- New gTLD database
Open Meeting of the ICANN Board and Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC)
>>HEATHER DRYDEN: Good afternoon, everyone.
Welcome to the Board/GAC exchange.
We have a number of issues on the agenda this afternoon so we
should get started, I think.
Welcome to the board. Thank you for meeting with us. And I'll go
through some of the agenda items that we had proposed to you so we
know what we're covering today.
First, in relation to new gTLDs, we're asking to discuss applicant
support and learn a bit more about what the plans are for addressing
advice that the GAC had given along with the ALAC as well as other
inputs received by the board on that.
Also, the issue of registry/registrar cross-ownership and relations
to competition authorities. That's also on our list.
In relation to root zone scaling, a question there that may, in
fact, relate to our expectations regarding advising or -- well,
providing early warning notices within the expected time frame.
Also an important piece is the communications outreach plan.
And then the next issue is in terms of conflict-of-interest
matters. And then lastly, we hope also to cover the RAA, LEA
recommendations that were endorsed by the GAC.
So would you like to open, Steve?
>>STEVE CROCKER: Thank you, Heather.
My name is Steve Crocker. I'm chair of the ICANN board. I have
had the pleasure of appearing before you numerous times over the
years as chair of SSAC for a number of years and as a member of the
ICANN board. But this is my first time appearing before you as chair
of the ICANN board.
I don't know whether to feel completely comfortable or scared to
There is a very substantial agenda that Heather has just covered.
We're fundamentally here to serve, so we're eager to engage and go
through these topics and do whatever we can to move the discussion
forward and to be as forthcoming as we can about the state of play on
any of these.
This is a cooperative venture, and we're here to help. So let's
move into it.
>>HEATHER DRYDEN: Okay. Well, thank you, Steve.
So the first issue is regarding the Joint Working Group report and
applicant support. And we have a few colleagues in the GAC that have
been paying close attention to that and may have some questions for
you, but I think in general we are looking for what the next steps
are and how that relates to the program opening in January, what will
be in place.
>>STEVE CROCKER: Let me call on Chris Disspain.
To speak on this.
>>CHRIS DISSPAIN: Thank you.
We have done a fair bit of work over the last couple of weeks on
the JAS report, and we had a meeting on it on -- gosh, it seems like
weeks ago but it was actually Sunday, I think, and we have another
meeting on it tomorrow. And we hope that we will be able to say
something to the community on Friday.
We are -- or Thursday, possibly.
We are taking it very seriously. I can't really give you any more
information right now except -- because we are still looking at it,
we are still working on what we can and can't do. But we have spent
a lot of time on it. We're not ignoring it. And we will have some
information by the end of the week.
>>STEVE CROCKER: Let me add a word or two.
We had a presentation by the working group -- I am losing track of
time, too. Yesterday, I guess. Is that right? Yeah. It was a
really, really good presentation. Impressive amount of work by the
working group, and a first-class presentation. And then we asked
some very pointed questions.
It is the general nature of such activities that a substantial is
put on the table and it has to be matched up against what the
resources and time frames and other balancing constraints are.
I thought the answers were very strong. I thought that where I had
been fearful that it might be very difficult to do anything, I think
that we ought to be able to find something. I need to be cautious
about saying any more because we have some further discussions to
have. But we are very strongly oriented to being able to say
something positive on -- by the end of this week.
It may not be definitive and it may not have all the specifics, but
we're absolutely taking this seriously and committed to following up
on the commitment we made in Nairobi when we allocated the $2 million
in seed funding in the first place.
>>HEATHER DRYDEN: Thank you, Chris. Thank you, Steve.
So do we have questions? Portugal, please.
>>PORTUGAL: Thank you. I'm afraid I am going to speak in
Portuguese, so if you could put your headphones on.
I will take advantage of the fact that we can speak Portuguese as a
working language during the GAC session, so I'm not going to let the
opportunity go by.
I will say that I feel really pleased with these recommendations;
that we are far advanced with the recommendations. I am pleased with
the board's efforts in this subject. But I want to say I have -- I
am curious about the implementation of the recommendations about the
application process that is ready to be implemented as from January
12th. But this does not apply to developing countries. I realize
that the board.
Is not going to give any further explanations or time frames when
it comes to the implementation of recommendations in the report, but
I just wanted to voice this concern so that recommendations are
considered as soon as possible so that developing countries can
access gTLDs in a level playing field.
>>HEATHER DRYDEN: Did you want to respond?
>>KENYA: Thank you. Thank you, Heather. And I would like to
thank the board and congratulate the JAS Working Group as well as
thank being the board for having provided this opportunity for the
working group to work on that mandate.
Again, congratulating the working group on the great
recommendations and agreeing with my colleague from Portugal are
great and are consistent with GAC advice. And of course we are
concerned about the implementation process, and specifically the
timeline. So I think as you discuss and deliberate this amongst
yourselves as the board, I think it's important to think about that
as a very important issue. Other issues to do with the development
of a foundation. But hand in hand with that is the very important
fact of ensuring that there's adequate and meaningful outreach and
awareness that is conducted in most of these developing countries.
And I'll take the example of the African region where we seriously
think there hasn't been much that has been done yet. And not just
with the new gTLD process but just ICANN processes as a whole.
And I think I would like to echo what the host country has said I
think numerous times. We do require a little bit more effort from
ICANN also in line with the ATRT resolution for ICANN to increase
their presence and efforts in developing countries, and specifically
in Africa for meaningful participation, in not just the processes but
also the -- the gTLD, new gTLD processes but also the policy
development processes as well.
>>HEATHER DRYDEN: Thank you very much, Kenya.
Are there any further comments on that?
We have taken full advantage of having those services available,
and we do appreciate that being put in place.
So thank you.
>>NIGERIA: Just to support my colleagues, the one from Portugal.
I want to echo what Alice has said concerning the presence in the
communications to the developing countries, particularly Africa. And
what we have seen this week is encouraging and we hope it will
continue in that way.
And to echo again that time is of essence to us in the region as
well, and we need to access the process. We need to -- our business
people need to know what is going on.
Government -- you know, our region in particular, that the
government plays a greater role than the commercial people. We need
to understand that and play along with others in the new revolution
of the gTLD.
>>HEATHER DRYDEN: Thank you very much, Nigeria.
>>BERTRAND DE LA CHAPELLE: Thank you, Heather.
Just one thing that struck me, and I think the whole board in the
last two days, is the very broad recognition in the community. Every
constituency that we have interacted with, a broad recognition of the
remarkable quality of the work that has been done by the JAS. And
the presentation yesterday clearly illustrated that.
The second point and the message that I really want to share is
that we are highly aware of the fundamental element of time
constraints. And one of the major focus of the work that we're doing
at the moment, tomorrow and later this week, is to make sure that
appropriate measures can be put in place so that it is in this round
and that nothing is postponed later on. It's not necessarily easy,
but I just want to share the message that this is exactly what we are
focusing on at the moment.
>>HEATHER DRYDEN: Thank you, Bertrand. That is good to hear.
Okay. So let's move to the next topic on the agenda.
>>KATIM TOURAY: I'm sorry for holding back on this topic. I just
want to say just two things. One is to say thank you to the GAC for
the support that they have provided this initiative. I mean as
somebody from the developing world, this is an issue that's very --
and I'm speaking here as somebody from the developing world, not as a
board member. This is an issue that is of profound importance to me.
And so to see the GAC taking the lead to me in pushing is very
important. Thank you very much.
And I would like to encourage not only the GAC but everyone,
everyone in the community to make sure that we work to diligently
implement as many of the recommendations as is practically feasible.
The DNA of ICANN is basically based on the volunteer work that
people do. The sustainability of that work is going to depend on to
what extent people see that effort is actually being implemented into
programs and actions they can relate to.
We are going to expect people to come each time. We have a call
for volunteers. If they see that at the end of the day or at the end
of the year nothing comes of the recommendation that they so
diligently worked toward attaining. And so let's make sure we have
all hands on deck and work towards implementing as many of these
things as possible.
On the part of the GAC what I would like to plead with you is that
we cannot do this alone. You have a very important voice not only in
ICANN itself but in the various fora and broad forums in your
countries. And what I would plead with you is that you redouble your
efforts. Do not stop at this, but when you go back to your
governments, really build the case for everybody to do all they can
to support all the initiatives that we have in terms of mobilizing
resource, in terms of work being with other possible donors is
funders to ensure that we have successful implementation of this very
>>HEATHER DRYDEN: Thank you, Katim. I think that is a of the
note to conclude that agenda item.
Next on the agenda we have registry/registrar cross-ownership and
competition authorities, or relationships with competition
I know that the GAC would like to raise this with you.
European Commission, please.
>>EUROPEAN COMMISSION: Thank you, Mrs. Chair. And also very
pleased to have this opportunity to meet for the first time with the
new ICANN board chairman. That's very positive.
Just on the competition, I was actually planning a different
intervention than the intervention I am now making because just a few
minutes before this meeting I had a very positive surprise in the
sense that we have received an answer to the submission which the
European Commission made a few days, a week or so before the
Singapore ICANN meeting setting out a number of concerns we had on
the vertical integration policy issues. And we have just been given
a substantive reply, or at least what we hope is a substantive reply
to these concerns and the specific questions which we asked. And we
will, of course, analyze that reply very carefully and then engage
with ICANN in case there are further questions.
So I would like to thank the ICANN board for the response which we
>>STEVE CROCKER: That's very kind of you, and a pleasure to here.
I know this has had very high priority and we pushed very hard to get
So I am pleased that the timing is -- was just before instead of
>>HEATHER DRYDEN: Thank you for that.
Okay. Are there any further questions or comments or this topic or
can we move to the next item?
All right. So next we are still on new gTLDs. We have some
questions or comments on root zone scaling and some of the data that
we have been provided and how this may relate to the early warning
process and GAC's role in that. So are there questions or comments
>>NETHERLANDS: Thank you, Heather.
Our basic question, I think we discussed this beforehand in
plenary, is the fact that we have kind of different expectations,
different wordings, different signals during this meeting than we
had, I think, in the Brussels meeting with the board. And basically
what we heard, and we didn't hear it in our -- let's say not in the
presentation Kurt gave to us, but it was in other setting with GNSO
that it's probable, it's thinkable that the ICANN can accommodate --
will accommodate let's say more than 500 or more than a couple of
hundred of applications in the first round.
I think it's -- of course it's admissible if you can have all the
systems and the processing, the services available on time.
But we still have I think two concerns. One concern is that we had
a kind of understanding in Brussels that after the first batch of, we
had a thinking and understanding of a couple of hundred that will be
a kind of a --
-- say the first insertions in the root zone after a while. And
that second round will be deferred until there's something coming out
of the evaluation of how the root zone system works or reacts on this.
So in case in the first round there is not the kind of batching but
we have, let's say, an explosion of thousand or 1200 applications, it
will of course interact. It will have repercussions on our -- let's
say on root scaling agreement we had I think in Brussels on this.
And the second thing is, well, basically it depends also on how the
batching is going to be arranged. And if you -- how do you plan this
introduction? Will this be batched? Will this be one round? And
then if the applications come in after certain time, will it be a one-
time posting of all the applications being in? Because that's
basically the trigger point for our early warning within the GAC.
