in the upper quartile. So that survey is done on a fairly regular basis. So it's not as though we're out of line with the industry for the quality of people that we're looking for.
>>ROELOF MEIJER: The explanation we got was different from yours, I'm afraid to say. It was suggested that too much lower qualified work was done by overqualified staff.
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Sorry, Roelof, where does that view come from? Not sure what you are presenting.
>>ROELOF MEIJER: That was one of the answers we received when we asked this question.
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Of whom?
>>ROELOF MEIJER: You want me to mention names? I don't think that's a good idea.
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Just not sure who you were talking to, somebody on the street or an ICANN staff or a board member.
>>ROELOF MEIJER: This was an official exchange during the ccNSO meeting, so we were talking to ICANN staff.
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Ah, thank you.
I'm not sure how much further we can take that except to say we routinely benchmark compensation. The compensation committee will be reporting on this when the committees report. We routinely commission Towers Watson over time to commission benchmark studies. The last one of those was done formally in 2006, I think. I'm now jumping into the compensation committee report. We've called for a review of that strategy and where the board will be reviewing the corporate compensation strategy.
But at this stage, the various compensation -- individual compensation has been made according to a reasonably longstanding compensation policy.
>>ROELOF MEIJER: Those benchmarks, can we find it anywhere? That's the last question I will bother you with today.
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Yes.
>>LESLEY COWLEY: Very tall microphone. Good afternoon, Lesley Cowley, CO of Nominet, dot uk.
Peter and Rod, you will recall in Cartagena I was expressing some concern from the CC community about staff retention. And certainly we weren't asking for figures about individual packages or departures, but we did have concern about the loss of expertise and knowledge that the -- we were seeing at ICANN. And on the back of an envelope, I calculated a turnover of roughly 78% of senior staff. You may have more up-to-date figures than I have.
But I would just like to support Maria's comments that there are members of the community who genuinely want ICANN to work but who are genuinely concerned about the current rates of staff turnover.
And I was one of the many people who suggested staff retention and morale be included in the strategic plan. And I was pleased to note in the plan on the page, it was included. I would encourage the board to work on strategies and tactics to ensure that that takes place.
>>ROD BECKSTROM: Sure. Just to come back on that, Lesley, first, at the ccNSO meeting in Cartagena, I shared the estimate for the year of where the turnover would come in overall. It came in consistent with those figures, below 15%. So there's no change from the information that I shared at that time, firstly.
I, also, explained at that meeting that we don't break it out by very small groups of different staffing because you get a statistically skewed result. And it is really the overall average that is significant.
And, also, you know, in coming back to the question of compensation and staffing, et cetera, you know, one of the reasons our turnover rate is as low as it is is because we do seek to compensate our very qualified, incredibly hard-working and talented staff in the upper third or upper fourth of equal professionals or similar professionals that are out there. Thank you.
>>LESLEY COWLEY: Thank you, Rod. I think you shared the figure that related to the financial year that had ended previously. But, anyway, maybe we can talk about that offline.
The concern that we have is even with the compensation policy, there seems to be experience walking out of the door. I would just like to put that on the record.
[ Applause ]
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Nigel?
>>NIGEL ROBERTS: Well, this would not be on the budget so I'm giving way to anybody who wants to talk on the budget.
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Thank you, Nigel. Anybody who wants to make another comment that's even vaguely related to the operating plan or the budget? No? Well, let's move to the next topic, which is the IANA contract.
>>NIGEL ROBERTS: Thank you, Peter. My name is Nigel Roberts. I am with the Channel Islands registry. We run dot gg and dot je.
As there is currently an opportunity for the public to provide input to the U.S. government regarding the IANA contract renewal, I would like to take this opportunity here in the public forum to ask what I think is a fundamental question for the record so that I and others can decide what sort of input to make to the IANA contract comment period.
In Article 4 of the ICANN Articles of Incorporation, ICANN bound itself to relevant international law. In the case of ICM Registry against ICANN, the review panel ruled it had legal effect in California.
Now, as the performance of the IANA contract particularly as it relates to Country Code Top Level Domains, literally, can have effect in all sovereign nations and dependent territories in the world. I wonder if you could please confirm something for me.
One of the benefits of age is that you lose distance vision. Excuse me a second.
Would you confirm whether or not relevant international law includes the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1949 and/or the European Convention of Human Rights in 1950 either wholly or partially? And if the answer is "partially," which parts are not relevant?
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Nigel, I wonder if you can help me to start so I can ask the correct people to address this. This is obviously not an easy one to deal with on the fly.
Sorry. What part of the bylaws -- what part of Article 4 were you referring to at the very beginning?
>>NIGEL ROBERTS: To be precise, I'm referring to the comments in ICM Registry against ICANN where it refers to Article 4 stating that ICANN has bound itself to respect relevant principles of international law.
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: All right. I think we are going to have to spend some time thinking about exactly what you're asking.
>>NIGEL ROBERTS: Happy to take an offline reply in writing.
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Thanks. If we can get back to you before the end of the public forum, so we can do it here, Nigel, we will. We are not trying to hide from a very --
>>NIGEL ROBERTS: I realize it is not a question you can answer in three seconds, but it is a question I would like an answer within a reasonable time, if that's okay.
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Let's take that under advisement, as Americans say, and we will come back to you as soon as we can.
>>NIGEL ROBERTS: And if it will assist, I will provide the question in writing.
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: That would help as well. Thanks.
Next in line? Thank you.
>>DAVID MAHER: David Maher, dot org, the Public Interest Registry. This is a question about the IANA contract that relates also to the next topic. And the question is, if there is a significant delay or failure to comply with the ATRT recommendations, what impact would that have on the IANA contract?
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Well, I'm not sure, again, we're able to speculate on the fly. But it might relate to which ATRT recommendation or the conditions under which the non-compliance occurred. Very hard to know.
>>DAVID MAHER: There is a connection, you believe?
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Well, I'm not sure it's positive to speculate about that kind of thing. The board has made it pretty clear, I think, that it welcomes the ATRT recommendations, has appointed specialist staff as watching the performance, is having resolutions about that tomorrow as working in good faith to try and accommodate the recommendations. So I'm not sure how productive it is to start speculating about failure in an activity that we're all working so hard on.
>>DAVID MAHER: Thank you.
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Thanks. Next?
>>BOB HUTCHINSON: Hello, I'm Bob Hutchinson with Dynamic Ventures. I am interested in commenting on the IANA.
I asked for comments about metrics and reporting and whether they are sufficient in their current form.
I plan to file two suggestions. As an aside, in Brussels, I asked for more support for the IPv6 rollout; and I'm pleased to report that Plug Fest where IPv6 devices are going on all this year to support network equipment providers, there was a large one in New Hampshire in February. The good news is that they had the Plug Fest. Even better news is they found a lot of problems that engineers will be working on to fix in IPv6.
For IANA, the two areas that I would like to see addressed better are the rollout of DNSSEC and IPv6. In the area of DNSSEC, I would like to see statistics or graphs produced about the signed root of all of the TLDs and, perhaps, visual tracking of the progress of how we are making progress towards signing all of the TLDs in the root. That is important also as we begin to roll out gTLDs.
In IPv6, I would like to see graphs of the DNS TLDs supporting native IPv6 in their authoritative name servers.
A quick check of the database today looks like there's -- 50% of the current name servers are running IPv6 native stats. And there's no information today as to whether that is real live or whether it's just for test.
So, anyway, I celebrate ICANN's successes in both of these initiatives, and I would like to understand from the board what their comments are about requesting these two types of reporting.
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: A number of responses to a very well crafted but complex question. Could I ask Dr. Crocker to respond in relation to DNSSEC? Steve?
>>STEVE CROCKER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. My name is Steve Crocker, and I'm responding in kind of multiple roles here, as a member of the board, as longstanding chair of SSAC until late last year, and put a lot of work in on DNSSEC in particular, both my day job and with respect to ICANN.
So with respect to DNSSEC in particular, a couple of things. What ICANN has direct control over is just the root zone, not any of the TLDs except kind of marginally, dot ARPA, I guess, maybe dot int.
Nonetheless, ICANN is very, very strongly encouraging and supporting, nurturing the adoption of DNSSEC. In any adoption program, I mean, this is almost sort of marketing 101, you have a big spread between the early adopters and the next wave and so forth of standard, crossing the chasm kind of diagrams and charts and you have a long tail.
And, of course, we know that in the TLD community, there are a small number of -- a relatively small number of very, very large players. And then there is a much larger set of very small and much weaker from a financial point of view and resource point of view.
The board set an objective, very deliberately, to focus ICANN attention on the developing countries and included that as a specific objective for the coming years and, as I said, has been very, very supportive across the board.
The numbers are pretty good actually in terms of TLDs, a lot of action underway. One of the biggest, dot com, is scheduled to be signed within a couple of weeks. I've been keeping some statistics and building graphs. They're not the prettiest, but they're the best that I can do and I would like to do better actually.
But I think there's almost now a small cottage industry of building statistics and graphics like this, and it is coming along very nicely. It is a lot more complexity than just getting zones signed. There is also the question of getting the signatures checked upon reference and so forth. So it is a multilayer rollout issue.
But actually after a long, long struggle of trying to get attention, I think we've crested and are now in the sunlight and rolling along, not anywhere close to the end but we are now well off the beginning marks. I'm pretty comfortable.
Any suggestions I think would be very welcome, but there is an enormous amount of energy behind DNSSEC at the moment.
>>ROD BECKSTROM: Sure. I just want to build on Steve's remarks as well. And thank you very much for the question. There has been work on explicitly pushing for the adoption across developing countries. We have over 70 TLDs signed with DNSSEC today.
