Preliminary Report of the Special Meeting of the ICANN Board of Directors | 29 May 2008
[Formal Minutes are still to be approved by the ICANN Board]
A Special Meeting of the ICANN Board of Directors was held via teleconference 29 May 2008. Chairman Peter Dengate Thrush called the meeting to order at 11.00 UTC.
In addition to Chairman Peter Dengate Thrush the following Directors participated in all or part of the meeting: Harald Alvestrand, Raimundo Beca, Susan Crawford, Vice Chairman Roberto Gaetano, Demi Getschko, Steven Goldstein, Dennis Jennings, Rita Rodin, Jean-Jacques Subrenat, Bruce Tonkin, Paul Twomey (CEO and President), and David Wodelet. The following Board Liaisons participated in all or part of the meeting: Steve Crocker, SSAC Liaison; Janis Karklins, GAC Liaison; Thomas Narten, IETF Liaison; Reinhard Scholl, TLG Liaison; Wendy Seltzer, ALAC Liaison; and Suzanne Woolf, RSSAC Liaison. The following Board Members were not present on the call: Rajasekhar Ramaraj and Njeri Rionge.
Also, the following ICANN Management and Staff participated in all or part of the meeting: John Jeffrey, General Counsel and Secretary; Doug Brent, Chief Operating Officer; Kurt Pritz, Senior Vice President, Business Operations; Kevin Wilson, Chief Financial Operator; Denise Michel, Vice President, Policy; Paul Levins, Vice President, Corporate Affairs; Barbara Roseman, General Operations Manager, IANA; Diane Schroeder, General Manager, Conferences; Tim Cole, Chief Registrar Liaison; Craig Schwartz, Chief Registry Liaison; Amy Stathos, Senior Litigation Counsel; Liz Gasster, Senior Policy Counselor, Policy Support; Donna Austin, Manager, Governmental Relations; Patrick Jones, Registry Liaison Manager; and, Kim Davies, Manager, Root Zone Services.
Approval of Minutes from Special Meeting of the ICANN Board for 30 April 2008 Special Board Meeting
Steve Goldstein moved and Dennis Jennings seconded the motion to accept the minutes of 30 April 2008 meeting, which were posted as the preliminary Report of that meeting.
A voice vote was taken of all Board Members present, and the motion was approved by a vote of 13 to 0, with no abstentions.
Paul Twomey spoke to the President's monthly report noting that there is currently a lot of work under way. He identified a number of highlights from the report: priorities have been reorganized and overall expenses will fall within the budget approved by the Board; there are a lot of activities happening regionally including the Dubai regional meeting which had 80 participants. The meeting reinforced importance of IDNs in that region and a major theme for the meeting was the IDN ccTLD fast track process. He also noted the good progress made on data escrow enrollment agreements, which are now at 725. A tremendous amount of work is continuing on the gTLD process particularly with respect to engagement with a number of dispute resolution bodies to work through how a dispute resolution process would work.
Susan Crawford noted the interest from Board members to hear more about what is happening with the President's Strategy Committee (PSC) and how it works and welcomed the update on the Paris meeting and associated budget for the meeting.
Paul Twomey advised that Peter Dengate Thrush is a Co-Chair of the PSC and it was their intention to share documents under development with the Board at this meeting, but timetabling means that this has not been able to happen. It is anticipated that there will be a meeting of the PSC later next week and the outcome of this will be shared with the Board. He reinforced that the Board will be a key voice in transition discussions, which is the issue the PSC is currently dealing with. A six month consultation process is anticipated that and community input will be sought three themes: ensuring freedom from capture; accountability of ICANN as a whole including possible increases in board accountability in certain circumstances; and how to maintain long term security and stability. These are the main issues raised during the mid-term review.
The Chair advised that the PSC is preparing two documents: one is a road map with five or six key simple steps as the strategy for going forward for consideration by Board. Supporting this will be a more detailed background document, which will include a process of accountability for allowing the community to challenge a Board decision and hold the board accountable. The Chair noted that ICANN will continue to look at other options for review of decisions including the ombudsman and will also look at an alternative international legal identity, which will exist in support of the current ICANN structure and which will be more fully explained.
