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Minutes of the Special Meeting of the ICANN Board of Directors

Posted: 3 April 2008

Revised: 7 April 2008

A Special Meeting of the ICANN Board of Directors was held via teleconference 27 March 2008. Chairman Peter Dengate Thrush called the meeting to order at 19.00 UTC / 12.00 Noon Pacific Daylight Time (PDT).

In addition to Chairman Peter Dengate Thrush the following Directors participated in all or part of the meeting: Harald Alvestrand, Susan Crawford, Vice Chairman Roberto Gaetano, Demi Getschko, Steven Goldstein, Dennis Jennings, Njeri Rionge, Rita Rodin, Jean-Jacques Subrenat, Bruce Tonkin, President and CEO Paul Twomey. The following Board Liaisons participated in all or part of the meeting: Steve Crocker, SSAC Liaison; Janis Karklins, GAC Liaison; Thomas Narten, IETF Liaison; Reinhard Scholl, TLG Liaison; Wendy Seltzer, ALAC Liaison; and Suzanne Woolf, RSSAC Liaison. The following Board Members were not present on the call: Raimundo Beca, Rajasekhar Ramaraj, and David Wodelet.

Also, the following ICANN Staff participated in all or part of the meeting: John Jeffrey, General Counsel and Secretary; Doug Brent, Chief Operating Officer; Kurt Pritz, Senior Vice President, Business Operations; Denise Michel, Vice President, Policy; Donna Austin, Manager, Governmental Relation; Paul Levins, Executive Officer and Vice President - Corporate Affairs; Barbara Roseman, General Operations Manager of IANA; Liz Gasster, Senior Policy Counselor, ICANN Policy Support; Diane Schroeder, General Manager, Conferences; and, Patrick Jones, Registry Liaison Manager.

1. Approval of Regular Board Meeting Minutes from New Delhi Meeting

The Chair noted that the minutes from the New Delhi meeting appeared in a new in format and he asked John Jeffrey to explain the difference.

John Jeffrey explained that in the past the public meeting notes have been the scribe's notes and the resolutions, provided separately and posted. These two documents have been combined and better reflect the discussion and the resolutions read in by Board members.

The Chair noted that the Board now has very copious minutes, with the resolutions plus the discussion. .

The Chair moved and Steve Goldstein seconded the motion to accept the minutes of the New Delhi meeting.

Resolved (2008.03.27.01), the minutes of the Board Meeting of 15 February 2008 are approved.

A voice vote was taken of all Board Members present and Board Members present approved the motion by a vote of 12 to 0.

2. Discussion of Mid-term Review of the Joint Project Agreement between NTIA and ICANN

Paul Twomey provided an update on the NOI hearing and other meetings in Washington, DC surrounding the hearings relating to the Mid-Term review of the Joint Project Agreement between NTIA and ICANN. Paul reported that there was wide acceptance to process outlined in the Chair's speech at the hearing, that the President's Strategy Committee (PSC) will work with the community on the issue of what transition will look like. The PSC will be meeting prior to the Board's meeting in Riga to consider next steps and process and to assist that discussion staff are doing a summation of submissions to the midterm review and will have those ready for the PSC to consider in Riga. The PSC will put out a set of questions for the community's consideration based on issues raised in the 171 submissions, which fall under five general headings:

  1. Freedom from capture or dominance of ICANN by governments, intergovernmental organizations, or any other group of stakeholders, including private or corporate interests (including those with whom ICANN has contracts)
  2. ensuring effective and efficient operations of the IANA functions by ICANN
  3. accountability of the ICANN model as a whole to its community, including affected parties
  4. continued security and stability of the Internet's unique identifiers
  5. addressing the list of concerns raised in submissions to be dealt with in operational planning process.

The PSC will outline a consultation process going forward and will need to make sure there is real discussion in the community and the opportunity for public comment. The current PSC will meet in Riga the day before the Board retreat and an announcement will be made around the same time about some of the choices.

Harald Alvestrand asked if the full Board would have time to discuss the transition and what comes after in Riga as he considered this to be the most important long-term issue currently on the Board's plate

The Chair advised that is was not currently on the agenda, but attempts would be made to include it as it would be an excellent opportunity.

Paul Twomey advised that he did not have more to add at this time, as the formal response back from DOC is not yet available. Wendy Seltzer advised in regard to the expansion of the PSC, the ALAC is very interested in being able to participate in that and having the operation being more transparent on what will be major steps for the organization.

3. Discussion of NeuStar and Afilias AGP Modification Proposals

Kurt Pritz advised that Afilias and NeuStar had submitted separate but similar requests through the Registry Services Evaluation Process to modify the Add Grace Period (AGP) provisions in their Registry Agreements to address to curb domain testing in their .INFO and .BIZ registries, respectively. Both proposals resulted from collaborative dialogue among representatives from the registries, registrars and other constituency groups. There is currently no limit to the number of deletions a registrar can process during the five day AGP. The proposals are seeking to limit the number of AGP deletions that a registrar can execute and receive a full fee credit.