There is a report that, I believe, is public. And I think I tweeted it already. If you look at my Twitter history, you will find the tweet with the link to the page that reports on a weekly basis.
I lost audio. Is audio on?
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Mine's on.
>>ROD BECKSTROM: Sorry about that. I lost audio. Anyway, there is a report -- I believe we have a public report on that that has the statistics you are asking for in DNSSEC. So I'll just make sure that gets tweeted again so that's available.
Interesting point on the IPv4/IPv6 question. What one, I think, is to understand a little bit more from you, what you are really looking for behind that and then consider that as well in the future. Or if you want to comment now, that's also appropriate.
>>BOB HUTCHINSON: The short answer from my perspective, as IPv6 becomes available from DNS services across or down the tree, if you will, I would wish that IANA or ICANN in general would report to the community on that and celebrate the success that they're --
>>ROD BECKSTROM: Sure. I will mention one thing we do measure in terms of IPv6 traffic, and that is what comes to the ICANN dot org Web site. That's on our dash boards. If you go to the dashboard, that's just a measure of traffic we have from the perspective of our own organization. It is a statistic that's online. I think it's an interesting broader question that we can all consider. Thank you.
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Thanks. Please, go ahead.
>> EDWARD HASBROUCK: My name is Edward Hasbrouck. The decision of whether to renew the IANA contract, fortunately, will not be made by ICANN's board but by the U.S. Department of Commerce. And I know that there are a lot of people in this room and watching who, despite their grave concerns about ICANN, are hesitate to voice those to IANA and recommend as I will that the contract not be renewed because of ICANN's breach of the current contract. But many others hesitate because they fear that the alternative might be worse.
I think there is a real problem there, and I would encourage those who are aware of the ways that ICANN does not follow its rules and of the sham and its pretensions to operate in accordance with a set of specified rules, really any specified set of rules, since there is no institutional culture in ICANN of respect for procedural rights. The assumption seems to be, Well, if we end up with the right decision, who cares how we got there.
But I think it is critically important for those who are aware of the problems with ICANN's compliance to let the Department of Commerce know about that.
There's some people who say, Well, the U.S. government would be worse. I'm no fan of the U.S. government and its failure to follow its own rules. I was in federal court a few blocks from here this morning in a case I brought against the U.S. government for its failure to comply with its own transparency rules, just as I'm the maker of two outstanding requests for independent review of ICANN's failure to comply with its own transparency rules as spelled out in its bylaws, which you are continuing to ignore despite the lies posted after the Nairobi meeting by staff who claimed to be trying to help me and to be trying, to be willing to organize a meeting when they haven't spoken to me in years and won't return my phone calls.
But I think it is critically important for the Department of Commerce to know that the ICANN emperor has no clothes and that ICANN is not operating according to the processes that it pretends to follow, those defined in its bylaws, and for the evaluation of whether to renew that contract be founded on a critical evaluation of the specific rules that ICANN has set for itself.
You know, ICANN has a transparency bylaw that says that ICANN and its constituent bodies shall operate to the maximum extent feasible in an open and transparent manner, not ICANN shall have some transparency. The criteria in the bylaws is the maximum extent feasible. And there has essentially been no review ever of whether ICANN's actions actually comply with that specific language in its bylaws.
Clearly, they do not.
The so-called documentary information disclosure policy bears no resemblance to a criteria rooted solely in what is feasible, nor do the many closed sessions held at the meetings this week, nor does the very existence of a secret, closed board e-mail list on which things are discussed. It would be feasible for that to be made public.
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Mr. Hasbrouck, your time is up.
>> EDWARD HASBROUCK: There are those who believe that ICANN's decision-making would be better if -- as it is, much of it goes on in secret, if you so believe your duty is to move to amend the bylaws to legalize secret discussions and closed discussions, not to ignore the present bylaws which mandate that ICANN operate in a fishbowl. Thank you.
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: You might like to look at the report of the Accountability and Transparency Review Team, Mr. Hasbrouck. Next in line.
Mr. Hasbrouck, your time is up. What you can do is get to the back and come forward again. There is no one stopping you from multiple attempts.
Next in line.
[ Applause ]
>>DR. EBERHARD LISSE: Eberhard Lisse. I'm the assistant TLD manager of dot na. And as some of you may know, I'm a gynecologist in a small developing country by profession.
I note with concern the extravagances incurred by management of ICANN. I also note with more concern, or rather hope, the recent democratization turnouts in Northern Africa and the Middle East and cannot help but notice, be concerned about the potential this may have to interfere with the stability of the DNS, not only as far as the country code domain space is concerned, which is why I wonder if the board cannot direct the CEO to reveal the contact leaders of his connection for purely medicinal purposes, of course, because I wonder what weed he has been smoking.
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Next in line.
>>MICHELE NEYLON: Thank, Mr. Chairman, members of the board. My name is Michele Neylon. I am founder and CEO of Blacknight internet Solutions Limited, the largest domain registrar in Ireland.
I come today to ask the chairman and members of the board of ICANN if the organization follows RFC 1591 and to confirm that they will not entertain redelegation requests for any country top-level domain until they have consulted significantly interested parties in the territory or country concerned.
Furthermore, given that the IANA contract is a public function carried out under a tender process for the Department of Commerce, will you please let us know what requirement of the U.S. government allows ICANN to keep redelegation requests secret from significantly interested parties in the country or territory concerned.
And before you answer those two questions, I just wish to state for the record, as referenced in my letter of 28th February to Rod Beckstrom, that Blacknight is the largest registrar in Ireland, we have about 20% of all Irish domains. In other words, we are a significantly interested party.
I realize that you may not be able to answer those questions immediately, but I would ask you to do so within a reasonable time frame.
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Thank you. I think the short response is that RFC 1591 is part of the current process. There's more to it than that. There's a reasonably well established set of IANA processes that occur on redelegation.
More importantly than that, however, that whole process now is being reviewed itself by the ccNSO.
I'm not sure exactly what the contents of your letter to Rod were, but I assume that a response is on its way to you. I'm not sure it's productive now to try and second guess a report that's in the making.
>>MICHELE NEYLON: With all due respect, Mr. Chairman, you were also sent a copy of the same letter via e-mail on the 20th of February.
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: As you can imagine I'm --
[ Applause ]
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: As you can imagine, I am copied on an extraordinary range of correspondence relating to operational matters that are nothing to do with my particular responsibility. So that's not one that has actually made it to me.
>>ROD BECKSTROM: I have to find a mic that works here. Thank you very much. Michele, thank you very much. Our stakeholder services group will be responding to your letter, and I also note I think there may be a policy process under way in the ccNSO with respect to delegation and redelegations at ccTLDs that we look forward to hearing from.
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Mr. Hasbrouck.
>>EDWARD HASBROUCK: Perhaps if there is no one else on the subject of the IANA contract I could move, as you seem to be inviting, to the question of the Accountability and Transparency Review Team.
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Before you do that, let's just check to see if the community has finished submissions or comments or questions about the IANA contract. If they have, I will be happy to entertain comment on the next topic.
Is there any further discussion about the IANA contract? Or the Department of Commerce NOI?
No, seeing none, Mr. Hasbrouck you have the floor for three minutes on the accountability and transparency review.
>>EDWARD HASBROUCK: Thank you. I am very pleased, as I think most members of the community are, by the effort that was made by the Accountability and Transparency Review Team. I think it's important for everyone looking at that report, however, to recognize the terms of reference that were given and what the committee was not charged with doing and what it did not do.
What it was charged with doing is an overall evaluation of whether ICANN is, in some respects, accountability or in some respects transparent. It was not -- specifically not -- charged with an audit of whether ICANN actually complies with its current bylaws provisions on accountability and transparency.
You will look through that entire report, as I have, in vain for any assessment as to whether ICANN's even purported transparency policies, much less its transparency practices, actually comply with the standards set by the bylaws. The maximum extent feasible of transparency. That means the only basis for withholding of information is if it's not feasible to do so. Not that someone believes that decisions would benefit from being held in a closed room, or that someone else's interests might be affected by that. That's simply not in the bylaws. And it wasn't anything that the Accountability and Transparency Review Team was charged with doing.
Neither did the Accountability and Transparency Review Team reviewed whether ICANN actually had complied with any of its accountability procedures. For example, they didn't look at has an ombudsman been appointed by the board. That's a really simple one. The bylaws are unambiguous that the ombudsman must be appointed by the board. It can't be delegated.
ICANN announced that it had appointed an ombudsman on a day when there was no publicly disclosed board meeting. I don't know whether the ombudsman, so-called, was appointed by the CEO or whether they were appointed by a secret board meeting, but there is no possible way that any auditor reviewing the record could possibly believe that ICANN had ever complied with the obligation to properly appoint an ombudsman.
The record is equally clear that the Accountability and Transparency Review Team was not charged and did not review whether ICANN had actually properly acted in accordance with the procedural rules specified in its bylaws on reconsideration requests or requests for independent review.
So while it is useful, it is in no way an audit of ICANN's compliance with its own rules and should not be misunderstood to be such.
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Any other comments about the ATRT reviews?
>>KIEREN McCARTHY: Hi, Kieren McCarthy of dot nxt.
Just very quickly, I'm not sure whether I like this setup more or less. When were you up on the stage you felt like were you towering over me and now I can just about make out your faces.
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Just a quick response, Kieren. We thought it would be better to use the room as it was set up for another purpose rather than taking time to move furniture around. But this might not be ideal. We accept that.
>>KIEREN McCARTHY: I wasn't criticizing that point. I was just trying to lighten the mood.
