ICANN POLICY UPDATE | Volume 11, Issue 12 — December 2011
PDF Version [574 KB]
- Public Comment Enhancements Wrap Up
- Dakar Meeting Breaks ICANN Records for Remote Connections and Newcomer Attendance
- Issues Currently Open for Public Comment
- Wiki Details Progress as Registrars and ICANN Commence Negotiations on the Registrar Accreditation Agreement
- GNSO Improvements Near the End: Adoption of the New GNSO Policy Development Process by the ICANN Board
- Inter-Registrar Transfer Policy – Three Public Comment Forums Open
- Other Issues Active in the GNSO
- At-Large Advisory Committee Continues Record-Setting Pace of Policy Statements
- At-Large Community Expands to 138 At-Large Structures
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Policy Supporting Organizations and Advisory Committees
|Address Supporting Organization||ASO|
|Country Code Names Supporting Organization||ccNSO|
|Generic Names Supporting Organization||GNSO|
|At-Large Advisory Committee||ALAC|
|Governmental Advisory Committee||GAC|
|Root Server System Advisory Committee||RSSAC|
|Security and Stability Advisory Committee||SSAC|
At a Glance
Based on Community feedback, ICANN staff is now working on the last steps before the new Public Comment Process enhancements become effective on 1 January 2012.
The summary and the analysis of the comments received in Phase II of the Public Comments Process Enhancements forum were published in late October:
- Report of Public Comments [PDF, 20 KB]: Summarizes the Public Comments received.
- Analysis of Public Comments [PDF, 23 KB]: Within this analysis, comments are grouped into broad categories and evaluated. A checklist is included, noting categories and status of each.
Based on a review of the public input, staff made a number of recommendations to the Public Participation Committee (PPC) of the ICANN Board. The PPC subsequently approved the following improvements to put into effect by 1 January 2012:
The Public Comment Box template has been redesigned to accommodate a "Categories" field. Staff procedures have been rewritten to require that Staff members assign one or more categories to each new Public Comment topic that is published after 1 January 2012. These categories are:
- Top-Level Domains
- Second-Level Domains
- Internet Protocol Addressing
- Internet Governance Policy Processes
- ICANN Board/Bylaws
- Contracted Party Agreements
- Intellectual Property
More categories may be added in the future.
The general consensus among community respondents was that ICANN staff should continue to pursue finding ways to introduce a "prioritization" capability for Public Comments. Ideas that have been suggested included:
- Allowing community members to self-rate topic prioritization
- Creating an "audience" field that would indicate the community member groups most affected by a solicitation
- Adding a "phase" indication or develop a GANTT chart that would show where the topic is in the overall policy process
Staff has evaluated the above ideas and determined that they are not feasible in the short-term. The first one may be possible if the Public Comments Forum is moved to a wiki platform (see below) and, in that prototype environment, Staff is currently testing various options.
The other suggestions are either too complex or would place staff in a difficult position of having to make "priority" determinations that could unintentionally mislead certain community groups/members.
Accordingly, staff recommended that the following fields added to the Public Comment Box during Phase I continue to be supported:
- Current Status
- Next Steps
Combined with a new Category field, staff is hopeful that community members will have sufficient information to make independent priority decisions efficiently without having to read the entire background and description for each topic.
The original recommendation to address the ATRT recommendation was to establish a minimum 30-day Comment period for all Public Comments followed by a minimum 15-day Reply cycle. Several community respondents commented that the minimum 15-day Reply cycle duration would be too short, especially recognizing that many groups need to develop consensus within their organizations before posting positions to a public forum. Another concern was expressed that extending the overall timeframe has the absolute effect of delaying ICANN decisions while only marginally improving the process. Nearly all participants commented that Public Comment periods should be "flexible" and adjust to the complexity of the issue as well as other related factors.
In consideration of these perspectives and while staying true to the ATRT recommendation, the following will be put into effect as of 1 January 2012:
- The official minimum Comment period is 21 days.
- The official minimum Reply period is 21 days.
- If no comments are received during the Comment period then there will be no Reply period.