Essentially, registrars that delete over 10% of registered names, will be charged full registry price for the deletes over 10%. The 10% number comes from collaboration among these two registries, registrars and other constituency groups. Some deletes will be allowed to enable registrar testing and to allow for refunds for typos. The proposals were published for a comment period, which closed on 26 March. While we would not normally ask the Board to move a resolution one day after the conclusion of comment period, a draft resolution is provided for possible consideration. Four comments, all of which were positive, were received during the comment period from, Yahoo, INTA, Steve Metalitz from the Intellectual Property Constituency, and Phillip Corwin. Given the four comments were positive about the proposals; .BIZ and .INFO's sense of urgency to fix the problem; and that the Board has had previous in depth conversations regarding domain tasting, the Board may wish to consider the proposal now.

Steve Goldstein asked what the figure of 10% is based on. Kurt Pritz advised that 10% of the total ads, for example if you have 100,000 names in a month, 10,000 deletes would be for free, but for 10,000+1 there would be a charge for the one. At the end of the month, the registry would debit the registrar account for delete overages.

Jean-Jacques Subrenat referred to a paper received from Denise Michel about tasting and suggested that the Board should ask staff to look into it further, asking how long do you think looking into this further will take?

Kurt Pritz advised that on the separate issue of tasting, staff has written in the preliminary budget that tasting be addressed through charging a fee for names deleted during the grace period. The net effect will be revenue neutral but with the intention to put an end to tasting.

The Chair noted that in the context of proceeding with a policy development process (PDP) on AGP if there is to be a long-term change, this would take the order of a year or more. That's a reference for what could be happening to other initiatives.

Susan Crawford asked if an emergency policy could be adopted and then go through policy development process to confirm that.

Liz Gasster advised that there is a pending PDP that the GNSO Council is considering on domain tasting, with a specific resolution that largely mirrors the funnel request of NeuStar and Afilias for themselves. The public comment and constituency statement period ends on Friday 28 March and the Council will consider the matter on 17 April. In addition, there is a separate budget process where a 20-cent fee is incurred. There are a number of other policy activities being undertaken, such as the Issues Report prepared on fast flux hosting which is also a concern and associated with this kind of behavior and Council will explore options on this as well.

The Chair asked if adopting the proposed resolution would run counter to or cut across any other initiatives. Kurt Pritz advised that it would not.

Dennis Jennings noted that the proposal from Afilias and Neustar is quite separate and would not have an affect on any PDP process, where there is one already started.

Kurt Pritz indicated that presently ICANN charges a 20-cent fee on every registration that lasts longer than five days (i.e., not a tasted name). Tasted names comprise more than 95% of all registrations, only 1 name in 20 "sticks". Registrars that exclusively taste and do not register "regular" names delete 99.5% of names during the AGP (1 in 200 (0.5%) "stick"). If a 20-cent fee is attached to each of the deleted names for these registrars the apparent price of each name that sticks increase from $6.42 to $6.42 + 0.20 * 199 or $46.22. With the new fee, a name will have to be worth $1284 in the point and click market (as opposed to $6.43) to be kept. In practice, this will serve to further reduce the percentage of names kept and therefore, will increase the apparent price even more. Dennis Jennings considered that it might be an appropriate time to consider Wendy's emergency policy.

The Chair asked if there were any other questions about what is intended, on the allowance for 50 or 10% deletes as described in the proposal, or the original uses of AGP?

Steve Goldstein asked whether the proposal being discussed would conflict with prior resolution to charge a fee for tasted names. Bruce Tonkin advised that there are two different charging systems: registries talking about their charges for domain names, do not charge for the first five days but if the registration continues to exist they charge a fee. ICANN chooses to charge registrars as ICANN's source of revenue on a domain name fee and does not charge for the first five days. The Board call is talking about ICANN changing the charging regime where the charge is incurred from day one.

Dennis Jennings asked whether there a conflict might arise with Afilias and NeuStar wanting to be credited back from certain fees, and asked for clarity about the revenue flow.

Bruce Tonkin advised that ICANN is charging registrars and invoicing them separately from registries. Registries are charging registrars a fee.

The Chair asked if approval of this proposal would conflict with the previous decision of the Board and Bruce Tonkin considered that it would not. The Chair advised that there would be discussion of revenue model in Riga agenda. The Chair asked if members wanted to move on the resolution or postpone given the closeness to the end of the comment period.