And our early warning is, of course, we have us all restricted
resources. If we come up with a list of 1200, it's a little bit
different a list of 150 new applications.
So that's -- These two questions we are struggling with, and we
would like to have some answer indication.
>>STEVE CROCKER: Let me say a word about it.
So I think there really are two quite different things that we are
talking about here. The early warning with respect to strings is a
process for review of those strings, and you are asking a question, I
believe, about the capacity from a personnel point of view within the
GAC and within the rest of the administrative processes to process
those applications to give due consideration of those strings and
what the time frame is for those responses. Perfectly fair question.
Separate and apart from that is the terminology that you have used
is the impact on the root server system, which suggests that the name
servers themselves would show some evidence of stress because of the
addition of new names into the name servers. That's -- There is --
There seems to be some persistent confusion and misunderstanding, in
my judgment, about that. The name servers, the few hundred Anycast
instances around the world regularly process on the order of 10,000
queries a day -- per second. This is huge, huge numbers.
The variation on a second-to-second basis, on a minute-to-minute
basis and during the course of a day and at various changes on a
seasonal basis are very large changes in those numbers.
The decision of a new one or two or a hundred or a thousand names
into the root server system almost certainly will generate no
measurable change that you can see because of the ordinary changes
that are -- ordinary variations that are taking.
It's fair to look at that, if you wish, and there will be people
who are monitoring things very closely. And I'm given to understand
there will be a report carefully documenting the before and after and
explaining all of this.
But I think it's important to set the expectations here that the
relationship between adding new names into the root zone is almost
completely, if not 100 percent, decoupled from anything measurable in
terms of the performance as seen by the users, or even, for that
matter, seen by the internal distribution processes within each of
the root server operators.
I suspect that there is a misunderstanding that has taken flower
and seems to have spread and I would like to find a way to settle it
down. And as I said, I think some very careful documentation,
structured in a way that is readable not only by technical people and
by GAC personnel but also one that can be shared with broader
audiences or more senior people in government, would be very helpful
in laying out this very clearly and laying any misunderstandings to
>>HEATHER DRYDEN: Yes, Rod.
>>ROD BECKSTROM: And just to complement what Steve has said. As
you may recall, the board passed a resolution that stated that the
maximum number of TLDs that could be delegated into the root under
the new gTLD program on an annual basis is 1,000. And the number may
not exceed that unless there is a formal review, or a new decision by
So that was the limit that was determined and established by
resolution. And we will fully respect that.
>>HEATHER DRYDEN: Thank you, Rod.
I have Sweden and the European Commission.
>>SWEDEN: Thank you very much, Heather.
Actually, I would like to echo what my colleague from the
Netherlands was raising, those issues. Because really the amount of
new gTLDs that's going to be launched, that's going to come to, is
also going to end up in our lap in this early warning system. Of
course it's going to be huge difference to deal with thousands or
maybe couple of thousands of strings compared to a couple of hundreds.
And actually, when we listened to Kurt Pritz who made a very good
presentation early in the week, we got an impression or we understood
that the ICANN, ICANN staff and ICANN board, has a very good dialogue
with the technical community of experts, the root server system
stability committee and the Security and Stability Advisory Committee
and so on, and other, of course, expert in the technical community.
And that is very reassuring from our point of view, and it's also
very, very important, because we are governments. We have concerns
but we have not really the experts.
I would like to say another thing, what I got the impression of, I
hope I understood it, is also the RSSAC group had some kind of
proposal of an early warning, not the early warning in the GAC early
warning but an early warning actually from the technical perspective,
from the root server system. And I don't know whether you are
working on that one or RSSAC, you have some dialogue on that one.
Maybe you have. But that is also of interest for us to know because
that has implications on our policy, public policy and our concerns
And I think it's very, very important that we have this early
warning, whatever it is, systems in place before things starts. And
it's going to start very soon now because I think it's very important.
It's accountability for ICANN. It's accountability for us as an
advisory committee that these whole systems in which we are all of us
involved right now is going to work. So it's not going to go down
So we need to make sure that it's going to happen.
And now I feel a little bit like a parrot saying the same thing
every meeting when we have the opportunity to meet you, the ICANN
board, that I really hope that we can -- I really hoped, and I still
do, that we could have a limited first round and have a good
evaluation from all the perspectives that is necessary and then take
into account the information we got, and then could move on to the
next step, to the second round.
>>HEATHER DRYDEN: Thank you very much, Sweden.
I have Bertrand -- I'm sorry, European Commission and then Bertrand.
>>EUROPEAN COMMISSION: I would rather leave the word to the Board
if they want to react immediately to this point and I will take the
>>HEATHER DRYDEN: Thank you.
>>BERTRAND DE LA CHAPELLE: Bertrand De La Chapelle.
Two points. The first one is related to the question that Thomas
asked, the first one, and the answer of Steve. There is, indeed, a
distinction that is important that Steve has highlighted. And maybe
one way to highlight this distinction is to say that the stress on
the root servers that are distributed are more related to the number
of users than the number of TLDs.
This is a very important distinction. Overall, on a daily
functioning, the stress on the root servers is related to the number
of users that are actually querying.
It will increase a little bit, because it will take time for the
mirrors and all the cache and all the replications to get all the
addresses. But overall, the load is not fundamentally related to the
number of TLDs but more to the number of users.
The other stress which is important is the number of updates to the
database that come from changing the servers, from changing the
address of who manages the registry and so on. But this is a
completely different type of load. And I am trying to express that
in a way that marks the distinction.
It is very important in our discussion that we are completely clear
about that distinction because it is a very important element in
relation to the root scaling and the dangers, and it is extremely
important in particular that you have all the elements to report
back. Because this question is going to be asked over and over
again. And if we are not clear, tell us and we will clarify. We
will try to find the arguments that you can use.
The second point is regarding the workload on the early warning.
It's absolutely true that the workload on the early warning will be
heavier if there is 1,200 or 500. This is true. And we all know the
problem of bandwidths.
I would like to share and maybe make a methodological suggestion,
because one of the dangers for everybody, both for the board and the
staff and the structure as a whole and for the GAC, is if you want to
provide a one, single early warning. Why is that? Because you will
have to wait until you agree on every single potential problem on
TLDs before you provide the output.
I would suggest that you explore something along -- an important
distinction. Among the list of TLDs, hopefully there will not be too
many that will be problematic, but we don't know. There is an
important distinction between those where there is a problem from the
GAC point of view regarding the string, and there may be strings or
applications where the GAC as a whole or some GAC members will say we
don't even want to explore who is applying for that string. That
string is a problem.
This is different from a situation where there is a problem with
one particular applicant for a given string that in itself doesn't
pose a problem. Because then the early warning is much more directed
towards the applicant himself, like saying you didn't contact the
corresponding local authority or you are missing one point.
So I would encourage to maybe do a two-pass system to try to narrow
down, very early on, what are the strings that you believe are
causing a problem in themselves and identifying among them, if any,
hopefully there will be none, but if any, those where there is a real
obvious consensus on the GAC that there is a problem that needs to be
addressed, and those where there is a problem for some countries and
But I would encourage to try to design something, and maybe we can
discuss further on how to make it efficient, that will be a flexible
mow at that time so that you can produce early warnings on an ongoing
and state by state basis instead of waiting until you have an
agreement on all the early warnings you are going to provide.
I hope this helps, and we are all crossing fingers that people will
be smart you have and respectful enough of the spirit of the program
not to make applications that are really problematic.
>>HEATHER DRYDEN: Thank you, Bertrand.
All right. Suzanne Woolf, can you provide some insight, please?
>>EUROPEAN COMMISSION: Madam Chair; sorry. What I meant to say
is I would switch place with the board. I still would like to have
my speaking slot. Thank you.
>>HEATHER DRYDEN: European Commission. Would you like to speak
>>EUROPEAN COMMISSION: Thank you very much to the board members for
On root zone scaling, I think Dr. Crocker mentioned a report that
is going to be published on the matter, I imagine. It would be very
important to have that report as soon as possible, and it is
important to have policy summaries that will certainly simplify our
work when talking to our political masters, so to speak.
But that the Commission would also like to have the full report
with all the technical data, all the methodology, explanation
methodology that has been used because we want to share that report
with our own experts, too, and be able to help you to be confident
all together on the resilience of the system.
On the early warning, the Commission would like to thank Bertrand
de La Chapelle for the suggestions which will certainly be taken into
account by us. We are internally discussing how to streamline our
work. I don't want to go into detail as this is a discussion that is
still ongoing, but one thing the Commission has already raised with
the ICANN staff with whom we have met a couple of days ago, and I
raise again with the board, we will need -- I'm sorry, we understand
that ICANN is building an internal system to handle the new
applications on your side. It would be very important for GAC to
have access to have an interface to that system in order to be able
to consider how to automate our work as well.
So the Commission is hopeful that this can be -- this discussion
with proceed as quickly as possible.
And then again on the early warning and new gTLDs, thanks to the
CEO, to Mr. Beckstrom, for specifying, for reminding us of the limit
of 1,000 new gTLDs.
My question is, did ICANN base their calculations on the deadlines
by when they would provide us with the full list of gTLDs on which we
are supposed to provide possible early warning, did they calculate
their deadline on this maximum amount? In other words, the deadline
you set for yourselves to communicate to us all the gTLDs with all
the verification done on your side at that stage, is it calculated on
1,000 new gTLDs or 100 or 200? And if you calculated it on 100, what
happens if you receive 1,000 applications? Are you confident that you
are going to respect the deadline that you communicated to us? And
if not, what is going to happen?
I hope this last point is clear enough. If not, I am happy to
>>HEATHER DRYDEN: Thank you, European Commission.
Rod, did you have a quick response to that last point?
>>ROD BECKSTROM: Just a quick response. Thank you very much.
The first is that in May, approximately one month after the
application window closes, we will be publishing all of the strings
publicly, so it's known what has been applied for. And that will be
the total list of whatever number of applications has been received
during the application period, firstly.
Secondly, the current plan is to process the applications in
batches of 500. So I think that we have taken that into
consideration when we looked at the early warning period. But I will
check into that in more depth and come back to you.
>>HEATHER DRYDEN: Thank you, Rod.
So Suzanne, please.
>>SUZANNE WOOLF : Thank you, Heather.
And I have been sort of sitting here scribbling a couple of notes.
But just to say real quickly, first I want to reinforce a couple of
the points that have been made, particularly by Steve, that, first of
all, given the limitations that have been committed to, as Rod just
mentioned and as previously discussed, there is not an urgent issue
here. There are concerns, and there is probably -- there are -- that
do need to be addressed and have been committed to be addressed.
But there is more -- there is more to be gained by taking the time
to have these conversations and make sure that we fully understand,
given the limits that are agreed to, in the minds of everyone who has
looked carefully at this.
For RSSAC, specifically, I believe it was Maria made a reference to
some work that's been undertaken. There has been some work within
the committee on a shared set of metrics, as much in the interests of
transparency and facilitating research, frankly, as because there are
specific concerns for the root servers about root scaling. And also
I believe Steve made an allusion -- I'm losing track of who mentioned
this. But there are good working relationships in place. And the
technical folks outside of ICANN are looking forward to working with
staff on making sure that the technical issues are addressed.