[ Laughter ]
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: I don't think we have been criticized all day. Mr. Hasbrouck was just criticizing the AT review team, I think, for not doing --
>>KIEREN McCARTHY: I would like to criticize the board now, if I may.
[ Laughter ]
[ Applause ]
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Do I have a choice?
[ Laughter ]
>>KIEREN McCARTHY: Nobody still works.
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Go ahead.
>>KIEREN McCARTHY: So I would like to encourage the board to accept all of the ATRT recommendations in full without equivocation, and most importantly, with a smile on your face.
It's a cornerstone of the AoC. It's crucial to ICANN's legitimacy that you accept these things from independent reviewers. Particularly it's the ATRT.
I am a little bit concerned about the way you have decided to run this process now you have got the report. Particularly, the report stated ICANN staff was laboring under an attitude of inordinate defensive and distrust of the review team. That's in the report. So I wasn't encouraged to see the board ask the same staff to produce a paper that you would then make decisions about what to introduce or not to introduce.
I also wasn't encouraged when every mention of this by the CEO has had a sort of a caveat, "as long as we have the sufficient resources to do it." I am not encouraged to hear that. Every time it's said "as long as we have the resources." It worries me slightly.
I am not encouraged by the fact that the staff paper was provided to the board three weeks ago and you are going to use that as the basis, I think, for making decisions tomorrow but that none of us have seen that paper which is particularly ironic considering its accountability and transparency.
And I am not encouraged by the fact that in the summary of that report that has been given to the SOs and ACs of this meeting that the figure of $960,000 has been continually stressed; i.e., I have fear that you will say it's very expensive to put these in place and so, therefore, we won't put them in place. It worries me.
And, see, I know ICANN pretty well. I know the recommendations pretty well, and I'm not sure -- I think that that figure is probably very high. But I'm happy to be persuaded. I'd like to read the report and say if it costs a million dollars, it costs a million dollars. But personally, I don't think it would. I think that figure is far too high, and so I would be very uncomfortable with seeing the board stepping back from any of those recommendations tomorrow until we have had the ability to scrutinize the reason behind dropping those recommendations.
So if you do step back, please allow some scrutiny of those figures, those decisions.
And very lastly, if there are any recommendations that you step back from, please be very clear and expansive about why you were doing it, because that was the whole point of the ATRT in the first place. Their concern is you weren't explaining important decisions clearly. So if you do step back, explain the decisions very clearly, and I imagine that the community will accept it.
So that's my comments. Thank you.
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Thanks very much.
[ Applause ]
>>ROD BECKSTROM: Yeah, I don't think I have said the same thing every time. What I will mention is, clearly, I think our commitment to the review team -- all three review teams, by the way; there are two more that are under way right now -- is having assigned Denise Michel as my assistant who is formerly V.P. of policy development support, extremely knowledgeable, has been fully dedicated to this effort including now helping to prepare for the board and their consideration. And let me just review the process again.
The only way to follow-up on the recommendations properly was to have public comment first. Public comment was open immediately. It closed on February 14th.
That is then being analyzed and summarized and the recommendations are being analyzed by the board and being handled at the next board meeting which will be tomorrow for the recommendations where the immediate consideration can be made.
The others do require more analysis. Not just in terms of resources, which of course is essential, because the entire strategic and operating planning process we go through is community reviewed. And so when other things are done, they have -- due consideration has to be given. So it's about being real about implementation. And I think that we have got excellent people on it, and I'm excited that we will be able to make progress on the vast majority of recommendations. Ultimately, it will be the decision of the board which of those we follow through on. But clearly, we're fully dedicated. We are moving forward at the earliest moment, and we have top quality talent focused on it.
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Thanks.
>>MARILYN CADE: Thank you. My name is Marilyn Cade. I am the chair of the business constituency, and I am making a statement on behalf of the constituency.
It is a prepared statement, so some of the content in it may result in being overtaken by some parts of Rod Beckstrom's last response in which case I will probably follow-up with a question.
Certainly, I would like to open by thanking the board and the chair and CEO for making sure that we had a public forum.
The business constituency welcomed the public forum approaches on new gTLDs on Monday and Wednesday, and thoroughly supported all of the work that has gone on between the board and the GAC and the staff and the community on new gTLDs. But the public forum is critical. We do far more than new gTLDs, and that's why this public forum is important, and we appreciate the opportunity to speak.
We really welcome the Affirmation of Commitments, and as we have said in previous comments, that document was heard and welcomed around the world. And it represents a commitment that we take very seriously.
We were very pleased to see the ATRT report and we look forward to learning more about the implementations of the recommendations, which we take as a commitment by the board.
This comment does not address the substantive detail, but instead, I want to emphasize a couple of points.
On Monday, we were concerned to hear in the president and CEO's opening remarks that fulfilling the Affirmation of Commitment responsibilities was subject to receiving appropriate resources. The business constituency advises the board and the community. We believe the ATRT recommendations are expected by the community to be fully implemented. If there are budget or resource constraints that are putting the recommendations at risk, that must be identified immediately and shared with the community, and I take from Mr. Beckstrom's response that we will learn more about that perhaps tomorrow.
We have been looking for the status report that was committed, and we will just note that in order for the community to be effective, we need documents before we arrive at a meeting.
I will now say that I was somewhat taken aback, and it's entirely my fault that I missed that in the final report that there would be discussion of recommendations which the board has concluded it cannot implement, including a detailed explanation as to why.
It seems to us that, in fact, it would be important to get those recommendations out very early and ask the community for advice on other ways that those problems and issues can be addressed.
It may be appropriate not to act on a recommendation if it's not possible to implement, but there is a resourceful community, and a committed community. And it may be that we could help with other ideas on implementation.
Since the report in June at the Singapore meeting is at the conclusion of the ATRT process, this has indicated it will be very important to schedule a discussion on opening day.
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Marilyn, you are out of time, technically. Is there much more?
>>MARILYN CADE: No, I am done with one other statement. And to make sure that the formal report is provided to the community well before the Singapore meeting.
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Thank you.
>>PAUL FOODY: Hello, ladies and gentlemen. This is to do with accountability and transparency.
In the last published DAG, ICANN made it clear that, well, you stated that under no circumstances would more than a thousand new gTLDs be released in any one year. However, later on in the same document you said -- you stated it was your intention to release a second DAG or a subsequent round within one year of the first release.
So what I am asking is, in terms of accountability and transparency, is it your intention that the thousand per year in any year is going to be extended for a certain number of years? Or are you going to, in subsequent leases, allow unlimited numbers?
>>ROD BECKSTROM: Sure, Mr. Foody. The board passed a resolution, in fact, limiting the annual rate to 1,000 as a maximum for any time in the future unless the board comes back and revisits it with another resolution. So that's a fixed cap as a formal decision by the board.
That could be reviewed. As a result of the review that's specified in the AoC of the new gTLD program after a one-year launch, that might be reviewed by the board either upward or downward. It could change. And I'm not going to speculate on how it might change.
All I can share is it is definitely capped at 1,000 per year right now.
>>PAUL FOODY: Okay. But it can change at your whim. Thank you.
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Again, let's try and keep new gTLD issues to the end, please.
Is there anything more on the accountability and transparency review?
If not, Jonathan.
>>JONATHAN ZUCK: I feel like I am before the disciplinary board here now in this formation.
My name is Jonathan Zuck from the Association for Competitive Technology. And obviously I am glad that my brand has shifted from Louis Armstrong to the harpy that inspired the so-called Zuck Resolution, which while far from comprehensive was certainly promising because there were so many calls to pursue the consumer interests in the Affirmation of Commitments. And so I am a little bit concerned that it's gotten pushed off, whether it's for staff reasons or budgetary reasons, et cetera. And it's leading other initiatives to take place, like the formation of a consumer constituency, which I think is too small a way to address issues that should really be across all constituencies.
So I am concerned that a delay on one hand is simply going to create new bureaucracy in another place.
But anyway, so I just wanted to express our concern and reaffirm my desire to see some real definitions and metrics surrounding consumer confidence, consumer interests, and competition for the ultimate review of the new gTLD program, and to adhere to the requirements of the AoC and the ATRT.
I do have one proposal. Since there's been this call for constructive proposals and not just complaining, I wanted to take this opportunity to announce a new TLD that's meant to be more consumer facing, because we -- you know, I really want to deal with these consumer issues, and there's a lot of focus on that. So I wanted to announce the creation of the dot con TLD.
Now, "con" stands for consumer. I don't want anybody to be confused it stands for convict or con game or anything like that.
The intention here is that we wouldn't have any IP protections whatsoever in this new domain. In fact, registered brand owners would be prohibited from actually buying their own brand within the new domain. So you would just have things like eBay.con and IBM.con, et cetera. Well, you would have BankofAmerica.con. In fact, the entire banking industry has agreed to move all of their legitimate Web sites to the dot con domain as it seems like a more appropriate home.
Tried to address -- I have tried to address the vertical separation issue and the registry/registrar ownership issue as well. All of the registrar's registrations will be done in a kind of a pyramid scheme manner so actual ownership will be restricted to just a taste. So that's really the foundation of this.
You will have my application shortly. My bank in Iwannastan will be wiring a million dollars to your account, and you are allowed to keep $200,000 of it as long as you pass on the other 800,000.
Thank you. Look forward to participating in the process.
[ Applause ]
>>ROD BECKSTROM: With respect to the very famous Zuck Resolution, what many people refer to as the Zuck and not the Armstrong resolution, we are going to be asking the GNSO for assistance in assessing the success of the program after its launch.
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Yes. Thanks again for keeping new gTLD issues to the end of the agenda.
>>SÉBASTIEN BACHOLLET: (in French, not translated for the scribes).
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Merci, Sébastien.
