Costa Rica ICANN 43

24 March 2012
By Office of the Ombudsman

I had intended to keep a regular entry to my blog, but unfortunately there has been a software bug and so, on Sunday following the meeting I will highlight the main events.

Sunday was for meeting the new participants at ICANN at the Newcomers session, where I presented the Ombudsman 101 presentation. It is important for all ICANN supporting people to be aware of my role, from an early stage in their participation. I have Filiz Yilmaz to thank for this introduction, as she works tirelessly with the newcomers, to make them welcome and help them grow to understand the strange entity which is ICANN.

I set up my office and was able to start seeing visitors and customers from Monday morning on. One of the first was a visitor to complain about the postcard on the Prague stand for ICANN 44. This displayed “Girls” as an option for things to do in Prague. I went down to have a chat with the organisers and they very quickly removed the cards. Although I did not discuss this with anyone, the news spread very fast indeed, and became the subject of several different blogs such as Cooled Timber at  http://crookedtimber.org/2012/03/14/sisters-under-the-skin/ and mentioned in Kevin Murphy's page at http://domainincite.com/hot-girls-land-cz-nic-in-hot-water/

So the problem was fixed quickly although the debate went on for some time after. Perhaps not something I would encounter, but I have learned that we cannot take things like this lightly and that the depth of feelings run deep on this type of unfairness.

So the rest of Costa Rica 43 then took some interesting twists. There was a considerable discussion about the conflict of interest issues and the new procedure and panels set up to establish new guidelines. I also put out a challenge to participants, that if they felt so deeply then they should be making a complaint to my office. I will also ensure that I have input into such policies, to ensure the ideals of fairness in my Framework, are met.

I also spoke at the GAC and made it known that there are many complaints made to my office that i cannot help. I raised the issue of whether there is some unfairness resulting, in that ICANN does not have the power to help the very many instances of unfair play in the domain industry. Perhaps there will more on this issue!

There was then a need for a mediation between some groups which needed my help. I think progress was made on the issue after a useful meeting on Friday. Again, this is a work in progress.

Overall, this appeared to be a positive meeting, and the beautiful surroundings certainly helped. A tribute again to the tireless ICANN staff who organised this meeting, again with high efficiency, grace and patience. Well done!


Office of the Ombudsman