It does make sense, though, to also reinforce the distinction that,
I believe, Bertrand particularly spoke to between policy issues and
technical operational ones. And I believe that one of the benefits
of the long discussion that we all had on this issue was that there
is a reasonable set of clear separations among those things and
reasonable plans for tackling all of them. So I think we are in a
good place on that. But we need to keep moving forward and look
forward to working, particularly, with the staff on that.
>>HEATHER DRYDEN: Thank you, Suzanne. I have the Netherlands,
Australia, and Germany. Netherlands, please.
>>NETHERLANDS: The questions were already presented by Suzanne
and Rod on my first question. Thank you.
>>HEATHER DRYDEN: Thank you. Australia?
>>AUSTRALIA: Yes, mine has dissipated also.
>>HEATHER DRYDEN: Excellent. Okay. Germany.
>>GERMANY: Yes, thank you, madam chair. I just want to come
back to the position or presentation made by Bertrand in this respect
under a relation process and early warning system.
I just -- I think it seems -- your comment seems to be rather
sensible to have a distinction between the evaluation of the string
on one side and the other side to have evaluation of the applicant.
Having said that, from a practical standpoint, it might be rather
difficult. Because you mentioned we receive on the 1st of May or 2nd
of May or 29th of April a complete list with strings. Okay. A
string evaluation is rather easy to be made. Rather easy, just to
But an evaluation of the applicant. And, in particular, it's not
only the name of the applicant. You need to know what is the model
he's following. What are the registration policies? What are the
restrictions? I think this, frankly speaking, is not possible within
a time frame of 60 days. This is something I would really be
hesitative to have such kind of evaluation during this period.
And, having said that, I also would like to second my colleague
from the European Commission. I think we really need to consider
what will be the possibilities for the government for the early
warning system, if, say, it's really a significant decrease of
We had considered up to now something like 500. If it really is
significantly more than these 500, then it would be also a capacity
problems for us to proceed these 500 -- these applications. Because
we, as government, have not privilege to extend the time we are bound
by the 60 days. Thank you.
>>HEATHER DRYDEN: Thank you very much, Germany. Kurt, can you
perhaps tell us exactly what the information would be that's
available on those dates?
>>KURT PRITZ: Thanks, Hubert, for your question. We will publish
the applications, which are, essentially, the information in
questions 1-13. So -- and then more. So there will be the string
and then the applicant and the purpose of the application and the
answer to many of the questions so that the GAC can use that to make
Now, what might be helpful for the GAC and what we'd like to hear
is a way -- thank you.
>> I have a handheld.
>>KURT PRITZ: So maybe there's a way we can sort the data. So,
as Rod mentioned, we're going to publish the information on a date
certain after we receive the applications. If you would -- we could
give that information to you now what's going to be published. Then
perhaps you could get back to us with a way that we could sort that
data so it would be more helpful to you so you can kind of run your
finger down it easily.
>>HEATHER DRYDEN: Thank you, Kurt. Switzerland.
>>SWITZERLAND: Thank you. Also referring to what Bertrand has
said, I think in principle, it would be useful to be able to express
an early warning first on the string and then on second level on the
applicant and on his business model.
But something that I started to realize, which is in, at least in
my head, slightly reducing the value of this whole early warning
system and put it to a question to the board -- is my perception
right? -- that we would realize there is a string we do not think is
problematic; we look at the applicant and then look at his business
models and registrar conditions, whatever; and then realize that
something is not applicable to our law in our country?
And then you issue an early warning saying that, basically,
everything would be fine, but we have a problem there. We cannot
What is the use of this, if I get this right, that, if the
applicant cannot modify this application, he can only withdraw it?
Is that right? That's the only answer you can give -- unless this
exception with geographic names and seeking government support. But,
if, for instance, in an early warning you see a minor flaw which
could cause you to file an objection against it, the applicant can
only decide I go nevertheless or I withdraw? There's nothing in
between? Is that right? Yeah, that's it. Thank you.
>>HEATHER DRYDEN: Thank you, Sweden.
Is there a response to that question? Kurt, please.
>>KURT PRITZ: So that question reflects a good understanding.
We're loathe to allow applicants to fully change their application,
because that would allow applicants to abuse the system. Get an
application in as a test. And, if that test sort of fails, they can
sort of get around the system by amending it.
But there are ways an applicant can address government concerns.
For example, in the case of a geographic name, it can secure the
approval of the government. Or there may be conditions a government
would have before it would otherwise approve delegation of a name.
So it can put the applicant on notice that the GAC will probably give
GAC advice or encourage an objection in some way. So there are ways
for governments to use the early warning effectively.
And then, of course, the other use for GAC advice is to put the
applicant on notice that there is going to be GAC advice or an
objection to it and give him or her the opportunity to withdraw early
for a higher refund. So we're trying to encourage the applicants to
heed the GAC early warning in that way.
>>HEATHER DRYDEN: Bertrand.
Thank you, Kurt.
>>BERTRAND DE LA CHAPELLE: One very quick comment both on Hubert
and Thomas's questions. What we're trying to put in place is a
communication channel. And the whole discussion we had during the
elaboration of the applicant guidebook is to identify tools for
interaction. That bucks the capacity for the GAC, in particular, to
make a comment at one moment and not later and so on.
What was attempted was to provide a way for intervening at
different stages. And there are, as Thomas has said, there are
different types of problems that may emerge.
I think the proposal that Andrea made of having an interface or
something that is facilitating the interaction is in the spirit of
what we're trying to put in place. Identifying as early as possible -
- and the early warning bears its name very well -- identifying
problems as early as possible is beneficial for everybody, including
for the applicants.
And so there might be cases where there is a general problem with
the string. There are cases where there is a specific problem for
one or several applicants because, with that type of string, they
should have done something more than what they've done, for instance.
And they could be encouraged to move forward.
And there could be cases where one or several specific countries
have a particular problem that can or cannot be addressed and where
the applicant will or will not withdraw in the end.
But what I'd like to highlight here is the notion of a continuous
process that will move all along the evaluation the objections and
all those components that have been put in the program as
As a general remark, what we've all attempted to do is to find
something that combines two very difficult things to combine. One is
openness, and the other side is protections.
And the whole process of dialogue with the GAC and the early
warning and the advice, the various level of advices are intended to
make sure that there is always an avenue for interaction when there's
I think that's the best answer we can give at that moment. And the
questions that you're asking, we need to keep asking them in parallel
with using the process, so that we improve it as much as we move
>>HEATHER DRYDEN: Thank you, Bertrand. Can we move to the next
topic, which is the communications outreach program for new gTLDs.
>>SWITZERLAND: Sorry. It's a quick question that I wanted to ask
before I forgot it. You said, in case there would be more than 500,
you would divide this in batches of 500, that you would proceed kind
of one after the other. In case you receive 4,000 applications, how
do you decide which ones are going to be in the first batch and which
ones are going to be in the last batch? Would that be according to
the date that they actually hand in their applications or those from
A to G and then those -- what is your reflection in how to divide
these into batches? Thank you.
>>HEATHER DRYDEN: Rod, please.
>>ROD BECKSTROM: Thank you. We are still working on this issue.
There's some complex legal implications, and also there's some
technical operational issues. But we haven't locked down on a
specific batching algorithm yet. But we will be doing that. And,
when we do, we will be sharing it. Thank you.
>>HEATHER DRYDEN: Thank you.
>>EUROPEAN COMMISSION: Apologies, madam chair. But all this
talk of batches has provoked a question in me, because maybe I did
not understand. When you say that you're going to process batches of
500 applications, does it mean that you're going to -- how can I put
it? Does it mean that you're going to present to us only 500
applications and then the next 500 are going to come later? Or I
would like a clarification because that's quite unclear to me.
>>ROD BECKSTROM: Thank you. I'll respond. The application
window will be open from January 12th until April 12th. There's no
limit on the number of applications that may be submitted in that
If the number of applications that is received is over 500, then we
will have to look at the issue of how do we handle or how do we
process those applications in batches? And the current intention is
to do that in a number of around 500 per batch.
So it depends on -- if there's a higher number than 500, then we
will need to do some batch processing. If the number is lower than
500, then we will begin the processing. They'll all be -- I'm sorry.
They'll all be posted at the same time. So all the applications
received, we'll publish the information in May on the date certain,
as Kurt mentioned, with the publicly available information.
>>EUROPEAN COMMISSION: So let me try to see if I understood. The
process is you receive 4,000 applications. You're going post at
whatever date now -- I can't quite remember -- those 4,000
applications. We, as GAC, are going to do the early warning on the
500 batch that you're going to select, which I understand is within
your limits, even though I don't understand how you're going to
select them. Or, again, it's not clear to me.
>>HEATHER DRYDEN: Kurt?
>>ROD BECKSTROM: I'll let Kurt provide the answer to this.
>>KURT PRITZ: Given that we're publishing all the applications at
the same time, we would expect the early warning to be issued at that
time. And so, working with these -- through these operational issues
with the GAC, if the GAC doesn't think it can get through all the
applications in the 60 days -- 60 days? -- 60 days allotted, that we
should discuss how the GAC input could match the batching input going
But, thinking about a little bit, I think the best duty to the
applicant is to provide early warning advice to the applicant within
60 days so they can withdraw their application, if need be, and not --
you know, they'll be spending money on their ongoing operations. So
the best scenario, I think, is that the GAC would provide early
warning within that 60-day period.
>>EUROPEAN COMMISSION: Apologize, madam chair. But this is an
important point and I think it deserves to be clarified, as much as
possible, now or very soon. Because the application period is going
to start very soon, and we need to be very clear on what it is
expected from us.
So, again, you receive 4,000 or 10,000 or 12,000 applications. You
publish them. You're expecting the GAC to issue early warning, to
analyze all the 12,000 applications. And, yet, you're going to
process those applications in batches of 500. So I'm sorry to say,
but this seems to put a little bit too strain on the GAC while you,
yourself, recognize that you are not going to be able to process
12,000 applicants, just to use the number I did. So why should we
not tell you, well, we're going to process 500 applications maximum
now and you tell us what those 500 applications are?
It seems to me that I see that Bertrand is nodding or not nodding.
I don't understand. But it's something that we need to clarify very
quickly. Because it's difficult for us to accept that you're asking
us to do something which you seem to have difficulties doing yourself.
>>ROD BECKSTROM: We will look at this issue and come back to you.
Clearly, one of the uncertainties is the number of total applications
that will come in. We understand -- I understand your statement that
this has an impact on you and your time to process. And we're
sensitive to that.
So we'll consider this issue and come back with some guidance to
the GAC. Thank you.
>>HEATHER DRYDEN: Thank you, for that, Rod.
The Netherlands, please.
>>NETHERLANDS: Yes. Now that Kurt has a telephone -- sorry, the
microphone. I think just one very essential question about
remediating an application. I understand that you don't want to have
applicants gaming the system and changing their application. But, in
certain cases, which are not only geographic but also others like dot
sector and example of whatever sector, imagine, just to be very
concrete example, imagine that, after talks with GAC members, after
an early warning, that the registry would then maybe make a stricter
policy and say, for example, that on the second level there's
organization.sector. And he would say, okay, I want this to have
stricter, for example, registered name for the organization on the
second level. But with the minimum of 10 countries existent or
My question is, basically, on what extent do you have the
possibility of having a stricter policy, which will then alleviate
concerns of some governments or the whole GAC? Thank you.
