Monday, February 28, 2005

Statements Made at Plenary WSIS Prepcom2

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Marrakesh Declaration and Plan of Action

- Government of Brazil
- Government of Saudi Arabia
- Government of Malaysia
- Government of Barbados
- Government of Australia
- Government of Ghana
- Government of Bulgaria
- Government of Morocco
- Government of Algeria

- WSIS Civil Society Internet Governance Caucus
- WSIS Civil Society Human Rights Caucus
- WSIS Civil Society Privacy and Security Group
- Internet Society
- International Telecommunications Union (ITU)
- UNESCO
- UNDP Asia Pacific Development Information Programme (APDIP)

and still no contribution from ICANN management...

At-Large Warrior: Y.J.Park

From rik:

There was a protracted debate, that is still continuing online, surrounding Ms. YJ Park's position that the civil society internet governance caucus has purposely rejected her positions on ICANN and its dominance by the US government. YJ felt so strongly about her position that she held up for 30-40 minutes a Content and Themes meeting that was to receive the statement of the internet governance caucus before it was delivered to governments the next morning. Instead it became a very personal debate between YJ and others in the Content and Themes meeting who wished to move forward and accept the IG caucus text as coming from the entire body of Content and Themes. This incident, which is still being played out, reveals a couple of things to me. Firstly, the role of the individual in the process is very important. As much as we carry the mandates of our various organizations, its the idiosyncratic personalities and characters of individuals that drive the process, for better or for worse. That is to say, one passionate person can make things happen in the WSIS that would have not been possible without that person.

Deadline for Internet Governance Survey Extended

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One more week to join over 850 respondents from the Asia/Pacific region and register your views on Internet governance issues:

"Due to continuing very high demand we are extending the deadline for the UNDP-APDIP Survey on Internet Governance Priorities for the Asia-Pacific for two weeks until March 7, 6:00 pm , Malaysian Time. Tell your colleagues and take the survey here".

Internationalization of Cyberspace

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The ICANN At-Large Advisory Committee's Ericke Iriarte has co-authored a paper advancing the concept of a legal regime for cyberspace modeled on the law of the High Sea.

Excerpt: In a Solomonian way, the trick consists in saying if the Internet ought not to belong to some countries, and if some countries do not want that it belongs to all countries, well then it should belong to no country at all! Legally speaking, the idea is to internationalize Cyberspace as the International Community had done it before for the High Sea.

Prepcom Report on Internet Governance

Sally Burch writes:

There is almost unanimous disagreement with the status quo, in which most countries have no say in how the Internet is managed, and where a company registered under US law (ICANN), manages the administration of Internet (IP) names and numbers. Under the present system, organizations from certain countries can effectively be denied web domain names, as a result of US foreign policy or under the dictates of its antiterrorist legislation. In fact unilateral control of the system in theory gives one country the unacceptable power to cut off a whole country from Internet access.

Brazil's representative to the Prepcom denounced that in the current situation, there is an undemocratic decision-making process on how the Net is being administered, a lack of transparency in who is making decisions, and insufficient participation of the international community.

Combined WHOIS Task Force List

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A new combined Whois task forces 1&2 and 3 list has been created. All task force 1,2 & 3 members and ICANN staff have been transferred to the new list.

The archives may be found at: http://forum.icann.org/lists/gnso-dow123

At the GNSO Council meeting on February 17, 2005, Bruce Tonkin proposed working closely with the GNSO Policy Officer to develop a single document combining Whois task forces 1, 2 1/2 and 3 discussions. This document would incorporate the material required in a task force
report as defined in the bylaws, such as the constituency statements, current recommendations, and degree of support for the recommendations (including where necessary a summary of majority and minority positions). It would also include a summary of documentation on the
Whois issues using documents already prepared over several years, and identify which aspects of the WHOIS issues fit into the mission of ICANN.

Bruce Tonkin proposed that the combined WHOIS task forces meet as a group fairly regularly in the period prior to the Mar del Plata meetings to focus on the Whois issue working from one document and documenting the levels of agreement.

New At-Large Website

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Sotiris Sotiropoulos has set up a website to support At-Large organizing for the ICANN Vancouver session (Nov.30 - Dec.4, 2005). Sotiris is a highly regarded veteran in the At-Large campaign and the website will soon provide all necessary discussion tools to organize a renewed at-large initiative. My thanks to Sotiris for this effort.

Pan-Arab Internet Governance Conference

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ICANN Board member Veni Markovski writes:

You may have heard that Egypt is organizing in Cairo the second Pan-Arab Regional Conference for the WSIS from 8-10 May 2005 (www.wsis-egypt.gov.eg) The conference will discuss WSIS issues, with an Arab and African dimension, before the last round of negotiations in September 2005. The conference will focus on Internet Governance issues during day 2. Egypt is also hosting on the 7th of May, as pre-conference activities a Regional INET meeting as well as an IPv6 Forum workshop.

A Call for ALAC Resignations

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From the ICANN General Assembly Discussion list:

Dear members of the At-Large Advisory Committee:

This request has been sent to each of you personally with copies forwarded to each member of the ICANN Board, to the At-Large Forum, to committee[at] alac.icann.org, to the ICANN Ombudsman, to the At-Large Executive Director, to the General Assembly discussion list, to the GNSO ALAC Liaison, to the GAC ALAC Liaison, to the Chair of the GNSO Council, to the Chair of the ccNSO Council and to the ICANN Vice-President for Policy Development Support.

I would like to begin by thanking Thomas Roessler and Esther Dyson for their service on the At-Large Advisory Committee and applaud their decision to resign in order to better pursue other endeavors. I now call upon the remaining members of the At-Large Advisory Committee to tender their resignations.

This is a vote of no confidence. I believe that I speak for the At-Large community when I say that your service is no longer desired.

The At-Large respects the concept of transparency; you do not. No minutes of any of your meetings have ever been posted. No MP3 recordings of any of your teleconferences have ever been provided. No record of any committee vote has ever been published. At a time when the world expects the entities responsible for the management of the domain name system to be transparent, you have chosen to operate in secret. It would be honorable for you to resign.

The At-Large believes in the exchange of dialogue with all parties in the ICANN deliberative process; you do not. Messages have been sent to you, through the ALAC forum, through your commitee e-mail address, through the General Assembly discussion list, and to each of you individually. You have chosen not to respond to the concerns and criticisms put forth by individual members of the At-Large community. It would be honorable for you to resign.

The At-Large continues to advocate for the representation that was promised to us on the ICANN Board; you do not. The ALAC has never once raised the primary issue that is central to the At-Large Community. Representation is one of the four pillars of the White Paper. The At-Large cannot abide by your ongoing efforts to substitute "participation" for the "representation" that is our due. It would be honorable for you to resign.

The At-Large Study Committee found consensus for the formation of a Supporting Organization for the At-Large. The At-Large supports the concept of an SO within which our interest can manifest; you do not. The ALAC has never once discussed the establishment of a Supporting Organization for the At-Large that elects directors to the ICANN Board. The At-Large cannot stand idly by while our interests are being ignored. It would be honorable for you to resign.

The At-Large understands its composition as individuals and organizations not otherwise represented by ICANN's Supporting Organizations; you do not. The ALAC now seeks to speak on behalf of Civil Society, a collectivity that is already represented by way of ICANN's Non-Commercial Constituency, instead of honoring its mandate to reflect the interests of the unrepresented in the ICANN process. The At-Large does not support the perversion of the ALAC mandate to the detriment of the real At-Large community. It would be honorable for you to resign.

The At-Large rejects the folly of fragmentation into regional entities; you do not. No other constituency in the ICANN process is being forced to subdivide into regional groups. We do not have an Asia/Pacific Business Constituency unit, nor a Latin-American, nor North-American, nor European nor African required subset of the Business Community as a prerequisite to formal participation as a constituent element within the ICANN process. The ALAC's dogmatic pursuit of an unsustainable construct demonstrates that you are unfit to serve the needs of the At-Large community. It would be honorable for you to resign.

The At-Large understands that you were required by the ICANN Board to offer "Internet-based mechanisms that enable discussions among members of At-Large structures"; you do not. The ALAC has failed to set up even one single mechanism for At-Large discussions. Discussions are that which occur between parties; it is not exemplified by a mechanism that only allows you to throw a brick-with-a-note over the fence into a forum. The ALAC's failure to provide internet-based discussion mechanisms is not only a breach of the ICANN bylaws, it is an insult to the At-Large on whose behalf you purportedly act. It would be honorable for you to resign.