This solution has the effect of making the minimum total elapsed period 42 days vs. 45, which was staff's original formulation of 30 + 15.
The new procedures will emphasize that the above guidelines are to be considered "minimums" and that the Comment and/or Reply period can be longer depending on community requests, a particular working group's preference as they issue a public comment or other factors.
With these developments in place, ICANN will have concluded the implementation efforts regarding ATRT recommendations 15, 16, 17 and 21.
While these new processes and constructs will be put in place by 1 January 2012, staff is continuing working on a limited community testing of a wiki-based threaded discussion environment for the Public Comments.
Responding to community calls made by staff and ICANN Community Leaders, 21 volunteers are contributing this test, which will last until early January.
Based on this community test results, staff will be able to work towards a technically improved interface if approved by the PPC.
Phase I activities to improve ICANN's Public Comment Process were implemented effective 30 June 2011, in response to recommendations #15, 16, 17 and 21 of the ATRT. In that first phase, staff completely redesigned web pages, added new navigation menus, streamlined Announcement and Public Comment Box formats, and introduced an "Upcoming Topics" feature. New standardized data fields were added across all solicitations (e.g., Originating Organization, Purpose, Current Status, Next Steps) and opening and closing dates and times were clarified. To support these improvements staff also created internal document templates to facilitate publication and ensure presentation consistency in these pages.
After the launch of the redesigned Public Comment web pages in June, staff worked with a focus group of ICANN community volunteers identified by ICANN community leaders to gather initial feedback on further improvements.
These further improvements were made available for wider community review and feedback though a public comment and reply period. The public comment includes a staff report where focus group feedback is referenced and linked for each relevant topic. The overall effort supports the implementation of the ATRT recommendations relating to how community members provide input on ICANN matters.
Filiz Yilmaz, Senior Director, Participation and Engagement
At a Glance
After compiling and assessing data, ICANN staff found that the Public Meeting in Dakar drew more Newcomers to attend in person, and more people to connect remotely.
A summary of Remote Participation services:
- Remote Participation services were provided in all of the 11 physical rooms used for the ICANN Public Meeting in Dakar.
- All sessions were also made available for remote participation, except for closed meetings or ones where staff received a specific request to close the meeting to remote participation.
- During the previous ICANN meeting in the same region, in Nairobi, there were 740 on-site registrations. Due to lack of physical attendance, the remote participation numbers were considered to have peaked (4140) and this was the record number of Adobe Connect connections until the Dakar meeting. While the physical attendance was still considerably high in Dakar, 1246 compared to Nairobi attendance, the Adobe Connect connections kept increasing, reaching to a record number of 5169.
- A survey was kept open to measure the satisfaction level of the remote participants during and after the meeting (for another 2.5 weeks). Satisfaction level is high. Sixteen participants completed the survey and no "Unsatisfying" response was received for overall satisfaction level of the services.
A summary of Newcomers' activities:
- Newcomers indicated their top three areas of interest were about ICANN's function as it relates to Internet security and stability and the multistakeholder bottom-up consensus building model, DNSSEC and New gTLDS.
- 140 documented newcomers (including 12 repeat visits) attended ICANN's Public Meeting in Dakar in comparison to the 55 documented newcomers in the ICANN Public Meeting in Singapore.
- The Newcomer Track Sessions in Dakar had the highest attendance record for first-time attendees with a total of 110 people. Of those, 21 percent participated remotely.
- 31 percent (43 of 140) of newcomers responded to the ICANN 42 Newcomer Survey.
- 40 percent (15 of 43) of newcomer survey responders indicated they visited the lounge more than three times.
- 97 percent (38 of 43) of the newcomer survey responders were satisfied with the help and service received at the Newcomer Lounge.
Filiz Yilmaz, Senior Director, Participation and Engagement
Numerous public comment periods are currently open on issues of interest to the ICANN community. Act now to share your views on such topics as:
- Geographic Regions Review – Draft Final Report. Outlines specific recommendations regarding how the present Geographic Regions Framework can be modified to ensure that organizational principles of geographic and cultural diversity are honored and maintained. Closes 19 December 2011.