>>KURT PRITZ: So what the guidebook says is that an applicant
cannot materially change their application. And it's -- it's
interesting to talk about specific examples like this, but I don't
want to give an indication whether a specific example of a change
would be allowable. Because we want to maintain the goals of making
it not gameable. But we also understand that you know, a registry
might want to further restrict its application, make it more narrow
in order to bring it into the goals of what the government has.
So there's some limited opportunity to adjust how they're going to
operate the registry without amending their application. So, as long
as it's within those guidelines of getting to the goal of not being
able to game. But, other than that, I don't really want to comment
on a specific application that people might rely on later on.
>>HEATHER DRYDEN: Thank you, Kurt. Bertrand, did you have a
>>BERTRAND DE LA CHAPELLE: Did I have a -- yeah, final comment.
Coming back to the question that Andrea raised, do I understand
correctly, if I reframe your question by saying that what you want to
know is whether there could be a connection between the workload of
the GAC and the batching; i.e., that the early warning -- if I
understand correctly -- and correct me, if I'm wrong. What you're
saying, basically, is that, if there's a batching, and among the
1,000 or 1,500, if ever, ICANN will examine the first 500. In your
argument it makes no sense for the GAC to make the early warning for
the second 500. And so you want to explore how this could be
connected. Is that a correct understanding?
And my second question is: Does the GAC have a particular view --
or GAC members have a particular view of the ways in which, as Rod
said, the working on the methods of batching? Do you have particular
views on what kind of criteria should be used for batching? Because
I don't think we have had discussion so far.
>>EUROPEAN COMMISSION: To confirm that your understanding on the
first point is correct, I think that GAC should process doing early
warning in batches according to the order that you would choose for
the batches. So you give us the first 500. And, actually, this is
not a firm position at the moment; but it would seem the most logical
way to proceed to me. And for the order you would choose -- again,
this is not something we're discussing in GAC. Just from my mind I
with think the chronological order you receive the application could
be the criterion. But that's, frankly, up to the ICANN board to
>>HEATHER DRYDEN: Thank you. So let's allow ICANN board staff to
come back to us on the questions. And let's move further through the
agenda. The next topic is regarding the communications outreach
plan. And the question from the GAC side, I believe, is what is the
communications plan? What's in it, and what is your approach to
communicating information about the upcoming program?
>>ROD BECKSTROM: May I respond? Thank you.
>>HEATHER DRYDEN: Please.
>>ROD BECKSTROM: Yes. The communications plan was outlined,
which shaped the goals and objectives. And we've recently considered
enhancing that. The program has been very active.
The beginning of the communications program was, of course, right
after the vote, I believe, on June 24th in Singapore. And there have
been thousands of pieces generated from that event. And since then
the physical road show started in September. And the new gTLD Web
site was launched on the 19th of September at newgTLDs.icann.org.
There are FAQ sheets available there in six different U.N. languages.
There's educational videos, and there's also the calendar of upcoming
events and event reports.
There have been over 35 events in 20 countries so far. And there's
upcoming outreach events that will also be in Moscow, Beijing,
Jakarta, Mexico, Argentina, and Chile.
And we would appreciate the help of all participants here to
communicate the existence of the Web site and all the information to
your communities. And also, particularly, as the government
representatives in the GAC to use your channels through government to
share this information with industry. And there are short forms of
the communication that are as short as one page or short documents
and others. And we really would appreciate your help. And we do
appreciate the help that quite some number of countries here have
provided already in helping to host events.
So that's a high-level summary. Thank you.
>>HEATHER DRYDEN: Thank you, Rod.
So questions, comments. U.K.?
>>UNITED KINGDOM: Thanks, very much, chair. And good afternoon,
everybody. That's very encouraging. Certainly, the commitment to
broadcasting this opportunity in as many markets and stakeholder
communities across the globe is clearly understood. And it's
critical to the success of the new gTLDs program. Obviously, it's
also critical to the credibility of ICANN that this project is a
truly inclusive one and taps into pools of talent, entrepreneurs,
innovators in many parts of the world that perhaps haven't been
tapped into before. And I think that's a real challenge for all of
us. And, certainly, there are government channels and networks and
associations of governments. From the U.K. perspective, there's the
commonwealth where we can help advance awareness of this
My question is to ask whether you're monitoring levels of awareness
through, I don't know, survey mechanisms and so on.
Both following your road show events, but also in those areas that -
- obviously, you can't get to every market, every community in the
world. That would be far too ambitious. But through the use of
media and so on, is there -- is there an effort to monitor levels of
awareness and perhaps identify large business communities or markets
or communities that are still in the dark? And where, perhaps, as a
result of that monitoring awareness gauging, you can then possibly
orientate your targeting of resources and so on. So adjusting your
outreach program. Is that something you have in hand? Thank you.
>>HEATHER DRYDEN: Thank you very much U.K. And Rod.
>>ROD BECKSTROM: Thank you, Mark. There are a number of
different metrics that are being measured from gross measures, such
as number of articles after an event to more geographically specific
by region, by country.
And we are collecting a fairly rich set of data and we will be
In terms of the second part of your question about the feedback
loop between the information on the metrics and adjusting the
program, there are some adjustments, but those adjustments are
limited based on the time that's allowed and permitted.
And again, we really would appreciate all of your help as
government leaders to send out e-mails or letters and documents from
your offices to the trade associations in your countries, et cetera.
And also if you have any upcoming trade association or other events
that are already taking place in your country where you think it
would be desirable to have an ICANN new gTLD expert speaking, please
do let us know and we will do our best to accommodate the request and
deliver an expert to be a resource.
And so, again, quite a number of you have helped us with that
already, and a number of you are helping us in the upcoming cities,
including we'll be back in Berlin soon, and with the help of Hubert
and the German government in organizing, but the same has been true
in many places around the world.
>>HEATHER DRYDEN: Thank you, Rod.
I have Uganda, please.
>>UGANDA: Thank you very much, Chair.
I want to thank the CEO for the last comment, that if countries
have events, they can get in touch with ICANN. But I want to link it
to the previous communication plan that you mentioned. I didn't hear
anything specific targeting the African region.
And also, I listened to your speech yesterday, the places you have
been to of late. I didn't see anything that was near Africa, and the
strategy that you have for the African region.
>>ROD BECKSTROM: Sure.
Some of the events that we have done in Africa include Cape Town.
Also in Nairobi at the IGF we did considerable communication on new
gTLDs at the ICANN open forum, also at other events that we
participated in. And of course the IGF was broadly attended with I
think about 2,000 attendees, and I'm sure that the chair of the
event, Alice Munyua town here could tell us how many were from Africa
and how many countries, but I think quite a few countries were
represented. And then of course the events here in Senegal with
quite a number of countries from Africa.
We also spoke at the GITEX conference in Dubai, which is an
enormous technology conference with about 100,000 people, and I think
most -- many countries from Africa were represented in that event.
But again, sir, if you have an event that's come you go up in
Uganda that you would like to have us participate in, please let us
know and we will do our best to provide one of the experts from ICANN.
>>HEATHER DRYDEN: Thank you, Rod.
Are there any other questions or comments on that?
Sebastien. That's right, Sebastien.
>>SEBASTIEN BACHOLLET: Thank you very much. I will speak in
French, in fact, for some minutes.
I wanted to be sure that I understood the objective of the
communication, and I wouldn't want to forget that we're addressing
companies, but at the same time, we are addressing other types of
organizations. And, therefore, we must take into account that we can
transmit the ICANN and organizations in the country, the
associations, grouping these associations where the objective of the
program is to be inclusive for all the organizations. And therefore,
I think they should all receive information.
Thank you very much.
>>HEATHER DRYDEN: Thank you, Sebastien.
We will move, then, to the final topic of our agenda this
afternoon. And that is concerning law enforcement recommendations in
relation to the Registrar Accreditation Agreement.
So from the GAC side, we have the United States leading on this
European Commission, please.
>>EUROPEAN COMMISSION: Madam Chair, I think we're skipping one
point on the agenda. Is there not conflict of interest that we were
going to discuss as well?
>>HEATHER DRYDEN: You're right. You're right.
Okay. Well, let's continue with the agenda as planned.
So conflict of interest is certainly our next agenda item. And so
on this, I believe GAC members have various views that they would
like to communicate to you. Certainly in the discussion we had
earlier, this was an issue of considerable importance to a number of
colleagues in the GAC.
So with that, I open the floor to remarks from the GAC.
European Commission, please.
>>EUROPEAN COMMISSION: Thank you, Madam Chair.
I think, first of all, of course underline how important this issue
is of conflict of interest to the European Commission, but to the
European Union and its member states, and from earlier discussions
which we have had in the GAC, I think to many, if not all of the GAC
members around this table.
And maybe I should just briefly elaborate a little bit on why this
is the case and before I come to what we expect actually the ICANN
board to do about it.
I think first of all, as a starting point, to confirm that ICANN is
an organization whose mission is to serve the public interest. And I
would like to think that the global public interest.
And obviously this requires that its functioning and the way it
takes decisions meets the highest corporate governance standards:
those of accountability, transparency, and independence.
This goes to the heart of the multistakeholder model, because of
course if the model is seen as not meeting those standards, then the
legitimacy of the decisions that the model produces will be called
And unfortunately, recent events have given us some doubts about
the conflict of interest or the independence in the accountability
and transparency of ICANN, and particularly of the board. We have,
of course, all taken note of the chairman, the previous chairman
leaving the board very shortly after the decision on the new gTLD to
join a company with a direct interest in that decision. That was
very embarrassing for ICANN, and of course raised a lot of concern in
the community. But that is, in our view, merely a symptom of a
deeper problem, which is a structural problem of ICANN. If you look
also at the recent audit report we see that at least eight members on
the board have declared conflict of interest in the pursuit of their
activities. And of course when we look at kind of the way ICANN
deals with this, we note -- and again, that is with regret -- that
there is no substantial conflict-of-interest and ethics policy in
place. And that, of course, is a major shortcoming.
And as this is a structural problem, we believe that structural
solutions are in order.
In or view, in the view of the European Commission, our preferred
option is clearly that the board will be fully independent from
interested parties. A professional board who would be adequately
remunerated and would not have to be employed by stakeholders that
have a direct interest in the decisions of the organization. That,
we believe, is absolutely the best way to go about independence and
accountability and transparency.
But in the short to medium term, we really expect the board to take
a very strong stance in favor of the highest standard of corporate
We were slightly disappointed that it has taken at least a couple
of months before the board put this issue on its own agenda. We have
since seen that the board has taken some steps in that direction, but
our main concern is that we enter into another phase of discussion
and policy-making whereas what we think now needs to be done is the
board taking an absolutely firm stance and adopting, as soon as
possible, a robust and substantive conflict-of-interest policy.