The At-Large community has noted time and time again the failure of ICANN to post the minutes of its Board meetings; you have not. The ALAC has never sent a statement to the Board condemning such blatant disregard for transparency and has never acted on behalf of the At-Large to ensure that bylaws are being followed. When bylaws aren't being followed, when PDP status pages are never posted, when Issue Reports are not generated as per bylaws guidelines, when PDP Public Commment periods fail to materialize, this affects the At-Large that is denied the opportunity to effectively contribute to policy deliberations. The ALAC has done nothing to promote the interests of the At-Large as contributors in the ICANN process; we remain shut out of all deliberations. It would be honorable for you to resign.

The At-Large recognizes that the nineteen certified At-Large "structures" have contributed absolutely nothing to discussions pertaining to the domain name system; you do not. The ALAC continues to point to an ongoing certification process of at-large "structures" as a barometer of success; we regard it as a tacit demonstration of failure as no tangible benefits have accrued from this process and there has been no demonstrated interest in forming even one single regional at-large organization. If you haven't yet gotten the message, allow me to repeat it one last time -- it would be honorable for you to resign.

There are others that can provide advice to the ICANN Board regarding the needs and interest of the At-Large. While the ALAC has no defined term limits, it is clear to us that you have had your turn and sadly, your performance has not adequately served the needs of the At-Large; please step aside and let others get the job done.

Sincerely,
Danny Younger

Friday, February 25, 2005

WSIS Prepcom2 Wrapup

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From worldsummit2005.org -- "PrepCom debate on Internet Governance":

Presentation of WGIG preliminary report - final report to be discussed at PrepCom3

24 February 2005. Today the focus of PrepCom debates moved from finance to internet governance. Markus Kummer presented the preliminary report of the Working Group on Internet Governance, and many government delegates took the opportunity to comment on the report, uncovering some of the deep lines of conflict from the first WSIS phase. The final report will be presented in mid-July and will be thoroughly discussed at PrepCom3 in September.

Most of the day was used for extensive comments by government delegations on the WGIG report and by their recommendations for its future work. Many of these comments reflected the deep controversies around who should control internet governance -- controversies which had dominated the debates on this issue in the first WSIS phase. Many governments, particularly from the Global South, felt that governments should have more say in the emerging system of internet governance. A lack of legitimacy of present governance structures was recognized and was assigned to a lack of participation by the international community -- with "international community" meaning "nation-states" or rather "national governments". Some countries referred to the internet as a global public good whose governance should involve all stakeholders but with a special role for governments.

Meanwhile Australia expressed the views of many government delegations from the EU and North America when it called for the reform of existing institutions rather than creating new insitutions -- which should be understood as a defense of ICANN and as scepticism towards inter-governmental mechanisms. The delegation urged everyone not to compromise on the dynamism which has characterized the internet so far, and in which the private sector has played an important role.

Bulgaria enriched the debate by pointing to its own national multi-stakeholder forum which has developed well-functioning national policy and which could serve as a model for a global multi-stakeholder governance system. Venezuela urged the WGIG to focus on mechanisms for affordable access, while Samoa suggested that internet governance should be linked to development objectives, and that the deep connections between internet governance and policies by international institutions, such as the WTO and WIPO, should be looked at. These interventions underlined the view mentioned by the South African delegation, namely that the supposedly "technical" issues of internet governance are in fact very political.

Civil society delegates from several caucuses, including the human rights caucus, the media caucus, the gender caucus, and the privacy&security caucus had collaborated on a statement which was coordinated by the internet governance caucus and which had been endorsed by the general civil society content and themes meeting on Wednesday evening. The statement focuses on the need for multi-stakeholder collaboration, suggesting WGIG as a working model. It also emphasizes the importance of the rights to freedom of expression and privacy, cultural and linguistic diversity, and an effective participation of all people from all regions of the world.

After several hours of discussion, President of Prepcom Karklins made a proposal for the further process:
-> 11 July: Presentation of the WGIG final report, follwed by a common discussion
-> submission of written contributions by all stakeholders until mid-August
-> compilation of contributions by the President
-> negotiations on the WGIG report and the contributions during PrepCom3

This proposal was largely adopted. The proposed compilation is to be an "information document", not an official draft of the respective chapter of the Tunis document. Due to time clashes with an ICANN meeting to take place around 11 July, it was proposed to move the WGIG report presentation to 19 July. However the time plan is not yet finalized.

This current plan means that there will not be an intersessional meeting and that there will not be a "Group of the Friends of the Chair" (GFC) to propose a summary of the WGIG findings for the Tunis document. The proposed procedure reflects the unwillingness of several governments to let another closed GFC group draft an important and deeply controversial section of the Tunis document. It also addresses the concerns of civil society representatives about a possible inter-governmental follow-up process which may exclude civil society. However it also means that a lot of work is waiting for delegates at PrepCom3 in September. They will have to speed up negotiations substantially to achieve an agreement in time for the Tunis summit.

Mueller on Internet Governance Options

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Milton Mueller writes:

The paper I gave at Prepcom 2, along with the presentation slides of Hans Klein, are now available on the IGP site. http://dcc.syr.edu/miscarticles/MM-Prepcom2.pdf

The paper sets out 2 particular proposals: 1) a framework convention to preplace US oversight, which also implies abolishing GAC within ICANN, and 2) a form of "institutional competition" between ICANN and ITU in which ITU is given an IPv6 address block and administration of the root zone file is shared between ICANN and any ccTLDs who prefer ITU administration over ICANN.

Either of these reform proposals could be enacted independently of the other, or both could be enacted. Both are controversial and politically difficult. However, I do not agree with Bret that either is politically impossible in the long term. Bret of course could be right and I could be wrong, it is an empirical question. But we can say for sure that if neither CS nor anyone else has a specific position to advocate nothing will change.

Bret Fausett on US control of the root

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Replying to the question, "What do you replace [the USG-controlled root] with?", Bret Fausett writes:

"And, even if an adequate replacement existed, how would you convince the USG to transfer root authority to the replacement? One of my only other posts on this list set out what I believed to be the best practical step forward on this issue (a trust, with the USG holding a reversionary interest if something went wrong). Personally, I am convinced that the USG will never give up complete control over the root zone as originally contemplated by the ICANN process. So you either play practical politics (e.g., the trust idea), resign yourself to the USG's ultimate control (not acceptable to most), or take steps to split the root (not acceptable to most)."

Severe Criticism of WGIG Unleashed

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Federico Heinz, writing on the CS-Plenary list states:

Hard as I try, I can't figure out why anybody would endorse and commend the multi-stakeholder approach taken at WGIG, when WGIG's output has been, in one admittedly rude word, crap. I have not read all of the papers, but I have read a statistically representative sample of it, and their quality can only be described as abysmal, they are full of factual and conceptual errors, the comment process was fundamentally flawed (10 days to comment on a large number of papers that had taken months to draft), and no formal correction or discussion process outside the group of "experts". This is an unmitigated disaster, why would we want to endorse it?

Update on Response to Homograph Concerns

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Gary Karp on the Registry Constituency's IDN statement:

One of the Unicode Consortium's responses to the current situation was the release of an unscheduled revision of a draft technical report on 'Security Considerations For The Implementation Of Unicode And Related Technology'. You will find it at:

http://www.unicode.org/reports/tr36/tr36-2.html

This includes a richly illustrated 'everything anyone could possibly need to know' description of the homograph vulnerability. Unfortunately, it is as useful a how-to-do-it guide for malicious abusers as it is a basis for the TLD registries converging on a best-practice. It sketches a clear path along which we can proceed and highlights the urgency of our doing so. Determining whether or not that path is the best one for the gTLD registries to take (and if not, setting the alternative) is the next step in our constituency's action.

The Unicode draft is, however, nothing for the faint-hearted. The basis of IDN,is that every internationalized name exists in two formats, of which the one is displayed to the user in the full array of expected characters (Unicode), and the other is an encoded form (Punycode) that is only intelligible to purpose-designed software.

The initial design intent was for Punycode never to be revealed to users. However, a number of situations where it is, in fact, beneficial for a user to see Punycode have become apparent in the interim. One of them is that two names that may be graphically confused in their Unicode forms (the reason we're having this discussion in the first place) can readily be differentiated in Punycode.

I'll try to prepare a Punycode Primer over the weekend, which should make the Unicode draft more accessible. It is up to us to ensure that nobody feels the need for more drastic measures. Although an elegant mode for the parallel presentation of Unicode and Punycode remains to be developed, encouraging action toward that end is clearly in the interests of any agency striving to globalize the Internet. Conversely, there is also a need to quell what remains the clear risk of the proponents of an anglophone DNS deciding that since they don't want/need/trust IDN, nobody gets to have it.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Report from WSIS Prepcom 2

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Third and Fourth Plenary Meetings of PrepCom 2 – Internet Governance – February 24th 2005

1. Adoption of the Agenda
2. Preliminary report of the WGIG – first findings of the WGIG on March 23rd and an open- ended meeting on April 18th and another open-ended consultation on June 14th and a suggested longer meeting on Internet Governance in July.

a. Comments from the floor:

Brazil, Moldova, Argentina - lack of democracy in the way the Internet is being governed. In need of a more transparent, multilateral governance of the Internet. The need for cheaper access. There is moreover a need to take into account the public policy issues.