Bruce Tonkin sought clarification on what decision the Board is making. The request is coming through the funnel process, where the decision is fundamentally about whether there is a stability and security issue, and then whether there is a conflict with ICANN policy.

Kurt Pritz advised that the funnel process completed. Now a material change to an agreement is required, this needs to be approved by the Board.

The Chair considered there is appears to be no reason for delaying a decision, there is considerable support from all players, we have previously been urged to do something in this area, and as such the Board can safely move forward to vote on resolution proposed.

Dennis Jennings moved and Steve Goldstein seconded the following resolution, which was read by the Chair:

Whereas, NeuStar and Afilias have submitted proposed amendments to Appendix 7 of the .BIZ and .INFO gTLD Registry Agreements in order to address excessive deletions in the .BIZ and .INFO gTLDs.

Whereas, ICANN has evaluated the proposed amendments as a new registry service via the Registry Services Evaluation Policy and as a contract amendment requiring public comment and Board approval.

Whereas, the evaluation under the threshold test of the Registry Services Evaluation Policy found no likelihood of security and stability or competition issues associated with the proposals.

It is hereby resolved ( 2008.03.27.02), ) that the .BIZ and .INFO amendments are approved, and the President and General Counsel are authorized to take such actions as appropriate to implement the amendments.

Dennis Jennings asked if there should be a whereas referring to the public comment period. This was considered as being read.

A voice vote was taken of all Board Members present and all 12 Board Members present approved the motion by a vote of 12 to 0.

Whereas, NeuStar and Afilias have submitted proposed amendments to Appendix 7 of the .BIZ and .INFO gTLD Registry Agreements in order to address excessive deletions in the .BIZ and .INFO gTLDs.

Whereas, ICANN has evaluated the proposed amendments as a new registry service via the Registry Services Evaluation Policy and as a contract amendment requiring public comment and Board approval.

Whereas, the evaluation under the threshold test of the Registry Services Evaluation Policy found no likelihood of security and stability or competition issues associated with the proposals.

It is hereby resolved (2008.03.27.02), that the .BIZ and .INFO amendments are approved, and the President and General Counsel are authorized to take such actions as appropriate to implement the amendments

Dennis Jennings asked if there should be a whereas referring to the public comment period. This was considered as being read.

A voice vote was taken of all Board Members present by a vote of 12 to 0.

4. Update Discussion on New gTLDs

Kurt Pritz spoke to a brief power point presentation, which had been prepared for the Board on this agenda item.

Slide two describes the progress against certain deliverables in the project plan. Deloitte and Touche has provided preliminary elements of the RFP describing operational readiness and DNS security criteria, which had been well received and feedback has been given. A complete version of the RFP is anticipated the first week in May.

SWORD is a company working with us to develop an algorithmic chart on confusion among strings. SWORD specializes in IT products and software, and their tools are developed with and for the IP community. An algorithmic approach is presently envisaged be a precursor to manual evaluation and would inform a decision as to whether any confusion would exist.

Legal staff have been working on versions of base contracts, which have been iterated among the project team. An approach to the DNS stability recommendation is complete.

With regard to the communications plan, staff has developed a matrix of 600 contacts, including governments, ccTLDs and local Internet communities in all regions to ensure there is broad knowledge of new gTLD rounds. Briefings on implementation of the GNSO recommendations are being provided to the GNSO in accordance with the Board's directive to do so.

Auctions for selection among identical strings are being considered and staff is considering RFI responses received from auction providers. Charles River Associates has been commissioned to undertake a study on what the new TLD demand curve will be and the effects on registrants and the market of maintaining or not maintaining the separation between registrars and registries.

During the last face-to-face session in New Delhi staff described a test as to whether the dispute resolution process related recommendations are implementable. That is, whether the DRP could be provided (spun up) in a timely manner, be available at a reasonable cost, and with adequate bandwidth is available to resolve disputes in all regions and cultures. Staff is working with several DRP providers, including ICDR, WIPO, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague and the ICC in Paris. The results of these consultations will inform staff decision on how to proceed with a DRP. The Executive team including the CEO) held a face-to-face meeting in Marina del Rey recently and discussed the new TLD implementation process. The executive team developed a set of standards that will be proposed in the DRP to go forward and this will also be discussed in upcoming Board workshop. The standards are the result of significant research directed by John Jeffrey's team and these standards map to the GNSO recommendations.

With regard to communications with the GNSO, staff had an extended briefing with the GNSO in New Delhi and a brief update was provided on the Council call following the Delhi meeting. In addition a face-to-face meeting will be held in Marina del Rey the week prior to the Board's meeting in Riga. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss implementation and describe how the implementation steps map e the policy recommendations. Staff has also put together an agenda for the upcoming Board workshop that will include: a status update, flow chart of evaluation process that are developed, a costing matrix for the evaluation process; discussion of Board role in TLD evaluation process, discussion on DRP, and timelines the Board may consider for voting on the policy recommendations.

