Seventh Status Report Under ICANN/US Government Memorandum of Understanding
30 June 2003
by ICANN to United States Department of Commerce Re: Progress Toward Objectives
of Memorandum of Understanding
On 19 September 2002, the United States Department of Commerce ("DOC") and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers ("ICANN") entered into Amendment 5 to the Memorandum of Understanding ("MOU") originally entered into by those same parties on 25 November 1998. Amendment 5 was a substantive reformation of the original MOU, and among other revisions, calls for quarterly reports in addition to annual reports regarding ICANN's progress toward achieving the objectives of the MOU.
This is the third such quarterly report and is for the second calendar quarter of 2003.
The following table provides a high-level summary of progress on the project, organized according to the specification of ICANN's tasks in Part C of the MOU, as amended. Detailed descriptions of these and other significant ICANN activities appear in section C of this report.
In February 2002, ICANN embarked on an ambitious and comprehensive reform process designed to enhance its effectiveness in providing technical coordination services for the Internet, which reform made substantive progress in the second calendar quarter of 2003. After community consultation and input from ccTLD managers and other affected parties, and extensive dialog and debate within the ICANN ccTLD community, ICANN's Bylaws were further amended, most recently on 26 June 2003, establishing bylaws governing the activities of the country-code Names Supporting Organization ("ccNSO"), as well as the policy development process for this supporting organization. Approval of the bylaws and the process for the launch and establishment of the ccNSO at ICANN's meeting in Montréal with broad support within the ccTLD community marked the achievement of a major goal for the ICANN reform process. The ccNSO provides a dedicated forum for ccTLD managers to develop ICANN policies applicable to them, which can be directly recommended to the ICANN Board for action.
During the second quarter of 2003, considerable effort was expended in continued efforts to further the reform and transition process, culminating with a new board of directors taking seats at ICANN's Montréal meeting. In addition, during June 2003, the remaining five seats on the At-Large Advisory Committee (ALAC) and three seats on the GNSO Council were filled by ICANN's 2002-2003 Nominating Committee.
With the election of a new slate of board members, including continuing board members, and adoption of a new process for nomination and election of board members entirely, the goals of the transition to ICANN 2.0 in reforming the election process to the board have been largely completed, without significant interruption or impairment of the organization's capabilities during the transition period that commenced in December 2002.
The following summary description of status of the state of ICANN begins with a discussion of the progress in ICANN's structural, operational and inter-organizational reforms. It also describes organization achievements in enhancing ICANN's ability to accomplish the tasks that are assigned to it and significant policy-development and operational activities for the quarter. Finally, it describes various other significant activities in which ICANN engaged during the quarter.
In our first quarter 2003 report, we noted that there were still a few important reform initiatives yet to be completed. During the second quarter, ICANN believes the organization made substantial progress on many of these reforms.
The belief that ccTLD registries possess unique issues and concerns separate from those shared by generic names led to a proposal for creating the Country-Code Names Supporting Organization (ccNSO), as part of the reform and restructuring of ICANN that commenced in March 2002. During the second quarter of 2003, this proposal came to fruition with the adoption of bylaws governing the structure and policy development efforts of the ccNSO at the ICANN meeting in Montréal.
The ccNSO, as set forth in the bylaws adopted at the ICANN Board meeting in Montréal, is intended to possess equal contact and weight in participation in ICANN decisions. In its Blueprint, the Evolution and Reform Committee (ERC) acknowledged that many of the responsibilities of ccTLD administrators fall strictly under the purview of national or otherwise local jurisdiction, but that others, such as responsibilities to maintain interoperability, require or would benefit from global harmonization and coordination. The ccNSO was conceived as the forum where this distinction would be further understood and developed, and from which the global aspects will be appropriately addressed.
The ccNSO Assistance Group was formed in September 2002, comprised of ccTLD managers, participants of the Government Advisory Committee (GAC) and other knowledgeable community members to assist the ERC by proposing recommendations on a structure and set of operating procedures for the ccNSO. The ccNSO Assistance Group developed recommendations on five areas. Those are: scope of the ccNSO as a global policy-development body; process of policy development in the ccNSO; ccNSO membership; structure of the ccNSO; and the structure and authority of the ccNSO Council. Participants in the ccNSO Assistance Group contributed in their individual capacities and based on their personal views and experiences.
In its work, the ccNSO Assistance Group recommended a high-level framework for the allocation of policy-development and operational responsibilities between ICANN and ccTLD organizations, together with components and tools that focus on the needs for effective global coordination through ICANN. The ccNSO Assistance Group recognized the complex history of DNS management and explored frameworks that it believed provide a sound methodology for the future, with appropriate checks on influence by any particular group and preservation of an appropriate level of autonomy for ccTLD managers. The ccNSO Assistance Group has also defined responsibilities and roles in functional areas of the DNS management to build confidence in the ccNSO as a component of the universal domain-name system and the collective role of ccTLDs in the global management of the Internet through ICANN.