EU – negotiations should be open and inclusive.

Russia: Too early to talk about findings.

Cuba: Internet governance must be accompanied by more transparency and democracy in order to bridge the digital gap and use ICT4D. WGIG should aim at putting down
the basis for full participation of all governments.

Norway: recommendation: ensure that Internet can continue to contribute to cultural, social and economic dev, and that tolerance, democracy and HR become fundamental for an information society.

India: All-inclusive democratic multi-stakeholder access to the information and Internet governance.

Switzerland: the issues of transparency and security should be more emphasised by WGIG.

China: wish WGIG to move from fact-finding phase to fact-implementation phase. Internet governance should be multi- lateral, transparent and democratic with full involvement of governments. Private sector and CS should also play a vital role in the development of the Internet. 1/10 of the world’s Internet users are Chinese…

Ghana: support initiatives to develop local content on the Internet to prevent language barriers.

There was some division of full support for multistakeholder inclusion.

3rd Plenary Session: 24th February 2005 15.00 – 17.00

There were 35 government interventions plus other stakeholders who commented upon the
Preliminary Report of the Working Group on Internet Governance. All interventions will be
available on the web. However, it can be concluded that most were happy with the work
produced by WGIG especially in consultation with other stakeholders. They want the process to
continue to be as open and transparent moving towards PrepCom III

The final deadline for this report was set originally to be Tunis.


Janis Karklins proposed that the final proposed document from the WGIG will be presented at a meeting to be set up 11th July (the day before the ITU council meeting in Geneva) this meeting
will also be broadcast on the web. Following this presentation there will be a virtual interchange of comments open to all stakeholders. At this point all stakeholders are also welcome to submit editorial suggestion towards chapter 3.

The deadline for these comments will be mid (15th) August. Allowing enough time for them to
be submitted to the Secretary-General’s office and then translated before the deadline by
which documents must be published, 4 weeks before the start of PrepCom III.

No intersessional.

Subcommittee deliberations on operational part chapter 2 – 24.2.05 – 17.00 -?

A huge amount of contributions to the text have been submitted, which will both make it more
difficult to reach an agreement and make it a better document. The readings of today and tomorrow will (obviously) be the last reading of this summit. Negotiations will continue at 19.00 onwards and possibly also tomorrow morning if no consensus is reached.

On the deliberations on paragraph 27, which were suspended last night – the proceedings have
now been finalized as the language/reservations voiced by Azerbaijan and India last night,
have now been withdrawn.

Online Book on Internet Governance

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A downloadable on-line book by Eduardo Gelbstein and Jovan Kurbalija entitled "Internet Governance -- Issues, Actors and Divides" has just been released. It appears to be quite comprehensive in scope (but I haven't had the chance to review it yet).

ICANN's Veni Markovski at WSIS

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ICANN Board member Veni Markovski's comments at the WSIS Plenary:

Dear Mr. President,
dear colleagues

Of course, we also want to express gratitude to the whole WGIG, but also to every and each individual member of the WGIG and its secretariate, wisely driven by the professional diplomat Mr. Kummer. ITU has been also very helpful to the work of the WGIG, and deserves a thank you.

There's a saying in English which states: If it ain't broken, don't fix it. However, in Bulgaria we prefer a different, cover version of this saying, the Russian one "rabotaet - ne trogaj". (it works, so don't touch it). And therefore before starting to argue the question about ICANN and the current status quo, we must be sure about what will happen after it's changed. We hope WGIG would help us in finding the best solution, as what ICANN does is not the whole term "Internet Governance". What ICANN does is only a very small, technical portion of the coordination of the root servers and the DNS.

We heard by many about the internationalization of the IG issue.

But let's share with you a different perspective - the national, or the local one.

We have created a unique community of experts in the ICT field in Bulgaria. Members of the Parliament, ministers, representatives of the NGOs, scientists and university staff have put together a team which created the new Telecommunications Law. It's now 1 year+ old, and it defines very precisely what's the role of the government in the management of the DNS and the IP numbers and addresses. We did it in an open, democratic, transperant, multistakeholders and inclusive way. We actually covered all concerns expressed so far. And today, when we listen to our colleagues, we have to admit that many of the problems which some countries have faced, were solved successfully in Bulgaria.

Bulgaria, as a country in transition, was not excluded from the processes of coordinating activities on the Internet. It's an open process, where every government can and should participate.

We expect that this and following PrepComs and the next meetings of WGIG would bring more common sense, and we'll progress in the way to a better governed Internet. There are so many issues that need to be discussed in that arena, that we should never stop to be concerned and work on all levels - national and international.

There are three ways to do things - be part of the problem, part of the solution, or part of the landscape. Bulgaria wants to be part of the solution. We hope that with the help of all governments and participating experts in the WGIG, the working group will find a solution, accepted by all parties and stakeholders, and will not become part of a problem.

Thank you.

Adam Peake on Internet Governance & WSIS

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Adam Peake has privided a link to a rather comprehensive paper produced last May which outlines Internet Governance issues in the context of the WSIS. The paper is recommended as an excellent primer for those new to this process. The paper addresses issues ranging from unequal allocation of address space to obstacles to participating in ICANN.

Call for a Framework Convention to Govern ICANN

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Milton Mueller writing on the CS-Plenary list:

Regarding the GAC (Governmental Advisory Committee) within ICANN, a lot of people are thinking that it would be good to strengthen GAC and give it stronger powers with in ICANN. At the opening day of the Prepcom, I presented another idea.

What we need is not a stronger GAC within ICANN. We need, instead, a more carefully defined division of authority between governments and ICANN. Governments should supervise and hold ICANN accountable, according to explicit and well-defined, internationally agreed rules.
Governments should have the power to step in if ICANN abuses its powers. But governments should not be involved in the day to day coordination activities of the DNS or the IP address system.

What we need to do, therefore, is have governments negotiate a framework convention that sets the rules and responsibilities within which ICANN operates. Once that is accomplished, we should abolish GAC altogether. The creation of the GAC was a poorly thought-out, last-minute compromise. Further empowering GAC would just increase the confusion and muddle as to whether ICANN is intergovernmental or a private sector entity.

I note that within ICANN, GAC is currently the only entity that closes its meeting to the public. To increase the power of GAC means that more of its decisions would be less transparent. There is an important role for governments in Internet governance, but the GAC is not the proper
place for them.

I Object! -- Comments of Y.J.Park

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Y.J.Park, highly regarded for her balanced leadership in the DNSO Review Working Group, lashes out at ICANN promoters in the Civil Society Internet Governance Caucus:

Subject: Background of my objection on final statement of Internet
Governance Caucus


Dear all,

I decided not to participate in this distorted Internet Governance forum in early 2004. While I attend PrepCom II of the second phase, I felt obligation to make intervention to bring another voice to this forum.

As I addressed my concerns at "Contents and Themes Group" meeting yesterday, the position presented by WSIS CS Internet Governance caucus should have not been adopted as WSIS CS position.

I am speaking here as co-founder of WSIS CS Internet Governance caucus back in Feb 2003 and also as someone who does come from Neither USA Nor Europe Nor Japan.

This caucus has historically been dominated by actors from USA, Europe and Japan especially those who have "INSIDE" connections with the current Internet Governance body, ICANN.

These actors has made their best efforts to distract this caucus to focus on some other issues like WIPO, WTO, other internatonal organizations and even changed the caucus name into Global ICT Governance.

When 2003 Summit declaration decideed to handle Internet Governance, the group dominated then Global ICT Governance caucus finally unwillingly started to deal with ICANN in a minimalist manner and changed its name again back to Internet Governance caucus in order to
support ICANN as much as possible.

Not surprisingly I have seen comments made by members of opinion leaders of this caucus publicly stated "CONSENSUS" of this caucus is to side with ICANN even though they are not happy with the current ICANN.

Internet Governance has historically referred to Internet address management and therefore governments have been focusing on ICANN at World Summit on Information Society. Interestingly, WSIS CS has been reluctant to make direct comments on ICANN.

The following statement presented by Internet Governance caucus shows exactly where the current Internet Governance caucus stands regarding ICANN issues

That statement generally promoted the following principles and it never specifically touched ICANN even though many people publicly expressed their concerns in ICANN in the list.

> 1. Multi-stakeholder
> 2. Human Rights (freedom of expression and privacy)
> 3. Civil Society participation in the WSIS process
> 4. This paragraph seems to describe the ICANN in principle.