- Inter-Registrar Transfer Policy Part C Policy Development Process. The Working Group requests public input on its Charter Questions. Closes 22 December 2011.
- Board Technical Relations Working Group (BTRWG) – Final Report. The Final Report includes recommendations for enhancing the coordination and cooperation between ICANN and other members of the Internet technical community. Closes 30 December 2011.
- Preliminary Issue Report on "Thick" Whois. Should incumbent gTLDs be required to maintain more data on domain names and registrants, as new gTLDs will be? Closes 30 December 2011.
- Inter-Registrar Transfer Policy Part B – Recommendations #8 and #9 Part 2 – Staff Proposals. Staff proposals for standardizing and clarifying Whois status messages regarding Registrar Lock status, and for when and how domains may be locked or unlocked. Closes 31 December 2011.
- Whois Policy Review Team Draft Report. This draft report takes a broad look at ICANN's Whois policies and procedures and makes recommendations for improving compliance. Closes 18 March 2012.
For the full list of issues open for public comment, plus recently closed and archived public comment forums, visit the Public Comment web page.
At a Glance
Two country code operators in the Asia Pacific region were approved as ccNSO members in November.
The ccNSO Council approved the ccTLD operators of .mn (Mongolia) and .nc (New Caledonia) as new ccNSO members. Mongolia is in northern Asia, between China and Russia. New Caledonia is in the South Pacific Ocean, east of Australia.
There are now a total of 123 ccNSO members. Since January 2011, 13 new members have joined the ccNSO.
Gabriella Schittek, ccNSO Secretariat
At a Glance
The ccNSO launches a ccTLD Community wiki workspace.
ccNSO members and other members of the ICANN community were invited to review the new ccTLD Community dedicated wiki, launched by the ccNSO Secretariat on 9 November.
On 15 December the wiki space closed to the public and will be open only to approved ccTLD community members.
The ccTLD community has expressed a need for a closed platform for information sharing and as a result, the ccNSO Council decided to launch a closed ccTLD wiki for a trial period of six months. It will only be used for the purpose of sharing information and relevant ccTLD news.
- Link to ccTLD Community wiki workspace:
- Link to ccTLD Community wiki workspace implementation plan [PDF, 51 KB]
Kristina Nordström, ccNSO Secretariat Operational Officer
6. Wiki Details Progress as Registrars and ICANN Commence Negotiations on the Registrar Accreditation Agreement
At a Glance
ICANN accredited registrars and ICANN are actively negotiating amendments to update the RAA. The negotiations are in response to the development of a list of recommendations made by law enforcement agencies and the broader Internet community to provide increased protections for registrants and greater security overall.
In 2009, the GNSO Council embarked on a collaborative process with the At-Large Advisory Committee regarding the Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA). As part of this process, a joint GNSO/ALAC drafting team was formed (known as the RAA Drafting Team) to conduct further work related to proposals for improvements to the RAA. The RAA Drafting Team reviewed proposals from the law enforcement community, the Intellectual Property Constituency, as well as other stakeholders, seeking to enhance the RAA. The RAA Drafting Team published a Final Report [PDF, 6.78 MB] that identified potential topics for additional amendments to the RAA, as well as a proposal for next steps for the GNSO Council to consider in determining whether to recommend a new form of RAA.
In Dakar, the ICANN Board directed negotiations to commence immediately, and called for proposed amendments to be provided for consideration at ICANN's meeting in Costa Rica in March 2012. The subject of the negotiations include law enforcement and GNSO working group recommendations as well as other topics that would advance the twin goals of registrant protection and DNS stability. The ICANN Board also requested the creation of an Issue Report to undertake a GNSO policy development process (PDP) as quickly as possible to address remaining items suited for a PDP.
The Registrars Stakeholder Group and ICANN have commenced negotiations on the RAA. These negotiations are occurring regularly with the intention to arrive at a new agreement prior to ICANN's Costa Rica meeting. An ICANN RAA Negotiations wiki has been created to inform the community on the substance and progress of negotiations and includes functionality that allows the ICANN community to provide input and commentary on specific amendment topics.
