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Friday, April 18. 2014
Going to the Global Multistakeholder Meeting on the Future of Internet Governance happening in Brazil on April 23 and 24? Not going but planning to remote participate through one of the regional hubs that have been set up? Here's the latest tentative agenda for the meeting.
Continue reading "NetMundial agenda"
Wednesday, April 9. 2014
Emily Taylor, ex Nominet employee and outspoken critic of the UK's national registry, has published an open letter calling on Nominet's top registrars to ensure the registry's Board is operating in a way that protects the public interest.
Continue reading "Nominet critic calls for governance transparency"
Tuesday, March 25. 2014
The article reproduced below was published in Digital Journal here.
Starting Dot Launches Two New Extensions: .ARCHI and .BIO. Stéphane Van Gelder joins the Strategy Committee.
Starting Dot, a start-up created in 2011, is one of the first European firms to enter the new extensions for domain names market. Its strategy will be to target communities.
Continue reading "Starting Dot getting ready to launch .ARCHI and .BIO"
Monday, March 17. 2014
January 2014. The first registry contracts have been signed. The first Sunrise priority registration periods have been opened. The new gTLD program is well on the way.
So maybe now, at last, we can start to find out the real costs of opening up the Internet root? And how much revenue doing so has brought ICANN!
Short answer: ICANN has taken in USD 344.958 million from the first round of new gTLD applications. The figure comes from the first of ICANN's quarterly financial statements, covering the three months up until September 30th.
Continue reading "Think ICANN Will End Up Rolling in New gTLD Cash? Think Again!"
Thursday, December 19. 2013
The Internet Society (ISOC) has named Kathy Brown as its new CEO, taking over from Lynn St. Amour on January 1 and be based at ISOC's Reston office (Virginia).
This from the ISOC information email on the nomination:
Kathy joins the Internet Society from global strategy firm Albright Stonebridge Group, where she was a senior advisor. For more than a decade prior, Kathy was Senior Vice President for Policy Development and Corporate Responsibility at Verizon. In that role, she helped Verizon identify and navigate emerging digital issues and led its global corporate responsibility initiatives, overseeing an investment of more than $60 million a year in programs and grants that helped support Internet development. In 2010 she partnered with ISOC to launch a highly successful forum on the Internet and higher education in East Africa. In addition, she served on Verizon's corporate councils for the development of the company's online privacy and content policies and promoted Verizon's Human Rights Statement and Supplier Code of Conduct.
In her policy role at Verizon, she led the company's international public policy engagement through a period of dynamic change. She represented the company in the successful adoption by the OECD of principles for Internet policy making and was a member of the U.S. delegation to the ITU World Conference on International Telecommunications treaty negotiations. Kathy joined Verizon from Washington D.C. law firm Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering, where she was a partner specializing in legal and regulatory communications policy.
Earlier in her career, Kathy served in U.S. President Clinton’s Administration where she was deeply involved in policy development that was instrumental to the deployment and adoption of the global Internet. She served as Head of the Office of Policy and Development at the National Telecommunications Information Administration and then as Chief of Staff to Federal Communications Commission Chairman William E. Kennard. At the FCC, she managed the staff supporting Chairman Kennard's historic decision to keep the Internet unregulated, to fund the E-rate, and to increase radio spectrum availability to fuel wireless technology innovation. Before moving to Washington D.C., Kathy held senior roles for 15 years in government service in New York.
Sunday, December 15. 2013
The moniker may seem a little pompous, but the subject matter couldn't be more serious for all Internet users. The "High-Level Panel on Global Internet Cooperation and Governance Mechanisms" had its first meeting in London last week.
"The world relies on the Internet for economic, social, and political progress," said Estonian President and Panel Chair Toomas Hendrik Ilves in London. "It is imperative to ensure emerging issues are properly addressed in a global context, without individual governments or intergovernmental organizations developing their own solutions."
To support this strong call for unity and multi-stakeholderism in tackling Internet Governance (IG) issues, the Panel has already planned to more meetings. In February 2014, it will be hosted in California by The Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands. A third and final meeting will be held in May, during the World Economic Forum in Dubai.
