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Minutes | Board Governance Committee (BGC) Meeting

Published 22 March 2016

BGC Attendees: Rinalia Abdul Rahim, Cherine Chalaby, Chris Disspain – Chair, Erika Mann Mike Silber, Bruce Tonkin, and Suzanne Woolf

Executive and Staff Attendees: Akram Atallah (President, Global Domains Division), Michelle Bright (Board Operations Content Manager), John Jeffrey (General Counsel and Secretary), Vinciane Koenigsfeld (Board Operations Content Manager), Melissa King (VP, Board Operations), Elizabeth Le (Senior Counsel), and Amy Stathos (Deputy General Counsel)


The following is a summary of discussions, actions taken, and actions identified:

  1. Minutes – The BGC approved the minutes from the meeting on 1 February 2016.

  2. Reconsideration Requests 16-1 and 16-2 – Suzanne Woolf abstained, noting potential conflicts. Commercial Connect, LLC (Requester) filed two Reconsideration Requests—Requests 16-1 and 16-2 (collectively, Requests)—regarding the same subject matter. In Request 16-2, the Requester sought reconsideration of ICANN staff's determination to proceed with the scheduled 27 January 2016 auction for .SHOP. In Request 16-1, the Requester sought reconsideration of staff's determination that the Requester's time to invoke the Cooperative Engagement Process (CEP) regarding the Board's denial of Reconsideration Request 15-13 (Request 15-13) had passed, and argued that ICANN staff prevented it from filing a valid Request for Independent Review Process (IRP). The Requester also renews the challenges that it raised in Request 15-13 to a Community Priority Evaluation (CPE) panel's report finding that the Requester's application for .SHOP did not achieve priority through CPE (CPE Report), and ICANN's acceptance of that CPE Report. Requests 16-1 and 16-2 represent the fifth and sixth reconsideration requests that the Requester has filed related to its application for .SHOP. After discussion, the BGC found that the Requester's claims are unsupported and are the latest in a long line of frivolous abuses of ICANN's accountability mechanisms by the Requester. The Requester's renewed attempt to challenge the CPE Report is improper and time-barred. The Requester has not raised any new arguments or evidence since its previous challenge to the CPE Report in Request 15-13, which was denied. As to the other issues raised by the Requester, the BGC determined that the facts demonstrate that ICANN staff adhered to established policy and procedure with respect to the auction, took unprecedented steps to keep the Requester apprised of, and involved in, the auction, and properly responded to the Requester's many incomplete, aborted, and/or improper attempts to invoke ICANN's accountability mechanisms. The BGC therefore denies Requests 16-1 and 16-2.

    The BGC also discussed its concerns of the Requester's use of ICANN's accountability mechanisms and New gTLD Program processes, that appear to be last ditch delay tactics of the .SHOP contention set resolution. These include, but certainly are not limited to, the Requester's filing of a lawsuit and a motion for temporary restraining order against ICANN in federal court in violation of the Terms and Conditions of the Applicant Guidebook, as well as the Requester's invocation of multiple accountability mechanisms within a 24-hour period before the auction, after the Requester affirmatively decided to not participate in the auction. Although providing fair, open, and transparent access to ICANN's accountability mechanisms is critical to ICANN's mandate, there is no justification for other applicants for .SHOP having to suffer repeated baseless invocations of those mechanisms to prevent contention resolution as set out in the Applicant Guidebook.

  3. Board Member Mentorship Programme – The BGC discussed the proposed Board Member Mentorship Programme, which is intended to ease new Board members into the culture of ICANN, as well as into the specifics of their roles. The Programme was developed as part of the initial set of key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the Board Performance and Improvement efforts as per the recommendations of the Final Report of the Second Accountability and Transparency Review Team (ATRT2). The initial set of KPIs, which were adopted by the Board on 3 February 2016, encompasses, among other things, the measurement of the effectiveness and success of a New Board Mentorship Programme. The BGC acknowledged the benefits of the Programme and approved a recommendation that the Board adopt the Mentorship Programme.

    • Actions: Staff to prepare materials for Board consideration at the Board's meeting in Marrakech.

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."