Steve, is this an ATRT comment?
>>STEVE DELBIANCO: It is, it is. Steve DelBianco with Net Choice. And the Affirmation of Commitments, the draw of the entire ATRT and even the ATRT definition calls for ensuring that our decisions are made in the public interest. Oh, and then it goes on to say that they are accountable and transparent.
So I have argued for several meetings and in every public comment period that we ought to define what public interest is in the DNS context. I won't go through all of it here but I really worry that if we don't define it, it will be shaped and twisted to suit the definitional purposes of particular stakeholder groups, or if it's not defined, it may mean nothing at all. And the experience we just had with the Zuck Resolution, in that it -- Bruce Tonkin's resolution to move that ahead, it hasn't gone anywhere yet. But I sure hope it will keep going because in the absence of that movement, as Mr. Zuck said, we are getting a new constituency for terms that we should define for an entire community.
So I would ask you as a board, notwithstanding the slow start for Bruce Tonkin's resolution, consider another resolution to demand that the community come up with a definition for public interest in the DNS context. Because if we don't, we risk yet another public interest constituency application showing up on your desk.
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Steve, there's no deliberate attempt not to, to assure you, but there are a lot of public-policy reasons why you don't define terms like that and I'm sure you are aware of them. Terms like pornography vary year by year, market by market, age group by age group.
So a definition of pornography, to be effective in all the environments where a definition of that is helpful, is very difficult.
So what we don't do is restrict ourselves. And we have had the same kind of concept in relation to copyright infringement. If we defined it in the 1960s, it would have been limited to photocopying, et cetera. And now there's a whole lot of other technologies, and copyright infringement is still able to work because we did not define it carefully.
So there are a lot of public-policy advantages in allowing that concept to be interpreted each time so that the best interpretation that's available -- a concept like public interest changes. What it means to the ccNSO is properly very differently from what it means to you and what it means to the different groups.
So I'm not quite sure whether you have got support from the community, and the fact that nobody picks up your point each time you make it suggests perhaps you haven't.
>>STEVE DELBIANCO: This is ICANN. One doesn't give up after just two years.
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: I understand.
>>STEVE DELBIANCO: There are advantages to leaving it undefined, but I think they are swamped by the advantages of defining it. We are in the business of running of the DNS, managing and coordinating the DNS. We ought to be concerned with the availability of the DNS and the integrity of the resolutions that we provide. That kind of a definition would put us on good footing to check that box and do well whenever we do the affirmation review, the next whole set of ATRT, because they all require us to assess whether we are meeting the global public interest.
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: The reason you don't define it that way is as soon as you put a line in the sand, all those people who have an advantage in gaming it or getting it around it know exactly where they have to move to. An open definition allows us to keep ahead of the bad guys. So this is not as straightforward as simply saying there's a word, it doesn't have a definition, let's give it one.
That's a complex topic.
But thank you for your continued pursuit of that.
Next in line.
>>KHALED FATTAL: Thank you, Peter. Khaled Fattal, group chairman of Multilingual Internet Group.
A brief statement just to follow on Steve DelBianco's comment in terms of the public interest.
It is quite alarming that we have to actually go and do the rallying for a call, although something that's as apparent as public interest. During the ATRT review I raised the point that public interest perhaps should not be purely in terms of the two words the public and the interest. But based on the Affirmation of Commitments of where ICANN stands and where the internationalization of ICANN and the internationalization of the DNS and how it's going to impact the global community. It is quite valid to actually address global public interest.
Now, I don't believe that really needs to be hugely defined, but it is definitely an area that needs to be addressed so that we know where our role in ICANN, as community, as board and as staff, we're going with this.
And further to the point about going to community. I believe the board is quite aware that on the issue that was raised pertaining to terrorism, which the board had actively acted in a positive sense, taking out the comment, it was purely because it was placed in the DAG 4 in a manner that was -- that lacked any definition. And I don't believe ICANN were overwhelmed with comments on the issue of terrorism, yet you acted upon it because you knew it was the right thing to do to correct it.
So I actually would support Steve, that on numerous occasions you may not necessarily need to have lots of voices on the issue, but valid -- valid concerns on them should be enough to prompt you to act.
[ Applause ]
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Thanks, Khaled.
Bertrand has a response.
>>BERTRAND DE LA CHAPELLE: Well, no, it's not actually a response to this comment, but a brief comment on the notion of public interest, which all of you know I, particularly, am keen of.
There is no definition in any country of the national public interest. It is something that cannot be defined. However, we have a tendency to evaluate countries according to how democratic transparent, trustworthy their governance structures are.
The public interest, the national public interest, is the result of an appropriate framework that allows the citizens to participate, delegate people that will take decisions on their behalf, and if the process is right, the result is deemed a national public interest.
The issue we are facing within ICANN is exactly the same regarding what Steve was rightly calling the global public interest. The challenge we are facing and the only challenge we have that is a big one is to define the transparent and accountable processes for this organization in a limited mandate that it has to define and take decisions that, in the end, if the processes are right, will constitute the global public interest.
I think this is the only answer we can give. But if we have this in mind all the time when we take decisions and when we design processes, hopefully we will produce a global public interest.
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Thanks, Bertrand. I think we'll close on this and I think Thomas Narten wants to say something, so Thomas you can have the last word on accountability and transparency.
Where is Thomas?
Ah, Thomas down there. Thank you.
>>THOMAS NARTEN: Thanks, Peter. I guess I just wanted to respond briefly to the comments that Kieren made because I mean the board has obviously had some discussions on the ATRT recommendations, and I mean, I'll just speak for myself. I have not heard anyone -- or any one recommendation that we disagree with or thought couldn't be done. But we have to go through the details. We have to sort of figure out what can be done, what it means, what the costing is going to be and so forth.
There's always the risk that there's a little bit of, you know, the devil's in the details. You might be surprised in defining what exactly needs to be done.
And we're in the process. I -- you know, I wish it could move faster than it is at some point, but it will play out, and I think if you go talk to individual board members, you'll find that there's a lot of support for the ATRT work and the recommendations. Thanks.
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH:
Thanks, Thomas. Let's move then to the xxx application. Those of you who were here this morning will have seen that we have completed the bylaws discussions that we have been having with the GAC, in relation to GAC advice on xxx, and it's on the agenda for tomorrow.
So the microphone is open. Is there a speaker on xxx?
There are several.
>>PAUL CAMBRIA: Yes.
Good afternoon. My name is Paul Cambria. I'm an attorney and I represent a number of the largest adult production companies, including Hustler, Vivid Video, Wicked Pictures, and a number of others.
First of all, to dispel a declaration that I've heard, the vast majority of these companies are unalterably opposed to a triple -- dot xxx designation.
In addition, and on a personal note from years of experience, the dot xxx designation is a content-based designation.
For over a hundred years, our Supreme Court has fended off any attack on First Amendment speech based upon content. As long as speech is legal, we don't grade it according to its content.
As you witnessed here today, you had a vast and robust display of free speech, from compliments to criticism, and dot xxx would compartmentalize, according to content, adult -- legal adult speech, and that could serve to put a crack in the wall, if you will, of free speech as we know it in this country.
There is no gradation between political speech, let's say, and a hurtful comment that's made by someone that is nevertheless protected.
And dot xxx would afford a step toward content-based categorization of otherwise lawful speech and, in addition, provide a very convenient tool for those who had the power to either censor or at least prevent lawful speech from being disseminated because dot xxx would compartmentalize adult lawful speech in such a way that people could take advantage of that category and try to stifle or stop that kind of speech from occurring.
So I urge you to reject anything that would, in some way, prevent free and robust speech of all categories, no matter what, and to reject this suggestion that's been placed before you.
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Thanks very much.
Can I just note that if all 10 of you want to make comments on xxx, that's fine. That will take us through to the end of the public forum because that's at least 30 minutes. So if you could -- if you can use less than three minutes, that would be appreciated, but you can take it all if you need it. Thank you.
>>CONNOR YOUNG: Hello. And sincere thank you for this opportunity to speak to you. I'm sorry, I'm going to have to watch my notes here a bit.
My name is Connor Young and I'm the president and CTO of YNOT Group, LLC. We're owners of the Internet's longest running news and community forum for the adult entertainment industry.
I'd like to start by reading a dot xxx-related comment that was posted on an on-line message board from a member of our community, and he wrote this: "Am I the only one who finds it a little odd that after all this time and after all the letters and all the e-mails and the it tweets and all the meetings, that this is still moving forward as if nobody has said a negative word about it?"
He later continues: "I'm also not sure what a physical, peaceful presence will do that thousands of letters, e-mails, and tweets could not. It will all fall on deaf ears as there's simply too much money to be made here."
Now, I'm not as pessimistic as the author of that comment or I wouldn't be here today. I've been an outspoken opponent of dot xxx for many years now and I believe that its adoption isn't any more inevitable right now than it was the last time this issue was addressed.
We were told then that it was inevitable, and it wasn't, and it isn't today. Some work of noble note may still be done.
Still, I do understand the feelings of the author of that comment. The adult industry has spoken loudly and clearly time and time again in an effort to reach the board with one simple message: We do not want dot xxx.
We've used almost every technology imaginable in modern communication to bring this message to you.
Despite this, I had to fly from Houston, Texas, today because I'm just not sure that the message has been received.
If the dot xxx domain name does not -- does become a reality for our industry, what conclusions should we draw?
When the most cynical amongst us say that the financial interests of the powerful once again trump the interests of the larger community, when they say, "See, I told you so," how can we look at them in the face and respond, "No. The system is fair. The right decision was made."
I submit to the board that the vital issue of community support is measurable. It's not something that must bend to speculation.