The ccNSO Assistance Group produced its preliminary recommendations in stages, preparing and posting a total of ten reports, adjusting them based on community comment to produce compiled recommendations in five key areas on 26 February 2003. After additional public comment, on 22 April 2003 the ERC posted its Fifth Supplemental Implementation Report, which endorsed, with minor adjustments, the recommendations of the ccNSO Assistance Group. The ERC received comments from the ccTLD regional groups, the GAC, the At Large Advisory Committee, and others. On 29 May 2003, the ERC posted its response to comments received on the ccNSO Recommendations. On 13 June 2003, ICANN's General Counsel posted for public comment a set of proposed amendments to the bylaws to implement the ERC's recommendations in formation of the ccNSO. All of these documents, and comments received, can be found on the ICANN website.
At the Montréal ICANN meeting, the assembled ccTLD managers, members of the GAC, and other members of the ICANN community intensively discussed the proposed amendments to the bylaws, leading to various adjustments and revisions to the proposed amendments. Broad-based support for the proposed bylaws, as revised during ICANN's Montréal meeting, was expressed by various constituent groups, including the GAC, numerous ccTLD managers, including regional groups such as AFTLD, APTLD, LACTLD, CENTR, and the College Internationale de l'AFNIC.
In summary, the newly adopted bylaws provisions establish the structure and guidelines for membership within the ccNSO, and authority of the ccNSO Council. New Annex B to the bylaws sets for the policy development process to be followed by the ccNSO, and new Annex C to the bylaws provides a method for analysis of identification of issues falling within the ccNSO's policy development role.
Also as part of the adoption of the ccNSO bylaws provisions, the ICANN Board adopted in resolution 03.108 at the Montréal meeting the establishment of the ccNSO Launching Group, to consist of the nine original members of the ccNSO Assistance Group, plus six additional members to be identified to the ICANN Board within thirty days following adoption of the bylaws provisions on 26 June 2003. The ccNSO will be constituted once a total of thirty ccTLD managers have joined. The Launching Group also has the authority to establish the schedule and procedures for the selection of the initial ccNSO Council, but does not possess the authority to initiate a PDP, develop substantive policies, or make selections of ccNSO representatives in ICANN bodies.
(See MOU task C7.)
Discussions have continued with the four RIRs over the precise structure and operation of the Address Supporting Organization (ASO) and its operational relationship with ICANN. Agreement has been achieved on a statement of the procedures to be followed in the allocation of numbering resources to the RIRs according to their established needs. ICANN and the RIRs have also exchanged drafts concerning the initial algorithm (subject to revision in the ASO policy-development process) for assessing requests for IPv4 numbering resources, and the RIRs are due to provide a response to ICANN's comments in the near future. Lastly, throughout the quarter there were constructive discussions over the structure and operation of the address policy-development process, as well as other important issues, such as the appropriate way to populate the ASO Council and the nature of contractual relationships between the RIRs and ICANN. (See MOU tasks C1 and C2.)
Under ICANN's Bylaws, ICANN's At-Large Advisory Committee (ALAC) is responsible for considering and providing advice on the activities of ICANN as they relate to the interests of individual Internet users (the "At-Large" community). On 20 January 2003, ICANN's Transition Board appointed ten members (two from each geographical region) to an Interim ALAC. On 16 June 2003, ICANN's Nominating Committee appointed the five additional members bringing the fifteen member Interim ALAC up to its full complement of fifteen members. Membership on the ALAC will evolve to consist of ten members selected by Regional At-Large Organizations once constituted, supplemented by five members selected by ICANN's Nominating Committee.
Ultimately, the ALAC will be supported by a network of self-organizing, self-supporting At-Large Structures throughout the world involving individual Internet users at the local or issue level. The At-Large Structures (either existing organizations or newly formed for this purpose) are to organize into five Regional At-Large Organizations (one in each ICANN region - Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America/Caribbean, and North America). The Regional At-Large Organizations will manage outreach and public involvement and will be the main forum and coordination point in each region for public input to ICANN.
This format for At-Large user participation has been carefully structured to provide for accountable, transparent stakeholder organization, and allows for the ability to identify the group speaking. The ALAC has been formed with a view to ensuring that the voice of different sectors of the Internet community will be heard and that their representation can be effectively taken into account.
On 20 January 2003, the ICANN Board appointed the following individuals to the Interim At-Large Advisory Committee:
On 16 June 2003, the ICANN Nominating Committee filled the remaining five seats on the ALAC by appointing the following additional individuals:
Term: From notification of selection through conclusion of ICANN's Annual Meeting 2004
Term: From notification of selection| through conclusion of ICANN's Annual Meeting 2005
These individuals have been chosen in light of their support in one or more communities, proven commitment and capability to work intensely and in a coordinated fashion. They form a diverse, balanced, constructive group that, in the aggregate, is believed well-positioned to build the structure ensuring to the extent possible that ICANN is infused with the views and needs of Internet users worldwide and continues to operate in an efficient, transparent, and accountable manner.