The Panel then plans to release a report giving an overview of the current IG ecosystem, the challenges facing that ecosystem and the properties that ecosystem should have, including being legitimate, effective, inclusive and able to coexist with other, national and multi-lateral, governance systems.
See the press release for the Panel's membership and the London meeting's agenda.
Tuesday, December 10. 2013
Following a first briefing given in Brussels last June, ICANN is holding another such meeting next week, once again in Brussels.
These are great opportunities to catch up on the latest ICANN and domain related information. But whilst new gTLDs were the focal point of the June 25 briefing, this time the developing Internet Governance situation is set to hold center stage.
The draft agenda includes updates on the new gTLD program and ICANN developments in general, but will then focus on the larger IG debate, preparations for next April's Sao Paulo meeting, the 1net initiative and the high level panel on the future of Internet Governance.
Contact ICANN's Brussels office for further details.
Monday, December 9. 2013
ICANN has released a proposed addendum to its registry contract, called Specification 13. This text is basically an acknowledgement that "brand TLDs" should be considered in the new gTLD program as it creates a new category of TLD for this specific class of application.
The addendum is only a draft right now. Comments from the public are invited until January 9, 2014. Once the public comment period closes, the intent is for the draft to be forwarded to the ICANN Board's New gTLD Program Committee. If the NGPC ratifies it, Spec 13 would then become part of the contract applicants will have to sign before being allowed to operate a new gTLD.
If and when this happens, brand TLDs will, for the first time, be officially defined. The proposed Spec 13 says that:
Furthermore, all domain names registered in the TLD must be controlled by the registry operator, its affiliates or licensees.
Continue reading "Brand TLDs become official"
Saturday, November 16. 2013
Effective immediately, Wolfgang Kleinwächter will replace Judith Duavit Vazquez, who resigned from the ICANN Board last month.
Kleinwächter will be thrown in at the deep end this week, with the 48th ICANN International meeting officially opening in Argentina on Monday November 18.
Kleinwächter was selected by the 2013 Nominating Committee, who had to reconvene to handle this extremely rare occurrence that is the resignation of a serving ICANN Board member.
Just as it had done for its previous selections, announced in early September, the 2013 NomCom came together and worked hard through weekly meetings and a tight selection timeline to produce a collegial result and ensure the ICANN Board did not have to face a vacant seat in Argentina.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, it's been a pleasure and honor to work with this NomCom. I sincerely believe the 2013 Committee re-invented the NomCom process to such an extent that, after a very difficult 2012, the principle of an independent leadership position election mechanism within the all-important Internet governance vehicle that is ICANN, is alive and well today.
It is with great pride that I now travel to Argentina to witness the conclusion of the 2013 NomCom term and take up my position on the 2014 NomCom leadership team as Chair Elect. The 2013 leadership team will be a tough act to follow. Fortunately, two of them, 2013 Chair Yrjö Lansipuro and Chair Elect Cheryl Langdon-Orr will continue on that team, respectively as Associate Chair and Chair. The 2013 Associate Chair Adam Peake was also a valuable contributor to this year's process and will be sorely missed.
Wednesday, November 13. 2013
Will new gTLDs just be more of the same, or will they bring real diversity and innovation to the Internet's namespace? For Hong Kong based Stable Tone, applicant for two Chinese character IDN TLDs (?? or "Dot WORLD" and ?? or "Dot HEALTHY"), it's the smaller applicants that give the new gTLD program its soul.
Ahead of ICANN's 48th international meeting happening in Argentina next week (from November 15), Stable Tone's CEO Jason Du has commissioned a position paper on the plight of smaller applicants as they face the complexities of ICANN's program.
"If politicians only listen to representatives of big business, then the laws they work on will probably not be well suited to the smaller entrepreneurs," the paper says in its introduction. "As it works to launch the new gTLD program successfully, ICANN faces the same challenges of not only listening to the views of the people who are loudest or have the resources to come to ICANN meetings in person."