Janis Karklins asked what the timetable was for broader discussion of the report in the wider community, noting that some countries were keen to read the report and provide feedback. The Chair noted that there is a timeline provided in the roadmap document and the intention is to have a presentation in Paris. The timetable will be available soon.
Steve Goldstein considered the President's report to be too lengthy and difficult to get through and requested a shorter report. He requested information on the amount of revenue spent on ccTLD group expenses noting that if this was major then given their overall contribution to the budget the Board may want to look at this in more detail at a later time.
Susan Crawford noted that she considered the level of detail in the President's Report to be appropriate and wants to encourage Paul not to compress the information. On the question of the length of the report, the Chair asked that this discussion be moved to email, and that any other feedback could be provided to the CEO about what is required.
ICANN Meetings Reform Discussion
Paul Levins advised that this was presented at the last Board meeting and amendments had been made to make it clear that the cost of an intercessional meeting would not replicate savings by a larger international meeting falling away. Additional meetings would cost approximately $375k but it may be less. In addition, Susan Crawford's paper has been included as this provides context to the start of discussions in 2006-2007, and should be included in any broad discussion with the community. Paul indicated that he was keen to get this document into the public domain before Paris, as it will be a catalyst for discussion.
Steve Goldstein concluded that intercessional meetings could be useful as we grow and enlarge our global footprint and have subsidiary offices, which could then become the basis for regional meeting to help relieve three large meetings allowing for two international meetings to suffice.
Jean-Jacques Subrenat noted the considerable work being done and felt Dennis' suggestion to determine the goal and work backwards had been useful. As far as possible run of the mill matters should be dealt with at other meetings rather than ICANN's international meetings. These should be used to require interaction with constituencies and the public. Would make more meetings available for interacting with our partners.
The Chair asked if the discussion was on the agenda for the Paris meeting. Paul Levins advised that time has been reserved and that the final determination was waiting decision from the Board.
The Chair asked the Board for any further comments and to provide feedback the paper should be published for discussion.
Dennis Jennings indicated that he would like to see a structured approach to getting input from support organizations during the Paris meeting, going through the questions and providing opportunity for getting immediate feedback, as posting alone is not likely to result in reasonable comments. Paul Levins advised that this is in line with the consultation principles to be more proactive and seek consultation.
Bruce Tonkin asked, with regard to the statement ICANN welcomes comments on two proposals: reduce meetings from three to two; and one to a travel location, could the two issues be separated. He noted that he is hearing that people do not want to go to fewer meetings, but there is support for holding meetings in hub locations.
Harald Alvestrand advised that he is happy with this version of the report and that it should be published as soon as possible as cannot hold consultations, in secret. He also noted that he was pleased to see the question relating to the use of hubs being quite clear.
Raimundo Beca noted his full support for the idea of regional meetings instead of one global meeting, and noted that ICANN should have two regional meetings where global meetings are not held. Suggested that the regional meetings should be made back to back with TLD and RIR meetings.
The Chair asked if the paper deals with that sufficiently. Raimundo Beca said it was not included in paper and should be added. Paul Levins agreed to include this in the paper.
Rita Rodin asked if the paper was to be posted or just the two questions, noting that a clear and robust process is required – the community will need clear direction regarding what it is being asked to comment upon. Paul Levins advised that the paper will be posted as a thought-piece providing context and direction, and that the questions will frame the discussion.
Rita Rodin noted that in the past, the organization held three meetings a year, with one of the meetings in Los Angeles as a hub. She indicated that it was up to the community, but she thought meeting face-to-face more frequently was preferable to meeting less. She also agreed with the comments from the community noted that having a meeting in an easily accessible place at least once per year is a good idea.
Paul Twomey advised that the consultation paper would be revised in its form. He also noted the distinction between a regional meeting and an ICANN meeting is that regional meetings are not cross-constituency papers but more about sharing information.
The Chair concluded by asking that the suggestions from the Board be picked up and included in the paper before posting.
Paul Levins also advised that the RFP for the Asia Pacific meeting for next year was posted today and it is expected that the announcement of the LAC host for early 2009 will be made in Paris.