Interim ALAC members selected in January 2003 will serve until a Regional At-Large Organization is established in their respective region and elects its own members to the permanent ALAC. Interim ALAC members appointed by the Nominating Committee will serve out their respective terms, and will automatically assume a seat on the ALAC constituted following establishment of a Regional At-Large Organization in each of ICANN's five geographic regions and election by each region of its own members to the ALAC.
In addition to serving the advisory role envisioned for the permanent ALAC, the Interim ALAC will assist in the formation and qualification of At-Large Structures and Regional At-Large Organizations (RALOs). The At-Large Structures and RALOs must show they meet certain requirements such as openness, participatory opportunities, transparency, accountability, and diversity in their structure and procedures.
Since formation, the Interim ALAC has appointed 5 delegates to ICANN's Nominating Committee and provided outreach support for the Committee's activities. The ALAC also appointed liaisons to the GNSO Council, UDRP Task Force, new gTLD Committee, WHOIS Task Force, GNSO WHOIS Privacy Steering Committee, and has requested to appoint liaisons on the newly structured ccNSO, as well as the GAC.
The ALAC has provided input into ICANN's policy and decision-making activities, including ICANN Board action on GNSO Recommendations on Whois Accuracy and Bulk Access, WIPO-2 Recommendations, and the GNSO new gTLDs Committee report. Ongoing ALAC activities to which the ALAC is contributing include various WHOIS policy issues, new gTLD review, Internationalized Domain Name implementation, ENUM implementation, WIPO-2 review, and privacy-related issues.
The ALAC gained Board approval on 26 June 2003 for the criteria, guidelines and processes that are needed to begin organizing of the global At-Large framework, consisting of:
The ALAC has launched an extensive outreach effort to help organize At-Large Structures in all five geographic regions and the ALAC is now accepting "At-Large Structure" applications (the application form is posted on the ALAC website and has been distributed, along with supporting information, to all regions).
The framework of At-Large groups will work with the ALAC to:
(See MOU task C9.)
The Nominating Committee is an important cornerstone of the ICANN reform effort. It is responsible for selecting a number of the individuals to serve as ICANN Board Directors, GNSO Council members, and ALAC members. Once the ccNSO is formally constituted, expected to occur during the next few months, the Nominating Committee will be responsible for appointing three members to the ccNSO Council.
The Nominating Committee plays a critical role in ensuring that ICANN achieves its goal of a broadly representative organization of all those interested in the issues on which it acts. It also has an enormous responsibility to ensure that those persons selected to serve in important positions within ICANN have the personal and other characteristics necessary for the proper functioning of ICANN in its attempts to develop global consensus over what are frequently highly contentious issues. The Nominating Committee is made up of delegates from a large number of constituencies that, taken together, cover the entirety of the ICANN community.
Early in 2003, the first Nominating Committee was convened. On 5 April 2003, the Committee called for expressions of interest for service on ICANN's Board of Directors (eight seats to be filled), GNSO Council (three seats to be filled), and ALAC (five seats to be filled). On 12 April 2003, the Nominating Committee posted its Operating Procedures, and on 3 May 2003 it formed its subcommittee on conflicts of interest. On 16 April 2003, the Nominating Committee posted an extensive set of responses to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs); these have been twice supplemented.
Expressions of interest were due on 5 May 2003; by that date 110 candidates expressed interest. After an extensive vetting process, the Nominating Committee named its appointees to the Board, GNSO Council, and ALAC on 16 June 2003. These appointees represent a diverse group of highly capable individuals that bring a broad range of talents to the ICANN bodies to which they have been appointed:
Term: Conclusion of 26 June 2003 ICANN meeting - conclusion of Annual Meeting 2003
Term: Conclusion of 26 June 2003 ICANN meeting - conclusion of Annual Meeting 2004
Term: Conclusion of 26 June 2003 ICANN meeting - conclusion of Annual Meeting 2005
Term: Conclusion of Annual Meeting 2003 - conclusion of Annual Meeting 2006
Term: From Notification of selection - conclusion of the Annual Meeting 2004
Term: From Notification of selection - conclusion of the Annual Meeting 2005
Interim At Large Advisory Committee (ALAC)
Term: From Notification of selection - conclusion of the Annual Meeting 2004
Term: From Notification of selection - conclusion of the Annual Meeting 2005
The first Nominating Committee will continue to serve until the 2003 ICANN Annual Meeting; in this time it will fill any vacancies that arise and, in addition, appoint three members to serve on the ccNSO Council once it is constituted.