And maybe we can offer, from our experience in the European
Commission, some elements which we believe should be absolutely part
and parcel of such conflict-of-interest policy; that is, a prior
declaration, obviously, of conflict of interest; an appropriate
scope; i.e., not just in the case of transactions or in the case of
decisions but the whole phase from policy shaping to decisions; clear
sanctions and penalties in case of breach. From our own experience,
we know that if you can breach conflict-of-interest rules with
impunity and there are no consequences, the whole policy isn't worth
And last but not least and I think we have seen how important this
is, a cooling off period which leaves some time between the point in
time that members leave the board and then they join interested
parties. Those are the kind of elements which we expect to see in
the conflict-of-interest policy. We would very much urge the board
to take its political responsibility and put in place such a policy
as soon as possible. Not turn this into process with working groups
and engaging consultants and advice and further discussion and et
cetera. But before the end of the year to make sure that such a
policy is in place. And that basically ICANN joins the reputable
organizations that have similar or are also operating in the public
interest with a conflict-of-interest policy that the ICANN board can
be proud of.
There is one issue which I simply want to flag which is the issue
of financing. What was quite interesting in the recent audit report
is that ICANN for its financing, for its funding for its revenue
relies on a fairly limited number of parties. And that in itself, in
our opinion, raises a fairly important issue of independence. It is
not enough in our view to have a robust conflict-of-interest policy
in terms of the behavior and not only of the board members, but also
of the staff, but also the issue of funding and financing needs to be
So I would like to leave it here. But for us, it's very important
issue for the sustainability of the multistakeholder model.
We as governments, and particularly we as European Commission, will
find it difficult to defend a model, which we have always stoutly
defended, when the model has such important shortcomings. But those
shortcomings can be easily repaired if the necessary political will
and sense of urgency is there.
>>HEATHER DRYDEN: Thank you, European Commission. I understand
Bruce Tonkin from the board will respond on this topic.
>>BRUCE TONKIN: Yeah, thank you, Heather. And we agree, we do
believe this a very serious issue and we are working on it.
With respect to what's there today, I think you made the comment we
don't have a conflicts policy. We do, actually. So we have both a
conflicts policy and a code of conduct. And we can provide links to
We also have fairly elaborate confidentiality provisions within our
code of conduct and guidelines on how they should be used. So we do
have something in place.
But having said that, we also recognize that.
As the organization is taking on more responsibility, it needs to
review those and improve those.
So the Board Governance Committee asked the staff to commission
some external advice so that we're not -- it comes counsel to, coming
back to your point of independence, so it's not just us coming up
with our own rules. We are getting external advice that is reviewing
best practice in both conflicts and ethics with respect to both
corporate best practice as well as government best practice. And
those inputs will be taken into account to update the policy.
In terms of the timing, I wasn't sure. Were you suggesting that we
don't put that out for comment before we would vote? Our normal
practice is when we get advice, we update the policy and put it out
for public comment. But we're not talking about working groups, but
our normal process for all important documents like that is it does
go through a public comment process. So I would expect we are
talking of a time frame of a few months. But whether it's next
month, to do that would mean we actually aren't being accountable and
transparent because we aren't actually putting something out for
The other thing, as others pointed out in some of the sessions
earlier today, is it's not just enough to have a written document.
As I said, we already have them. It's actually about whether people
really understand what's in those documents and how to apply those
rules. And so we had a board training session a few weeks ago, and
we spent several hours, actually, going through the existing
conflicts policy and the code of conduct and the confidentiality
provisions. And we went through various scenarios of how they should
apply to different situations that might emerge in the coming year.
So that's part of actually building it into the culture.
Just to give you some specific examples for me personally, because
on particular issues I have declared a conflict. So if we take
registry/registrar separation as an example, I left the room when
that topic was discussed, and when legal advice was provided to
ICANN, I was not present nor did I vote on it. And I also
predeclared that interest before that discussion occurred.
So I think you will find that we actually already have practices
that aren't -- that are similar, I would have thought, to some of the
things you pointed out. We predeclare. If it's a serious issue, we
leave the room, and we don't vote on it.
In terms of having a board with a member that has a conflict,
remember, we have 16 voting members. It's very rare -- You mentioned
there were eight instances where a conflict might have been. I doubt
that that was at one time. Most that I can recall, there was maybe
one or two on any issue of 16 directors. And that's the strength of
the multistakeholder body, that we have 16 directors from multiple
regions of the world with multiple areas of experience. On any one
issue, if we conflicted, if a person is not present, it really
doesn't impact that discussion.
>>HEATHER DRYDEN: Thank you for that, Bruce.
I have Erika, Rod, and U.K.
>>ERIKA MANN: Just a short addition as far as it reflects the
work of the Audit Committee, which I do chair. What we do, we provide
guidance in the financial and internal control of ICANN, and we fully
understand the concern with the new gTLD round and the new work ICANN
will have to stem in the future that there is concern with regard to
such kind of oversight role.
We are fully aware of this. We already went into intensive
discussions in our committee. We will do a review of all the
applicable international standards available.
Of course, not all of them will work because we are not a purely
commercial operation. So we will have to be very careful what we
adopt and what we cannot adopt.
We will do the review and we will consult, of course, with all of
you. And we'll understand afterwards better what we can adopt and
which works for us and which is not working for us.
>>HEATHER DRYDEN: Thank you, Erika.
Thank you. I just wanted to provide some additional facts and
information for the GAC members.
The BGC, as mentioned, is reviewing our governance documents.
We're also using three different groups of outside experts. We're
using our corporate law firm to review -- formally review our
conflicts-of-interest policies, our code of conduct, and our employee
handbooks to enhance the focus on best practices for conflicts and
Secondly, we have retained a new independent law firm with lawyers
not involved in the ICANN process to look at how we present those
documents and to make recommendations, comparing ICANN to similarly
situated nonprofit organizations. And this has already resulted in a
first recommendation that we have implemented, which is if you go to
www.icann.org forward slash documents, you will find all key ICANN
corporate governance documents now posted. And most of them that
relate to this issue are near the top of that list.
Thirdly, we're working to contract with an international experts
group to review the organization's documents and practices and to
make recommendations with a focus on our global function and looking
at the best practice of other international organizations. And we
invite any of you to subject -- to propose specific organizations
that we should be considering.
I'll also offer that when we find and retain those experts, if any
of you would like to have a conversation with that expert, we're
happy to arrange it on an individual country-by-country basis or for
the GAC or subsets of the GAC as a whole, if you would like to
interact with them.
And so the goal of all these interviews -- or, excuse me, reviews
is to make sure that we adhere to the highest possible standards
while taking into consideration the unique nature of our
>>HEATHER DRYDEN: Thank you, Rod.
I have U.K. and Bertrand.
>>UNITED KINGDOM: Thanks very much, Chair.
We are hearing a lot of statements of commitment to address this
issue, and that's certainly very positive. This issue has crossed
ministers' desks. I think what I need by the end of this week is a
timeline of how all this effort to examine the existing provisions,
the recommendations that would go out to public comment and the
process and so on. So I really need a timeline to send out to my
Minister. If I could have that by the end of this week -- I'm sorry
to be so demandeur; that it has exercised ministers. And that's our
job as officials to act on their concerns and to engage and to
discuss and then go back to the ministers and say this is what we
So on that. And I am also reminded that the whole process of
evaluations of new gTLD applications has to be absolutely squeaky
clean. And Kurt did respond to me on that very point with some
valuable explanation of the provision to ensure that there were no
conflicts of interest in evaluating gTLD applications, ask that there
are sort of fall-backs if conflicts of interest do become apparent
when considering a gTLD application.
But I just want to underline in this public forum that that is a
prerequisite for the gTLD process. That we are looking to deliver,
monitor, and certainly act, if there is any diversion from that
commitment to ensure conflicts of interest are fully respected in the
Thank you very much.
>>HEATHER DRYDEN: Thank you, U.K.
So a request for a time -- no, a timeline, but with a timeline for
So I have Bertrand and -- did you want to respond quickly to that
point? Okay. Fine.
>>ROD BECKSTROM: Thank you.
We're going to have a session on Thursday afternoon on this topic.
And we invite all parties to attend. And we will be seeking to
develop a road map on a timely basis. And that will depend in part
on the discussions and the feedback we get, because, for example, I
just offered to allow any country here to have a conversation with
the expert. Depends on how many of those conversations we're going
to have and what your recommendation or request is, for example, that
could affect that timeline. And there will be other inputs.
But we will begin working on a road map, and I think we are all
taking this very seriously. But we also want to make sure that we
respect the consultative processes of the community.
>>HEATHER DRYDEN: Thank you, Rod.
>>BERTRAND DE LA CHAPELLE: On this very important topic, there is
one very important distinction as well, which is between conflicts of
interest for the period when somebody is on the board and the period
afterwards, whether we call it ethics policy or revolving door
policy. These are two different issues and both raise different
questions in the context of the ICANN structure.
On the first one of conflict of interest, I think it's very, very
important for all of you when this question is asked to take into
account what Bruce mentioned regarding the fact that we're not
starting from scratch. And it is probably our fault, generally, to
not have been posting clearly enough the existing conflicts-of-
interest policy, which, as Bruce has mentioned, is conducted on a
regular basis and is clearly done very thoroughly every time there is
a discussion within the board that addresses a point that concerns a
board member that has a conflict of interest.
There are declarations of conflict of interest on a regular basis.
And the first step that is absolutely clear, and that can be done,
and it is probably already done, is to make this policy that exists
visible, because you will discover -- and, actually, your ministers
will discover -- that there already is one. And we are just
The question of the revolving door is more complex. Why? Because
we are confronted with a problem, in a nutshell, that which is that
with the current model we have on the board, people are in the
industry. And if we get to a revolving door policy that is too
rigid, we get the irony of having somebody who can be in the industry
when this person is on the board and who shouldn't be in it when it
leaves the board, which is very strange.
I don't get into details, there are distinctions that can be made
regarding the kind of functions that you can have afterwards. But I
just want to highlight this, because the two questions are slightly
different. In that regard, it is important for you to know, also, to
convey in the external expertise that we're receiving, we have paid
great attention to include a request to have information on practices
that are done in not only not-for-profit or for-profit corporations
but also in public entities, including regulators and things like
that. Because the whole landscape must be covered, and it's very
important to take it into account.
However, that being said -- and, ironically, I have raised in other
meetings this question of whether the notion of independence of board
members should be pushed to the extreme. The suggestion that board
members would or could become independent is a very important or
would be an extremely important, in terms of amplitude, evolution in
the ICANN model. And so this debate is clearly not going to be
addressed in a flash.
And what does the independence of board members mean is a very
important discussion. And, clearly, it is going to move and be
conducted beyond the current discussion on just the updated policy.
And, in that respect, any suggestion on comparables that would be
useful are welcome.
A final note on the other subject of finances. It is very
important to correct a very common misunderstanding -- and I know I
will irritate registries and registrars whenever I say that.
Registries and registrars are not the one or the only ones that
finance ICANN. They do finance ICANN for a portion. But they are
conveying and channeling the contributions that are paid by the
And so, in that respect, the funding of ICANN in majority comes
from a very, very distributed number of people. Millions of people
are actually contributing to the funding. This doesn't reduce the
question of what kind of weight the ones who channel in this
regulation process. But I want to take this opportunity to correct
this misunderstanding the registrants are the source of funding of
ICANN. Thank you.