ICANN in principle calims it includes decisions by individual users, it consists of a series of private agreements including its MoU US Department of Commerce. ICANN also claims it respects national policies, and it is indeed an international and transnational body in
appearance at least it could succeed in reaching out Europe.

> 5. General issues in Internet Governance.

Unilateral control of the root zone file and its effects for the name space

The crucial role of technical standards in the preservation of an interoperable global Internet

Two issues associated with ICANN were listed at Internet Governance caucus statement but interestingly those who drafted made not comments on whether the curent system is acceptable or not.

Instead, they asked WGIG to evaluate these two.

This argument has been around since 1999. So far "technical stability" logic always has won over "diversified technical management system". Those who drafted this statement must have already known this.

Those who listened to today's plenary on Internet Governance would understand this whole debate at World Summit on Information Society is "control" issue. "WHO CONTROLS the INTERNET?"

Since ICANN was set up back in 1998, the control has been exercised by "ONE Government" and that raises concerns from most parts of the world. Some governments at today's plenary were willing to take risk to stand up against the US government more diplomatically despite potential accusation of axis of evils. Some governments think they can endure the current system as long as they have agreeable dialogue with US Gov't.

If WSIS Civil Society is willing to contribute to this debate as substantial equal partners to other stakeholders as it has been advocating, CS should also have made comments on why CS has serious concerns in the current Root-server zone file management system, global ccTLD governance mechanism, and creation of multilingual top level domain names and asks
for more internationalized oversight function of Internet address management.

I could not see any of these issues cleary in the following statement and therefore I "objected" to this statement as Civil Society position. This position could have been recorded as a small group of clique who have some vested interests in this process. But it was unacceptable to recognize
this as civil society position.

Sorry for long-length post to explain why I objected to this statement at yesterday's CS Content and Themes Group.

I hope to see WSIS CS is engaged with this debate down this road as substantial stakeholders instead of being those who promote ICANN that expedites global standards among like-minded groups without enough consultation from those who don't belong to the like-minded group.

Thank you,
YJ

Civil Society on Internet Governance

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From Andy Carvin's Waste of Bandwidth Blog:

Jeanette Hoffmann has just started speaking in the intergovernmental plenary; she is the first of several civil society speakers to address various aspects of Internet governance. She applauded the UN's creation of a working group on Internet governance (WGIG) and its multi-stakeholder approach, involving civil society and the private sector as active participants rather than as observers. Her statement advocates greater sensitivity to gender rights, human rights, linguistic diversity and freedom of expression. She also notes that work on Internet governance should involve disenfranchised groups on the wrong side of the digital divide, including NGOs and individuals. This diversity of perspectives and values should be reflected in the final documents generated by WGIG. These documents must reflect the multi-stakeholder approach that produced it, she said.

ICANN Transfers Report Due Soon

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At the 17 February GNSO Names Council teleconference, ICANN staffer Kurt Pritz, VP of Business Operations, provided a preview of the upcoming Report from ICANN staff on current complaints raised by Internet users and registrants. Kurt reported that after the 3 months of the transfer policy a draft report is being prepared stating the registrant, registrar and
registry experiences.

The focus of the report:

1. Authentification and verification methods - their success
The transfer policy - complaints
- Failure in making transfers because registrars were locking all names and it was difficult to unlock them
- Opportunity of fraud, theft and hijacking of names - one real circumstance and 2 unsubstantiated cases

2. Dispute resolution process
- procedure that was required by the registries in case there was a
dispute whether a transfer should be made or not.

In the first 3 months there was only one instance where it was invoked, instead what appeared was that ICANN staff worked regularly on addressing registrant complaints on the transfer process. Most complaints were that the registrant wanted to transfer and could not because the name was locked.

The purpose behind the dispute resolution process and the fee associated with it was that the fees would inflict some amount of pain for those not complying with the transfer process and it was a self policing mechanism. The fact that ICANN staff was doing the dispute resolution
worked around the fee. A topic to be addressed at a later stage to examine whether the Dispute resolution process could be made more affective.

3. Undo mechanism
The registries were required to implement an undo mechanism to assure that unauthorized transfers could be reversed. This appeared to be effective, the only complaints were about timeliness. and this would be the subject of further study.

Statistics

Over half complaints relate to making transfers easier to make.
Over a third - 40% of the comments to date concern loosing registrars locking domain names so that they cannot be transferred or resellers using their own name as registrant data, or some other form of nacking the transfer.
10% commented that the whole process should be faster.
Less prevalent complaint was the quality of the Whois data especially at the reseller level. A correction to the Whois data would help the process itself.
56% of the comments and most of the phone calls were about speeding up the process.
18% regard altering the form of authorization to make it more effective.

The comments went across the board for example: adding additional lock identifications,
authorization, spam filters
18 % comments said the transfer policy was susceptible to theft.

The report will be released shortly.

Domain hijack probe yet to release findings

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An article by Sam Varghese in theage.com.au (reprinted below because the website forces you to register) states:

Forty days have elapsed since the domain name of Panix, a longtime ISP in New York, was hijacked from the registrar Dotster and ended up at Melbourne IT.

Yet, nothing is yet known about the role played (or not played) by Dotster. The investigation launched by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) - the internet's arbiter of all things domain name related - on January 18 is yet to make its findings public.

The hijack itself generated a good deal of media coverage as a number of Panix subscribers are veterans of the net and posted details of the hijack to the mailing list of the North American Network Operators Group (NANOG).

Melbourne IT did not hide the fact that it was partly to blame; chief technical officer Bruce Tonkin posted more than once to the NANOG list, explaining what had gone wrong.

Dotster has made no comment. After numerous attempts to obtain a statement, what Dotster's legal counsel Ravi Puri had to say was: "There was nothing that Dotster did wrong in the process. It happened because one of our competitors did not get proper approval for a domain transfer. We are actually prohibited from denying their approval by ICANN.

"One of the flaws in the new ICANN policy is that we have to trust the other party will do it right."

The ICANN rules, which came into force on November 12 last year, say that when a registrar sends a transfer request to the registry operator (and the name is not on Registrar LOCK), the registry operator sends a confirmation email to both the losing and gaining registrar.

When Puri was told about this and asked: "In this case, Dotster was the losing registrar. Why did Dotster not respond to this email and inform VeriSign that the transfer request should not be acceded to?" he did not reply.

Both Dotster and Melbourne IT were sent letters by ICANN seeking details about the hijack.

ICANN's chief registrar liaison Tim Cole said on February 8 regarding the responses from the two registrars to these letters: "We expect these to be made public this week."

An email inquiring as to why nothing has yet been made public has gone unanswered. Tonkin said today that he had not heard anything about the inquiry from ICANN either.

Panix has made no statement about Dotster's role in this whole episode.

Human Rights & Internet Governance

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Excerpt from WSIS Statement by the Civil Society Human Rights Caucus:

In addition, the current forum for domain name management is a private party, dominated by a limited number of countries and based on a contract with a single government. This lack of inclusion of especially developing countries also applies to many Internet protocols and standard setting bodies. Any decision resulting from WSIS on Internet governance must ensure that future mechanisms are human rights compliant, both through their composition and governing structures and through regular assessment of their decisions.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

ICANN on IDN Homograph Concerns

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The ICANN Notice:

ICANN supports the continued growth of global Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs). In response to recently publicised concerns regarding Internationalised Domain Name (IDN) homographs, ICANN has released a statement and asks the community to participate in an online public comment forum. Statements have also been issued by members of the ccTLD community through APTLD and CENTR, and through a communique from the Registry Constituency. All of these statements, and links to the public comment forum can be found at the ICANN IDN website: http://www.icann.org/topics/idn.html.

The full ICANN statement may be read here.

It should also be pointed out that a document well-worth reading "Briefing Paper on IDN Permissible Code Point Problems" doesn't appear in the set of documents at the ICANN IDN website referenced above.

By the way, the original advisory "the state of homograph attacks" was announced at shmoocon, the hacker convention. There was a time when ICANN had a hacker on its Board. Now, forget about it. The oh-so-credentialed stuffed-shirt ICANN Nominating Committee (meeting in secret) will never appoint another hacker to the Board. I guess it's up to the shmoo group and others to keep ICANN on its toes. Thanks to schmoo group for the good work.

Final note: The Web Guys blog carries an interesting personal comment from Secunia CTO Thomas Kristensen: "Being a Danish national, I appreciate being able to use the Danish national characters under the .dk top level domain, but I see absolutely no need for the use of those characters under .com and other international top level domains."

Issue: Foreign Control of .Net Registry

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A great scoop by free2innovate.net:

"Four congressmen have sent a letter to new U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez urging him to take an active interest in the selection of a new operator for the Internet's .net registry:

"It is important that the U.S. Government as a whole and the Department of Commerce specifically look closely at the sensitive government and consumer transactions that take place across the .net infrastructure before it consents to move this operation offshore to a foreign operator."