On 12 March 2003, the ICANN Board established a committee of the Board known as the Board Governance Committee. On 27 March 2003, the Board approved the Committee's charter, the duties and responsibilities described within which include:
(1) assisting the Board to enhance its performance;
(2) leading the Board in periodic review of its performance, including its relationship with the ICANN Chief Executive Officer;
(3) (a) recommending for Board approval specific processes and procedures for creating a slate of nominees for Board Chair, Board Vice Chair, and chairmanship and membership of each Board Committee, including any vacancies which may occur in these positions during the year, (b) implementing such specific processes and procedures, and (c) presenting the slate of nominees for Board approval; and
(4) recommending to the Board corporate governance guidelines applicable to ICANN as a global, private sector corporation serving in the public interest.
At its first meeting, on 21 May 2003, the Board Governance Committee noted that the New Board (selected by the mechanisms established in ICANN's Bylaws adopted 15 December 2002) would be seated at ICANN's meeting in Montréal in late June, and the Board would be appointing its chairman, vice-chairman, and chairs and members of all Board Committees shortly thereafter. Accordingly, the Board Governance Committee drafted its Procedures for Board Nominations. These Procedures were approved by the ICANN Board at its 2 June 2003 meeting.
The New Board was seated at the conclusion of the Transition Board's 26 June 2003 meeting in Montréal. At that time, the outgoing Board Governance Committee, acting under the Procedures for Board Nominations, gave the New Board recommendations to the New Board for filling the positions of chairman and vice-chairman, as well as the chairs and members of the Executive Committee and Board Governance Committee. The New Board is expected to act on the recommendations in early July. The chairs and members of the other Board committees will be recommended by the new Board Governance Committee. (See MOU task C10.)
During the second quarter, ICANN's President delivered a report to the ICANN Board at the organization's 25 April Board meeting identifying current priorities for the organization, including timely and successful completion of the reform process; improving day to day operations for ICANN, including increased operational efficiency; developing and implementing better defined and more transparent processes; and improving dissemination to ICANN's stakeholders. ICANN staff worked to implement and achieve these goals during the quarter, and there will be continued focus on these initiatives under the direction of the President in the months to come. (See MOU tasks C4 and C10.)
During the second quarter, on 22 May 2003, ICANN's President announced plans for evolving the organization's structure into a more business-like management structure. Increasing demand for and complexity of the work that ICANN undertakes to support the Internet community and to implement the mandate of the ICANN reforms was determined to require growth in ICANN's staff resources. The new organizational structure is part of a continuing review of the operations of ICANN with a view to further improving responsiveness to stakeholders and streamlining management processes. The new structure includes the creation of two new Vice President positions (Vice President of Business Operations and Vice President of Supporting Organizations and Committee Support) and four new General Manager positions (IANA, Public Participation, Global Partnerships and Technical Operations). The new management structure is intended to clearly delineate internal and external operations; recognize important relationships that the ICANN office has with the community; and provide clear lines of accountability for key operational and strategic functions. Recruitment for these new positions will proceed on a staggered basis throughout the upcoming months.
The addition of these new positions will assist in ICANN's efforts to enhance its responsiveness and transparency of its operations to the community. (See MOU tasks C4 and C10.)
Fiscal 2003, continuing into fiscal 2004, has been and will be a year of significant change for ICANN, including structural changes in the organization and increased staffing. The Proposed Budget builds substantially on the budget requirements imposed as a result of the reforms adopted by the organization, reflected in the increased participation by the Internet community in ICANN through procedures established in ICANN's Bylaws, amended most recently on 26 June 2003.
The FY2003-2004 budget provides funds to accomplish a restructuring of the staff along a more business-like model, as proposed by President and CEO Paul Twomey. This will entail retooling the current staff structure and adding eight positions, resulting in an established reporting structure. Also reflected in the 2003-2004 budget is the reserve of funds sufficient to allow the Nominating Committee to accomplish its charter and mission in the 2003-2004 year, including funds for activities continued from the 2002-2003 fiscal year. A new modest outreach effort to facilitate communications with developing countries in certain regions has been funded as a "pilot" program.
During the second quarter of 2003, ICANN continued its operation of the IANA. The| activities for which the IANA is responsible include coordination of the assignment of technical protocol parameters, administrative functions associated with management of the DNS root, and allocation of Internet numbering resources. See| Appendix A for a statistical summary of IANA activities from 1 March 2003 through 30 June 2003. (See MOU task C1.)
ICANN continues to make steady progress in reaching agreements with ccTLDs. In addition to those ccTLD sponsorship agreements described in prior status reports with .au (Australia), .jp (Japan), .bi (Burundi), .mw (Malawi), .sd (Sudan), .la (Lao People's Democratic Republic), .ke (Kenya), .af (Afghanistan), .tw (Taiwan) , and .uz (Uzbekistan), during the second calendar quarter of 2003, ICANN completed ccTLD sponsorship agreements with the Cayman Islands (.ky), Palau (.pw) and Tajikistan (.tj). These three agreements are sponsorship agreements forming part of a three-part written framework of accountability also involving the relevant government or public authority, as recommended by the February 2000 Governmental Advisory Committee principles for the administration and delegation of ccTLDs. ICANN continues to proceed with additional agreements in various stages of discussion. (See MOU task C7.)