>>HEATHER DRYDEN: Thank you, Bertrand. I wouldn't say that
that fact takes into account that all those registrants are sitting
on the board maybe creating opportunities for themselves. That's
really the difference. That's really the point with registries and
registrars being in a privileged position to influence business
opportunities and so on.
>>CHERINE CHALABY: To achieve what our colleague from the
European community said and others, it isn't just enough to have the
best policies and the best standards. What is also important is that
the culture and DNA of individual board members also improves.
And it isn't enough to be also independent. I'm going to tell you
why. Because there are three things that matters here: Conflicts,
ethical, and confidentiality. You could be an independent board
member; you will not have any conflicts. But you could breach
ethical, and you could breach confidentiality.
So the most important thing here is, once we have these policies on
board -- and I want to pick on Bruce's point is that we continuously
not put them in a drawer and not look at them. You have to every
year and all the time refresh yourself, read them, make yourself more
aware. And you'll be up to date with these policies as they develop
and as they improve.
And that's a very, very important thing that we must do as board
members to make sure that these policies are being used and are being
>>HEATHER DRYDEN: Thank you for that, Cherine.
I have European Commission and Australia.
>>EUROPEAN COMMISSION: Thank you, madam chair. And also thanks
to the different board members that spoke to this point.
Maybe just to highlight once more how the depth of the concerns of
our governments -- of the European Commission on this issue and that,
in a way, patience is wearing thin. And we're really looking for a
strong response from ICANN to show that it can self-correct at this
point. That's why when we hear reviews, we hear we've engaged
consultants and have had public consultations on it, it starts to
itch a little bit. This is an obvious issue. Clearly -- of course,
we are aware that there are such policies in place in ICANN, but
they've not been effective. And, if you look at the number of
important parts on the policy like in sanctions or penalties, it's
not foreseen. The cooling off is not foreseen. That's why the
previous chairman did not break any rules, because there were not any
rules in the first place.
So these are not issues that require lengthy consultations. There
are many organizations that have struggled with these issues. And
there's a lot of best practice around. And there's absolutely no
reason why a decision of the ICANN board should take a very long
time. And I would like to say down the line what the U.K.
representative has said. We're really looking to a commitment toward
a result, not a commitment towards a process with an unclear
timeline. We're going to enter into a very important and probably
not -- although we would not hope not controversial period with the
new gTLDs. It is absolutely critical that the board is above board
on this, that you can point to this absolutely, when we take our
decisions, we are crystal clean. These decisions are not influenced
by particular interests that are represented on the board.
So there's a sense of urgency that we would like to see and a
strong signal from the board itself and from the chairman that what
has happened in the past will not be repeated in the future. And
that, I think, we can then take back to our ministers. And they will
no doubt be satisfied to see that something is actually moving. But,
at the moment, I don't get that impression. I mean, I'm not sure I
can debrief my Commissioner in that sense. Thank you.
>>HEATHER DRYDEN: Thank you, European Commission.
I have Australia, Portugal, and Mike Silber.
>>AUSTRALIA: Thanks to everyone who has been engaged in this
debate. I think this has been really useful and a very frank
exchange of views. And I would like to echo both some -- the very
encouraging work that I've heard. There is a lot of good work,
But I would also like to echo the comments of the European
Commission. What we have at the moment is lots of good stuff
underway. Lots of balls in the air. Lots of studies with the
accountability and transparency team recommendations. There are a
good number of those that are being implemented. We've got the new
conflict of interest stuff underway.
But what we're looking towards is result. There's a good momentum.
And I would encourage that we maintain this momentum and move towards
demonstratable clear improvements in a timely manner. I think this
is very, very positive. And I just want to reinforce that we keep
this momentum moving towards the results that we all seem to be after.
>>HEATHER DRYDEN: Thank you for that, Australia.
>>PORTUGAL: Well, thank you. So it's going to be very short, so
I'm not going to resort to Portuguese in this case.
Well, the first thing I was not intending to speak on this matter.
But the way the conversation flowed, followed, it made me wish to
address two points.
One of them actually comes from the intervention of Bertrand De La
Chapelle. Let me tell you that I find a way the conflict of
interest, this position that ICANN is adopting, quite well
publicized. It's in the site, and it's readily available. It's
quite extensive. So I think, from this point of view, it is quite
I also think that the way Cherine Chalaby has intervened here is
extremely relevant for our purpose. So, at the end, what is
important here is, actually, the ethical levels that the organization
follows on everyday practice, continue to raise. And we revisit the
principles and the way they are looked at by all the community
involved and engaged in the system. So that practice improves.
And I would like to disassociate myself from the perception that
having a board that is remunerated would solve these issues. I don't
think it will. It is something that can be looked at. But it's a
completely different matter. Ethics is not solved by
And from -- so I think, again, that Chalaby intervention is at the
core of the concerns regarding these matters. Thank you.
>>HEATHER DRYDEN: Thank you very much, Portugal. Mike Silber.
>>MIKE SILBER: Thank you, chair. I'll try to keep this brief.
You only need to look at what's passed around the table. I'd refer
specifically to my written reasons for abstention in Singapore on the
new gTLD vote. And I think it's clear that this is an issue that
worries many of us on the board. We've done an analysis. I think
what we're hearing is we've identified gaps. We've identified that
the current policies are good, but they're missing certain areas.
And those areas, unfortunately, can be squeezed through by a rugby
team, not just by a thin piece of paper, which means that we're doing
work to close those gaps.
What I'm hearing you say is, "Give us something real as an outcome
In terms of giving you policies, as has been indicated, I don't
think anybody around this table would like such a rushed process that
nobody around this table gets an opportunity to engage in comment on
drafts as they come out.
But, instead, I think what you're looking for is an acknowledgment
that there are gaps and that those gaps need to be addressed and
identifying what those gaps are. In particular, the question of a
revolving door policy or, if you prefer to put it the other way, the
concern that people will create opportunities during your tenure on
the board which they can exploit at a later stage.
When somebody is working within the industry and they're on the
board, at least it's known. And the motivation can be understood
and, if necessary, the person excluded from a vote or the room.
But there's this possibility of a hidden motive to create an
opportunity to be exploited as soon as the person has left the board.
It's something we've identified. It might be worthwhile for us. And
I'll look to Bruce in terms of that, either before the end of this
meeting or shortly thereafter, to actually go to the community and
say these are the gaps we've identified and this is the process we've
identified to fill those gaps.
>>HEATHER DRYDEN: Thank you for that, Mike. So I'll turn to Steve
to close this agenda item.
May we? Well then, I will need to give the floor to Nigeria.
>>NIGERIA: Thank you. I just want to say that the last statement
is positive. And the truth is that, come January, a lot will be
happening in terms of the number of applications that will be coming
in, in terms of those that are applying, in terms of the tentacles
that will be part of the application. Those behind the applications
on the part of the people that are going to review in one way or the
other affect decision on who will take what name or what string. So
that is why the audience says to give us some concrete assurance that
we didn't -- before the period of starting the floodgate, then there
would have been something in place that will give our governments
assurance that the conflict of interest is being addressed. That is
very clear to us. Thank you.
>>HEATHER DRYDEN: Thank you for that, Nigeria. It's certainly
the case, I think, that the new gTLD program opening does provide a
certain pressure, a certain timeline for these rules to be clear.
And I think that that's what GAC members have been saying today.
Okay. So Rod. And then Steve will close this agenda item. Okay.
>>ROD BECKSTROM: Thank you. In response to Nigeria, E.U., U.K.,
Portugal, others, let me give you something you can take back that's
You may recall that I raised this issue in June at the opening
meeting of Singapore in my speech when I said that we're moving from
one chapter in new gTLDs to another.
And -- because in the first two chapters, the first one was policy
development process. And that involved the community with the board
and the staff all working together very closely. That concluded in
Paris in 2008.
The second phase was the development of the applicant guidebook,
which also had intense interaction between potential applicants, the
board, and members of the staff and executive team. And, as I said,
in approving the program, we're now moving to a different phase. And
we have to close one chapter and develop a new set of practices and a
higher level of handling conflicts of interest. Because the same
applicants who were at the table negotiating, discussing, sharing
their expertise, appropriately, with staff and the board could no
longer interact, with, for example, our new gTLD processing team.
Because that team needs to be extremely separate, independent. And
we need to make sure there's clean lines. So some concrete data
I did not have people from the new gTLD processing team participate
in the road show. Even though some community members and others
wanted them to participate in the road show, I said no, because
they're processing applications. The last thing I want is them
interacting with potential applicants. So that line was drawn.
Secondly, at the staff meeting here on Sunday, when we gathered our
entire staff, we had a communication from our legal team about how we
were going to interact with new gTLD applicants here in Senegal at
ICANN 42. And we implemented new practices that we have not used in
the past, such as don't accept any drinks or a meal or anything else
from a new gTLD applicant. You may have thought that was a natural
thing to do at other ICANN meetings in the past. It's not a natural
or an appropriate thing to do now. So do not do it. Do not accept
it. And I was criticized on Twitter for suggesting -- for drawing
such a line, okay?
But I feel there needs to be such a line. As many of you in
government know, you certainly have guidelines on what you can accept
and not accept. That's new.
Okay? And that started this Sunday in our communication.
The next thing is we told our staff members you need to report on
any discussions with potential applicants, if they brought up their
application or their idea and they want to discuss that with you.
You need to report that into the organization. In writing.
Thirdly, we told our staff please do not meet alone with any new
gTLD applicants that want to speak with you. If they're speaking
with you and they want to talk at all about the program in any
fashion or their application, don't be there alone because you need
to record that communication.
Now, this is a different level of implementation of our policies
than we've ever done before. And it's what we're delivering -- I'm
delivering to you as a CEO of this organization. And I have. And I
will continue to do so. So those are some very concrete steps that
we're already taking at the staff level and with the executive team.
And, as I mentioned in my remarks in June, I feel we have to up our
game and our practices with respect to our board activities as well.
And I'm very glad that we're looking at the positive steps to move in
But those are some concrete things that you can mention that we're
doing. And we're also open to any other suggestions and ideas that
you have on best practices that we should be implementing internally.
>>BRUCE TONKIN: Just let me elaborate on the specific new gTLD,
because I agree that is very important. And, if you look at the
different phases, one of the first phases is submission of
applications between January the 12th and April the 12th. That
information will not be available to the board. And, one of the
concerns we've had is the confidentiality of this during the
application processes is very important. And we've sought assurances
from the staff that that security information will be very tightly
held amongst a few, you know, small number of people within the ICANN
staff. That information won't be available to the board. And it
will be published publicly for all of us. So whether you're on the
board or not, you all see it at the same time. So that
confidentiality period is a very important period.
The next phase is a lot of the evaluation itself, after they're
published, is going through either external evaluators or through
staff. And, as Rod says, there will be strict separation between any
board members and any member involved in that process.
And then, finally, if -- eventually, which won't be actually until
late next year when applications have gone through the whole process
and finally come to the board for approval, certainly, any board
member that has any involvement with any application won't be in the
room when those are discussed and won't vote on those. So perhaps we
can maybe just set out some rules from a board perspective on new
gTLDs, specifically, that actually aligns with the new gTLD process.