Three of the four non-incumbent bidders for the .net registry contract are foreign companies, and the fourth is a joint venture between a U.S. company and a Japanese company that would be based in Japan."

The Congressmen also ask for the "names of the decision-makers for this process" -- looks like some high-level lobbying is on the horizon.

More ICANN Lunacy

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From the eng.pro website:
Starting February 21, 2005, engineers can receive more of the distinction and respect they deserve online by registering an exclusive .Eng.Pro domain name. Since the new extension is only available to certified and licensed engineers, this special opportunity helps to break engineers out of the already crowded .com space and stand out on the Web. The release of .Eng.Pro allows engineers to own their own domain name that instantly differentiates them on the Web, reinforces professional credibility and guarantees secure communications.

This announcement has been up for a while and yet the ICANN Board still hasn't seen fit to post their minutes on the decision to approve the launch of eng.pro (which was discussed at both the 24 January and 18 February Special Meetings of the Board). As this is obviously public knowledge already, why the ongoing reticence to publish the minutes? This is sheer stupidity.

Public Interest Registry on WHOIS

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The Public Interest Registry has published “Whois .ORG: A Two-Year Report From Public Interest Registry.”

Excerpt: Originally, WHOIS data was made publicly available to give network operators a way to contact each other. As the Internet and the number of domain name holders (registrants) have grown, however, this justification for making WHOIS data publicly available no longer applies. PIR and its Advisory Council, therefore, are actively participating in proceedings to advocate for appropriate changes to the WHOIS contract requirements.

WGIG & WIPO

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Writing on the WSIS-PCT discussion list, the WGIG's Vittorio Bertola responds to a comment from Richard Stallman:

Richard Stallman disse:
> The situation is asymmetric. If the WGIG recommends
> a reduction in copyright or patent power, these recommendations
> could not be put into practice, because the WTO won't allow it.
> But if the WGIG recommends increased copyright or patent power,
> those recommendations could be carried out.

Just to clarify... the WGIG will never recommend to increase or decrease the extent of application of copyright etc., as the WGIG does not deal with substance - only with governance.

What the WGIG could do (and what we hope it will do) is to examine the way WIPO works, to the extent that it deals with Internet-related issues, and conclude that it is not meeting the criteria set forth by the WSIS for Internet governance processes, as it's not adequately multi-stakeholder.

This would tie up with the Development Agenda campaign, especially now that (as per Jamie Love's email that was widely circulated on WSIS CS lists) WIPO apparently is denying accreditation to users NGOs for its April meeting, thus conferming that WIPO is not a level playing field for civil society, and further restricting the chances that civil society can
gain a proper role from the inside of WIPO.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

The Taxman Cometh

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The UN/ICANN/ITU Internet governance debate is now raging on both Slashdot and NANOG.

A new consideration in a query by Brandon Butterworth on the NANOG list:

"Nothing happened beyond a bit of noise on mailing lists when ICANN did their coup, why should anything happen now? Now ICANN are ramping up their domain tax to fund the increasing overhead they are imposing, who will tax less ICANN or ITU?

.ORG Advisory Council Nominations

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Call for Nominations to the Public Interest Registry .ORG Advisory Council:

Eight of the twenty one Advisory Council seats are open to be filled on April 15th. Seven of the seats are for three year terms; one seat is for a two year term. We would like your help in soliciting the best possible nominees for the open seats. We are seeking individuals with significant Internet leadership experience within the Non-profit, NGO, Civil Society and Domain Name arenas who represent the broad and geographically diverse spectrum of the global noncommercial community. Interested individuals are encouraged to submit nominations, including self-nominations. A nomination statement of approximately 400 words should include details of the nominees experience within the Internet, commitment to promoting the noncommercial use of the Internet, understanding of the technical or policy issues facing the .ORG registry and perspectives regarding the needs of the .ORG community. A current biography and digital photograph are also requested.The Council consists of twenty-one members selected by the PIR Board of Directors in accordance with the Charter of the Council.

New Council members will be announced on April 15, 2005. Nominations must be submitted by Wednesday,March 23, 2005. Please submit nominations to nominations@pir.org. For complete information on the PIR .ORG AdvisoryCouncil, go here.

ITU & the Internet Governance Battle

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ITU bids to become "coordination body" -- Just posted:

In accordance with the proposal made in paragraphs 9, 10 and 11 of chapter one of the report of the Group of Friends of the Chair (WSIS/PC-2/DOC/3), the following could be suggested as a possible general framework for the implementation mechanism of the WSIS Plan of Action (and any subsequent plan of action agreed in Tunis), if ITU were requested to play the role of “a defined coordination body”, as mentioned in Para 11.

1. For each Action Line in the Plan of Action, a stakeholder team will be created. The team is open to all stakeholders. An appropriate entity, such as an inter-governmental organisation, will be identified as the moderator/coordinator for each stakeholder team.

2. The moderator/coordinator will be responsible for organising the work of the stakeholder team, by organising meeting(s) open to all stakeholders for implementation of the respective Action Line.

3. The Secretary General of ITU, as Secretary-General of the Summit, will organise meeting(s) of stakeholders to reach agreement on a recommendation to the Secretary General of the United Nations concerning his nomination of moderator/coordinators.

4. Each stakeholder team will decide on its own modalities of coordination.

5. The ITU Secretary General will convene meeting(s) of moderators/coordinators (called a “Moderators/Coordinators Meeting”), as appropriate, to gain an overall picture of the implementation activities of each stakeholder team. Those Meetings will also determine the overall framework of implementation activities for the stakeholder teams, including follow-up to the stocktaking exercise.

6. The ITU/WSIS-ES will continue to undertake an overall stocktaking exercise, based on the annual outputs from the stakeholder teams, as well as the maintenance and updating of the WSIS stocktaking database.

7. The Secretary-General of ITU, in the role as Chair of the Moderators/Coordinators meeting, will make regular reports on the implementation activities of the WSIS Plan of Action to the UN General Assembly, based upon the above stocktaking excise, via the Economic and Social Council.

8. ITU/WSIS-ES, with its present mandate and expertise, would be well positioned to carry out the tasks of “a defined coordination body” with little additional financial resources. However, ITU may need some additional financial resources to play the role of moderator/coordinator for specific stakeholder teams, and would need the guidance of its Council to accept this role, depending upon the modalities of coordination in the respective teams. This may be also the case with other candidates for the moderator/coordinator role, and the Secretary General of the United Nations would not be able to make unilateral nominations, as proposed in the current draft of Para 10. This is one of the reasons that an agreement among possible candidates is required, as mentioned in 3 above.

9. Irrespective of whether a follow-up meeting (or summit) is organised after Tunis, and how it is organised (see Chapter 4), it would not fulfil the mandate of “a defined coordination body”, as set out in Para 11.

ISOC Recommendations to WGIG

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The complete statement is here (with an excellent description of IETF processes).

Brief excerpt:

ISOC would recommend that the UN Secretary General:

- Carefully consider adopting (and adapt where necessary) the models, processes and principles that have made the Internet so successful to date. They are easily transferable to other models of cooperation.
- Move to the broader definition of Internet Governance (so we hope that what seems like a consensus today holds)
- That WGIG would act as a Steering Committee for these efforts pulling the right players and organizations in as appropriate. There's a lot to be learned from organizations such as OECD, UNICT, COE, etc. and the manner in which they have approached similar tasks.
- WGIG should work to dispel myths, rumors and misrepresentations and be a source of unbiased factual information.
- WGIG should actively facilitate Cooperation, Coordination and Communication between the Internet Community, governments, private sector and civil society.

ISOC Philadelphia Chapter in Formation

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According to the ISOC Chapters in Formation page, Roland LaPlante, Chief Marketing Officer for Afilias, is helping to launch an ISOC chapter in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. No word yet as to whether this Chapter might embrace ALAC "structure" status...

Details from Apricot on IANA

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David Farrar reports:

Today was the 1st day of the AGM of the Asia-Pacific Top Level Domain Association. Much of the day focused on issues with ICANN and IANA.
IANA reported that they expect the root zone to implement DNSSEC by the end of 2005 and IANA plans to by ready by end of March with a trial signed zone.
IANA is also looking at using PGP to help authenticate requests from top level domain managers.
The proposed ICANN draft strategic plan was discussed at a high level, and there were many areas where APTLD thought ICANN was planning un-necessary things such as an Asia-Pacific regional office, funds to help developing countries, funds for security research etc.
The area of most concern remains with redelegations of TLDs. It was reported that ICANN staff have been refusing to agree to a redelegation unless a ccTLD committs to a financial obligation and agrees to join the ccNSO of ICANN. This was unamiously seen as a bad thing.