ICANN Paris Meeting Discussion
The Chair asked Paul Levins to take the Board through the proposed Paris meeting agenda and format. Paul Levins indicated that relating to the Paris meeting that, to date 920 registrations have been received, and noted that this is the largest number compared at this time leading up to any other meeting. He noted that the participants represent 120 countries, with the largest group from the US, and the second largest group is from France.
There are some structural changes to the meeting with a business access agenda being added and that we are expecting 40-60 new participants to be in attendance. In addition, the website has been redesigned to make it easier to access information. He also noted that sponsors for this event have increased from the usual 8 -10 to 15. He then did a run through of the Paris Meeting event highlights.
Steve Goldstein asked if there was increased income from sponsors. Paul Levins advised that there is an increase from $100,000 to around $170,000.
Janis Karklins noted that one substantive issue will be the report of the IDNC on IDN ccTLDs. It may happen that endorsement of a proposed methodology may come, which could including dissenting voices, and the Board should be prepared to react on very short notice and it will need discussion on the scenarios early if the report is endorsed by the GAC and ccNSO and if there are dissenting voices. There are issues where there is not full agreement. The Chair advised that he had recently received a good briefing from ICANN staff and the Chair of ccNSO, on this issue.
The Chair noted that we are fortunate to have a French Board Member, Ambassador Jean-Jacques Subrenat, and thanked him for all his assistance in preparing for the Paris Meeting.
ICANN Board's Finance Committee's Update
Raimundo Beca, the Chair of the Finance Committee advised that the draft operating plan and budget was posted on 17 May 2008, in compliance with the Bylaws provisions.
Raimundo Beca also confirmed that the United States' Internal Revenue Service Form 990 was filed on time. John Jeffrey noted that the ICANN CFO intends to post it on the ICANN website, after annotations are made to explain it to the community.
Raimundo Beca noted that staff have learned about the rules for accounting for foreign exchange and are working with the committee and a consultant on a policy on hedging.
Doug Brent advised that there will be active community consultation on the budget and there will be a meeting Washington with members of the IPC, registrars, registries, over the next couple of weeks.
At the Chair's request, Doug also provided an update on the proposed community travel policy. He advised that GNSO had made a formal request for travel funding, a public consultation workshop was held in New Delhi and online comments had been received. A travel policy has been developed taking into account all input and this will be posted soon after this meeting. This will form part of the budget decision of fiscal year 2008-09 and that he hopes to get to a point where there is good information about who is being supported.
Steve Goldstein noted that he hoped we're looking in parallel at other options for holding meetings such as the Nominating Committee, which would be done via video or other connection. Doug Brent advised that a posting along these lines had been received from the registry constituency, but he noted that others experience with remote participation had been disappointing.
Board Governance Committee's Report – Discussion of proposal for Formation of Review Working Group for RSSAC
Roberto Gaetano acknowledged that although the Board had discussed a different method of conducting the reviews generally, that while the details for the new process are being worked out, the BGC has moved forward in proposing some names for a working group to support the review of the RSSAC. He noted that the BGC had identified people for the working group and which may be sufficient to start work. It is expected that additional people could be considered at the next BGC meeting.
The Chair raised concerns about the way this was being done in working groups, warning that in part people who tend to volunteer are likely to have an interest in the subject of the review. He added further that directors and liaisons are getting involved in the work that should be being done by consultants and supported by staff.
Roberto Gaetano agreed that there is a need to have a discussion about Board committees and the working groups soon on how to go forward. His interpretation, of how to proceed, in the meantime, is that the work should go forward. He advised that for the pending reviews, he did not have the impression that names are being put forward with different agendas, and in these cases he had preliminary discussions with the parties who might be named.
Roberto Gaetano noted that he understood the Chair's perspective, and welcomed suggestions from the board on how to go progress in some other way. Paul Twomey inquired about the board's thinking, in terms of staff support for reviews and the role of working group to ensure being able to appropriately task staff and provide proper guidance to the consultants.