Operational and policy-development activities concerning the root nameservers were steady but routine during the second calendar quarter of 2003. Because ICANN's Root Server System Advisory Committee ordinarily meets in conjunction with three-times-yearly meetings of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), none of which fell during the quarter, the committee's work proceeded by e-mail. Nonetheless, work continued toward analysis of the operational effects of supporting IPv6 in the root zone. The committee also considered possible approaches to mitigating the load on the root nameservers from certain types of needless DNS queries. Work also continued on monitoring the various forms of anycast being deployed on root nameservers.
The Root Server System Advisory Committee will next meet in conjunction with the IETF meeting in Vienna, Austria, from 13-18 July 2003. (See MOU task C5(e).)
The ICANN Security and Stability Advisory Committee draws its membership from operators of Internet infrastructure and other security specialists, and presently continues work on several ongoing projects, including:
(See MOU task C1.)
Internet domain names are text-based identifiers for hosts and services on the Internet. Until recently, only a subset of US-ASCII of Latin character encodings have been usable in domain names. Over the past 2+ years, the Internationalized Domain Name Working Group (IDN-WG) of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) has been working to internationalize the domain-name system at the application layer by standardizing a system for the translation of codes used for scripts, symbols and glyphs used in languages other than English into unique ASCII strings that can be resolved by the existing domain name system.
In October 2002, a significant milestone toward internationalization of the DNS was achieved when the Internet Engineering Steering Group approved for publication the three documents that together define Internationalizing Domain Names in Applications (IDNA), a standards-track protocol. These three documents were published as RFCs 3490, 3491, and 3492 in March 2003. (A related document, RFC 3454, was published in December 2002.) Implementation of the IDNA specification by DNS registries will allow users to use domain names with non-ASCII characters.
With the technical standards established, the next step is deployment. This involves both significant benefits and sig nificant risks for the domain-name system. In particular, serious concerns have been raised about the likelihood of widespread user confusion and new opportunities for cybersquatting. These risks can be reduced by the adoption of sensible registry-level policies for limiting which code-points (symbols, etc.) are actually permitted in the registration of non-English domain names, and by the coordination of consistent technical implementations across DNS registries.
ICANN's role in the deployment process is limited - ICANN's agreements with the major gTLD registries (and some ccTLD registries) give it the responsibility to expressly authorize the registration of IDNA-compliant internationalized domain names, but ICANN's mission does not include closely managing registry-level implementation. ICANN published, on 13 March 2003, a paper setting forth a proposed answer to the question "What standards should ICANN apply in exercising its contractual responsibility to authorize IDNA registrations in these registries?" The basic premise of that paper was that ICANN should take a light-handed approach, limiting requirements for registries implementing IDNs to ensuring compliance with the applicable technical standards and promoting registry commitments to collaborate with the affected communities, relevant experts, and other registries in developing appropriate language-specific registration policies. That paper was discussed at the ICANN Public Forum on 26 March 2003, where the registry operators under contract expressed their endorsement. Registry operators not having contracts with ICANN also expressed their support for this approach.
At its Rio de Janeiro meeting, the ICANN Board adopted a resolution endorsing the IDN implementation approach set forth in the paper and authorized the President to implement that approach by authorizing registration of IDNs in registries with agreements with ICANN on the basis of the approach described in the paper. In addition, the Board recommended the paper's approach for consideration by other registries, and encouraged further broad-based consultation and collaboration to study and develop appropriate language-specific IDN registration rules and policies.
After additional discussions with registry operators seeking to implement IDNs, the language of the March 2003 paper was refined. On 20 June 2003 ICANN announced the onset of global deployment of IDNA. It also published Version 1.0 of the paper (known as the "Guidelines"), on the basis of which ICANN will consent to the deployment of IDNA in the TLDs having agreements with ICANN. The operators of key TLDs planning to implement IDNA, including .cn, .info, .jp, .org, and .tw, have committed to follow the guidelines, with actual registration scheduled to begin in one registry on 10 July 2003. Discussions with other registries regarding their use of the Guidelines are in progress. (See MOU task C1.)
As discussed in the 31 March 2003 status report, ICANN is continuing with the implementation of the Redemption Grace Period ("RGP" - a 30 day registry hold period for deleted domain names.) The maximum registry price for restoring deleted names in .com and .net dropped from $85 to $40 effective 1 June 2003. Complaints to ICANN arising out of initial confusion about RGP have substantially decreased as registrars have increased customer education efforts.
Implementation of RGP in additional unsponsored TLDs ICANN is continuing. RGP was launched on a final approval basis in the .biz TLD on 23 June 2003, and on a preliminary approval basis in the .org TLD on 7 June 2003. RGP is expected to be implemented in .info during the upcoming calendar quarter. Also during the upcoming quarter, ICANN expects to initiate a second-phase RGP review in order to implement a process with registrar cooperation to allow registrants to be able to choose to restore their names through a registrar other than the one that deleted their registration. (See MOU task C1.)
