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Board Action on Competition, Consumer Trust and Consumer Choice Review

The first Competition, Consumer Trust, and Consumer Choice (CCT) Review, initiated under the Affirmation of Commitments in December 2015, is an important aspect of ICANN’s commitment to continuous review and assessment of key areas. Reviews also contribute to ensuring that ICANN serves the public interest.

Pioneering an ongoing effort to track and examine data about the domain name industry and system, and its analysis of how new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) are affecting the market place, the CCT Review Team's Final Report, submitted in September 2018, is the culmination of nearly three years of work.

Resolution

The Board thanks the CCT Review Team for its dedication and extensive work in preparing these thoughtful recommendations and appreciates its focus on achieving a data-driven outcome.

On 1 March 2019, the Board passed a resolution, which has been published on ICANN.org on 5 March 2019. The Board has taken action on each of the recommendations issued within the Competition, Consumer Trust, and Consumer Choice Review Final Report.

Data Collection Framework

In the Board's review of the Final Report, it noted several important themes, such as the need for different and additional data. The Board appreciates and understands the concerns raised by the CCT Review Team about the need for data to inform future CCT Review Teams' work. It is important that ICANN org continues to be appropriately involved with data collection to inform the community and its work. Therefore, the Board has directed ICANN org to prepare a comprehensive framework around data collection. 

Board Actions

The Board carefully considered how to best address each of the recommendations, and decided on three categories of action for the recommendations in this report: accepted, pending, and passing along to different parts of the community.

  • For the six accepted recommendations, the Board directs ICANN org to develop a costing and implementation plan and share it with the community for consultation within six months from Board action. The revised plan will come back to the Board for further consideration no later than nine months after this Board action.
  • For the 17 recommendations categorized as pending, the Board has included specific actions and expectations for ICANN org, in order to resolve the pending status. The Board commits to resolve the pending status and take appropriate action on these recommendations (or parts of recommendations) once that additional information is available and ICANN org has addressed the Board’s questions.
  • For the 14 recommendations that the Board is passing through to the noted parts of the ICANN community, the Board directs ICANN org to notify the relevant community groups of the passed-through items.

The Board placed some recommendations in more than one category. For each action taken, please see the resolution and scorecard, which detail the Board's rationale, what the Board is directing, and what was adopted to ensure action on each recommendation. The Board took this approach, in part, because it noted that some of the recommendations directed to the Board fall outside of the Board's powers, where the Board cannot direct the outcome, and  several of the recommendations could require significant ICANN org and community resources to implement.

Phased Implementation

The Board needs to consider the CCT Review Team recommendations alongside the ones coming from community work currently underway, such as the recommendations of the Cross-Community Working Group on Enhancing ICANN Accountability Work Stream 2, the RDS-WHOIS2 Review Team, the second Security, Stability and Resiliency Review Team, and the third Accountability and Transparency Review Team, to ensure coordination of resources and priorities.

Additionally, the Board needs to understand how the work required to implement the recommendations arising out of all of these efforts can be performed, as well as the work of implementing expected policy recommendations, while still confirming that ICANN org has the resources to perform the other work identified in its new Strategic Plan and new Operating and Financial Plan.

Taking those factors into consideration and recognizing that the Board has the obligation and responsibility to balance the work of ICANN in order to preserve the ability for ICANN org to serve its Mission and the public interest, the Board decided on this phased implementation.

Many thanks to the CCT Review Team for its diligence and dedicated work in preparing these recommendations, and we look forward to resolving them as detailed in the resolution.

Comments

    Domain Name System
    Internationalized Domain Name ,IDN,"IDNs are domain names that include characters used in the local representation of languages that are not written with the twenty-six letters of the basic Latin alphabet ""a-z"". An IDN can contain Latin letters with diacritical marks, as required by many European languages, or may consist of characters from non-Latin scripts such as Arabic or Chinese. Many languages also use other types of digits than the European ""0-9"". The basic Latin alphabet together with the European-Arabic digits are, for the purpose of domain names, termed ""ASCII characters"" (ASCII = American Standard Code for Information Interchange). These are also included in the broader range of ""Unicode characters"" that provides the basis for IDNs. The ""hostname rule"" requires that all domain names of the type under consideration here are stored in the DNS using only the ASCII characters listed above, with the one further addition of the hyphen ""-"". The Unicode form of an IDN therefore requires special encoding before it is entered into the DNS. The following terminology is used when distinguishing between these forms: A domain name consists of a series of ""labels"" (separated by ""dots""). The ASCII form of an IDN label is termed an ""A-label"". All operations defined in the DNS protocol use A-labels exclusively. The Unicode form, which a user expects to be displayed, is termed a ""U-label"". The difference may be illustrated with the Hindi word for ""test"" — परीका — appearing here as a U-label would (in the Devanagari script). A special form of ""ASCII compatible encoding"" (abbreviated ACE) is applied to this to produce the corresponding A-label: xn--11b5bs1di. A domain name that only includes ASCII letters, digits, and hyphens is termed an ""LDH label"". Although the definitions of A-labels and LDH-labels overlap, a name consisting exclusively of LDH labels, such as""icann.org"" is not an IDN."