The Chair thanked Kurt for his presentation and asked if there were any questions.

Jean-Jacques Subrenat referred back to the DRP slide and in particular objections on the basis of rights, morality or public order, noting that in light of recent events in Tibet he had some qualms about public order and asked if it would be possible to receive information on the way morality or public order is defined.

Kurt Pritz advised that this will forwarded prior to the Board workshop.

Paul Twomey reminded the Board that the that four areas of objection coming from the GNSO Council are being explored through legal work and our discussion with potential DRP bodies (especially around that morality / public order objection. It is unlikely that a briefing could be provided today, but a briefing including the DRP or responses on efficacy of implementing that process will be provided when possible.

Jean-Jacques Subrenat considered that because of recent items in the news, this objection stands out as suddenly very important.

Bruce Tonkin advised that this is one of the two or three most controversial recommendations where there wasn't 100% agreement by the GNSO, and in terms of the Board being comfortable with this issue; the Board has raised a level of concern about this. He asked what the timing for making a decision on this would be, previous discussion has been around the Board being asked to look at the recommendations as a whole, and staff appearing to focus on more controversial recommendation points and whether they are achievable or not.

Paul Twomey advised that a final decision has not been made, noting than an enormous amount of work has gone into the objections aspect and (related to it) finding DRP bodies with which ICANN could align and implement. Work is still going on, but we should be able to give an update in the upcoming Board workshop.

Rita Rodin considered that there appear to be two steps that need to be taken—the new gTLD report contained a series of recommendations, some of which were the result of a compromise – and the Board is meant to take a look at the report as a whole and determine if it can be implemented. The Board instructed staff to develop an implementation report, which it is still waiting for. She noted that it is important to get all of the information necessary and move forward with the Report. She asked if her assumption that the Board is waiting for a final report from staff saying these are the implementation issues as they see them before debating the substance of the issues is correct.

Kurt Pritz advised that that's correct and the path that staff understands is to identify a DRP provider who can provide services that are timely, cost effective and has the necessary bandwidth. The other half is settling on a set of standards provided to the DRP provider to use in the evaluation of objections.

Rita Rodin asked where in that process does the Board get to say, even if we have a DRP provider that meets the requirements, we think this is absolutely not implementable and will lead to real problems.

The Chair advised that there would be a discussion at the workshop. That will be the first and detailed opportunity for the Board to come to grips with those issues. The Board has had individual reports and the hope is that in Riga it will be possible to draw those together.

John Jeffrey noted that that is consistent with the resolution passed in New Delhi that the Board is expected to consider in the matter in detail in the workshop.

The Chair advised that the Board will want a complete package of documents, assembled in one place, which includes all the individual papers, resolutions from Council, etc. A book similar to that prepared on the .com issue in L.A. sometime ago would be useful and would need to be available quite soon and at lease a week before the meeting.

Rita Rodin noted that staff is preparing to meeting with GNSO on 10-11 April. The Board would also want a paper that comes out of discussion with staff and the GNSO, at its Riga workshop.

Dennis Jennings reiterated that the briefing package is required well in advance of Riga, and it would be helpful if there is a process flowchart on how this will be handled, so if there are no objections, how a string will pass through process. Board will be asked to ratify process.

The Chair noted that there is a flow chart and it has been up on the various walls at many meetings, as well as a project implementation plan.

Dennis Jennings requested a flowchart of the process for objection in addition to the project plan.

Paul Twomey advised that preparation is being done along those lines. Staff is finalizing discussions with DRP providers, which may be the bottleneck on timing for approval and release of the process. Staff is finalizing in terms of whether this is implementable, how would that occur, using which standards.

The Chair acknowledged that it's a question of what's doable and the Board will have to move with what they have available at the time even if there are gaps. He noted that he is pleased to see the cooperation with the GNSO but hoped that this communication was not limited to the GNSO and feedback was being provided to other communities. He asked what is being done about keeping the ALAC, GAC and others informed.

Denise Michel advised that the liaisons to the advisory committees will be included in the face-to-face meetings in LA and information will be provided to each of the advisory committees and ccNSO on an informational basis.

The Chair asked if there were any other issues arising out of the report on new gTLDs.

5. Update Discussion on GNSO Improvements

Denise Michel recalled in Delhi that the Board Governance Committee's GNSO Review Working Group, which is chaired by Roberto, provided its final GNSO improvements report to the Board Governance Committee, which submitted it to the board. The board directed staff to move forward with implementation on non-contentious items and to open a 30-day comment period as well as begin work on an implementation plan.

