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Minutes | Board Technical Committee Meeting

Board Member and Liasion Attendees: Maarten Botterman, Becky Burr, Steve Crocker, Ron da Silva, Chris Disspain, Asha Hemrajani, Rafael Lito Ibarra, Khaled Koubaa, Akinori Maemura, Ram Mohan, Kaveh Ranjbar (Acting Chair), George Sadowsky, and Jonne Soininen.

Invited Observers: Avri Doria and Pindar Wong.

ICANN Organization Attendees: Adiel Akplogan (VP Technical Engagement), Roy Arends (Principal Research Scientist), Susanna Bennett (Chief Operating Officer), David Conrad (Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer), Alain Durand (Principal Technologist), Vinciane Koenigsfeld (Board Operations Content Manager), Wendy Profit (Board Operations Specialist), Erika Randall (Associate General Counsel), Ashwin Rangan (SVP Engineering & Chief Information Officer), and Lisa Saulino (Board Operations Senior Coordinator).


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

  1. Agenda – The Acting Chair established the agenda for the meeting and gave an overview of items to be discussed.

  2. Update from the Office of the Chief Information Officer – The Board Technical Committee received a briefing from the Chief Information Officer about the organization's IT and engineering projects and how the projects align with the overall ICANN organization strategy. The briefing included discussion of the engineering and IT focus on developing or sourcing tools for the organization, Board and community. It also included a review of the progress made by the engineering and IT teams since 2014, as well as a high-level roadmap to help meet strategic vision for engineering and IT in the coming fiscal year. Members of the committee asked for additional details on projects related to the root zone management system and the Open Data Initiative. Additionally, the committee discussed IT tools avaible to the Board to facilitate its work.

    • Action Items:

      • ICANN Chief Information Officer to create an inventory of IT tools and services available for Board members.

      • Based on the information from the Chief Information Officer, Board Technical Committee members to develop a proposal for discussion about requirements and service expections for the suite of tools that should be made available to Board members to enhance Board productivitiy.

  3. Name Collisions – The Board Technical Committee received a briefing from members of the Office of the Chief Technology Officer about the results from a longitudinal study over the prevalence of requests for domains in the CORP, HOME and MAIL TLD space. The Chief Technology Officer engaged the Committee in a discussion about the methodology used for the longitudinal study and how the results from the study compare to the 2013 study from Interisle Consulting Group, LLC titled "Name Collision in the DNS: A study of the likelihood and potential consequences of collision between new public gTLD labels and existing private uses of the same strings". The longitudinal study found that conclusions in the 2013 study by Interaisle that both CORP and HOME are "at the high end of the delegation risk spectrum" still stands. The study found that additional study of internal X.509 public key certificates is needed to determine the ranking of MAIL in the delegation risk spectrum.

    Members of the Committee asked questions about the methodology used for the longitudinal study, including the relevance of looking a resolver data veruses root traffic data. Other members noted that more information and study is needed to understand the potential impact on existing users if collision strings are delegated, as well as possible mitigation measures that could be implemented to address identified risks.

    The Committee engaged in a discussion about the possibility of the Security and Stability Advivosry Committee (SSAC) conducting additional study of the name collision issue, which included an overview of how the SSAC does it work and the possibility of including other parts of the community in the SSAC process. It also was noted that the matter of name collisions was an agenda item for discussion during the public Board meeting in Abu Dhabi.

  4. Blockchain Naming Systems Impact (Open to the community) – Members of the Office of the Chief Information Officer made a presentation to the Committee about emerging identifier technologies, in particular blockchain. The presentation provided a primer on the steps in blockchains, including blocks and nodes and how they work. The presentation also included information about how blockchain can be used, and noted some preliminary research about using blockchain for IP address management.

    Pindar Wong was invited to make at presentation about work in the Internet Society Blockchain Special Interest Group to raise some awareness about the wider evolution of emerging identifier technologies. He noted that the space is evolving quickly and recommended that ICANN continue to monitor the work as there may be opportunities for collaboration, in particular by early engagement in the various fora where these protocols are being defined. Pindar noted that to a large degree, many of the discussions are decentralized, and being able to have a coherent view on block chain technologies requires a tremendous amount of effort. He opined that ICANN has a role to assist blockchain technologists with dealing with the governance issues that arise. It was noted that there would be other sessions during ICANN60 where there would be further discussion on these emerging identifier technologies.

  5. Proposal for a Tamperproof Root Zone System (Open to the community) – The Committee received a briefing about a proposal for developing a tamperproof root zone system. The proposal described the basic concepts that would be incorporated into such a system, including developing a sealed system that cannot be tampered with, and dividing the root zone into portions associated with each TLD. As part of the presentation, the Committee received information about how ordinary and major changes would be processed, and the proposed oversight body for the system.

    After discussion of the proposal, the Chief Technology Officer noted for the Committee that ICANN Org was undertaking a research project that will be looking at a evolutionary change to the way the root zone management system is done. He reported that the proposal for a tamperproof root zone will be considered as part of the research project, and the Org in the process of working on a RFP for this work.

  6. Next Steps for Root Zone KSK Rollover Process (Open to the community) – The Chief Technology Officer provided on update on the progress to roll the Root Zone KSK. The update provided background information about the plan for rolling the key, including what would happen if problems were encountered in the process. The Chief Technology Officer discussed some of the data that the team received in the weeks leading up to the key rollover which lead to the decision to delay the changing of the key rather than run the risk of a significant number of Internet users being adversely affected by the changing of the key. The Committee discussed whether root causes of the issue had been identified, and how to overcome the noted issues. Also, the Committee asked the CTO to identify next steps and timing for the change of the key in light of the information available.

  7. Update from the Office of the Chief Technology Officer – Members of the Office of the Chief Techonology Officer provided updates to the Committee about ongoing and upcoming projects. Some of the projects included looking at the frequency of key roll, developing a technical narrative that could be used as part of ICANN's toolkit for technical engagement activities (including with the GAC), the Open Data Initiative, and work with the University of de La Plata in Argentina to develop a prototype of implementing Digital Object Architecture (DOA) over the DNS. Also, the Chief Technology Officer gave an update on some of the ongoing security, stability and resiliency activities including work on the Domain Abuse Activity Reporting (DAAR) system.

The Chair called the meeting to a close.

Published on 21 March 2018

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."