During this quarter, ICANN moved forward with implementation of four consensus policies related to Whois that were adopted at the ICANN Board of Directors meeting in March 2003 in Rio de Janeiro. One of the four recommended polices was implemented by the posting on 16 June 2003 of the Whois Data Reminder Policy (WDRP). The WDRP was developed as a consensus policy by the GNSO and adopted by the ICANN Board on 27 March 2003. The WDRP calls for ICANN-accredited registrars to provide domain-name registrants with an annual listing of their Whois data and to remind registrants of the need to correct inaccurate or out-of-date information. The WDRP is a "Consensus Policy" as defined in ICANN's Registrar Accreditation Agreement, and accordingly all ICANN-Accredited Registrars are obligated to comply with the WDRP. The remaining three consensus policy recommendations are expected to be implemented in the coming quarter through amendments to agreements between ICANN, registry operators and registrars.
On 3 April 2003, ICANN posted a "Registrar Advisory Concerning the '15-day Period' in Whois Accuracy Requirements." The advisory was posted in order to promote a clearer understanding of registrar Whois data-accuracy requirements. As explained in detail in the advisory, registrars have the right to cancel a registration if a customer fails to respond within 15 days to an inquiry concerning Whois data accuracy, but registrars also have flexibility to decide when to use that right depending on factors including whether the inaccuracy appears intentional and whether third parties are being harmed by maintaining the registration with inaccurate data. Registrars are obligated to take reasonable action to correct reported Whois inaccuracies, but are not bound to a fixed timetable or specific action.
On 13 May 2003, ICANN posted the Staff Manager's Issues Report on Privacy Issues Related to Whois. That report, and a two-day Whois Workshop held during ICANN's meetings in Montréal (22-26 June 2003), initiated a new phase of discussion within the ICANN community on Whois and related privacy and other issues. The Whois Workshop was held in response to a request from the GNSO, and in cooperation with the GAC's Whois policies program.
The two-day workshop consisted of one day of tutorial-style presentations (with public comment and question/answer sessions) dealing with current Whois policy and practice, and one day of public policy-focused panel discussions on "Balancing Public Policy Issues in the Current Whois System" and "New Approaches to Whois Policy and Practice." (See MOU task C1.)
As indicated in the previous report, the recommendations of the GNSO Transfers Task Force were referred to ICANN's Governmental Advisory Committee for review because they implicated public policy issues. The GAC responded, stating that its "Advice to the ICANN Board is to support and implement the GNSO Task Force's recommendations, without amendment".
On 25 April 2003, ICANN's Board of Directors voted unanimously to adopt the recommendations. Work is underway to implement the policy recommendations through amendments to ICANN's agreements with registry operators and registrars. (See MOU task C1.)
Policy-development work on domain name deletion issues progressed rapidly during the last quarter. On 17 June 2003, ICANN posted the final report of the GNSO Council Deletes Task Force. The report recommended the adoption of uniform procedures for registrar handling of expired domain registrations. At its meeting in Montréal on 24 June 2003, the GNSO Council voted to accept the report and to forward it to the ICANN Board as a consensus-policy recommendation. (See MOU task C1.)
Work on the Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) review continued during the last quarter. At its March 2003 meeting in Rio de Janeiro, the GNSO Council had voted to request a staff issues report on UDRP review issues. ICANN staff worked during the last quarter to review and distill the work of the prior DNSO UDRP task force in order to prepare the report and offer the GNSO Council recommendations for proceeding. The staff report has not yet been delivered and additional progress on UDRP review is expected in the coming quarter. (See MOU task C1.)
RegistryPro began the launch phase of the .pro domain on 21 April 2003, beginning with a sunrise period for defensive registrations. The sunrise period extended through 30 June 2003.
Applicants for domain names in the .pro TLD must go through a verification process to confirm that they are a licensed, practicing member in good standing of their profession (in the introductory phase, registrants in the medical, legal, and accounting professions may register profession-specific names). Revisions to Appendices L and M of the Registry Agreement, detailing the registration restrictions and the enforcement process for these restrictions, were negotiated, finalized and posted on ICANN's website.
The live .pro launch is scheduled for 1 July 2003. Currently five ICANN-accredited registrars have returned signed appendices for .pro and are accredited to perform registrations in the .pro TLD. (See MOU task C8.)
During the last quarter ICANN took action to resolve two pending requests for reconsideration relating to VeriSign's proposed Wait-Listing Service (WLS). WLS is a proposed new registry service that will allow interested customers the ability to subscribe (through ICANN-Accredited Registrars) to a "waiting list" to be next in line to register a domain name if the current registrant decides not to renew it.