Monday, February 21, 2005

497 days & still waiting on ICANN staff...

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From the 13 October 2003 ICANN Bylaws:

Maintenance of Records
Throughout the PDP, from policy suggestion to a final decision by the Board, ICANN will maintain on the Website, a status web page detailing the progress of each PDP issue, which will describe:
a. The initial suggestion for a policy;
b. A list of all suggestions that do not result in the creation of an Issue Report;
c. The timeline to be followed for each policy;
d. All discussions among the Council regarding the policy;
e. All reports from task forces, the Staff Manager, the Council and the Board; and
f. All public comments submitted.

You would think that once in a while someone on ICANN Staff would have a look at the bylaws. No Policy Development Process status web page has ever been posted. Posting such a document would obviously be a major embarrassment to ICANN as timelines are so far out of whack as to be practically meaningless, as Staff Manager reports are non-existent and as public comments have still not been solicited. The GNSO policy development process has turned into ICANN's longest-running joke. ... and we owe this all to the ICANN "Reform".

IP Lobby & the ICANN Ombudsman

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Posting to the WHOIS Task Force 1/2 discussion list, Steve Metalitz, Executive Vice-President of the Intellectual Property Constituency, writes:
Regarding the second recommendation (procedure for situations of alleged conflict between ICANN agreements and local law re Whois), we have been discussing two options: moving ahead under the PDP (seeking constituency statements on the recommendation), or continuing to wait until it becomes possible to schedule a meeting with the ICANN staff that have apparently expressed objections to the recommendation. A third option has been brought to my attention, and I believe it is worth serious consideration: asking the ICANN Ombudsman to intervene. Our problem clearly seems to fall within the ombudsman's purview. See Ombudsman Framework ("The Ombudsman's function is to act as an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) office for the ICANN community who may wish to lodge a complaint about a staff or board decision, action or inaction. The purpose of the office is to ensure that the members of the ICANN community have been treated fairly. The Ombudsman will act as an impartial officer and will attempt to resolve complaints about unfair treatment by ICANN using ADR techniques."). The ombudsman's webpage states: "The ICANN Ombudsman will receive and have jurisdiction over complaints concerning: Decisions, actions, or inactions by one or more members of ICANN staff". I believe that is the situation we face here. While the ombudsman process can be invoked by anyone, and it would not require a decision of the Task Force for one or more individuals to move forward on this route, I believe it is worth discussing this option on our call tomorrow.
The above-cited problem stems from the fact that ICANN staff has been too busy handing litigation matters -- they just posted a dozen or more new litigation documents -- that they don't have any remaining time to work on the oh-so-pressing-issues being considered by this GNSO task force. I seriously doubt that an Ombudsman will be of any assistance... he will likely only suggest to ICANN management that they recruit more attorneys.

The U.S. & Internet Governance Discussions

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Bruno Oudet, blogging from the WSIS, writes that discussions have focused on the role of the American government with respect to the governance of the Internet (with everyone asking what will happen after the expiry of ICANN's MOU with the U.S. Department of Commerce):

Au centre de la discussion a été le rôle du gouvernement américain dans la gouvernance. Il semble que le fonctionnement interne de l’ICANN ne soit pas si mauvais. La question principale est donc: que va-t-il se passer après mars 2006, terme de l’accord entre l’ICANN et le gouvernement américain.

Participants in ICANN have likewise been asking for a clarification which hopefully will be forthcoming within the context of anticipated revisions to ICANN's 3-year Strategic Plan.

A clue to what may happen in 2006 -- nothing -- may be found in the remarks of John Kneuer, Deputy Assistant Secretary, US DOC:

"First, it has been suggested that the responsibility for DNS technical management may shift to a UN agency as a result of WSIS. Let me take this opportunity to clarify that neither the WSIS nor the subsidiary discussions regarding Internet governance are chartered to take action or to yield an international treaty with binding obligations."

A post-MOU ICANN that is not bound by treaty obligations has no compelling reason to change.

WGIG Preliminary Report

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The Preliminary Report of the Working Group on Internet Governance submitted to the Preparatory Committee of the World Summit on the Information Society, Geneva, 21 February 2005 is now available. If you like reports devoid of substantive content, then you will love this piece of work.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

LatinoamerICANN Scoop on ALAC

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LatinoamerICANN.org reports that John Levine and Annette Muehlberg have been appointed by the ICANN Board to serve on the ALAC as regional representatives (while Bret Fausett will function as an ALAC liaison to the GNSO):

Tras una larga espera, se ha realizado la incorporación de dos nuevos miembros al ALAC, en remplazo de Esther Dyson y Thomas Roessler.La teleconferencia del Board del 18 de Febrero, acordo tomar las recomendaciones del ALAC y reemplazar a Esther Dyson por John Levine (en Norte America), y a Thomas Roessler por Annette Muehlberg (en Europa).Thomas era el enlace del ALAC con el GNSO, puesto que asumira Bret Fausett, que no es miembro del ALAC, sino como representante del mismo. Esther Dyson, tiene una trayectoria en los temas At-large desde los origenes del ICANN y ha sido una guia permanente, asi como una voz de alerta y un permanente foco de analisis situacional, que ha permitido el adecuado desarrollo del ALAC.El alejamiento de estas dos personas (Esther y Thomas), produce un dolor en aquellos que quedan del grupo original del ALAC, y un sincero sentimiento de agradecimiento por todo su trabajo y empeño.

The Director of latinoamerICANN.org is ALAC member Erick Irarte Ahon who apparently has no qualms about posting privileged information that even the ICANN Board hasn't released.

Court Rules Against ICANN

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Free2innovate.net comments on the lawsuits that ICANN is facing from Verisign:
ICANN's motion asking a California court to stay VeriSign's lawsuit so the dispute could be moved to a binding dispute resolution process described in the .Net Registry Agreement has been denied. The court ruled that the arbitration provision in the .net RegistryAgreement is invalid.

VeriSign claims that ICANN's process for selecting the next .net operator "is not open and transparent, is not reasonably designed to select the best qualified registry operator, does not constitute a valid consensus policy, and seriously disadvantages VeriSign." In the 46-page filing, VeriSign implies that ICANN's RFP deliberately disadvantages VeriSign in the bidding contest.

The article is well-worth reading for a basic summation of the current state of events.

APRALO Website Launched

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Denise Michel, Executive Director of the At-Large, & friends have quietly launched the apralo.org website for the Asia/Pacific Regional At-Large Organization in conjunction with ALAC member Tommy Matsumoto's presentation at Apricot (virtually identical to the presentation that was made in Accra). The website is pretty much a clone of the afralo.org website with Asian names substituted for the African names.

More interesting, however, was the presentation made by Dr Yoo, Ji Yul on "Internet Governance and At-Large" with a series of slides highlighting the "Failure of I-Democracy in ICANN".

Highlights:

1. Disregarding Internet Community in decision-making process brings the legitimacy problems
2. "Participation" has no actual effect on ICANN's decision-making
3. Internet community's frustration at being ignored, and giving up on participation

Talks on launching an Asia/Pacific RALO are still ongoing but questions remain, such as "How individuals participate after RALO is formed", "sources for funding" and "reasonable working mechanisms".

Notes from Apricot

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Comments of Geoff Huston (APNIC) during the WSIS/WGIG segment at Apricot 2005:

On a larger scale -- This is not an ICANN vs. ITU debate, but a deeper consideration into the most effective manner of meeting a very diverse set of expectations relating to the global role of the Internet over the coming decades -- The WSIS process will have far-reaching implications for the future of the Internet -- may need further evolution to the current model (for instance, ICANN).

The following supplemental notes are from the Gen Kanai weblog:

Presentation thoughts:

- ICANN perceived as being too "private sector" and ITU-T is perceived as too supportive of governments; there ought to be a balance - governments wish to control communications; ITU-T is essentially (imho) a hand of governments - IP communications has really impacted the world's telecommunications in many, many ways; follow the money (or rather, in this case, how the floes of money have changed) to see where the pressure points are

THOUGHTS

Today I had a quick peek into the world 'behind the Internet.'
There are a number of important issues that are facing Internet governance in the coming years, but more than anything else, I think, is that there is a huge tension that has been created due to the nature of IP communications. The power players of the past (national telecom monopolies) are quickly being deregulated across the globe, and market forces and private companies have, for the most part, made the Internet successful.

I have a hard time imagining a future Internet world which has reverted back to control by national governmental telecom monopolies. I think the Internet will route around attacks to it, from external forces like the ITU-T.