Using practical examples of recent small applicant difficulties (such as DotGreen Community Inc.'s decision to withdraw its application for Dot GREEN), the 14-page paper is an impassioned plea for smaller applicants to be looked after in the new gTLD program. "Because of their need to leverage their investments through economies of (large) scale, the Portfolio Applicants in the new gTLD market are akin to large department stores offering "lowest common denominator" products designed for mass production," Stable Tone argues in the paper. "In comparison, Small-Lot applicants are like boutique retailers. They cannot compete on price or volume alone, but instead offer more specialised services for more targeted communities."
Beyond stating the problem, Stable Tone uses the paper to suggest solutions… and to offer a definition for smaller applicants as entities which, once the dust settles on the first round of new gTLD applications, end up with a maximum of 5 TLDs under management.
Amongst Stable Tone's suggestions are the implementation by ICANN of an exception mechanism to better shield smaller applicants from the effects of delays in change requests, an easing of the 100-name limit for registry use in such launch scenarios as "pioneer" programs for smaller applicants and in the wake of ICANN's release of its tentative auction rules, recognition that as currently planned, the last-resort auction process is probably not well suited to smaller applicants.
Du has emailed the paper to both ICANN Board Chair Steve Crocker and New gTLD Program Committee Chair Cherine Chalaby. "Mr Chalaby gave us an answer straight away," Du told me in a Skype interview. "He wrote back saying: "On behalf of the New gTLD Program Committee (NGPC), I acknowledge receipt of your letter. Many thanks for the thoughts and ideas put forward by Stable Tone Limited relating to smaller applicant / registry. Your letter will be handled as appropriate by the new ICANN Generic Domains Division which deals with all matters relating to Generic Domains."
Another topic of community discussion for the Buenos Aires meeting?
This article was first published in Circle ID
Monday, November 4. 2013
The first phase of the new gTLD program is nearly complete.
In June 2012, ICANN revealed it had received 1930 applications for the first round of the new gTLD program.
Today, ICANN's program status tracker shows only 4 remain in Initial Evaluation (PricewaterhouseCoopers' Dot PWC, Council of Better Business Bureaus' Dot BBB, Kosher Marketing Assets' Dot KOSHER and Google's Dot SEARCH). A further 27 are listed as being in Extended Evaluation.
So out of the original 1930 applications, 1760 have passed Initial Evaluation, 11 have passed Extended Evaluation, 2 have been turned down by ICANN and 125 have been withdrawn by their applicants.
As of today, 98.3% of the first round applications have been processed. And 4 are already active in the Internet root.
We're nearly there…
Wednesday, October 23. 2013
Given the post-Prism political climate, it should come as no surprise that the 8th edition of the UN-initiated Internet Governance Forum(IGF), currently happening in Bali (Indonesia), is showing record-braking attendance with more than 2,000 delegates.
ICANN CEO Fadi Chehadé explains the "Brazilian meeting" to a packed room at the Bali IGF. Photo SVGC.
With a byline of "building bridges: enhancing multistakeholder cooperation for growth and sustainable development", the meeting's main theme is clearly the need to evolve the current model for Internet Governance. But not quite everyone has the same view on exactly how that should happen. The Day 1 Opening Ceremony speeches provided an interesting mix of calls for change, and warnings against the cure being worse than the disease.
Brazil has long been publicly displeased with a perceived dominance of US-control over Internet Governance and no-one was too surprised to hear the country's Minister of Communications Paolo Bernado Silva take the floor during the October 22 Opening Ceremony to call for a change to this model. In fact, the Minister confirmed that the central theme of a meeting his country is organising in the first half of 2014 would be the need to develop a new model for Internet Governance.
More surprising to many was ICANN CEO Fadi Chehadé picking up on the same theme. Chehadé has caused many an eyebrow to raise when he recently met with Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff and announced the Brazil meeting. "The trust in the global Internet has been punctured and now it’s time to restore this trust through leadership and institutions that can make that happen," Chehadé was quoted as saying at the time of the summit announcement.
Chehadé continued on this theme during the IGF Opening Ceremony, where he called for all governments to be placed on an equal footing in Internet Governance, whilst being careful to caution against exclusive governmental control by saying everyone must be included. "In my home continent of Africa we have a saying," Chehadé said in closing his IGF Opening Ceremony remarks. "If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. So let’s go together."