The first reconsideration request, submitted by attorneys for Dotster, Inc., sought to reverse ICANN's decision to allow VeriSign to offer the service on the grounds that the proposed new registry service was not approved via a consensus policy reached among registrars, which Dotster alleged would be required in order to allow approval of the requested new registry service. Dotster operates an existing service that it complains will be displaced if VeriSign is allowed to offer registrars the ability to sell its competing new service. ICANN's Board of Directors voted 14-1 to take no action in response to the request, on the grounds that the decision to allow the Wait-Listing Service to be offered was not a threat to competition, and based on the fact that consensus among registrars was not required for the approval of the service since the Board's action did not involve any change in registrars' obligations to ICANN under the registrar accreditation agreement. To allow VeriSign to implement its Wait-Listing Service, the ICANN Board has authorized negotiation with VeriSign of revisions to its .com and .net registry agreements with ICANN. Under these revisions, restrictions in ICANN's registry agreements with VeriSign are intended to be adjusted to permit VeriSign to offer all ICANN-accredited registrars the option of placing subscriptions on behalf of registants with a Wait-Listing Service established for the .com and .net top-level domains.
The second reconsideration request, submitted by VeriSign, Inc., sought to reverse ICANN's decision to attach six conditions to the approval of the proposed new service. VeriSign's request disputed "that ICANN (1) has the authority to so regulate the business affairs of any registry, and (2) has any legitimate basis for appending 'conditions' on to the service which substantially impair its viability and economic success." VeriSign's request then focused on three of the six conditions, stating that as a practical matter they made the WLS offering commercially impracticable. ICANN's Board unanimously voted to take no action with respect to the general request to rescind the conditions, but did authorize negotiations for an adjustment to one of the six conditions.
Negotiations between ICANN and VeriSign concerning the definitive terms for offering the WLS service are in the final phase of resolution. Under the conditions of ICANN's approval of the service, WLS cannot be launched any earlier than 25 July 2003, but indications are that implementation of WLS would not be launched until October 2003.
(See MOU task C1.)
The process to evaluate the effects of the gTLDs selected in November 2000, undertaken to guide any future calls for the creation of new gTLDs, is underway. The Final Report of ICANN's New TLD Evaluation Process Planning Task Force was accepted by the ICANN Board in August 2002, and an evaluation based on the criteria and procedures recommended in that final report was initiated during the first quarter of 2003.
To focus and accelerate these studies, ICANN retained the services of Mr. Sebastién Bachollet through FINAKI. Mr. Bachollet, who has significant experience relevant to the task, is coordinating the conduct of this study. Mr. Bachollet has now developed a comprehensive proposal for completing the work, retaining the services of international experts. An update on progress was given at the ICANN Public Forum on 25 June. The study is expected to be completed in October 2003. (See MOU task C8.)
In December 2002, the ICANN Board requested that the GNSO Council analyze and make recommendations on whether the TLD namespace should be structured and, if so, how. The GNSO Council convened a committee of the whole to analyze these questions. The committee has issued its final report, available on the GNSO's website. The report concluded that future expansion of the gTLD namespace should be a bottom-up process with names proposed by interested parties to ICANN, rather than follow a top-down predetermined structure - that is, it should be demand-driven. The committee also endorsed the concept of determining a set of objectives that should be met in any namespace future expansion and the determination of appropriate criteria; the report also discussed possible objectives and criteria. After a summary discussion of the final report in Montréal, the GNSO Council approved the report for delivery to the ICANN Board. (See MOU task C8.)
In "A Plan for Action Regarding New gTLDs", submitted to the Board in December 2002, located on ICANN's website as part of the preliminary report from ICANN's 15 December Board meeting, ICANN's then President recommended that the ICANN Board consider initiating a round for selection of a limited number of sponsored top-level domains (sTLDs), subject to verification that the sTLDs introduced in 2001 had generally been operated in compliance with their charters. A study of that question has now been completed and showed general adherence by the exisitng sTLDs to their charters.
At its 15 December 2002 meeting, the ICANN Board had directed the ICANN President to develop a draft Request for Proposals (RFP) for the purpose of soliciting proposals for a limited number of new sTLDs. A preliminary paper was posted for public comment in March 2003 at ICANN's Rio de Janeiro meeting that described proposed criteria and a proposed process for evaluating sTLD proposals as a prerequisite to the design of a Request for Proposals. On 24 June 2003, a draft RFP was posted for community discussion and feedback. The ICANN Board is expected to evaluate this feedback and consider further action on this topic at its July meeting. (See MOU task C8.)
At its June 2003 meeting in Montréal, the Board took additional action regarding charting a course for new gTLDs. In particular, it charged the President to provide the Board by the end of July with a detailed plan and schedule for the development of long-term policy for the introduction of new gTLDs, using predictable, transparent, and objective procedures. That Plan should include at least the following elements:
(See MOU task C8.)