Denise Michel made the following report:

The report outlines a number of changes and improvements that is recommended for the GNSO. It was guided by four general objectives that the working group had, including maximizing the ability of all interested stakeholders to participate in the GNSO, ensuring that the recommendations that are developed by the GNSO under its consensus policy process for board review are clearly defined, ensuring that the policy development processes are based on very well-researched and well-scoped objectives and are run in a predictable manner that yields policies that can be effectively implemented, and, finally, to improve communications and administrative support for the GNSO objectives.

Within the working group, there was strong support for a set of recommendations in five main areas. It focused on policy development, working group, the actual structure that develops, the policies as well as communications and operations support.

The five main areas of recommendations are:

The formal working group model should become a focal point for policy development to enhance the policy development process to make it more inclusive, representative, and, hopefully, ultimately, more effective and efficient.

The second is the policy development process itself. It's recommended that the GNSO be instructed to create a new policy development process to replace the one that is currently in the bylaws that takes into account the requirements for creating effective and efficient policy in an inclusive and transparent way.

The third is that the council should move away from being what is viewed more of a legislative body that's very focused on voting and moving towards a smaller, more focused, and strategic council that's composed of four broad stakeholder groups. And these stakeholder groups would represent the registrars, registries, commercial interests, and noncommercial interests. The report also recommends the elimination of weighted voting on the council.

The fourth area of recommendation involves constituencies, recommending a variety of changes to constituency procedures and operations to make them more transparent, accountable, and accessible.

And, finally, the fifth area of recommendation involved GNSO coordination with other ICANN bodies and work flow processes and staff support improvements.

Denise advised that those are the main areas in the report. The information is available in much more detail on the board Wiki. The public comment period was opened after Delhi for 30 days. The board received a submission from Philip Sheppard. The submission represented the business constituency, intellectual property constituency, and ISP constituency. They asked that the comment period be extended for another 30 days to allow them time to come to an agreement, and, in particular, provide an alternative structure for the GNSO Council. They indicated that the structure that they're working on involves a triangular approach to council seats, involving representation of the business interests as one, noncommercial interests as two, and the noncommercial interests would include the current noncommercial user constituency as well as the at-large community. And then third would be a combined representation of registrars and registries. Again, they indicated this is a draft that they're working on, and they expect to provide a specific proposal for an alternative structure within the next 30 days.

The Executive Committee extended the public comment period for another 30 days ending on April 25th. Also, subsequent to Philip's comments, three additional comments were posted on the public list, also endorsing an extension of the comment period

The staff has been working with council leadership to develop proposed implementation plans and structures and processes that will allow the GNSO Council, the constituencies, and hopefully the broader community, to engage in implementation of the improvements.

The board received a letter on March 18th from myself and Avri Doria, the chair of the GNSO, laying out the initial steps that we've taken on implementation and to clarify that this is an effort that will be strongly facilitated by staff as directed by the board, and also, of course, several elements led by the GNSO Council and constituencies as well. The initial work -- and this also was discussed on this morning's GNSO Council call -- the initial work involves setting up two standing committees within the GNSO, one that deals with process, the other deals with operations. It's expected that these two standing committees not only will be the focal point for pulling together all of the implementation and changes recommended in the report, but also continue to operate to help guide the actual transitions and implementation work and beyond. And under these standing committees, it's proposed that various teams be created to specifically tackle the different elements of the report. These teams would include a team to propose a new policy development process, a team to propose guidelines and procedures for implementing the working group model for policy, a team that focuses on the GNSO Council operation. Another team that focuses on making changes and improvements to the constituency operations, and a team that makes recommendations and helps guide staff activities to improve communications for the GNSO.

Roberto Gaetano advised that the Council has requested that somebody that has worked in the GNSO implementation working group to work on the implementation. Susan Crawford has been appointed to deal with this. She is more up-to-date to do liaison with the BGC and provide explanation. Now there are those things in the implementation phase teams being put in place, the only problem that we have that is controversial is the structure of the name council and we need to work on this and the additional month requested by Phillip was to present an alternative structure of this. The Board has to agree how we proceed now the GNSO is dealing with the matters that are non-contentious but we have to set up a timetable by which we can get to the community some sort of idea when this process will get to an end. We need to go to the conclusion. The second point is what to do with the recommendations of the working group coming to the Board by the BGC, as we have open public comment period, there will be discussion by the Board on specific recommendations particularly where a change in the bylaws is required. Some other recommendations that are not contentious and don't require a bylaw change will be done by the GNSO itself. There are certain issues where the Board has to come to a decision in Paris to take a decision and be aware that the structure of the name council where the ball would be on the court of the Board because the community is not going to come to a consensus position. At one point in time the Board has to make the call and I would urge Board members to read the report but to start discussing about this the different possibilities of permanent structure so we can come to closure in the shortest time. When making modification of structure and take decision, will have implementation phase, lose a number of the councilors. Need to have a plan to phase out by not replacing those coming to the end of their term. A sign to the community that taking in hand, a decision of the future structure of the GNSO has to be taken.