During a packed ICANN briefing on recent events held today, Day 2, of the Bali IGF, Board member Chris Disspain gave further insight into ICANN's current strategy. "Since the WCIT and the events of the last few weeks, the "coalition of the willing" who have been looking after the multi-stakeholder model has been weakened. To the point there is now a real risk of the governance of the Internet falling into governmental control."
ICANN's leadership is clearly worried about the coming year. "There are many important meetings to come," Disspain continued. "The plenipot and the WSIS+10 for example. Yet today we don't have an alternative to offer, so there is increasing worry that some Internet Governance functions will fall to government oversight."
ICANN's answer: a coalition of thought leaders to work on Internet Governance, of which the Brazil meeting would be just one step on the road to finding solutions to stay the perceived risk that Internet Governance issues would end up in the hands of governments.
Speaking after Disspain, ICANN CEO Chehadé put the Brazil meeting in the wider context of this overall goal. "This is not a "Brazil meeting", it's "a" meeting. Brazil has told us they don't want it to be about them or ICANN, it's not about finding solutions, it's about setting the framework for doing so. It will be a truly multistakeholder meeting, with a multistakeholder steering committee where Brazil and maybe 3 or 4 other organising countries will be involved, attended by a multistakeholder audience."
Chehadé said the meeting would probably happen in the first week of May 2014 and that the exact date and meeting details would be announced by November 11.
Tuesday, October 15. 2013
When it announced the panels last July, ICANN had planned the following five:
In the end, only four panels remain, with panels 2 and 5 above integrated under the same "ICANN's role in the Internet governance ecosystem" roof.
The list of participants is an impressive "who's who" of ICANN and other Internet organisation alumni and includes the inventor of the DNS Paul Mockapetris, the inventor of the World Wide Web Tim Berners-Lee and the co-designer of basic Internet technical protocols such as TCP/IP and ex ICANN Board Chair Vint Cerf.
Monday, October 14. 2013
New gTLD launch dates are fast moving from theory to fact. Case in point, the City of New York's latest bulleting about its .NYC application.
This has now passed ICANN's Initial Evaluation and is well on the way to becoming a live, working, Internet suffix. "We are now in the implementation phase which includes contracting with ICANN, activation of .nyc in the global Internet infrastructure , and then testing," says New York. "Based on the current status we now expect .nyc to go live in the first half of 2014."
More precisely, expectations are for .NYC launch activities to begin between April and June 2014. If New York holds to this plan, it will no doubt become one of the world's first major cities to operate its very own Internet Top Level Domain. Only a few months to go…
Monday, October 14. 2013
Next week representatives of the private and business sectors, civil society, academia, governments and the technical community will converge on Bali, Indonesia, for the Internet Governance Forum.
The 2013 IGF is bound to feature intense discussions on topics such as the recent Prism US Internet monitoring program and possible fallout from that scandal, including a renewed push towards national oversight and global Internet fragmentation.
European Commission Vice-President Neelie Kroes has just launched a public consultation on Internet governance in which the after-effects of the Prism surveillance program can be clearly felt. "It is even more important now that we agree on common principles for Internet governance, and how decisions are made in all Internet-related matters," says Kroes on her EC blog.
In this climate, as a public forum where any party can freely express its views, the IGF is more important than ever. As the recent Montevideo statement showed, strong signals supporting the integrity of the Internet we currently know and love are needed now more than ever.
But beyond Prism, the list of workshops for Bali is impressive, with huge diversity of topics, from sexual rights in Indonesia to protecting people's right to blog.
I will be participating in two workshops.
The first, workshop 249 on Wednesday October 23 from 16:30 to 18:00 in room 8 (Kintamani 7), will be looking at civil society and ICANN's multiskateholderism with the GNSO serving as case study.
The second, workshop 253 On Thursday October 24 from 11:00 to 12:30 in room 10 (Kintamani 6), is on the "closed" generic debate that ICANN's new gTLD program has generated.