But I wanted to sort of give comfort that we take that very
seriously. And we can certainly document our board processes to what
information the board has and with respect to the involvement of any
board director in either discussing an application, discussing an
application with staff, or, ultimately, voting on the application.
>>STEVE CROCKER: Thank you, Bruce. Thank you, Rod.
You asked for a response from the chair. And I think that's
perfectly appropriate. I'll just do a quick recap. As you've seen
and heard, we're taking this very seriously. That statement by itself
is not enough for you to take back. We understand that.
You made reference to, you know, why wasn't our reaction and our
response simple, clean, and quick. It's intended more toward how do
we understand how to apply this and build the processes and fit it to
the actual situation.
So you've heard from Rod about all of the rules that are being put
in place with respect to the prosecution of applications and the
behavior of the staff.
You've heard from Bruce Tonkin about both the combination of the
advice we're taking on and also the rules that we have in place for
the role of the board during these processes and so forth.
One of the things that's clear -- and I think it was clear to us
before, but certainly sharpened in these interactions -- is that we
can and we will document these. We have documented a lot of this.
But I think would be helpful to package all of this up in a form that
you can see a comprehensive collection and the assemblage of the
details and how they fit into the whole of an organized program that
has both the clear statement of principles and objectives with
respect to conflict of interest and ethics and also the
implementation and how seriously we've taken that and how we've
marbled that into the body and operation of ICANN.
You've also painted a potential solution for one of the knottier
problems you've referred to as a cooling off period and broader
funding. So I take it you've implicitly offered all departing ICANN
members employment within the European Commission so that we can
provide safe haven for them following any involvement with ICANN.
And I appreciate that very much.
>>HEATHER DRYDEN: Yes, please, respond, European Commission.
>>EUROPEAN COMMISSION: I think I -- to the last point, we're
actually implementing a 5% cut in staffing at the European Commission
over the next couple years. So I'm afraid the opportunities are not
as widespread and you might believe. But we have very tough open
competition, so you'd have to pass those first. I have great faith
in the abilities of board members, but I don't think it's a foregone
conclusion. And then, of course, you have to be a European Union
national and you have to speak at least three languages. So --
>>STEVE CROCKER: Our hiring policies have been very tough. We
probably can meet all of those. But you've got me concerned that
there may be an attempt to have it flow the other way. We're not
actually prepared to take all the people that you're going to be
>>HEATHER DRYDEN: Okay. I can't top that. So the last item on
our agenda, which we do need to cover today, it's a real issue for
GAC members. And I'm sure the board is aware we have had discussions
on this earlier this week concerning the RAA and law enforcement
recommendations that have been endorsed by the GAC.
So I will turn to the United States, who has been the lead on this
issue for the committee. But make no mistake, this is the view of
this committee in full. This is the consensus view of this
committee. So United States, please.
>>UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Thank you, madam chair. I'm happy to
review this issue. And I imagine there may be colleagues of mine
around the table who would like to chime in as well. We feel it's
absolutely critical that we bring this to your attention today to let
you know that we had an exchange earlier this week between the GAC
and the GNSO. And, during that meeting on Sunday, we felt compelled
to quite publicly express our very serious disappointment with the
status of the effort that has been underway on our side between GAC
and their respective law enforcement agency representatives since, in
fact, before the GAC endorsed those law enforcement representative
recommendations to the board, which I will remind you was June 2010.
We conveyed that full GAC endorsement to you, brought that to your
attention and asked you for your at assistance in implementing them.
GAC and law enforcement then engaged in a considerable amount of
outreach and exchanges, bilateral exchanges with registrars. And in
fact we felt in June, in Singapore, that we had had a very productive
exchange that seemed to be moving in the right direction of a
voluntary approach that could probably accommodate up to nine out of
the 12 law enforcement recommendations.
So you can imagine our disappointment that, not too long
afterwards, we understand the registrars had tabled the motion and we
learned on October 6 the GNSO Council approved it.
That addresses only three of the original law enforcement
recommendations and frankly addresses some of the ones that look
suspiciously similar to the proposal the GAC included in our
scorecard for new gTLDs that the board was able to simply accept.
So we realize where we have run into, from our perspective, and we
are bringing this to your attention now as partners. We see this
directly linked to the five ATRT recommendations that pertain to the
role of the GAC within ICANN. And as you know, some of those refer
to making sure the GAC is effectively able to interact in policy
So from our perspective, regrettably, this is an example of an
inability for the GAC to engage effectively. And we need your
support as a partner to advance the concerns that we have been
expressing now for well over a year, almost two years, and we are
looking for immediate visible and credible action to mitigate
criminal activity using the Domain Name System.
One thing I would like it draw to your attention is the fact that
in taking the step that registrars have proposed, we have been
informed that that's the only way to make policies binding, is
through a PDP. So we ask for your guidance, is that really the case?
Point number one.
The other argument that has been made that certainly in the June
Singapore meeting, those registrars in attendance confirmed to us
that they represent about 80% of the market and they also
represented, quote, "the good guys," so leaving us with the
understanding that about 20% of accredited registrars seem to fall in
the category of bad guys.
So we note that our law enforcement recommendations actually don't
address the bad guys, but we decided it's important for us to ask
you. How can you decredit that 20% immediately?
Can that be done?
We think that's probably not a bad thing to do.
At the end of the day, what we really need is to meet the very high
expectations in each of our capitals that this model is an effective
partner for governments in addressing criminal activity. So we look
to the model to self-regulate, to self-improve, to reach out.
So I probably need to stop there, but I would let you know that we
do happen to have four law enforcement representatives in the room.
Should any board member have any questions, we're fortunate to have
four law enforcement colleagues in the room.
>>HEATHER DRYDEN: Thank you, United States.
Steve, would you like to respond?
>>STEVE CROCKER: Thank you very much.
We agree with you, this is a very serious problem. As it happens,
in the sequence of meetings today, we met with the GNSO and segments
of the GNSO, including particularly the registrars, and they had --
they reported about their meeting with you, with the GAC. And they
were of a somewhat different frame and seemed quite willing and
eager, actually, to make the changes along the line.
So we asked what the problem had been over all these years and they
said, "Nobody had ever explained it to us like that before."
So I am joking a little bit, but the message is received loud and
clear. And if you look at the transcript of the interaction that we
had earlier today with them, I think you will find a remarkable
similarity in structure and tone and content to the interaction that
we have just had on the conflict of interest.
We were on the other side of that, but it was -- I was reflecting
on the nearly exact match of the messages that we delivered crisply
and clearly to them.
I'm given to understand that there is a breakthrough level
interactions that should lead to fairly rapid closure on some large
part. I don't have enough details to convey to you at the moment,
but there is no question that the urgency and importance has been
clearly conveyed, and that we take it clearly, too.
And I will tell you that I expressed impatience with the idea that
we were saying process discussions and extended process discussions.
One of the things that is our responsibility at the board level is
not only to oversee the process, not only to make sure rules are
followed and that everything is fair, but at the end of the day, that
If all we have is process, process, process, and it gets gamed or
it's ineffective just because it's not structured right, then we have
failed totally in our duty and our mission.
So whether it's this issue or whether it's other issues, and there
is a few others that are floating around, we will be attentive to the
effectiveness of the processes we have in place and not tolerate an
It's a balancing act, of course, because, you know, we're not going
to intercede at every given moment and micro manage. That would be
the failure of the other kind. But it's quite clear that the signals
are here, and plenty of evidence on the table that it's not working
in all these cases, and we have got to make it work.
Some of the specifics, Suzanne, that you have suggested of
immediately decrediting 20% of the registrars I think is -- needs to
be looked at a little more closely, and perhaps I can ask Kurt to
step in and talk a little bit about this.
We do know that of the nearly 1,000 -- you know, 900-plus
registrars that we have, the number that are customer-facing are a
relatively small number, and of those there are a relatively small
number that have a dominant part of the market.
It ought to be possible in a situation like that to have leadership
from within that community. And I'm hopeful that we can push that or
encourage that very quickly and forcefully.
Kurt, can I ask you to fill in any of the pieces that fit within
>>KURT PRITZ: Hi.
So I don't know exactly which path to go down here, but certainly
one of the topics that's been discussed across this meeting, not just
here, is the process for amending the Registrar Accreditation
Agreement, including the recommendations of the law enforcement
agencies and the GAC support of those enforcement recommendations.
You know, we heard the discussion in the registrar constituency
meeting. We heard the discussion elsewhere. And with an eye toward
accelerating that work, you might know that ICANN published a paper
about a week ago to the GNSO that recommended in part that ICANN and
registrars should start bilateral contract negotiations immediately
in order to move the discussion forward. And I think this is in line
with Steve's comment about moving the discussion from process into
substance and, you know, succeeding at getting things done rather
than talking about process.
The paper also -- The paper also states that, you know, the GNSO
can take up policy matters at any time to make policy binding on
So, Suzanne, I'm going to try to answer one of your questions, and
that is I think the vote of the GNSO Council on those three
recommendations is, in my opinion, probably the fastest way to make
those recommendations binding on all registrars. If we negotiate a
set of agreements with registrars outside of that process, they'd
have to be individually adopted by each registrar. And it's only
binding on those registrars when their agreement expires. And those
agreements are five years long.
So a majority of the agreements don't expire for three or four years.
So I think -- I think that policy process is probably the fastest
way to get that done. And in the straightforward -- pretty
straightforward recommendations, I think that can happen pretty
But more importantly, ICANN and the registrars have agreed that we
should start negotiations right away on a more complete set of
amendments that considers the LEA recommendations and the GNSO high-
priority recommendations. And so the registry constituency met this
morning and approved the initiation of those negotiations. So they
are going to appoint a team to negotiate with ICANN, and similarly
ICANN is going to have a team negotiating.
We also committed to reporting out with each meeting the results of
that meeting in a transparent way so that the community could monitor
developments of those negotiations.
And so, finally, the final discussion point was that we work to an
urgent timeline. And the registrars and ICANN agreed that we'd work
toward publishing a set of amendments by the Costa Rica meeting. I
personally think that's very ambitious, but the registrars endorsed
that and that's what we're working to.
>>HEATHER DRYDEN: Thank you, Kurt.
I have United States.
>>UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Thank you, Madam Chair, and thank
you, Kurt, and thank you, Steve, for your comments.
I am struck by something that I just feel absolutely compelled to
flag for you all. So again, I think we have been -- it's probably
impolitic for me to use the word lectured, if you will, but we have
been lectured at great length as to the only way to make things stick
is down this way. So again, that's a process.
Now, it may be a fact, but it's a process.
What we had sought to do -- in fact, let me go back to the
beginning. What we had started was with amendments to the RAA, 2009.
We found out then, and when the GAC reinforced those proposals, we
were told, oh, you really don't want to go that route because it's
going to take forever.
We have just signed a new RAA so you are not even talking about new
amendments that would be into effect until another -- I don't know
how many, I forgot, X numbers of years. We said fine, we're
flexible. We will shift gears. We will go to plan B. Let's talk
about a voluntary agreement.