- RAA Community wiki
- ICANN Board's Dakar resolution on the RAA
- Final Report on Improvements to the RAA [PDF, 6.78 MB]
- Staff Discussion Paper published prior to Dakar [PDF, 1.58 MB]
- Non-Lawyers Guide to the RAA
Margie Milam, Senior Policy Counselor
At a Glance
Members of the GNSO community are working to implement a comprehensive series of structural and operational changes designed to improve the effectiveness and accessibility of the organization. The effort is now in its final stages.
Following the adoption by the GNSO Council of the PDP-WT Updated Final Report, the ICANN Board resolved to open a public comment forum on the proposed changes to Annex A which outlines the GNSO Policy Development Process, before considering these proposed changes for adoption. This public comment forum closed on 5 December and one comment in support of the recommendations and Board consideration was received (see report of public comments [PDF, 305 KB]). As a result, the ICANN Board adopted the revised Annex A and the new GNSO Policy Development Process at its meeting on 8 December. The Bylaws as amended will take effect immediately and the GNSO Council will now need to determine the appropriate transition for those PDPs already in process.
The Updated Final Report contains 48 recommendations, an outline of the proposed new Annex A to the ICANN Bylaws and a supporting document that is envisioned to be included in the GNSO Council Operating Procedures as the PDP Manual.
The most notable recommendations include:
- Recommending the use of a standardized Request for an Issue Report Template;
- The introduction of a Preliminary Issues Report which shall be published for public comment prior to the creation of a Final Issues Report to be acted upon by the GNSO Council;
- A requirement that each PDP Working Group operate under a Charter;
- Changing the existing Bylaws so that upon initiation of a PDP, public comment periods are optional rather than mandatory, at the discretion of the PDP Working Group;
- Changing the timeframes of public comment periods including (i) a required public comment period of no less than 30 days on a PDP Working Group's Initial Report and (ii) a minimum of 21 days for any non-required public comment periods the PDP WG might choose to initiate at its discretion;
- Maintaining the existing requirement of PDP WG producing both an Initial Report and Final Report, but giving the WG discretion to produce additional outputs;
- A recommendation allowing for the termination of a PDP prior to delivery of the Final Report;
- New procedures on the delivery of recommendations to the Board including a requirement that all are reviewed by either the PDP Working Group or the GNSO Council and made publicly available; and
- The use of Implementation Review Teams.
Further details and background on the different recommendations, the proposed Annex A and PDP Manual can be found in the Updated Final Report [PDF, 1.51 MB] as well as in the overview of the differences between the Final Report and the Updated Final Report [PDF, 340 KB] as well as a redline version of the new Annex A [PDF, 130 KB].
- GNSO Improvements Information Web Page (which provides links to new procedures and processes as well as to the organizational charters of the various GNSO entities)
- GNSO Home Page (which provides links and information regarding GNSO Council operations and processes and the status and background documents for various ongoing Council initiatives)
- PDP Work Team wiki
- Working Group Work Team wiki
- Constituency Operations Work Team wiki
- Commercial SG Charter [PDF, 307 KB]
- Non-Commercial SG Charter [PDF, 182 KB]
- New GNSO Constituency Recognition Process
Marika Konings, Senior Policy Director
At a Glance
The aim of the Inter-Registrar Transfer Policy (IRTP) is to provide a straightforward procedure for domain name holders to transfer their names from one ICANN-accredited registrar to another. The GNSO Council is reviewing and considering revisions to this policy through a series of Working Groups it has established to conduct these efforts. The IRTP Part B PDP Recommendations have been adopted by the ICANN Board and will now move forward to implementation. The IRTP Part C Policy Development Process is underway.