Dennis Jennings noted that There is a lot of detail here, and that he would like to see a summary of set of principles that should guide the Board at a high level on the voting structure in the Names Council. There is a risk that the GNSO could become captured by the domain name industry providers (Registries and Registrars), and it will be necessary to ensure that consumer protection and other issues not looked after up to now are taken into account. Has there been any consideration of this?

The Chair asked how do you weight consumer interests against those of registries?

Dennis Jennings asked how do regulators structure this sort of thing, or a professional organization how do they get the balance of the Board for decision making.

Roberto Gaetano considered that the Board should not forget that the transition to post JPA, if at one point in time is to have a self regulatory body of the industry in the wide sense, one criteria is to keep balance between different parts of the community to make sure one doesn't feel it doesn't have enough voice. Dennis Jennings agreed.

The Chair thanked Dennis and Roberto. The issue of contention is around structure, extended time after considerable debate about contrary proposal around structure, we will be able to receive that and be in a position to make a decision in Paris. The Board should be ready and prepared to make a decision at the ICANN Meeting in Paris.

Rita Rodin noted that it is unfortunate that the comment period closes after Riga and that there won't be the opportunity for the Board to discuss this there. She noted that the contentious point is the restructuring of the council and collapsing commercial interests into less members, and hoped that Board members would read the report and form opinions, even if the final discussion could not happen in Riga. The Board will need time to consider Phillip's proposed alternative structure, and should aim to discuss the full Report and proposed alternatives at the May meeting.

Harald Alvestrand noted on a completely different track that he is worried about the proliferation of standing committees, planning committee, who reports to, who is charged with hiring and firing and teams not working groups but something like that. He considered should try to keep new bodies as low as possible.

Roberto Gaetano responded to Rita's question regarding discussion Riga noting that while the Board will not have a full proposal before 24 April, it is likely that the guidelines will be known so that it will be possible to discuss proposals.

Harald Alvestrand raised concerns about the attached diagram showing a number of teams and he cannot tell if they are working teams, groups etc. and is worried about the proliferation of new themes.

Roberto advised that this chart is something that comes from the GNSO on how they plan to self-organize the work in order to assist the discussion on implementation.

The Chair closed down the discussion requesting that it be continued off line. The aim is to pull this together by Paris.

Steve Goldstein noted that someone made the comment in Washington that it was a heck of time to reorganize the GNSO and when trying to be active with new gTLDs. John Jeffrey noted that the comment was made by Jay Scott Evans.

6. Update Discussions on various Bylaws-Mandated Reviews The Chair noted that a written report has been made available and asked Denise if there were any important issues to be considered by the Board today. Denise Michel advised that there was not but invited questions from the board members.

Wendy Seltzer raised concerns based on conversation with the ALAC reviewers and others that three months is a short time to complete the ALAC review (by Paris). If they are not given enough time this will result in not helpful results.

The Chair noted that he would talk to Roberto about this offline, to see if additional

7. Update Discussion on Meetings and Budget Issues

Paul Levins advised that a paper is being prepared on meetings and budget issues for the Board's consideration at its next meeting. The paper will recommend the we reduce the number of meetings to two per year to consider the hub arrangement as an option. Community consultation will be required given the shift from what ICANN has done historically but he did note that the lead on this work is being taken from that undertaken previously by the now deceased meetings committee.

Bruce Tonkin sought clarification on the two per year and change to hubs.

Paul Levins advised that the idea is that one of the meetings would be conducted at a hub location.

Bruce Tonkin asked if the process would be based on where people propose a hosting location or would it be staff selected.

Paul Levins advised that ICANN is taking a lot more of the financial burden because the local hosts are not able to do so., and since the LA meeting has incurred more of the costs.

Bruce Tonkin asked if the locations would still be based on what people are proposing,

Paul Levins advised that there will be a transitioning period if we're going to move away from three to two meetings per year, and this will do from June next year but we will stay with what we have for the time being. We should be in a position to have an assessment for possible locations by March of next year.

Jean-Jacques Subrenat asked if there could be enquiries made in to providing a more convenient and better teleconferencing facility or arrangement.

The Chair advised that a paper has been promised by Paris.

8. Update Discussion on Paris ICANN Meeting

Paul Levins advised that as a result of discussions with the Board Finance Committee, staff has prepared a budget which for the Paris meeting, which is in the order of $1.54m in terms of expenditure which is being presented to the Board for endorsement.