As most of you know, and certainly most of our governments know, a
whole a lot of private sector self-regulatory models use voluntary
agreements. And it is an exceptionally effective way for governments
and the industries to keep up with new developments, new
requirements, and move quickly without regulation.
So I can tell you that we have deliberately advanced that as an
alternative to test out this proposition that you can at least do
nine of 12. We will work on those other tougher three. And if they
are not as painful as you might have thought, then they should go
straight into the next RAA as a commitment.
Now we are told nothing can happen even on a voluntary basis.
Frankly, we find that absolutely stunning that a registrar cannot
agree to put their name on their Web site without a PDP.
So to us, this is a flaw here that we need your help, the board, in
overcoming. Because we feel like we have hit a wall. And let's not
forget, we are not members of the GNSO, so we don't get to
participate in whatever this elaborate voting whatever -- I don't
even have the words to describe it because I don't know how to
So I wanted to express this is in large part where our frustration
is coming from.
>>HEATHER DRYDEN: Thank you, United States.
I have Kenya, and then -- would you like to respond to the U.S.
before we go to Kenya?
>>KENYA: Thank you, Chair. The U.S. has already articulated most
of the points and issues that I was going to speak about, but also to
remind us that when we had the meeting with the GNSO, they actually
distinctly told us that the PDP processes take between one year to
two years. And for that, it's a bit unacceptable for most of us to
accept that a simple request for self-regulation or a voluntary
action, I mean, could take that long.
So I think I am joining my colleagues here in expressing
disappointment in the way this has been handled.
>>HEATHER DRYDEN: Thank you, Kenya. Bruce and then Australia.
>>BRUCE TONKIN: First on the length of the PDP. The PDP process
I think can get done in about 90 days. I have to check that, but it
can be quite a bit faster. And it really depends on the community;
right? Because the PDP is dependent on the community commenting, so
if something is straightforward -- and there was an example of a PDP
that was fairly fast, I think, which was respect to some
restrictions, and there was a period of time, you probably heard the
terminology that it was domain tasting where registrars or some
individuals of the community were registering many names, like a
million names in a day and then they would cancel 999,000 of them the
following day. There was a policy put in place there, and I don't
believe that took two years.
Secondly, to respond to the U.S. on the voluntary nature, I don't
think it's true to say that registrars can't voluntarily sign up to
something. In fact, they did that in 2009.
One of the comments at that time was registrars were frustrated,
coming back to your comment about bad actors, they were frustrated
that there were bad actors in the industry and the staff had
responded saying they found it difficult under the current agreement
to enforce some of those provisions, and the registrars actually
negotiated changes to that agreement and actually then voluntarily
signed that agreement prior to the end of their current agreement.
So in effect, they did voluntarily sign up to those commitments.
Several of them didn't have to do that for years, but they did it on
the spot. Ask I think in 2009, most registrars did, in fact, sign up.
So I think two points, really. PDP can be done considerably
faster, and the timelines that were in the original PDP was months,
not years. And second point is registrars can voluntarily sign up to
changes in the Registrar Accreditation Agreement and have, in fact,
done so back in 2009.
So those are all options.
>>HEATHER DRYDEN: Thank you, Bruce.
>>AUSTRALIA: Thanks for this very useful exchange.
I want to say first that it's very encouraging to hear that the
message has finally been heard loud and clear. And in the initial
exchanges, I must say I was very encouraged to hear. We thought
there was a focus on very quick action rather than process, but I
must confess that since I put my hand up I have become very
disappointed again in that all that I have heard is process, process,
And I am back to where I was the other day talking to the
registrars that I don't see a clear and credible path to action, to
be perfectly honest.
All the processes that I've just heard require agreement and
negotiation with registrars. I may be wrong here, but the registrars
have known about this for some time, and we've seen no action. And,
in a self-regulatory model, if the people we're trying to regulate
can continually stifle or veto any progress, then I think we have a
structural problem with the model. I'm happy to be corrected here,
but this is what I'm seeing.
And, to reiterate the points of previous speakers, we're not
talking about rocket science here. We're talking about publishing an
address to be served legal notice or putting an e-mail address on a
And, as I said to the registrars, I continue to be astounded that
they've known about this for two years and nothing has happened. I
think law enforcement have been very clear about this for a long
time. The GAC has been very clear about this for a long time. We
have a consensus endorsement. And we asked for urgent help with this
in Singapore to the board in our communique.
And here we again, as far as I can tell, talking about process.
And every step that I've heard, it appears to me, that, if the
registrars choose not to cooperate, we may not be going anywhere
fast. I'm extremely disappointed.
>>HEATHER DRYDEN: Thank you, Australia. So are there any other
requests to speak? Singapore, please.
>>SINGAPORE: Thank you, chair. We'd like to join our colleagues
from Kenya, U.S., and Australia in expressing concern about the
inaction by the registrar constituency. I think we've spoken at a
meeting with the GNSO that the three issues in the issues report are
rather straightforward. Listing of the office bearer of the
registrar and giving the abuse contact, such a simple matter, yet
it's subject of issues report. And we were told it would take one to
two years for the PDP, for the policy development to be completed.
And yet there is another process of policy implementation, which
means it could be -- even go beyond two years.
So, having said that, we're encouraged by Steve's comments. I
think Steve gives us a little encouragement that you will ensure that
the registrar constituency will take appropriate actions to respond
to the LEA recommendations. And we hope that the board can follow up
with the GSA advice and see how best the LEA recommendations can be
followed up swiftly. Thank you.
>>HEATHER DRYDEN: Thank you very much, Singapore. U.K.
>>UNITED KINGDOM: Thanks very much, chair.
Just to add, underline a message, actually, that I delivered at a
lunch meeting in Brussels last year to the registrar community that
this is politically significant. They shouldn't mess around here.
Cybercrime is on the agenda. And we'll see it discussed in the
London cyber conference on the 1st and 2nd of November. And this is
a crucial element in the -- in the range of actions that can be taken
And we just don't understand why it's -- you know, drifting in this
way. It's been a real rollercoaster ride for us in the GAC.
Sometimes we've gone back from meetings pretty buoy'd up, positive.
And, subsequently later, find nothing's really happening. And I see
it's -- you're covering abuse and so on in your strategic plan, the
ICANN strategic plan, drafting for 2012-2015. So that commitment is
very well respected, regarded by us. Let's get some action to
underpin the strategic plan so that we can, again, go back to our
ministers with a very positive development to report. Thank you.
>>HEATHER DRYDEN: Thank you, U.K.
I have Canada and Mike Silber.
>>CANADA: Thank you, madam chair. First of all, I'd like to
(audio cut out) -- board and ICANN chair to help us with this
intervention. That's first and foremost. Also, I'm going to
reiterate the consensus position that was articulated by my colleague
from the U.S. But, clearly, there is an expectation for action to be
done in good faith. So thank you.
>>HEATHER DRYDEN: Thank you, Canada. Mike, please.
>>MIKE SILBER: Thank you, chair.
I think we've got to look at a couple realities here. And I think,
given the seriousness of the issue and given the passion with which
it was initially expressed, we may have overlooked a few issues.
Firstly, approximately 80% of registrars are currently following the
recommendations set out in the guidelines.
Now, those may be the good guys. But they are largely currently
What we're talking about here is the solution for the remaining
approximately 20%. So, as much as I take the seriousness with which
this is being considered and as a consumer as well as a member of
this board, I understand exactly where law enforcement and the GAC
are coming from. And it's an urgent issue, which can't be left on
the back burner. At the same time, we are seeing a substantial
number of the registrar community voluntarily adhering. What I'm
hearing is a request for our intervention to deal with the remaining
20% And to also take that level of current voluntary compliance to a
more formal compliance process where it's not ad hoc. Because I
think it's a good idea now, but they could resolve from it at a later
That being said, I think we need to think very carefully. We need
to interact with staff. And we need to come back to the GAC with an
answer as to whether we believe we have a plan, whether we believe we
can engage with the registrar community to develop such a plan or
whether the process that's -- the discussion you're hearing again is
the only process or the only discussion to have. And you may have to
take your cue from that. But I'm hoping that it's not the case.
>>HEATHER DRYDEN: Thank you, Mike. So with that, are there any
other further remarks? U.K.
>>UNITED KINGDOM: Thanks. I think partly in response to that,
I'd like to invite my colleague from the Serious Organised Crime
Agency in U.K. to respond on a couple of those points that Mike made
and perhaps give a general -- a very quick sort of reaction to this
discussion from the law enforcement perspective. Gary Kippy.
(phonetic) I'll hand over now. Thanks.
>> Thank you, Mark. My name is Gary Kippy. I work for the Serious
Organised Crime Agency in the U.K. Over the last two or three years
now we've been engaged in trying to raise awareness around abuse by
criminals of the DNS. We followed the process with the community and
working with the community. However, I felt I needed to challenge
Mike's account at the very end there. In terms of negotiation with
the registrar community, the registrar community represents probably
80% of the market share amongst their members. It's not --
obviously, we aren't talking about them to the good guys. That being
said, in terms of following the recommendations, we are still trying
to get them to follow even the most basic of recommendations in terms
of reporting an abuse point. I must follow that with many of them
are; however, there are a number that aren't.
So, in terms of difficulty, this has been a very long process for
law enforcement to actually bring to our governments. And, as has
been said, that there is unanimity across all governments now that we
really must address the growing issue of cybercrime across the
Internet, which is ever increasing. And with all the issues that are
being discussed within the ICANN board with new gTLDs and IDNs, it's
going to become even more complicated for law enforcement.
So it really is just to clarify the point made by Mike at the end
there, actually, that account wasn't as accurate as it could have
been. But thank you for the opportunity for law enforcement to speak
at this group.
>>HEATHER DRYDEN: Thank you for that.
I'm going to give the final word to Chris Disspain, and then we
will close today's meetings.
>>CHRIS DISSPAIN: I'm not sure I'm prepared to take the strain of
the final word, but I will do my best.
>>HEATHER DRYDEN: No pressure.
>>CHRIS DISSPAIN: I just want to say, if I have understood,
really, I think, so there have been -- there are some guidelines, and
a number of registrars are already following those guidelines. But a
number of the registrars are not following those guidelines, and what
you are trying to achieve is a -- that those guidelines are mandated
effectively either by signing an agreement that is a voluntary
agreement that says we will follow them or by them being in policy.
So I just want to make sure I have understood that. That's my take-
away from this, that that is basically correct. We can argue about
whether it's 80% or 20% or it doesn't matter.
Good. Thank you.
>>HEATHER DRYDEN: Thank you, Chris.
So on behalf of the GAC, thank you to the board. Thank you to the
community for coming to this meeting.
We appreciate having this beneficial exchange. We covered a lot of
So, again, thank you.
Steve, would you like to....
>>STEVE CROCKER: When I opened I said I didn't know whether to
feel comfortable or scared. Now I know.
[ Laughter ]
>>STEVE CROCKER: Thank you very much. It's been an invigorating
and will be quite a memorable maiden voyage for me here. And I look
forward, actually, to successive interactions.
This will be a lot more interesting than I thought it might be.
[ Laughter ]
>>HEATHER DRYDEN: Thank you, I think.
[ Applause ]
>>HEATHER DRYDEN: For the GAC, 9:00 a.m. tomorrow, please.