Steve Goldstein noted the difficulties getting qualified people to serve on working groups, and noted that it was a more important issue than worrying about conflicts, as the working groups are monitoring the process and not doing reviews themselves, and then reviewing the results before making recommendations to Board. He noted that in considering the newly proposed review committee, the board should consider another way to come up with a working group, as there are other important reviews coming up.
The Chair considered that the difficulty in getting a report from the consultants and then forming a working group, as in the GNSO review creates some significant issues. The working group in that instance, has spend 100s of hours reworking the entire report and get intimately involved in possible implementation issues, which goes well beyond supervising the process.
Harald Alvestrand advised that he is on his first working group relating to the ALAC review and it seems to be focused on not doing the consultants work and making sure the questions that need to be asked are being raised. He noted that the problem is what is done with the reports after they are delivered. He raised concerns about not going forward until we change the process, and indicated a preference to see it go forward.
The Chair said this is in the hands of the board, and that the recommendation of the BGC is to move forward on this proposal. Rita Rodin noted her agreement with the Chair. Rita added that with regard to the GNSO recommendations, the working group was able to navigate the issues as a result of their direct knowledge of, and experience with, the subject matter. She agreed that the process is not perfect but the Board should keep this in place until another mechanism can be found and not delay the review process further.
The Chair acknowledged that people wanted to move forward with this recommendation to form the RSSAC Working Group and it was moved by Roberto Gaetano that an RSSAC working group be formed and the proposal to form the working group was seconded by Rita Rodin.
Paul Twomey asked if the BGC recommendation was to have a five-person committee, or a three-person committee. Roberto Gaetano clarified that the recommendation is that the working group, start with the three people and at the next meeting of the BGC meeting there will be a proposal to round the working group number up to five.
Paul Twomey asked about the process for approving the selection of the working group, the terms of reference and the RFP and noted that previously the Board has been approving these steps separately. Roberto Gaetano advised that the Board could delegate any activity to working group at any time. The BGC could be delegated this authority but this has to be decided by the Board. He noted that the alternative is to have full discussion by the Board on the RFP, and on the selection of a contractor.
The Chair asked if Paul Twomey's concerns were significant enough, to stop moving forward on this and leave the decision until the Paris Meeting. Paul Twomey explained that his concern was about what the working group was being asked to do. He asked whether they are to write up the RFP and approve the consultants and noted that previously ICANN Management has taken the RFP and selection of the consultants to the Board, rather than the working group, for approval. He inquired about whether the BGC intended for the same process to be followed here. The Chair advised that no change to process is being suggested.
Roberto Gaetano advised that for the Nominating Committee Review, first the working group was created, and then the consultant had delivered the report, and those problems that could have been avoided if a subset of group working were working with the contractor earlier. As a result of that experience, the BGC was suggesting that the working group be formed, as soon as possible, perhaps even before the entire group was selected in order to interact at an earlier stage in the process. The ALAC working group was created when the contractor was still undertaking the work, and accordingly, was able to interact with the contractor, to ensure good questions were asked, which he noted would be beneficial to the efficiency of the whole process.
The Chair recommended that the discussion stop here, and that the vote on the formation of the RSSAC working group be scheduled for another meeting, unless others believed it was very urgent. He suggested that the Board leave the discussion until Paris for a decision. There were no objections to the rescheduling of the motion until additional considerations could be reviewed. Roberto Gaetano requested opinions regarding this issue be circulated via email for the BGC to consider.
Update Discussion on New gTLDs
The Chair introduced this topic on the agenda. Kurt Pritz noted that as a preface to the PowerPoint presentation that was prepared for this Board meeting that work has carried on since the last Board workshop on this issue. The implementation plan has been revised in accordance with feedback received from the Board and the recent face-to-face discussion with the GNSO.
Kurt Pritz commented that staff intends to state in the Board workshop at the Paris meeting that the recommendations are implementable as a result of the many papers and discussions that have been had with the community. This recommendation that the policy recommendations can be implemented was not a sudden realization, but rather the product of months of work that have gone on before this.
Kurt Pritz further noted that the Paris workshop would afford an opportunity for more discussion and result in possible Board consideration of the recommendations at the Paris meeting. Kurt Pritz stated recent work indicated that discussions with dispute resolution service providers indicated they would commit to participating in the process and this was an important contribution in determining that the policy recommendations could be implemented.