For this TLD, in favor of it we have a couple of individuals who are friendly to ICM registry. Against this TLD, we have thousands of individual voices, all -- from all levels of adult entertainment industry.
The right decision has never been more clear than this.
It was mentioned earlier in the budget talks that 94% of the money that funds ICANN comes from generic TLDs, and I think the adult industry is one of the largest purchasers of generic TLDs.
So our question is: Is our message getting through? Are you hearing us? There's no community support for dot xxx. No measurable community support. So with no support, how could this become a reality?
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Thank you. Time is up.
>>CONNOR YOUNG: Thank you for your time.
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Thank you.
>>JOHN STAGLIANO: My name is John Stagliano and I'm the owner of Evil Angel Productions, Evil Angel Video, and this last summer I was in federal court facing 32 years in prison for selling content expressing my free speech rights, so to speak, and I was being prosecuted because I'm a, quote-unquote, mainstream pornographer, I'm not a fringe pornographer, I have a pretty big company.
And the reason why this case was being brought was because there are interests in our country that are more conservative and would like to see free speech suppressed and would use whatever means they can to do that, and they decided to prosecute me as an example of, or to go after, something that was more mainstream.
And in this particular case, I'm here as a representative of the industry saying that I've been part of this and there's a very real threat to free speech and to my particular freedom simply because I want to create art in my own way and I have customers that freely consume it and are not forced to consume it, and I would like to express that you be very careful in how you tread in this area and that I do not support the creation of this new domain because it would make it easier to prosecute my industry. Thank you.
[ Applause ]
>>COLIN ROWNTREE: Good afternoon. My name is Colin Rowntree. I'm from New Hampshire. I'm the founder and CEO of Wasteland.com, started in 1994. It's the oldest commercial pornography site on the Internet.
Having been around that amount of time, been a mentor and speaker at the Internet various shows -- and as an aside, I'd like to congratulate ICANN for having a show every bit as entertaining as a porn show, from what I saw this afternoon.
But having known, mentored, and been a leader in the community for this amount of time, I really know that this is not a sponsored community initiative. We do not support this in any way. It's seen as exploitive and extortion. We've spent a great number of years legitimatizing ourselves, building a trademark and a brand for ourselves, and we really do not want to have it taken down. We already own it.
[ Applause ]
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Thank you very much. Let's move to the next one.
>>ALLAN GELBARD: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Allan Gelbard. I'm a first amendment and intellectual property lawyer. I want to join in Mr. Cambria's and Mr. Stagliano's statements pertaining to the constitutional issues, the free speech issues that are raised by the creation of dot xxx. I have the First Amendment tattooed around my arm. I take those very seriously.
But more importantly than that, I'm here today to talk about the intellectual property aspects.
I want to make one point very clear. In my opinion, dot xxx is nothing but a means to extort tens of millions of dollars from the legitimate adult entertainment industry.
Now, those are strong words and I want to explain what I mean.
The lifeblood of any producer of entertainment products is its intellectual property, its copyrights, and its trademarks, but nothing more important than its brand identity, its trademarks, its name.
My clients spend years developing brand loyalty, considerable funds building, promoting, and registering their brands.
Trademarks are protected by governments primarily for the protection of the public, not the trademark holder, and because of that, trademark holders have an obligation to protect their brands. If they fail to do that, the legal term of art is "abandonment." They lose the protection of government trademark protections.
With that legal concept in mind, if you look at what ICM registry actually does, it forces all members of the legitimate adult entertainment community to defensively register their famous marks with the ICM registry, benefiting ICM, or pay ICM registry not to give those marks to other people. Again, benefiting ICM.
There is no benefit to the adult entertainment industry as a whole.
Now, not only that, trademark owners have to protect themselves and their customers from bad-faith registrations of similar confusing domain names. You've all seen that in the dot com world. Every one of those dot com registrations are now going to have to be made again in the dot xxx.
Once again, this benefits nobody but ICM.
In its February 23rd scorecard, GAC warned this board that granting additional TLDs imposes costs on IP owners including, quote, diluted brand strength, defensive registrations and other costs, close quote, and, quote, that the current proposed mechanism to protect consumers and trademark rights from harm and abuse are inadequate and unacceptable, close quote.
Those problems are only exacerbated in the dot xxx context.
If ICANN facilitates ICM's scheme, it may well find itself embroiled in protracted intellectual property, antitrust, and unfair business practices litigation.
As ICANN board members, you are entrusted as the guardians of this new and wonderful communications medium we call the Internet. Don't sell out your obligation to those involved content providers and consumers for a few pieces of ICM's silver.
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Sir, I recommend that you --
Just a brief moment. I recommend that you look at the comments of Professor McCarthy, the author, I think, of the United States' most prestigious textbook on trademarks, who was counseling trademark attorneys to stop giving the kind of advice that you've just given, which is to say that not registering is equal to abandonment, because if you were right, your clients are all at risk because they haven't registered already in all 300 of the existing TLDs and they haven't registered in all 200-odd of the countries around the world.
You know as well as I do, that that -- not registering in a TLD does not constitute an abandonment.
>>ALLAN GELBARD: But there is a significant difference --
[ Applause ]
>>ALLAN GELBARD: If I may --
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: You have to understand we've had a lot of this argument in relation to all of the new gTLD programs so we're fully aware of the -- of the emotional arguments around this.
>>ALLAN GELBARD: But there is a --
This is not an emotional issue, sir. The issue is that with all of these other general dot top-level domains, as you know, trademarks are not a monopoly on a word, they are a monopoly on a word within a class of goods and services. There is no other use for a dot xxx domain than to sell goods and services that are directly infringing upon our clients' rights.
My clients don't care if evilangel.airplane exists because my clients, Evil Angel, don't sell airplanes, but they do sell adult entertainment. And keep that in mind. That's where the professor misses the point.
The issue about trademark law is the classification of goods and services.
This system creates a class of goods and services -- it creates a domain that is dedicated to one class and one class only, and that infringes my clients and all these other rights. Thank you, sir.
[ Applause ]
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Thank you. Yes, sir. Next in line.
>>PETER ACWORTH: My name is Peter Acworth. I own kink.com here in San Francisco.
I have about a hundred employees and I've spent the last 15 years building a dozen or so brands. Obviously, I own, you know, thousands of domain names in order to protect those brands. All the misspellings and so on. And my worry is that at 60 to $75 each, it's going to cost me tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of dollars a year to buy all the dot xxx equivalents I own in the dot com space, and considerably more if I have to wrestle them from cybersquatters.
And to me this is not optional, because, you know, dot xxx is set up for our industry and if I don't buy them, very talented SEO experts -- cybersquatters, essentially -- will sit on these domains and will try to sell my own traffic back to me.
And in my opinion, the sunrise positions don't take adequate account for these derivations. I would like really to switch off any derivation of the brands that I own and not have them used. I have --
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Sorry. Can I just interrupt?
You're just going a little bit fast for our scribes. If you could just slow down a little bit.
>>PETER ACWORTH: I see. Okay. Sorry.
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: I'm sorry. Thanks.
>> Just to summarize, please don't let this happen to me. You know, I'd much rather spend that $200,000 on employing people and making quality content. Thank you.
[ Applause ]
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Thank you.
Yes, ma'am. Next.
>>ALLISON VIVAS: All right. I'm Allison Vivas, president of Pink Visual Productions. I'm a pornographer.
But what I want you to know about Pink Visual is that we are a responsible, law-biding, tech-forward company and we take pride in fulfilling our customers' rights to enjoy adult entertainment.
I like to think of my company as unique, but when it comes to being responsible, we're like the vast majority of the other adult companies.
Just like we've been quietly and professionally sitting over there, we are just normal people.
We are professionals, legitimate adult businesses.
But the public's awareness of adult entertainment is large based off of what it sees in our productions and they're not aware of our behind-the-scenes efforts.
For example, how many of you know that for years the adult industry has provided 100% of the funding to the Association of Sites Advocating Child Protection, an organization whose entire purpose is to help protect children and has been recognized by the U.S. Congress?
The message about the adult industry's conduct can be a difficult one for us to communicate because we have some critics who purposely attempt to demonize us and disseminate false information.
And I say this also as a protective mother of two young daughters and as someone who has an insider's perspective on this industry for the past 10 years.
In my opinion, ICM is merely using child protection as a marketing ploy for dot xxx, a marketing ploy that ironically draws on the myths and negative stereotypes about the industry ICM says it wants to serve.
But I've looked at the dot xxx plan in detail and it does nothing to enhance the industry's approach to protecting children.
Legitimate adult businesses already label our Web sites as sexually explicit. We already support organizations like ASACP, and we already maintain meticulous business records ensuring that our performers are over the age of 18 and are performing willingly and voluntarily.
Those who target and exploit minors are part of a sick criminal Internet underworld and are not part of the adult industry whatsoever.
We're disgusted by any implication otherwise and I want you to know that Pink Visual does not support dot xxx for many reasons, but ICM's cynical appeal to unfounded fears about our industry and their attempt to profit from a child protection marketing ploy should be reason enough for ICANN to reject the proposal.
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Thank you. Next in line.
>>PAUL FOODY: Hello, gentlemen. There are over 200-odd Internet TLDs all over the world. To all intents and purposes, though, there are only two in any geographical area. There is dot com and there is your cc.
There is only two things wrong with each of those TLDs.
One, there is way too much porn.
Two, there is fraud all over it.
We've listened to these comments from these dot xxx opponents. A lot of them are speaking a lot of sense. I'm delighted to hear that they don't want to expose kids to pornography, and I applaud that.