The Chair noted that it was more a list of expenditure rather than budget, first of a new format. Bruce Tonkin suggested that if a historical context was available it would give the Board a better feel for what to expect. Paul Levins advised that the figures were based on the LA and New Delhi meetings taking into account regional variances.

The Chair requested that the paper be referred to the finance committee to beef up the information in terms of comparisons to previous meetings, if any policy decisions are required bring these back to a few items for the Board's discussion.

Doug Brent noted that Board approval on total budget is required before moving ahead with planning for the Paris meeting, and it will be necessary to start committing money for items soon.

Steve Crocker asked what the final figure for New Delhi was?

Doug Brent advised approximately $1.7 Million, which Paul Levins confirmed. Dennis Jennings noted his support for Doug on this for an overall total and the Finance Committee should work on specifics.

The Chair asked if there is a line item in the budget for this? Doug Brent advised that there is and in the event that this would be overshot, will authorize up to the total amount while processing budget amounts. He advised that he will work with Paul and Diane to get this to the Finance Committee.

There was also general discussion regarding the timing and publication for the Paris Agenda.

9. President's Report

The Chair asked if there were any questions related to the President's Report otherwise will take the action as read. Dennis Jennings requested a status report on the lawsuit. John Jeffrey advised that he would provide an updated litigation status report to the Board.

10. Discussion of Riga Board Workshop Agenda

The Chair opened the discussion on a proposed topic list that he had provided to the Board, and solicited feedback on additional topics.

11. Other Business

The Board moved to a discussion raised by Wendy Seltzer relating to "Front-Running", which had been provided to the Board by the ALAC seeking an emergency policy: The key parts of the letter reads as follows:

While we are aware that you have been monitoring the public outrage in response to registrar activities that have been variously described as "front-running" and/or "domain reservation" or "cart-hold" or "cart-reserve" activities, we are of the view that the obligation to safeguard the operational stability of Registrar Services now requires the immediate temporary establishment of a consensus policy curtailing such practices to be taken in accordance with the board's authority under the provisions set out in section 4.3.4 of the Registrar Accreditation Agreement, that states:

"A specification or policy established by the ICANN Board of Directors on a temporary basis, without a prior recommendation by the council of an ICANN Supporting Organization, shall also be considered to be a Consensus Policy if adopted by the ICANN Board of Directors by a vote of at least two-thirds of its members, so long as the Board reasonably determines that immediate temporary establishment of a specification or policy on the subject is necessary to maintain the operational stability of Registrar Services, Registry Services, the DNS, or the Internet, and that the proposed specification or policy is as narrowly tailored as feasible to achieve those objectives."

Wendy Seltzer spoke to the ALAC front running position and recommendation to the Board, pointing to the Registrar Accreditation Agreement sec 4.3.4: the Board can take emergency action to make "consensus policy," which is then sent out to community and affirmed or rejected. We don't need to take wait for PDP to address issues critical to operational stability. With domain name reservation, someone looks for a domain name on a site unaware that it has been reserved and can't be obtained somewhere else. This is a detriment to user confidence in the registrar system, results in non-uniform behavior in the system and the loopholes in the AGP harm registrants trying to obtain domain names. ALAC has requested, in a document that has consensus among the regional at-large organizations and at-large structures, that the Board take emergency action.

The Chair asked what emergency action is being requested. Wendy Seltzer advised that it is to stop registrars from using their inside knowledge of the use of the registration system to reserve names.

Bruce Tonkin stated that he is a registrar and does not want to comment for or against an action; however, he did question whether the request for emergency action like this, should go through the GNSO for action as the entity responsible for doing policy work on this issue. He considered the GNSO would be the more appropriate body to raise this through.

Wendy Seltzer noted that the GNSO has been looking at this issue for a long time and it's clear there are different viewpoints from differing parties, so ALAC is asking the Board from a public interest perspective to take more rapid action.

Bruce Tonkin responded that what she was really saying was that the current policy process was not working.

The Chair noted that he thought the argument should come from the other way. We should understand agreement to the position is possible and then adopt it.

Rita Rodin, indicated that in looking at the issue strictly from a process perspective, the ALAC was asking the Board to take emergency action. She wanted the General Counsel's opinion, but noted that in this regard, if the Board was going to refer the issue to the GNSO, she believed that it should note that there was not going to be any such emergency action taken, because the conduct in question did not jeopardize the stability and security of the DNS.

The Chair noted that there is a tendency to bring matters into the stability and security mandate. There is a paper on this prepared by the SSAC, and the Board does need to get some sort of community support for the position. He asked whether the Board could encourage GNSO to do something about the concerns being raised.

Wendy Seltzer indicated that argument would work for GNSO improvements, but that she thought it was clear that the current GNSO is structurally incapable of taking action in lots of places, such as this, where ALAC is interested in seeing action.

The Chair whether the GNSO is acting on the broader issue.

