GNSO Council Teleconference Minutes

Last Updated: 31 August 2009
13 October 2005

13 October 2005

Proposed agenda and related documents

List of attendees:
Philip Sheppard - Commercial & Business Users C.
Marilyn Cade - Commercial & Business Users C.
Grant Forsyth - Commercial & Business Users C
Greg Ruth - ISCPC
Antonio Harris - ISCPC
Tony Holmes - ISCPC
Thomas Keller- Registrars
Ross Rader - Registrars
Bruce Tonkin - Registrars
Ken Stubbs - gTLD registries
Philip Colebrook - gTLD registries
Cary Karp - gTLD registries - absent - apologies
Lucy Nichols - Intellectual Property Interests C
Niklas Lagergren - Intellectual Property Interests C - absent - apologies - proxy to Lucy Nichols/Kiyoshi Tsuru
Kiyoshi Tsuru - Intellectual Property Interests C.
Robin Gross - Non Commercial Users C. - absent
Norbert Klein - Non Commercial Users C.
Alick Wilson - Nominating Committee appointee - absent
Maureen Cubberley - Nominating Committee appointee
Avri Doria - Nominating Committee appointee

16 Council Members

Olof Nordling - Manager, Policy Development Coordination - absent - apologies
Maria Farrell - ICANN GNSO Policy Support Officer
Liz Williams - Senior Policy Counselor
Glen de Saint G�ry - GNSO Secretariat

GNSO Council Liaisons
Suzanne Sene - GAC Liaison
Bret Fausett - acting ALAC Liaison - absent - apologies

Michael Palage - ICANN Board member

MP3 Recording

Quorum present at 14: 08 CET.

Bruce Tonkin chaired this teleconference.

Approval of the Agenda

Item 1:- identify any common points of view for presentation to ICANN staff and other supporting organisations on 18/19 October 2005

Bruce Tonkin reviewed the ICANN Strategic Planning Issues paper posted on 4 October 2005, with Patrick Sharry and summarised as follows:
7 strategic issues are identified:
- The continued rise of the Internet as a truly global means of communication and the need for ICANN to met the needs of a truly global stakeholder base
- Ensuring stability and security in an environment of increased threats
- Maintaining stability given expected increases in scale driven by the number of devices using the Internet and the number of users
- Multiple complicated changes to the Internet operations or protocols that need to be managed in parallel, including possible paradigm changes not yet anticipated.
- Possible fracturing of the current system perhaps brought about by some users becoming dissatisfied with perceived restrictions imposed by technical protocols or by actions of a government or governments.
- ICANN taking an appropriate role in the further evolution of the broad group of international entities involved in Internet co-ordination
- Designing appropriate structures and processes for a post-MOU ICANN.

The ICANN Strategic Planning Issues paper , pages 1 - 3, deal with the external environment that affect ICANN's role while pages 4 – 8 summarise public comments received during the planned sessions in Luxembourg and comments on the previous documents ICANN produced.
The next step is to envisage the Internet environment in 3 – 4 years time and then Patrick Sharry will create a new document the " ICANN strategic plan".

Marilyn Cade asked for clarification on how incomplete areas, identified initially in the Amsterdam 2005 consultation process, such as restricted funds, subject areas for restricted funds, how they would be managed, and regional offices, would be addressed as they were not included in the current document?

Bruce Tonkin responded that restricted funds and regional offices were a means to meet an objective, and not objectives in their own right. The plan would first identify measurable strategic objectives for 2009, then identify the initiatives needed to meet those objectives, and then consider how to fund those initiatives.

Avri Doria commented on 3 issues that should be included as separate items in the strategic plan:
a. Internationalisation
b. Stakeholder representation
c. Corporate/organizational governance
a. Internationalisation
Internationalisation was proposed as a separate item in the strategic plan beyond the mention of regional offices, linguistic requirements and the USG relationship with ICANN and IANA in the MoU, in an attempt to obviate the need for international oversight.
The current corporate existence as an US chartered corporation should be examined as the latter is subject to all US laws regarding business transactions with foreign governments and foreign companies. ICANN needs to insure that nothing in its US based incorporation could interfere with its global obligations and for this reason may need to consider changing from a US corporation to an International organization. There are several models that could be explored on how this could be achieved. Discussions would need to take into account and seek solutions in light of ICANN's current obligations under US law to its employees, to the constituencies, and current contractual obligations.
b. Stakeholder representation:
This topic should merit a separate item as it was important not only in the post MoU era but in the run up to the termination of the MOU. ICANN should consider increasing its stakeholder participation and the role they play in decision making, registrants, users of the DNS system and governments from "advisory" to full participation. The role of the non-registrant user, who does not own a domain name, should be explored.
c. Corporate/organizational governance
ICANN needs to review, and perhaps strengthen its notions of corporate/organizational governance,
that is, a formal, external audit process that regularly reviews, not only the financial aspects of ICANN, but reviews ICANN's adherence to its own principles. In addition appeal mechanisms available to those who believe their rights or concerns vis a vis ICANN, and its process, have been damaged should be reviewed. Is the internal ombudsman process adequate or should there be a mechanism or a process created for external binding appeal ?