There has got to be a point at which we recognize that children have as much right -- parents of children have as much right to protect those children from the sort of porn that these people would like adults to look at as we give to those pornography producers who are wanting to generate and distribute that product.
We've learned this week that there are parts of the world where child pornography is, in fact, not illegal. Just because it's not illegal in some parts of the world, would these people go around and claim that those people should be given the right to produce pornography and distribute it around the world? Of course they wouldn't.
So it's time for ICANN to step up to the plate in the same way that the anti-tobaccoonists have stepped up to the plate and made smoking cigarettes all but illegal in so many public places because of its detrimental effect on the population.
It is time for ICANN to say that pornography on the Internet is appropriate for those people who are able to decide for themselves that they want it.
We have the ability, through IP addresses, to identify the location of people surfing the Internet. Let us recognize that. Let's use that tool so that anybody surfing the net is not finding themselves discovering the sort of content that is going to disturb them at whatever age.
Let us take action and make dot com a family-safe environment by removing all of the nonfamily content, putting it on a dot xxx, letting VeriSign and ICM, whoever, run it, charge the -- you know, the same price as dot xxx, because ICANN -- nobody wants to profit from protecting children, and let's see ICANN make the same sort of public statement, same sort of public responsibility action that was made by the tobacco industry and the anti-tobaccoonists.
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Thank you, Mr. Foody. Next in line, please.
>>SID GRIEF: Yes. My name is Sid Grief. I'm the president of the Free Speech Coalition. I think if we really wanted to protect the Internet for kids, we should create a dot kids and let adults choose for themselves what they wish to view on the Internet, and a safe harbor would go a long way for kids. Anyway, I'm here to talk about the IRP process. The IRP process I understand constitutes advice, just as the GAC advice, and so you're in a balancing act where you have to consider these two pieces of information in rendering your decision.
The IRP process, to me, was fundamentally flawed, when you've had hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of e-mails from Webmasters and adult companies and letters from industry giants like Larry Flynt and Steve Orenstein of Wicked and Stevie Hirsch from Vivid and all the other adult giants in this world.
And when the IRP process occurred, it was done in secret, it was to determine whether there was industry sponsorship, the sponsorship community existed, and absolutely no one from that sponsored community was invited to speak, yet ICM and their lawyers were at the table every day. And I just don't think that was a fair hearing and I think it was biased. Just my opinion.
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Thank you.
The hearing wasn't about whether there was sponsorship or not. It was whether the board had determined whether there was sponsorship or not, and if they had determined that there was sponsorship, whether they should have been allowed to withdraw that in terms of fairness to the applicant.
So let's be clear about what the panel decided.
Yes. Next in line.
>>DIANE DUKE: Well, still, if we want to talk about sponsorship --
I'm sorry. My name is Diane Duke and I'm the executive director for the Free Speech Coalition. We're the trade association for the adult entertainment industry.
Time and time again, when I've come up -- and you've all seen me, at these meetings a number of times, come up to speak about the sponsorship community because it is -- we're standing on the top of the rooftops, folks, screaming that you do not have support from the sponsorship community.
You've seen and heard from some of the adult -- leaders of the adult entertainment industry today. You have letters from other leaders of the adult entertainment industry. Larry Flynt. You've got letters from Phil Harvey, who is the CEO of Adam & Eve, large distributor for novelties and also adult films. You have letters from the two other trade associations around the world. This is an international effort. Both one from Australia, one from the U.K., both stating opposition to dot xxx.
It's not that we just don't support dot xxx; we're adamantly opposed to it. You also have letters from the top alexa (phonetic) rated companies. We are talking about a great deal of real estate here, folks. You guys need to take a look and understand that you do not have support from the industry.
When I filed a DIDP request asking for -- you know, and I know you're tired of hearing me at this microphone. You can get rid of me. Let me see the support that you have for ICM. I will go away. But you can.
When I looked for -- when I asked for that, I was not given that because ICM refused to reveal those names.
Now, let's talk about child protection. Dot xxx does nothing to -- does nothing to prevent child pornography.
It only makes it easier for kids to access adult entertainment on- line.
Let's be real. What is this about? It's not about child protection. It's about the money.
I don't have any problem with companies making money. I'm the executive director of a trade association. I'm in favor of that.
But I do have a problem with companies making money at the detriment of the industry.
I want to talk a little bit about what's happened -- what's been happening at this conference in the discussions with the GAC.
We're very aware that the -- that future controversial gTLDs may not be able to move forward. I mean that is a -- that is a real possibility here.
Given that, you will be creating, if you pass dot xxx, a monopoly.
It will be the single adult sexually oriented top-level domain. You will -- ICANN will be creating a monopoly if it passes it tomorrow.
At least -- we would say at least you have to wait till you make the decision about what happens with the gTLDs.
And finally, I just want to talk about the blocking. We know that if dot xxx is passed, there are countries that will block and we're concerned, as you are and as the GAC stated, about a fragmented Internet.
So please, I encourage you not to pass dot xxx.
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Now, we have -- we have on-line participation, and I understand there are some comments or questions from the on-line participants, so Filiz, could you read those out for us, please? I'm not quite sure where Filiz is.
>>FILIZ YILMAZ: Yes, I can. Thank you, Peter.
I have two. The first one is (saying name) from Ministry of ICT of Republic of Indonesia.
"Do ICANN will approve dot xxx on behalf of freedom and openness to Internet or because ICANN doesn't responsible into the context of dot xxx site? If it is approved because ICANN don't care about the content, my opinion, ICANN is going to make their function more tight. Then we have to start make ICANN organization smaller than before."
I would like the proceed to second comment.
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Yes, please.
>>FILIZ YILMAZ: "Ellen Rony, member of the Boston Working Group, speaking for myself only. If dot xxx is approved, I imagine that parents and school districts will want their ISPs to provide proxy services that exclude that TLD.
Would that be the beginning of the politicalization of the root? While a service that allows a user to opt out of a TLD for a fee seems acceptable, I worry that it will transmogrify into opting for a fee to access a full panoply of TLDs. So my concern isn't just fragmentation; it's how ICANN will assure a free, universally accessible Internet."
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Thanks, Filiz.
Let's come back to the queue and take the next one.
>>JEFFREY DOUGLAS: Thank you, ladies and gentlemen.
My name is Jeffrey Douglas. I'm the chair of the board of directors of the Free Speech Coalition and an attorney, criminal defense attorney, that a substantial portion of my practice is representing the adult entertainment industry.
The objections that you have heard Diane Duke and I and others voice over the years at ICANN meetings since Wellington has now been personalized at this meeting. That is, the voices of opposition have come forward to speak to you as well as send you letters.
It cannot be established any more than it has that the most affected community by the proposal for dot xxx opposes dot xxx. It opposes the concept of one sponsored TLD, and it opposes, in particular, the version presented by ICM registry.
The secrecy of the I4 membership -- that is, secrecy of the group that will govern the members, the participants in dot xxx -- reflects the fear of ICM registry that those who step forward to govern dot xxx will receive hostility from those who they would govern. That should tell you a great deal.
If the community -- if the people who put forward dot xxx are afraid of the reaction of those who participate in it, they are not the proper people to be governing.
A TLD like any other political entity cannot govern effectively without consent of the governed. Dot xxx will not have the consent and the willing participation of the governed.
Moreover, of any issue, to override GAC advice with the consequent splintering of this essential body, as a newcomer to ICANN I find the ICANN governance model inspiring, vitally important to the future not only of the Internet but of the larger notion of governance, and to see that fracture arise and the loss of the integrity of that in order to pursue dot xxx, it appalls me.
This is not the right battle. This is not the right battle. Please close this chapter. Vote no on dot xxx. If you do not vote no, please delay it to consider the comments to make further effort to reach agreement with GAC because that fissure is one that should not be allowed to be maintained. It needs to be bridged. Thank you.
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Thank you. Nigel?
>>NIGEL ROBERTS: Thank you, Peter. I wasn't going to speak on this, but when I've heard this clamor from the speakers we've heard and some important points being made, used and to some extent misused, I was motivated to come up and speak. My name is Nigel Roberts for those of you who weren't in the room last time I introduced myself. I'm speaking personally from my legal background rather than my engineering background.
With all due respect to my learned friend Mr. Gelbard who spoke earlier who says he has the First Amendment -- the United States Constitution First Amendment tattooed somewhere inconvenient, I have to say metaphorically I also have something tattooed. I have the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of 1950 deep in me somewhere. I won't say where.
In particular, Article 10, which is our equivalent of the First Amendment, but it is a little bit different in that it is not so strong. And there is a different approach in Europe. It's all about balancing rights, at least the qualified rights. We're not suggesting that ICANN is going to engage in torture or slavery, although if you are listening to some of the comments we heard earlier, you might have been thinking that it does.
Mr. Lawley's free speech rights come into play here. He is a businessman, and I have no particular acts to grind pro XXX. He is not paying me. I am not one of his consultants. I have my own business to run.
What really concerns me is the pernicious effect that .XXX controversy has had on our community going back years, and there needs to be an end of it.
I have a fatal, uneasy feeling when I listen to people say that they are from the Free Speech Coalition and they want to suppress content. They want to suppress free expression of somebody who, after all, only wants to put a string at the end of another string.
When I hear "Free Speech Coalition," I think it has an Orwellian tinge to it. Effectively what they want to do is suppress something.
Now, again, going back to Article 10, there is a well-known root before such suppression is acceptable. The presumption is in favor of free expression. It has to be necessary. It has to be in accordance with rules laid down, and it has to be more of the not proportionate. That means there has to be an overriding reason to suppress the proposed speech. The default is not -- I repeat -- not do we suppress it, do we not, do we choose it, do we not. And this extends to every proposed string in the new gTLD process. You can all imagine strings which might need to be suppressed. Well, if you can, there you have a controversy equally like .XXX.