The Public is Getting Impatient

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I found this note at the end of a paper submitted to the WGIG by Dr. Abdulaziz H. Al-Zoman, Director of SaudiNIC:

Message to the Actors … ICANN/IANA/MINC/ITU …
We cannot wait forever for the realization of IDN.
[i.e., We need to speed up the implementation of IDN]

ISPCP Re-elects Harris & Ruth to GNSO Council

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Mark McFadden, ISPCP Secretariat, has announced: "Since there are two vacancies and two nominees, Tony Harris of CABASE and Greg Ruth of Verizon, the Secretariat suggests that there is no need for a formal election. Instead, the Secretariat suggests that the ISPCP elect the two nominees by acclaimation. This is consistent with past procedure in ISPCP elections. Unless I hear objections in the next 72 hours, please join me in welcoming Tony and Greg back to their roles on the GNSO Council.

This will be the third consecutive term for Tony Harris -- somewhat surprising since the Articles of the ISPCP state: 7.3. NC Representatives may not be elected for more than two successive periods. Following two such periods, re-election is only possible after an intermediary period of one year even if a different organization appoints her/him as Delegate.

I guess that these days its OK to blatantly dispel with Charter provisions, or to ignore the fact that the transition article in the ICANN bylaws required each constituency to craft a new Charter (which the ISPCP has apparently "forgotten" to do):
Notwithstanding the adoption or effectiveness of the New Bylaws, each GNSO
constituency described in paragraph 2 of this Section 5 shall continue operating as before and no constituency official, task force, or other activity shall be changed until further action of the constituency, provided that each GNSO constituency shall submit to the ICANN Secretary a new charter and statement of operating procedures, adopted according to the constituency's processes and consistent with the New Bylaws, no later than 15 July 2003.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

US Government to Pay for Participation in ICANN

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From the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) FY 2006 Budget in Brief:

ICANN / GAC Membership Fees

NTIA is the accredited United States Government (USG) member of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC). Consistent with ICANN's continuing evolution into a fully privatized entity responsible for managing the domain name system in the interests of all stakeholders, including
governments, the GAC is similarly undertaking a review of its current structure and organization. By FY 2006, the GAC is expected to be funded by contributions from its membership and, as the USG representative to the GAC, NTIA requires funding to ensure the continued representation of the USG on the GAC.

ICANN Litigation Documents

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I have been working my way through the Verisign, Inc. v. ICANN litigation documents posted to the ICANN website. My only comment with regard to the Verisign Request for Arbitration document (and no, I am not a lawyer) is that the stinging indictment of the GNSO is spot on. As ICANN moves forward with the GNSO Council review, I just hope that they take some of Verisign's observations under consideration.

Susan Crawford on Regulatory Ambition

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"Shortness of Vision: Regulatory Ambition in the Digital Age" is the title of an article penned by Susan Crawford which explores the application of complex systems theory to internet governance. The goal of her article "is to persuade you that we face a great choice in the current "internet governance" debate between open platforms, open devices, and diversity, on the one hand, and constrained platforms, constrained devices, and monocultures, on the other, and that this is an important choice because of its implications for the value, richness, and vibrancy of all human communications."

Election for ICANN Board Seat 14

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GNSO Council Elections for ICANN Board seat 14 currently occupied by Michael Palage --Nominations Open: Monday 21 February 2005 at 00:00 UTC
Nominations Close: Friday 11 March 2005 at 17:00 UTC

The full nomination procedure is set out at:http://www.gnso.icann.org/announcements/announcement-18feb05.htm

Only GNSO Council members may nominate and vote for candidates, although GNSO Council members should consult with their constituencies with regard to suitable candidates.

On a personal note, it's nice to know that some ICANN Directors are still elected. Maybe someday an At-Large Supporting Organization will similarly elect a slate of directors to the ICANN Board... after all, lest we forget -- it is what the ICANN-appointed At-Large Study Committee recommended.

ICANN's GAC Posts Comments to WSIS

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Mohamed Sharil Tarmizi -- Chairman, Government Advisory Committee (GAC), ICANN -- has posted a document in response to the Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG) request for comments. The contribution is well-written and outlines the growth of GAC membership and involvement in the ICANN process with a series of charts illustrating the GAC's activities over time.

I remain astounded by the fact that no one in ICANN management has yet seen fit to contribute to this process by providing a well-written document that outlines ICANN's role with respect to Internet Governance. For a group that preaches the value of participation, they sure haven't taken their own dogma to heart.

ICANN: Conference in Warsaw Poland

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The upcoming ICANN meeting in Mar del Plata is about six weeks away -- and still we have no idea what the meeting will be about. There are no topics posted, there has been no "Call for Papers", there is nothing on the meeting's website which offers any clue to non-industry participants as to why they should spend lots of their own personal funds to attend this event.

Contrast this scenario with the conference being offered by the "OTHER ICANN". What? You never heard of the other ICANN? I am, of course, referring to the International Conference on Artificial Neural Networks (ICANN) being held six months from now in Warsaw Poland. We already know the full roster of speakers at that conference, we know about the special sessions which are organized by experts in their respective fields and consist of discussion pertaining to at least 5 papers solicited by the session organizer and submitted to the conference, and we already know about all the scheduled workshops.

It's amazing that so much detail can be provided about a conference being held in half a year's time while a conference that is just six weeks away is totally bereft of details. The "other ICANN" obviously cares about properly informing its prospective participants in a timely fashion.

On the Closed Meeting of the WGIG

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Vittorio Bertola reports:

so, this is the report about the two-days closed meeting of the wgig in which the group, after holding its public consultations, come to conclusion on its interim report, and on how to proceed with its work.

of course, i cannot tell you yet what's in the report, but i can tell you not to expect anything special: most of the report is just a factual summary of what we did in the last couple of months. we tried to come to closure on a possible definition of internet governance, but there was really not enough time for such a task, so we scrapped it out of the report and will address the problem in the future.

we finally decided that we will hold the next round of meetings on april 18-20, and the last round on june 14-17. both will (likely) be in geneva, and in both cases the first day will be devoted to open consultation.

the first of the two days was almost entirely devoted to a frank and lively discussion on icann and all the related problems. even if it made a couple of wgig members extremely nervous, i think that this discussion was quite useful to advance reciprocal understanding. we also talked at length about what does "transparent and accountable" mean, and i've proposed to the group to write down a set of general guidelines to be included in the final report, to turn words into practical action.

the second day was mostly devoted to the discussion of the interim report - and even if it's just a few pages, it took a lot of time to get everyone happy (and, as i told, there was not enough time to finalize the definition).

the last part of the day - after a brief chat about spam - was devoted to plans for future work. it was more or less agreed that we would group the issues into a limited number of clusters. that's basically all, and all the rest will have to be discussed online.

however, we members from civil society were quite disappointed when we heard the chair stress that the online work has just a preparatory value, but nothing can be actually decided out of physical meetings; in this backed by a european governmental person that more or less said that he has more important commitments in his job than reading emails.

i won't comment again on how weird it is for someone to be a member of a group which should decide over the future of the internet, and yet not use it regularly; i'll just say that at the end of the meeting, when we all posed for the mandatory group photo, one member shouted out loud "smile, this could be the photo of the first government of the internet"; and inside many of us a whole set of red lights started to flash.

anyway, my feeling is that, given the necessarily slow pace that a group of forty individuals has in a physical meeting, not using the mailing list for any substantial work would mostly equate to a significant reduction in any chance of producing results.
still, of course it is not in our plans to get out of this group without a minimal number of results that we have on our agenda... i'd rather sleep in the meeting room.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Working Group on Internet Governance on MP3

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You can find official audio records from WSIS Civil Society Bureau at the following link:
http://www.wsis-csb.org/wsis-audio/ The audio/video records will be available soon.