Kurt Pritz explained that the dispute resolution providers being consulted would provide the senior sort of panelists, required for an effective process.
The Chair commented, "Do I understand that you will be telling the Board the policy recommendations are implementable? Just want to be sure you're confident that's what you'll be saying in Paris." Kurt Pritz replied yes. The Chair commented that this was an encouraging development.
The Chair inquired if there were any additional questions on the subject. Rita Rodin asked if it is the staff's intention to have the full implementation plan available in Paris, so that the Board might discuss it. The Chair responded that the Board would be spending a significant amount of time on this in Paris. He further stated that Paris would be an opportunity to look at the process from the top to the bottom.
Harald Alvestrand asked about string confusion and if the proposed algorithm will be only ASCII as discussed in Riga or address IDNs also. Kurt Pritz responded that the company that ICANN is working with is SWORD and they have developed algorithms for six languages and a process for adding more. Alvestrand asked if the algorithm would handle languages or scripts because there are more than 6000 languages and about 100 scripts. Kurt Pritz responded that SWORD has provided estimates for an algorithm in languages that don't currently exist in their algorithm product and also that ICANN was clarifying the distinction between languages and scripts for SWORD's work. Moreover Kurt Pritz clarified that the algorithm would be used as guidance for a panel to make a determination, but that it would not be a decisive measure. He noted that the algorithm would be used to inform the string confusion decision process.
Wendy Seltzer commented that it is good to hear that the recommendations are implementable and that it remains on the Board's agenda. She also expressed interest in hearing more about the costs to implement recommendations and there are still serious questions about whether the policies are good for the community. The Chair inquired as to what was meant by her use of the term "good". Wendy replied that she is concerned about the standards for Morality and Public Order and also how Infringement of Rights would be implemented. The Chair responded, that the Board would need to carefully address its role in the process as it relates to the work done by the GNSO and the deference paid to that policy work. The Bylaws are clear about the Board's role relative to GNSO work.
Kurt Pritz responded to Rita's earlier question, that there would be an opportunity to review all materials in Paris and that he would request that the Executive Committee include the matter on the Board's workshop agenda, to ensure there is adequate time for this discussion.
The Chair commented that having the implementation plan available for discussion in Paris is a milestone statement about the project.
GNSO Improvements Report and Update on Implementation Efforts
The Chair asked Roberto Gaetano to provide an update on the GNSO improvement recommendations focusing on some of the critical issues debated.
Roberto Gaetano advised that the controversial matters related to the new structure of the GNSO, the working group had proposed a structure by which has four stakeholder groups that have four councilors on the main council each and leave for the time pending the completion of the NomCom review, the three representatives appointed by the NomCom. He referred to this as the majority view.
Roberto Gaetano indicated that the minority view was proposing a different distribution of 4+4+5+3 by which the commercial users would have 5 councilors and the non-commercial 3.
He noted that another minority was delegating the delineation to the GNSO names council to refine the numbers.
The staff report analyses this structure and is proposing 4+4+4+3 in the sense to not to give full voting power to non-commercial users until it has better representation. This was recommendation originated in London School of Economics report, where they underlined the fact that the non-commercial users are not represented by the non-commercial constituency. Both the report of the working group and the analysis from staff, identify a need to put resources to favor non-commercial users as they have more difficulty in participating.
The last position is a paper presented jointly by four constituencies and ALAC proposing a triangle structure. This structure does not mention the situation for NomCom representatives; the difference is having three, not four stakeholder groups. The other issue is for the Board to give some guidance on the timing of implementation. Roberto Gaetano noted that changes to the Council couldn't be implemented overnight and accordingly the process to do so needs to be defined.
Bruce Tonkin reinforced the comment relating to the implementation and timeline and asked if staff were able to confirm the budget allocated to implementation plan. Denise Michel advised that resources are set aside in the current budget which equate to one staff person to provide constituency focused support and also proposed an additional $250,000 for elements of improvements in the report such as software and collaboration tools.