And, finally, Mr. Lawley's free -- Mr. Lawley's fair trial rights are engaged here, what we would call Article 6.1. The ICANN board has been through this. There's been an appeal, a review panel. There's been a decision. To some extent -- two minutes -- two seconds.
To some extent, this has been decided, and I think there is only one option open to the ICANN board when it looks at .XXX. These people had their chance. Now it is time to you to make the correct decision.
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Thank you.
[ Applause ]
Thank you. Just for the record, we are going to extend the public forum. We have taken up a good chunk of time on this topic. That's perfectly appropriate that we do. There are a couple of other people who have indicated they have comments to make in the any other business. So I am going to keep the forum open until 6:30.
>> REED LEE: My name is I'm Reed Lee. I am a board member of the Free Speech Coalition. I don't come to suppress anyone's speech. I hope I come to ask this board to avoid instituting mechanisms which can easily become the opportunity for some to suppress speech.
You heard today from a number of people who quite rightly told you that they're ordinary, normal people. I confess I'm not an ordinary, normal person. I'm a constitutional lawyer.
So I will take a moment to offer the board what we lawyers call fall-back positions on a couple of issues. One, with respect to the IRP, you can fully recognize and fully appreciate the results of the IRP and we understand the process reasons why this board wants to do so.
But that leaves four reasons as the Free Speech Coalition indicated in a letter dated January 28th, that leaves four reasons why this board rejected .XXX in 2007 standing, entirely standing. There is room in this board's process to say no to .XXX consistent with a recognition and full appreciation of the IRP.
There's also room in this board's process to take account of the expression that's been made here and now of the extent to which the adult entertainment industry would view a .XXX sponsored top-level domain name standing by itself as a sole, sexually oriented top-level domain name as imposed on it, as imposing a feudal overlordship on it. There is room in your process to take account of that and to say no to .XXX on that ground.
And, finally, I urge you to realize that there is room in your process and in this board's power to take account of free speech and the implications of establishing a single-sponsored top-level domain name related to sexually oriented expression would have on free speech on the Internet around the world. Right now you are the ones that must take that responsibility. You are the ones that must assess that. You are the ones that must stand up for speech on the Internet. You can do it consistent with all of your processes.
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Thank you.
[ Applause ]
And I think that's the end -- I'm going to close -- let's -- We are running out of time. Let's close XXX at that point. Thank you very much to all of those people who have come forward, indications that some of you have traveled a long way to make that presentation. Rest assured that the board is listening and has heard.
Now, any other business? Let's -- again, I think what we might do here, scribes and Nancy, if you could cut the time limit to two minutes on this.
Let's see. I'm just trying to make sure we get through things in the amount of time available.
All right. Let's leave it at three and see how we go. How many? We are going to close this at 6:30 so, ma'am, you're first in line.
>> Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I'm Lee May Lou (phonetic), speaking in capacity of China's Organizational Name Information Center, CONIC in short. We would like to comment on the Chinese variant issue. First, we want to thank ICANN for making incredible effort and much progress in new gTLD policy-making, technical solution and coordinating the interests of different stakeholders. We do appreciate all your effort and wisdom involved.
We are also delighted to see that ICANN has said to IDN variant working group to conduct further research on five languages: Arabic, Chinese, Indic, Cyrillic and Latin on the basis of a case-by-case studies. We believe that the categorization of policy to different language scripts is on the right track.
Different languages has different variant problems. They may face different technical solution. Those who have mature solutions should be allowed for moving forward quickly.
Chinese community has worked out an efficient solution for variant issues. These solutions have been proven by delegation and operation of the dot China ccTLD. Meanwhile, we are taking active steps in approving operation in a second-level domain and e-mail (inaudible) and so on. We wish ICANN can make great breakthroughs in this regard in the very near future. Thank you very much.
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Thank you very much.
[ Applause ]
>> THOMAS ROESSLER: Thank you, Peter. My name is Thomas Roessler. I work for the Worldwide Web Consortium. We are, in coordination with our partners in the Internet ecosystem, an organization that develops the standards that enable the Web to function as an interoperable and open platform for innovation and development.
W3C has been part of the community for a long time. Back in 1999, we were among the signers of the PSO memorandum of understanding. Today we are one of the member organizations of the Technical Liaison Group.
ICANN has the laudable process of doing a regular review of all its institutions, and part of that review is the TLG review report that ICANN now has before it.
We agree with the reviewers that the TLG's structure deserves thought on what a more effective mechanism might look like. And we look forward to working with ICANN on further developing an effective, stable and sustainable relationship between our organizations and between ICANN and the broader technical community. Thank you.
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Thank you. Next in line, please.
>> ANTONY VAN COUVERING: Hi, Antony Van Couvering with Minds + Machines. I have listened to the XXX debate with great interest. Like many of the speakers against it, I think it is a dreadful idea. But I will date the improvement of ICANN from the reaction to its rejection and the very encouraging introduction of principled reasoning into the board's decisions. And I fully support that.
I'd like to remind us all that we have bylaws, that they apply to all of us, the community, the board, the GAC and everyone. And I urge you going forward, however you decide on any of these issues, to continue applying principles to your decisions and explaining them. Thank you very much.
[ Applause ]
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Thank you. Next, please.
>> ELAINE PRUIS: Hi, I'm Elaine Pruis. I also work with Antony, but I'm speaking on my own behalf right now as a person who has attended about 14 ICANN meetings over seven years. And I, first of all, would like to thank you, Peter, for allowing us to continue the public comment period so we can continue to speak on matters that we feel need to be addressed.
Secondly, following the XXX discussions, I would just like to request that the board very carefully consider not allowing any GAC intervention on sensitive strings. I can't even imagine how those debates would go if you had, for instance, a dot bank here and how many different potential sponsors of a dot bank industry would be arguing over that particular string.
Last time I checked, ICANN's role was to not manage content on the Internet. And I prefer to think of the DNS as more like a directory or a dictionary, and I'd like it to stay that way. Thanks.
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Thank you.
[ Applause ]
>> CONSTANTINE RUSSO: Hi, this is Constantine from the dot music initiative. I just wanted to talk about translations and transliterations of IDNs and wanted to discuss some proposals that I have. I'll send these in the next -- when I'm able to comment on how we can encourage more IDNs to be launched in this sort of a bundle for specific top-level domains in a certain category or business sector.
So I don't think that the current applicant guidebook actually addresses these issues on bundling, et cetera, et cetera. And I'm hoping to give some proposed solutions that could help the ICANN staff and the board to encourage more IDNs in the space. Thank you.
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Thank you very much.
>>PAUL FOODY: Ladies and gentlemen, we had the Honorable Bill Clinton yesterday speak to us. He finished his speech exhorting ICANN to stumble forward in the right direction, or words to that effect.
In order to move in the right direction, we've got to have an idea of where we're going and we've come to the end of the week, and we still -- I have not seen any indication of any suggestion that anyone knows or is prepared at this time to disclose to the general public where it is ICANN thinks the Internet's going.
So the nearest that I've seen to that is a publicity brochure from Afilias which said to the effect that their vision was that the dot was going to move to the right, so that the important part of the domain name will move from the left of the dot com to the right of the dot. And that's absolutely correct, so far as I said.
The way I see it in the future is that the address line in the Internet browser will far more closely resemble the search box in a Yahoo!, a Google or whichever other search engine. When we recognize that, we recognize the value of these terms that we're selling.
The generic terms that ICANN is selling, there is no law in the world, so far as I'm aware -- We've got plenty of I.P. lawyers around that will correct me if I'm wrong -- that permits the registration of a generic term. Would that be correct? Okay. If I'm wrong...
The point is ICANN is about to give away rights to people claiming to have rights on those terms that simply don't exist. Now, at the same time, if you ever go to Google, you'll realize that if you try to get to Google from Canada or America or England, you end up at a different site. You end up at .ca.Google.com or .Google.ca.uk.
If we recognize that the Internet of the future is going to be far more like a Google search engine of today, we can use that facility to allow each nation to determine what they want to do with the various terms that people are looking to buy.
Quite honestly, I would recommend to the governments of the world, to whoever is given that responsibility, that they don't sell them, that they lease them for a period of years, for however long they decide.
But think of it this way. If I am in England and I put in "football," the last thing I want to do is to get to a site where guys are throwing and catching a ball. Thank you.
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Thank you.
Next in line, please.
>>ELLIOT NOSS: Elliot Noss, Tucows. I decided my favorite line at an ICANN meeting is "I'm in favor of new gTLDs but..." because that usually signifies another tossing of muck on the ground.
Until 1999, 1998, '99, leading up to the breaking up of the time of the Network Solutions monopoly, there was much to'ing and fro'ing over many issues. And the people who wanted to stretch that process out did so primarily by making recourse to the security of the Internet and used phrases like "ensuring that no harm will come."
Today, when I was listening to the board and the GAC try and work through their issues, I heard times on both sides phrases like "ensuring" and "no harm."
There are no guarantees, and no amount of people sitting in a room working through minute details will be able to provide them. There is no question that huge benefits flowed from what took place in 1999 and 2000. There is no question that despite the call for study after study after study, that huge benefits will flow from the liberalization of new gTLDs.
One of the great challenges is we're trying to get that last few steps to the finish line while we have a big structural change going on. We have the GAC trying to find a new place in a new ICANN structure. That is extremely important for the long-term future of the Internet to get right.
I will tell you all, if we continue to spend time in the muddy details, the word-by-word painstaking details of these last few pieces, that relationship could be forever damaged. The time is now. Tomorrow what the board should do is put a stake in the ground, leave themselves some runway to work through the very last minute details that will probably never get looked at post-gTLD round. The time is now.