Bertola Blogging from WSIS

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From Vittorio's blog:

yesterday was quite a busy and significant day! today's wgig meeting will be starting in a few minutes, so i'll just post some quick notes.

the day started with what could be considered a disertion. the itu had organized a briefing on next generation networks and other issues, but unfortunately it had been scheduled at 9:15, overlapping with the civil society plenary. i really wanted to attend the plenary (even if often ends up being pointless and confused), so, on my own, i decided i would skip the itu session. but well, it seems that all civil society members of the wgig thought the same, because in the end most of the wgig attended the itu session... but, apparently, no one from civil society.
however, at 10 am - the intended starting time for the wgig meeting - i entered the main room, and bob shaw was still doing his presentation. so i could watch the last slides... not surprisingly, when he finished, three people took the floor one after another, including marilyn cade and bob kahn (they were sitting all in a row, with the u.s. government representative right in the middle). they made him some "nasty" questions, and you could easily imagine sparks and bolts flying inside the room.

in the end, however, the itu presentation extended well into the wgig meeting, up to 11am. some wgig members were quite puzzled by this - the group had kindly turned down a proposal by some governments to let the itu make a special presentation at the beginning of the wgig meetings, and yet more or less it happened all the same. if i were mr. utsumi, i would wonder whether this is the right way to build sympathy for my proposals.

the morning wgig session went smoothly... except that we were a bit puzzled to hear the chair again mentioning the fact that a certain set of issues, "for example ipr", would belong to a bigger category that influenced the internet but did not directly pertain to internet governance.
at the caucus meeting at lunchtime we decided we would not want to let this idea pass so easily, and so we approved the final caucus statement (see yesterday's post) and also decided that caucus members should restate clearly that there are some ipr-connected issues which cannot in any way fall out of the wgig mandate.

i was late for the afternoon session, because a small number of civil society and private sector wgig members gathered out of the room at 3 pm exactly to discuss this issue. i had the pleasure of meeting a lady from the motion picture association (mpa/mpaa), and even if i think that we need some reciprocal education, i think that there could be some room for discussion.
so, when i got into the main room adam peake had already read the caucus statement, and milton mueller had specifically addressed ipr and whois, getting a straight reply from the indian government. the discussion went on a little, but in the end i think that no one can deny any more that ipr is still on the field.

i think that there are two moments to be remembered from the afternoon. first, bill drake read out loud an email from jamie love that informed everyone that wipo had just refused to accredit most civil society and user ngos, leaving most ngo speaking slots for their general assembly to trade associations of ip owners.

second, in reaction to our point that governance must not just be multilateral (a term that, in diplomacy, means "open to participation by all interested governments") but also multi-stakeholder (including non-governmental actors), one governmental wgig member spoke to explain that, according to the negotiations, the word "multilateral" in the wsis declaration was not to be intended in the traditional diplomatic sense, but in a broader sense that was actually nearer to "multi-stakeholder".

so, coming from the part of the world where politicians always talk about plans to uphold democracy, promote democracy, and export democracy, you would have expected this person to be from europe or the u.s., right? but no - he was from the islamic republic of iran.
of course, i know that the people representing western democracies definitely support the inclusion of civil society - in fact, they have been working for this in the past. still, as a european union citizen, i would like our governments to regularly be more vocal about participation, inclusion, human rights, and the interests of the individual citizens, rather than just about the importance of an enabling business environment.

finally, i forgot to tell that i was picked up to speak about internet governance at the official civil society press conference in the afternoon. i eventually got caught up in an interview by the italian language swiss television (i hope my girlfrend's relatives in lugano don't see it!), and i had to explain why civil society is not boycotting tunisia on human rights issues, and what do i think about cyberterrorism. i'm not sure i was qualified to talk about this!

CDT on ICANN and Internet Governance

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The Center for Democracy & Technology's Michael Steffen provides a very rough outline of his comments at yesterday's ICANN panel.

"Why Civil Society Should Support Good Private-Sector Governance (And What Good Means)."

1. Who we are: CDT and our involvement in ICANN, Internet standards bodies, and through GIPI
2. The Internet truly is an revolutionary place. The existence of the open Internet has been a great value for civil society--and its continued success should be our chief priority in this context.
3. The Internet's development has been premised on the lack of centralized gatekeepers to free expression and innovation.
4. (There are real, significant challenges to making sure access to this open, empowering medium is as broad as possible: e.g. funding, telecom buildout, multilingualism. Many of these are tightly connected with national telecom policy. But this is not an ICANN issue.)
5. This Internet that is of such value to us in civil society grew so quickly in a diverse, decentralized governance context.
6. A lot of the governance in this space has remained essentially private--in large part because it was thought that private mechanisms, well designed, were best suited to preserving this open, decentralized, free medium, and that in many ways governmental regulatory bodies or intergovernmental bodies were ill suited to working and being accountable in such a rapidly evolving space.
7. This argument, in turn, grows largely out of the principles of governance that have been well articulated by civil society over the last week: openness, transparency, responsiveness, accountability, multi-stakeholderism, etc.
8. Given this, what should civil society want to see out of the WGIG report?
a. An articulation and affirmance of these standards.
b. Some discussion of how they apply to the array of Internet governance contexts and mechanisms, and a discussion of how those mechanisms measure up.This should include standards bodies like the IETF, private coordination bodies like ICANN, intergovernmental bodies like the ITU, and so on. I think such an evaluation would rightly point out real problems in ICANN--and how it has often failed to live up to the original vision on which it was founded--but in the context of applying the same standards to intergovernmental bodies, for example, which are often likely to be less transparent, open, accessible, multi-stakeholder, accountable, and so on.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Asia/Pacific Consensus on ICANN

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A draft summary of the now concluded IGOVAP forum on Internet Governance has the following to say about ICANN:

ICANN was of course discussed in relation to the root servers and IP addresses. ICANN was described as an organization that was out-of-date: some considered it to be under control of the US Department of Commerce, and so not an appropriate entity to be controlling aspects of a network which has become a global resource. A perception of bias towards US organizations in IP address allocation has already been mentioned. ICANN's control over editing of the content of the root zone file --the database that contains information about all ccTLDs and gTLDs -- meant that it had the power to remove a country's record from the root and therefore delete it from the Internet.

As we move towards Next Generation Networks, some considered that traditional Internet organizations such as ICANN will become less important than intergovernmental bodies such as the ITU where standards for these networks are developed and the major communications companies gather. Developing nations have a well-established presence in the ITU.

In response to these comments it was recognised that ICANN does have a Memorandum of Understanding with the US Department of Commerce to perform its functions, but the MoU does not invoke the degree of control that some suggested. However, control of the content of the root zone file is widely viewed as a problem, although it is the Department ofCommerce not ICANN that has the final decision on the contents of the file, and also on who is designated to manage any TLD, including countrycode TLD. This issue was not discussed on the list, but it is well understood from discussion in WSIS that many countries, not just those in the Asia Pacific region, are concerned about this matter and it is a topic that will continue to feature prominently in Internet governance debates.

Some felt that ICANN excluded developing nations from its processes. There was no in-depth discussion of this as a specific issue. However, the view was expressed that while participation in all technical and policy processes is difficult and expensive, ccTLD operators in particular must make involvement on ICANN a priority, it is too important for them to ignore.

There was discussion about a more general statement that the international community should involve developing nations more in ICT policy-making and Internet governance, and that equality of participation in ICT policy making was important in fighting the digital divide. Some, particularly from technical backgrounds had reservations about this statement, saying that a level of technical and ICT development was necessary before meaningful participation could be achieved. It seems that this view might have been the case if applied to the Internet when it was still mainly an R&D network. But today it is far too important a factor in all aspects of society and has policy implications so great that technical and policy capacity building must go hand in hand.

Discussion about ICANN also brought to light some misunderstandings about the domain name system generally. Some considered ICANN to be the global regulatory of the DNS, with associated powers of a regulator controlling root servers IP address and all TLDs. People had misconceptions about the root server system and other factual matters. This should be a concern as effective policy discussions cannot be held based on misconceptions. Part of the role of the Forum and the broader ORDIG initiative should be to provide a solid factual basis for understanding of Internet governance and ICT policy issues.

Asia/Pacific Internet Governance Portal Launching

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Dieter Zinnbauer has announced the pending launch of an Asia/Pacific Internet Governance portal:

Finally and most importantly, you will be able to contribute to ourInternet governance portal for the Asia-Pacific region that will be launched in a few weeks time. The portal will seek to nurture communities of interest both for the Asian and the Pacific subregion for four key Internet governance topic areas. :

1. physical infrastructure policies (e.g. interconnection, bandwidthmarkets, wireless and broadband policies)
2. logical infrastructure policies (e.g. domain names, IP allocation,idn)
3. e-commerce related policies (e.g. payments systems, taxation, onlinecontracts)
4. security, network reliability and related policy issues (e.g. spam,virus attacks, cyber crime)

Lead editors will oversee the resource collection and posting of newsand events, but anyone is welcome to add comments on posted items and you will also be able to engage more closely and become a co-editor with the right to add your own resources and news. We will keep you posted on when the portal will go live and how you can participate. Are you interested to add and lead other Internet governance topics than the ones mentioned above? Do you have any other ideas, suggestions on how our initiative can support open, inclusive and development-oriented Internet governance? Please do get in touch with us (dieter@apdip.net,phet@apdip.net).

Singapore on Internet Governance & ICANN

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Singapore’s Comments to the WGIG on the Draft Working Papers express some concerns regarding ICANN:

"Taking the first two issues: IP addresses and Internet names as well as Root Server Administration, the WGIG would need to study how effectively multi-stakeholder interests are accommodated and satisfied given the constructs and frameworks that already exist today. This would have to include commencing a frank and constructive dialogue on the efficacy of ICANN. Singapore is of the opinion that ICANN has been a sound public-private sector collaborative effort in many respects. However, we are also of the view that improvements are necessary in many areas, particularly in ICANN’s internationalization efforts and in its on-going consideration of public policy issues as expressed by governments. "