Recent Developments and Next Steps
IRTP Part B: In addition to those recommendations that are now in the process of being implemented, the GNSO Council requested ICANN staff to provide a proposal for consideration in relation to two of the recommendations of the IRTP Part B Working Group. These two recommendations relate to standardizing and clarifying WHOIS status messages regarding Registrar Lock status and a new provision in a different section of the IRTP on when and how domains may be locked or unlocked. Following consultations with the IRTP Part B Working Group, ICANN staff has now put out the proposals for public comment prior to submitting these to the GNSO Council for its consideration. Comments may be submitted until 31 December 2011.
IRTP Part C: IRTP Part C will address the following three issues:
- "Change of Control" function, including an investigation of how this function is currently achieved, if there are any applicable models in the country-code name space that can be used as a best practice for the gTLD space, and any associated security concerns. The investigation should also include a review of locking procedures, as described in Reasons for Denial #8 and #9, with an aim to balance legitimate transfer activity and security.
- Whether provisions on time-limiting Forms Of Authorization (FOAs) should be implemented to avoid fraudulent transfers out. For example, if a Gaining Registrar sends and receives an FOA back from a transfer contact, but the name is locked, the registrar may hold the FOA pending adjustment to the domain name status, during which time the registrant or other registration information may have changed.
- Whether the process can be streamlined by a requirement that registries use IANA IDs for registrars rather than proprietary IDs.
A Working Group has been formed and as its first task the WG has opened a public comment forum to obtain community input on these Charter questions to help inform its deliberations. Comments may be submitted until 22 December 2011.
'Thick' Whois Issue Report: As recommended by the IRTP Part B Working Group, the GNSO Council resolved at its meeting in September 2011 to ask ICANN staff to prepare an Issue Report on the requirement of 'thick' Whois for all incumbent gTLDs. Such an Issue Report and possible subsequent Policy Development Process should not only consider a possible requirement of 'thick' WHOIS for all incumbent gTLDs in the context of IRTP, but should also consider any other positive and/or negative effects that are likely to occur outside of IRTP that would need to be taken into account when deciding whether a requirement of thick Whois for all incumbent gTLDs would be desirable or not. The Preliminary Issue Report has now been posted for public comment. Comments may be submitted until 30 December 2011.
The IRTP is a GNSO consensus policy that was adopted in 2004 with the objective to provide registrants with a transparent and predictable way to transfer domain name registrations between registrars. As part of its implementation, it was decided to carry out a review of the policy in order to determine whether it was working as intended or whether there are any areas that would benefit from further clarification or improvement As a result of this review, a number of issues were identified that were grouped together in five different policy development processes or PDPs titled A to E which are being addressed in a consecutive manner.
IRTP Part C:
- Final Issue Report IRTP Part C [PDF, 625 KB]
IRTP Part B:
- ICANN Staff Proposal on IRTP Part B Recommendation #8 [PDF, 286 KB]
- ICANN Staff Proposal on IRTP Part B Recommendation #9, part 2 [PDF, 490 KB]
- IRTP Part B Final Report [PDF, 972 KB]
- ICANN Start podcast: audio explanation of IRTP Part B [MP3, 18 MB]
- Preliminary Issue Report on 'Thick' Whois [PDF, 630 KB]
Marika Konings, Senior Policy Director
At a Glance
Now that IANA has allocated all the addresses in IPv4, Regional Internet Registries (RIRs) have discussed a number of proposed global policies for handling IPv4 address space returned from the RIRs to IANA. Three RIRs have adopted the new policy.
Three of five RIRs have adopted a proposal originated by APNIC on allocation of recovered IPv4 address space. The proposal has also passed the final call stage in both AfriNIC and ARIN.
In this proposal, IANA would establish and administer a pool of returned address space to be allocated to all RIRs simultaneously in equal blocks of smaller size than the traditional /8. Pool size permitting, allocations would occur every six months.
If and when this policy proposal is formally adopted by all five RIRs, the Number Resource Organization Executive Committee and the Address Supporting Organization Address Council will review the proposal and forward the policy to the ICANN Board for ratification and implementation by IANA.
IPv4 is the Internet Protocol addressing system used to allocate unique IP address numbers in 32-bit format. With the massive growth of the Internet user population, the pool of unique numbers (approximately 4.3 billion) has been depleted and a 128-bit numbering system (IPv6) is taking its place.
