Before I share my thoughts on the latest Board Workshop and some aspects of ICANN60, I want to take a moment to reflect. I am deeply honored to have been selected as the new Chair of the ICANN Board and do not take lightly the responsibilities concomitant with my new role. I look forward to the future with great hope and enthusiasm, and to working with all of you in partnership and in service of ICANN’s mission.
I want to thank Steve Crocker one more time for his leadership and friendship. Steve and I sat down together for a quick interview after ICANN60, which you can see here. I also want to thank our departing Board members, Rinalia Abdul Rahim, Asha Hemrajani, Markus Kummer, and Thomas Schneider for all their contributions and dedication to the ICANN mission. We will miss them all.
In Abu Dhabi, we welcomed the new directors of the Board: Sarah Deutsch, Avri Doria, León Sanchez, and Matthew Shears, as well as Manal Ismail the new Governmental Advisory Committee liaison to the Board. All five were seated at our public Board Meeting. If you haven’t already, please take a look at the blog I posted leading up to the meeting about the Board’s FY18 activities and priorities.
Ahead of ICANN60, which seems like a long time ago already, the Board held a workshop that you may have read about in Steve’s blog here. We covered a wide range of topics, mostly preparing for the Annual General Meeting. In particular, our extensive preparation for Constituency Day was very helpful, and we were able to hold productive discussions with the Supporting Organizations (SOs) and Advisory Committees (ACs) throughout the meeting. We also talked about long term financial planning and discussed a strategy for participating in Internet Governance fora. We passed four important resolutions regarding .Amazon, Thick WHOIS, IDN implementation and name collisions including Corp/Home/Mail.
The last session of our workshop was quite interesting. During that session, our departing Board members shared their thoughts and advice for the future. Rinalia spoke about needing to find a sustainable way forward with Reviews, Asha encouraged continued dedication to our fiscal obligations, Markus suggested continuing our effective participation in the wider Internet governance community, and Thomas welcomed the improvements made in Board and Government Advisory Committee interactions and trusted this would continue going forward.
As you can imagine, much of the discussion at ICANN60 focused on data protection and privacy rules, mainly the European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). I’d like to commend the community for the productive discussions that took place in Abu Dhabi, and encourage continued exchanges as we address near term GDPR compliance issues, recognizing that this does not replace the community’s policy development work.
You may know that during ICANN60 the Board sent a letter to the second Security, Stability, and Resiliency of the Domain Name System (SSR2) Review Team. In this communication, the Board temporarily paused the Review for a few reasons, including our publicly stated concerns, the advice we received from the Security and Stability Advisory Committee and our fiduciary responsibilities, in order to ensure the appropriate use of ICANN resources that we are entrusted with by the community. We also sent a separate communication to the SOs and ACs explaining the background for pausing the Review and requesting the SOs and ACs to consider the concerns and to determine whether or not adjustments are needed. The Board wants to reassure the community that it is fully committed to this Review. The Board received favorably the statement from the community collectively accepting the responsibility for getting the SSR2 Review restarted as expeditiously as possible.
As we implement the new Bylaws, we are likely to discover that some processes are missing. When these instances occur, I encourage the Board and the community to engage openly and objectively. We have also learned from the SSR2 experience that better communication leads to better cooperation.
With regard to Board member integrity screening, the Board took steps to address this issue. The Board has been actively reviewing this issue, which was raised in the first Public Forum, and the Board Governance Committee carefully considered this matter in detail at its meetings on 11 October 2017 and 27 October 2017. I published a blog on this topic on Wednesday 1st November. I have no doubt that we agree that all Board members should be held to the highest standards of honesty, integrity and credibility.
Finally, the Board held a full Board Meeting as we usually do. For more details on the workshop, including minutes from the public Board Meeting, please see the Board Page.
The Board will hold its next workshop in February 2018, but I expect you will be hearing from me sooner. To everyone who was in Abu Dhabi, I hope you had a safe trip home. I look forward to seeing you again in March 2018 at ICANN61 in Puerto Rico.