Denise Michel advised that the GNSO has not been specifically asked to address domain name "front running" and noted that the existence and prevalence of this practice is the subject of unresolved debate within the community. The GNSO has undertaken work on domain tasting and more recently an issues report on fast flux has been prepared.

Wendy Seltzer responded that it has been seen: Network Solutions "reserved" domains, and register.com is now offering a "hold," so it can't be argued that evidence does not exist. The ALAC is responding to that evidence. As an advisory committee to the Board, ALAC is bringing this to the Board thinking this is the most expeditious and fair way to have the matter heard.

The Chair indicated that if there is evidence of the practice, the Board should refer the matter to the GNSO Council and ask them to report on what action they think should be taken.

Dennis Jennings agreed, and indicated that he personally he finds the practice of holding names for individual registrars customers unacceptable and in violation of trust and that should become an input to the discussion. Jean-Jacques Subrenat agreed.

The Chair considered this is why action should be taken.

Rita Rodin agreed, but would like confirmation from John Jeffrey, if it is necessary for the Board to take a vote on this issue in response to the ALAC request. The Chair suggested the Board reference the letter and the SSAC paper and forward it to the GNSO for action.

John Jeffrey advised that he is not aware of a bylaws mandated process requirement that requires the board to immediately take a vote because they are asked by an advisory committee for an emergency policy. He indicated that to his knowledge there is not a defined process for acting on an emergency process request, but he agreed to look into any process requirements and prepare a paper for the Board.

Susan Crawford indicated in response to earlier comments that the matter should be forwarded to the GNSO, that she considered it an abdication of the Board's responsibilities to refer a request for an emergency policy to a supporting organization for policy development, and that the board should take up the issue when requested.

Bruce Tonkin considered the right thing to do, if not establishing precedence on stability and security, SSAC could advise the Board that action needs to be taken with the timeline for referring it to the GNSO by June. He inquired whether it was really an emergency and whether something needed to be done quickly? He also asked does the GNSO want to do policy development on this? Rather than waiting till June, you could forward to the GNSO and by end of April to get a response.

The Chair did not think a completed process was expected but asked what response is being sought. Bruce Tonkin noted this is a different process to what has been done in the past. ALAC is requesting immediate action, and it is appropriate to ask the GNSO for its view and go to constituencies to get input and respond by the next GNSO meeting.

The Chair suggested that the matter be referred to the GNSO and request a response by April.

Rita Rodin reiterated that she wanted to be clear on how these matters should be handled, and agreed with Susan. She agreed that John should ensure that there are no defined processes on how to handle emergency policy requests and get back to the Board. Rita indicated that if there is a procedure for an advisory committee to come to the Board and request emergency action that, to me, means that the Board has to make a decision.

She elaborated that it is important to make sure we paper this properly in that if we are saying to the ALAC, "We think that we need to have the GNSO give us information," in effect, what we're saying is we don't think that this jeopardizes security and stability right now, today, on March 27th, 28th, but we're going to get input from the GNSO on an expedited basis and get back to you. I do think if there is a process to come to the board and request emergency action, we have to say, we, the board, don't think it should happen right now, but this is the process we're going to follow to get answers to your questions.

Bruce Tonkin agreed. The Chair also agreed with Rita's assessment.

The Chair asked if a resolution was needed.

Steve Crocker noted that this action was triggered by bad behavior by one or more registries and he sent a note around expanding on this. He considered that if the Board is making an emergency ruling, we ought to include the rest of it, telling registrars that if they know that the information's leaking out by some registries, then they're obliged not to deal with those registries.

The Chair determined that emergency action is not required today but the matter will be referred to the GNSO for additional information or policy development if necessary, but not an emergency action.

The Chair noted that Steve Crocker had identified three other issues to be discussed under other business, namely WHOIS, appendix D, and members of the SSAC. Due to time constraints only the issue of membership of the SSAC will be dealt with on the call.

SSAC Appointments - Steve Crocker advised that formal Board approval for the addition of two new members to the SSAC, Warren Kumari and Matt Larson was being sought, and he would formally like to thank Johan Ihren who is dropping off the committee. The same procedure has been followed for quite a while, and while lacking in formality in process, the appointments do require Board approval.

The Chair moved a resolution to approve the new members of the SSAC and thank the retiring member for his work. Jean-Jacques Subrenat seconded the motion.

The following resolution was approved by all board members present – 12-0.

Resolved (2008.03.27.03), ICANN thanks Johan Ihren for the completion of service to ICANN through membership on the Security and Stability Advisory Committee.

Resolved (2008.03.27.04), the following individuals are appointed to the SSAC:, Warren Kumari and Matt Larson.

The Meeting was adjourned at 2.16 PM, PDT.

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."