The Chair consider that the critical debate is centering on creating a mechanism that allows policy development that is not subject to undue domination, the sense coming through in the debate is that the weighting should be in favor of consumers. He noted that the flavor of report is set around maintaining parity between contracting and non-contracting parties.
Roberto Gaetano advised that the discussion has been about creating a balance, which is interpreted as an incentive to create a better consensus to bring people together to agree on a common position, as neither, had power to win without alliances in the opposite camp. Being able to win by majority is not considered in the spirit of ICANN's consensus process and presents the risk of undermining the work reforming the way the PDP works and moving more to a working group culture. If one group has a majority, it would sufficient to stop things and not to allow for a consensus to form in the working group. He noted that the idea was to have balance, even 4+4+5+3, results in an 8-8 balance. I can affirm in the working group, the position was to keep this balance. He understood the objection from Dennis that if there was a tilt, it should be tilted in favor of users, but that the working group considers that there is no need for the tilt.
The Chair asked if that idea was for deals to be brokered by the NomCom appointees.
Roberto Gaetano advised that if it goes to a vote this might be the case, because of the fact that the vote of the independent councilors cannot be foreseen in advance. He noted that since the NomCom appointees would have to be convinced, that it would automatically generate less radical positions to bring those three independent councilors into agreement with a proposed position. He noted that the implementation will be a one-year period and will require changes in voting, and ICANN will need to carefully work out the plan for implementation.
Rita Rodin advised that she did not agree with the notion of favoring a "tilt" in any direction. Rather, in her view, the working group's task was to determine a way to make the GNSO more effective in the role of policy promulgation. Thus, any restructuring was in furtherance of enhancing effectiveness, and not to give more of a voice to one or another constituency. At this point in the process, she noted that the Board needs to look at the different positions, namely regarding the contentions point in 4+4+4+4 structure, discuss the pros and cons of each, and make a decision. She stated that she does not want to delay this any further. Rita also noted that she had spoken with members of the GNSO and they were advised that the GNSO has been working diligently to prepare an implementation plan around the WG's Report, and further noted that the GNSO is keen for the Board to make a decision.
GNSO Proposal on Absentee Voting
Denise Michel advised that this started out as a GNSO proposal for proxy voting to assign to another council member, and evolved into absentee voting allowing members to vote electronically. Denise noted that this requires a change in the ICANN Bylaws which is pending before the Board.
Liz Gasster added, that the key point is that the GNSO council members become disenfranchised from time-to-time, when they are not able to vote. She noted that this change is not expected to diminish participation and will only apply in certain narrow circumstances.
Harald Alvestrand asked that the proposed resolution be modified to indicate that voting can occur after a meeting is completed but not before. He noted that the difference is that you could in theory propose a motion, before the meeting and not show up at all. Denise Michel read from the resolution, which stated in pertinent part, "72 hours after" but that it may be reduced to 24 hours or extended to 7 days. John Jeffrey suggested a language change to provide additional clarity and address Harald's concerns.
The following resolution was moved by Dennis Jennings and seconded by Steve Goldstein:
The ICANN Bylaws shall be amended to add the following language at Article X, Section 3, Paragraph 8, and the subparagraphs shall be adjusted to allow the addition of the following provision:
Absentee voting. Members that are absent from a meeting at the time of a vote on whether to initiate a PDP, forward a policy recommendation to the Board, or fill a position open for election may vote by absentee ballot. The GNSO Secretariat will provide reasonable means for transmitting and authenticating absentee ballots, which could include voting by telephone, e- mail, or web-based interface. Absentee ballots must be submitted within 72 hours following the start of the meeting in which a vote is initiated, except that in exceptional circumstances announced at the time of the vote the Chair may reduce this time to 24 hours or extend the time to 7 days.
A voice vote was taken of all Board Members present, and the motion was approved by a vote of 13 to 0, with no abstentions.
Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA) Negotiations and Process Update
Kurt Pritz described the many hours of staff work, from the Services / Registrar Liaison Team and General Counsel's Office, and also the investment in time and travel by gTLD registrars for face-to-face meetings to discuss RAA amendments. Prior to discussion with registrars, community contribution resulted in a set of possible amendments to the RAA. Notably the Intellectual Property constituency contributed a proposed redline version of the contract and the At-Large community also made many substantive recommendations. Twelve of sixteen amendments are essentially final (i.e., there is agreement between registrars and ICANN Staff on language). Four are still under discussion; two address the important issue of escrow of data of proxy service registrations. ICANN's objective is to provide the maximum protection for registrants possible through escrow of data. ICANN Staff have prepared the following documents for board discussion and following the next round of discussions with the registrars will be posting: 1) the proposed contract language at the current state of negotiations that reflect ICANN's position, 2) a brief analysis of the pros and cons of the approach in each amendment, and 3) the proposed process for incorporating the proposed amendments into the RAA.
The Chair asked about the timeline for Board action. Kurt Pritz explained that we hoped to post for public comment on the proposed amendments through discussion in Paris. Because the process involves posting and a public comment period, ICANN expects the issue to come before the Board probably 2-3 meetings from now.
The Chair asked whether there would be a briefing during the Paris Meeting and an opportunity for the community to provide input there. Kurt Pritz agreed that such a discussion, including receiving input from ALAC, should occur in Paris, as the current goal of ICANN and the registrars is to post the amendments prior to that meeting, so that it can be a topic for discussion during the Paris Meeting. He noted that there would not be sufficient time for the public comments to close and for there to be a Board decision in Paris.
Single-Letter Names at the Second-Level Information Update
Kurt Pritz advised that the topic of single-letter names at the second-level was the result of an on-going bottom-up process to allocate single-character names that are a scarce resource. The release of the names (that are reserved in registry agreements) is provided for based on the recommendations of the GNSO's Reserved Names Working Group, public comment on the topic and a staff-prepared synthesis of community contributions. ICANN Staff is developing a paper proposing an allocation method and proposal for the use of funds resulting from the allocation that is based on the community discussion on this issue.
Kurt Pritz also advised that ICANN has received registry services requests ("funnel") from .COOP and .MOBI to allocate single-character names and is likely to receive registry services requests from other registries in the near future. Kurt Pritz noted that there was an open question on whether a series of individual requests would, in fact, create policy. That is, should the Board should rely on a bottom-up process on allocation of these scarce resources among existing gTLDs or approve contract amendments for individual requests by registries. After the registry service request analysis for security, stability and competition concerns, ICANN will work with the registries on contract amendments to reconcile individual requests with these policy concerns of the community.
Kurt Pritz stated that this topic would likely come back to the Board two meetings from now for consideration of these registry services proposals. The Chairman mentioned that the Board discussed this topic during the ICANN meeting in Vancouver (December 2005), and he assumed that a PDP would have been initiated. He asked whether there has been a PDP on single-letter names.
Kurt Pritz responded that single-letter names were addressed in the GNSO New gTLD Committee work, and included as part of the GNSO Reserved Names Working Group recommendations. The recommendations were not consensus policy as they did not remain in the PDP, but there were recommendations made from the work undertaken as part of the New gTLD PDP work.
The Chairman asked if these requests could be addressed in batches by staff and then, in turn, by the Board through the funnel process or if there is a procedural problem handling these requests this way. Kurt Pritz said that process requires ICANN staff to address these requests as they are received according to the timelines in the "funnel" process, but once the requests are under consideration by the Board, the Board can address them through the contractual amendment process in timing that is most effective and efficient.
Harald Alvestrand indicated that he believed that the Board should just say "no" to the requests until a policy process, which would constitute consensus policy, was conducted.
Board Compensation Committee Report
The Chair advised that there are two issues under this item and reported progress on each: 1) the CEO's performance, and 2) The Ombudsman's contractual review. The committee is undergoing a process for each and will be communicating further with the Board in Paris.
Jean-Jacques renewed his call for a more improved teleconferencing system asking that, even before the Paris Meeting, Management should provide board members a briefing on the types of solutions being reviewed. The management team had previously promised a paper for Paris and the Chair agreed that this should occur.
Board Executive Session
The Board entered a period of executive session without staff present, consistent with good board governance practices. This session was un-minuted.The Board Meeting was adjourned at 13.48 UTC.