- A Background Report for the third proposal is posted on the ICANN web site and includes a comparison between the proposals so far on this theme.
- Background Report for the second proposal.
Olof Nordling, Director, Service Relations
At a Glance
The At-Large Advisory Committee (ALAC) continued its exceptional pace of preparing statements in response to ICANN public comments submitting three during November 2011. The ALAC ratified statements on the Draft 2012-2015 Strategic Plan, the Variant Issues Project case studies and on the Draft Final Report of the Internationalized Registration Data Working Group. With the adoption of these three policy statements during November 2011, the number of ALAC statements for the year to date totals a record 35. The ALAC is preparing several additional statements during December.
The ALAC statements submitted in November are:
- ALAC Statement on the Community Input on Draft 2012-2015 Strategic Plan
- ALAC Statement on the Variant Issues Project Case Studies
- ALAC Statement on the Draft Final Report of the Internationalized Registration Data Working Group
- All ALAC statements may be viewed on the At-Large Correspondence page
Heidi Ullrich, Director for At-Large
At a Glance
The At-Large Advisory Committee (ALAC) recently certified two organizations as At-Large Structures (ALSes): Together against Cybercrime (TaC) and the Internet Society Costa Rica Chapter (ISOC – Costa Rica). These two new ALSes expand the regional diversity of the At-Large community, which represents thousands of individual Internet end-users. With the addition of these two new organizations, the number of accredited ALSes now totals 138.
The ALAC has certified Together against Cybercrime and the Internet Society Costa Rica Chapter as ALSes. The certification process included due diligence carried out by ICANN staff and regional advice provided by the European Regional At-Large Organization (EURALO) and the Latin American and Caribbean Islands Regional At-Large Organization (LACRALO).
Additional information on the new At-Large Structures:
Together against Cybercrime (Ensemble contre la Cybercriminalité) is located in Strasbourg, France. The mission of TaC includes informing Internet end-users of the dangers of cybercrime, providing support to end-users for the safe and secure use of new technologies, and serving as a source of information on cybercrime. This organization will be an ALS within EURALO.
The Internet Society Costa Rica Chapter (ISOC – Costa Rica) is located in Heredia, Costa Rica. The organization's members are drawn from various sectors including government, academic and private. Areas of interest include Internet governance, IPv6, and DNSSEC. This organization will be an ALS within LACRALO.
One of the strengths of the At-Large community is that it incorporates the views of a set of globally diverse, Internet end-user organizations, or ALSes, organized within five RALOs. The views of these grassroots organizations are collected through an internal, bottom-up, consensus-driven policy development process and find representation in the official documents of the ALAC.
- A complete list of certified and pending ALSes
- Statistical information on global ALS representation
- Global map of certified ALSes
- Information on how to join At-Large
- ICANN At-Large web site
Silvia Vivanco, Manager, At-Large Regional Affairs
At a Glance
ICANN receives input from governments through the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC). The GAC's key role is to provide advice to ICANN on issues of public policy, and especially where there may be an interaction between ICANN's activities or policies and national laws or international agreements. The GAC usually meets three times a year in conjunction with ICANN meetings, where it discusses issues with the ICANN Board and other ICANN Supporting Organizations, Advisory Committees and other groups. The GAC may also discuss issues between times with the Board either through face-to-face meetings or by teleconference.
GAC meetings typically contain a number of forms of documentation that are published on the GAC website for public information. At meetings there are presentations and various types of papers distributed; in addition, at the end of every ICANN meeting a formal communiqué is issued by the GAC, commenting on the issues that have been discussed. Finally, transcripts of open sessions are released a few weeks after meetings. Below is the link to the GAC meeting at ICANN's Public Meeting in Dakar.
- Presentations and Transcripts from Open Sessions of the GAC Meeting 42: Dakar, Senegal, 22-27 October 2011
- Information may be viewed on the GAC website
Jeannie Ellers, ICANN staff
update-dec11-en.pdf [573 KB]