What you can do tomorrow will be brave, will change the face of not only ICANN but of the Internet. So, please, be brave. Thank you.
[ Applause ]
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Thank you.
Next in line. Thank you.
>>KHALED FATTAL: Thank you, Peter. Khaled Fattal, once again, group chairman, Multilingual Internet. I come here with an olive branch. And I would like to draw from recent experiences we've all witnessed the last two months that where people power in Tunisia, Egypt delivered the spark and the beginning of democratization of a certain region that has been in darkness for many years.
So may I ask all of you here if you believe in that people power to help -- to stand up with me in support of that people power for just five seconds. Thank you, please.
If you don't believe, you may sit down. That's fine.
[ Applause ]
This is also to the board. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for allowing me the latitude. Thank you.
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Thank you.
>>KHALED FATTAL: Clearly, we do not have consensus on that one. That's fine.
Why I draw this matter to your attention, because I also want to draw some other very important matters to your attention. Pulling back some of the earlier comments by previous speakers, excluding the subject on XXX on which I have no position.
ICANN is at a crossroad in dealing with what I believe -- and many of us here believe -- are issues of credibility. Credibility whereby the community believes the multistakeholder system can also believe in the ICANN process. So far, what we are seeing is greater despair rather than full support of the promised land we are aiming at.
And for that, if you look at just single subjects that have been addressed in the earlier comments on their own, yes, there's a positive and negative and it could be debatable.
But when you put them all together, I think there's a serious issue to the premise of credibility and the process moving forward.
And then I draw to your attention the three keynote speakers of the opening ceremony. All of them had a single theme in common, and that is ICANN-U.S. relations. And in my opinion, for the game to remain in this space, we need to at least start thinking like the people in Tunisia and the people in Egypt, outside of the box, so at least we become more relevant to the process and to the empowerment that we all believe in rather than becoming less impactful on it. Thank you very much.
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Thank you.
[ Applause ]
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Next, please.
>> IRATXE ESNAOLA ARRIBILLAGA: Good afternoon. My name is Iratxe Esnaola Arribillaga. I'm speaking behalf of dot eus, a TLD for the cultural and linguistic community.
We, among others, have requested an early window or a fast track for non-problematic or non-controversial TLDs. We know it's not easy. But beyond this, we have been accused of discrimination as some applicants will then be able to move forward in this area window.
But do you really think that we are asking for new, more privileges? Do you really think that treating different applicants like equals is not discrimination? Do you really think that we should be treated like any other applicants when everybody knows that we don't have anything to do with trademark protections?
Can you see that we are mere victims of other programs? What I do think is that the conception of discrimination, that depends on who you are, depends on what type of TLD you are going to apply for. And that depends on the role you play in this non-ending process.
As I said, everybody in this room knows that on the one hand there are some applicants that don't have anything to do with overarching issues in general and with trademark protection in particular and, on the other hand, that new delays have a very deep and negative impact on these non-problematic applicants.
I know it is not easy, but it is not fair. Perhaps the so-called divide-and-conquer approach is not the best solution, but it could be avoiding any discrimination.
I do believe -- what I do believe is that we all need a solution as soon as possible, and I'm sorry, but it is your responsibility. Thank you for listening.
[ Applause ]
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Thank you. Next in line. Thank you.
>>WERNER STAUB: Werner Staub speaking for myself after many, many years in this situation. I heard Elliot say the phrase, "I am in favor of new gTLDs but," it is something he despites. I have other phrases that I believe that we should think about.
For instance, I'm in favor of the well-known objective of providing applicants with certainty. We heard it many times. But the most important certainty that we have to provide applicants with is the reliable timeline. That goes before knowing the color of the carpet of the building that you are going to get into.
[ Applause ]
I heard lots of comments about necessity of free speech, and I think free speech is important. Up till now when we considered the introduction of a TLD to be free speech, then the actions of introduction of new gTLDs is thus 100% censorship.
So does it mean that everyone, even those who do not cause any specific problems that are being discussed have to have their free speech totally suppressed until other people say free speech is now free enough.
Finally, we have the question about an objective process, you know, whether classification of TLDs or some concept of priority would be acceptable, whether it should be allowed that the GAC could at least provide advice on how to deal with unexpected things that may come up in the project -- in the process.
So that's objective, yes, but is a ballistic process that cannot be modified once it has been ignited, just like a cannon ball. Is that the kind of objectivity that we want? Don't we have a need to make it at least steerable so that something can be done, at least allow those people who have to make a call to see if it can go forward, that they don't have to use the hand brake to prevent it from doing so because they are sure there are brakes or at least a steering capability once it has been launched.
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Thank you. Are you finished? Thank you. Next in line.
>> MIKE SAX: Hi, my name is Mike Sax. And I've been to Paris and to Brussels, but I still very much feel like an outsider and I'm still in awe of all this process and everything that's happening.
I build software, and my company is very small. But we have a few million users and they're all iPhone or mobile phone users who use the Internet and our apps over that. And it all works, and that's amazing.
I've heard a lot of priorities being discussed over the last few days, but for me as an Internet user and as a business owner, the most important thing is that this all works, the security of the Internet, the global availability and the reliability is the only thing that really matters. If that does not work, everything else kind of falls apart.
So I would like to urge the board to keep your eye on the ball of security, reliability and global availability so that we can keep enjoying the Internet and the solutions on it. Thank you.
[ Applause ]
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Thank you very much.
Next in line.
>>STEVE DelBIANCO: Steve DelBianco with NetChoice. On Monday's opening ceremonies, the President and CEO were both expressing a great deal of pride with ICANN's launch of internationalized domain name or IDN ccTLDs. And you should be proud of it. It is somewhat important for the half of our planet that doesn't use the Latin alphabet at all. So I understand the pride in that.
But, remember, that is -- the same group of people can only use Country Code Top Level Domains. They can't get a single generic TLD in a non-Latin script yet.
I know that IDN gTLDs are part of the new round, and we should see them in the next year or so. But cost and complexity of the application process, running that gauntlet, is pretty daunting. And it's -- well, from what we saw this week, it could even get more daunting. So much so that I think an applicant wanting to serve an IDN gTLD to a relatively small linguistic community is going to find you can't afford to do it. But I think we have an answer, and the answer and the power to deliver that answer is really in the board's hands and almost nobody else can do it. The answer is to encourage applicants, many of the folks in this room, to also offer IDN versions of the strings they're going to put into their application, multiple languages and IDN scripts.
This will cost nothing to ICANN. That's why I didn't talk about it during the budget section. It will cost nothing to ICANN if we just simply give the fee reduction for the savings and not having to evaluate the applicant multiple times because it is the same applicant for multiple strings.
This is not about a hardship or relief. It is not even about applicant support. For a change, I'm talking about user and registrant support. And I think it deserves a look. You got to move on it quickly because we would want to get a process for pricing in place before you vote on a final guidebook. Thank you.
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Thank you. Just to confirm, I'm closing the list after Jon Nevett. So these are the last two speakers because we are now gone past our time.
>>RON ANDRUFF: Thank you, good afternoon. Ron Andruff. Speaking to the President's strat plan, I sat in the other day and I listened to Kurt Pritz give the briefing. And the second objective on the strategic plan after "Internet Everywhere" is IDNs, lots of IDNs. Steve DelBianco just spoke about it. Many in the community have spoken about it.
There has been many postings over these multiple years with regard to developing this concept. And what's really troubling is that we don't seem to be getting the message through.
The applicant guidebook is in direct opposition to the President's second-most important agenda item and that is IDNs.
What we are saying is communities have a right to have their languages or their scripts for their top-level domain in Arabic, Russian, Cyrillic, CJK. And they shouldn't have to pay $185,000 to do it.
A wealthy community can pay 185,000, and they can apply for all five of those and about a million dollars comes to ICANN. This isn't quite the way we should be doing it because that's in direct competition with the idea of cost recovery. So I think it is really important, as Steve just said, that we get this right. I don't think anyone is saying that this is a wrong way to go, but the community has not been given a very clear response as to why we can't get versions of the same name for a specific community to that community and devoid of a very rational response to us this has to happen.
So we just want to make sure that everyone understands that, and I think that we've harped on it look enough. So please see what you can do to make that happen so communities can have IDNs. Nothing will be in opposition. And, in fact, we'll achieve the goals we're looking for. Thank you.
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Thank you. And the final speaker -- or is this a double act?
>>JON NEVETT: Thank you. Jon Nevett and --
>> DANIEL SCHINDLER: Daniel Schindler.
>>JON NEVETT: We just wanted to introduce you to two concepts. This is my friend "dot timely" and I'm "dot efficient." And those two words, those keywords are coming from the bylaws of ICANN. And that's the obligation of the board to react to GAC advice in a timely and efficient manner. And we just urge you to do that.
I would like to congratulate the board on all the hard work. We were in Brussels and sat there for 2 1/2 days and here for two days. And I think it was great dialogue. The scorecard was incredibly helpful from the GAC and the response from the board. But the time has come, as Elliot said, to get it done. Give us a timeline. Start the communications period and let this inevitable and terrible waiting period end. So please do that. You will be incredibly popular and we will have the champagne party that the GAC rep from France mentioned earlier today. Thank you.
[ Applause ]
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: So thank you, both, for being timely and efficient in your use of your time. That's much appreciated.
Well, ladies and gentlemen, this brings to an end this third public forum in San Francisco. Thank you very much for your contributions. We look forward to seeing you tomorrow morning at 8:00 when the board committees will be reporting. Have a good night. Thank you.