On 21 February 2003, Francis Gurry (the Assistant Director General and Legal Counsel of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)) sent ICANN a letter providing information about two WIPO decisions relating to Internet domain names, which WIPO member states requested be transmitted to ICANN. Those decisions give recommendations (a) about the names and acronyms of International Intergovernmental Organizations and (b) about the names of countries.
On 12 March 2003, the ICANN Board invited the ICANN Supporting Organizations, the GAC, and the other ICANN Advisory Committees to comment within two months concerning the matters discussed in the WIPO letter. Advice and comments were received from the ALAC, the GNSO Council, the GAC, and the Intellectual Property Interests and the Commercial and Business Users Constituencies of the GNSO.
In its comments, the GAC generally endorsed the recommendations and advised that they be implemented, but noted that practical and technical aspects of the recommendations, including their implications for the UDRP, must be fully understood. The GAC therefore proposed that a joint working group be established in conjunction with other interested ICANN constituencies.
The GNSO Council advised that the WIPO recommendations should be considered separately from the review of the existing UDRP, and noted that those recommendations should be subject to a policy-development process to examine how they can be implemented taking into account a thorough examination of the issues surrounding the recommendations.
The ALAC supported the GNSO Council's comments, and additionally expressed concern that the WIPO recommendations could inappropriately place ICANN in the role of an international legislator, which is beyond ICANN's mission. The ALAC therefore observed that any policy-development process based upon WIPO's recommendations must pay close attention to staying within the confines of supporting existing, internationally uniform law. The ALAC also provided a preliminary analysis expressing substantive concerns with the WIPO recommendations.
The GNSO constituencies representing intellectual-property interests and commercial and business users expressed substantive concerns with the WIPO recommendations to be taken into account in any policy-development process.
On 2 June 2003, the ICANN Board considered next steps in response to the WIPO recommendations and:
Both of these tasks are currently underway. Consultations are ongoing with prospective members of the working group, with the goal of forming the working group by mid-July.
During the second quarter, ICANN commenced a review of international arbitration providers that would be suitable to establish the Independent Review Panel (IRP) required by Article IV, Section 3 of ICANN's Bylaws, which mandates that ICANN have in place a process for independent third-party review of certain Board actions. ICANN expects to present for Board consideration two to three suitable arbitration providers to establish the IRP during the upcoming quarter, with the intention of selecting an arbitration provider to fulfill this function shortly thereafter. (See MOU task C4.)
The International Standards Organization has suggested that ICANN could assist the ISO 3166 Maintenance Agency's work by nominating an expert to participate on the Maintenance Agency, particularly given ICANN's status as a very significant user of the standard. ICANN's role in assisting the Maintenance Agency is currently under consideration.
ICANN staff continued to monitor the developments following the WSIS PrepCom II meeting. Members of the ICANN community have expressed the view that ICANN should be concerned regarding the WSIS development, especially in relation to the draft language of the WSIS document that contains language on Internet address space, ccTLDs, and coordination of the Internet functions that is highly relevant to the ICANN mission and areas of responsibility. ICANN staff will continue, together with the Board and ICANN community, to monitor the discussions within the WSIS process, and work with appropriate entities to ensure that if issues within ICANN's mission are addressed, they reflect technical reality.
During the first quarter of 2003, ICANN staff and Board members met with the UN ICT Task Force Working Group 1, to discuss the proposed project towards increasing participation by developing countries in ICANN. This proposed project builds the message of support for ICANN's role delivered by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the ICANN Board of Directors at their meeting in Accra, Ghana, 14 March 2002, and a prior presentation by ICANN's CEO Stuart Lynn to the UN ICT during the fourth quarter of 2003. There are continued discussions by ICANN staff with UN ICT staff, exploring and working to identify appropriate areas of coordination and cooperation.
During the second quarter, ICANN staff attended a workshop hosted by the Regional Internet Registries in Montevideo, Uruguay, also attended by senior staff from the four existing Regional Internet Registries and a selection of prominent persons in the Internet community from the African continent. The purpose of the workshop was to convey the experience gained in the process of establishing LACNIC to the persons involved in the AfriNIC proposal.
Staff from the various organizations involved spoke in depth about the issues that were faced in setting up a new RIR. Issues discussed ranged from how local support and unity within the region could be achieved to the complex processes of transition between the incumbent Regional Internet Registry (ARIN) and the newly formed Regional Internet Registry for Latin American and the Caribbean (LACNIC).
ICANN already sees clear indications of the procedural and substantive benefits of the nearly complete reform process and move to ICANN 2.0, and an increased sense of appreciation from the Internet community for the reform undertaken and achieved. ICANN believes much of the substantive work of the reform had been achieved, and the transition has begun to be realized. However, we expect continuing evolution as ICANN works to serve the community.
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Summary of IANA Activities, March-May 2003
New Protocol Registries Created:
Protocol Parameters Assigned/Registered:
Allocation of Numbering Resources:
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