Norbert Klein supported Avri's comments and said that at the WSIS conference in Geneva other governments expressed concern about the legal implications that ICANN was a US corporation.

In general it was agreed that a review, summarising the main outcomes and strategic issues of the Tunis WSIS meeting, 16-18 November 2005, should be included in the GNSO Vancouver meeting schedule as well as the role of government in ICANN.

Council members who volunteered to provide input to the document of outcomes from the Tunis WSIS meeting were, Marilyn Cade, Tony Holmes, Tony Harris, Avri Doria and Norbert Klein.

Philip Sheppard commented that the Issues paper should be more explicit on" fostering competition", part of ICANN's mission, and the way ICANN is perceived in fostering competition.

Grant Forsyth commented that it was important for the strategic planning process to look at the world of ICANN in a wider context as not necessarily the only player in broad Internet governance, and identify issues that were not dealt with through ICANN but recognize that there are other bodies or entities to deal with these issues. For example, the Internet in developing countries was a factor to be acknowledged and recognized, even if it was not appropriate for ICANN to address the issue.

Tony Harris referring to " ICANN should be doing more to assist the development of internet communities in developing countries" mentioned that it was the role of the WSIS in the declaration of principles, and the suggestion would be to concentrate on focusing ICANN on creating awareness of the ICANN function and resources and not developing broader Internet communities as a general purpose.
Regional outreach should be anchored in the objectives of ICANN such as IP addresses and domain names rather than confusing people about the role of ICANN.

Tony Holmes referred to the "need to prepare for a post-MOU ICANN" and commented that the reason why it had not come to the fore was because of the uncertainty in this area and it was not clear what it meant for ICANN. Dialogue at the Council level would be advantageous to clarify the issue.

Ken Stubbs, supported by Philip Colebrook added that future financing and enhancing relationships between the supporting organisations should be elaborated.

Maureen Cubberley suggested linking of some of the ideas, as separate discussions tended to diffuse and complicate the issues, and analysing to see where there was overlap and significant impact of the overlap.

Item 2: GNSO Strategic plan document for presentation to the Board in Vancouver
- begin to identify GNSO strategic view for input into ICANN strategic plan.

Bruce Tonkin pointed out that the strategic objectives in terms of 3 years, should be identified as a base for the operational plan which would take into account 4 month and one year goals. There should be a balance in strategic objectives and operational planning.
The planning process is a yearly cycle, which is updated.

The GNSO objectives could be formulated under the 7 headings:

2.1 Representation:
The GNSO should examine " representation", how broad was the current representation, what was expected in 3 years , and what was needed to transition to the future.

Marilyn Cade proposed short, medium and long term goals.
An example of an operational plan based on the objective of broader representation:

To ensure participation in the constituencies from all regions (e.g. Africa, Asia-Pacific, Latin America) and major sub regions (e.g. Middle East, Pacific Islands, Caribbean Islands) of the world.

To ensure representation on the council from all regions.

The constituencies require participation from each of those regions and sub regions to carry out their work. Where are the gaps in participation and what are the steps that the council should take itself, or what would the council need from an external group to close that gap. In the area of representation for example there is an outside resource to the Council, the Nominating Committee, to whom a list of criteria could be presented as a mechanism to solicit representation from unrepresented regions of the world

A measurable should be defined against the objective:
Part of the GNSO Review is to measure the current representation in the GNSO constituencies and council on a region and sub region basis and the objective is where to go in the future and the next stage would be what should be done to achieve that.

Ross Rader suggested that the diversity within the constituencies be recognized and there should be continued encouragement for not only geographic diversity but liberty of interest. Some thought should be given to groups that may need to be broken out of existing constituencies and examining their place in new constituencies. In the registrars constituency, registrars service different subgroups of registrants such as large corporates protecting brands and registering many names, small businesses, 'pay for click' registrants that have a million names each. Some registrars focused on direct sales to retail customers, e.g. Godaddy, other registrars focused on providing registration software services to other organizations e.g. Tucows or Melbourne IT, and some registrars focused on the secondary market.

Philip Sheppard suggested that a subset could concretely be judged by defining the cost benefit to users of the users being more deeply involved in ICANN. The costs of users to be involved and what they would get out of that involvement should be considered. It concerned the functions of ICANN and the ability to make a difference by involvement.

2.2 Security.
What would a GNSO objective be on security?

Philip Sheppard, using the ICANN example, stated that defining what ICANN did not do was as important as defining what ICANN did, thus defining what the GNSO did not do on security would be key.
Bruce Tonkin noted that two main approaches to security could be one, to inform registrants about what security they should be seeking and then rely on competition to ensure that registrants could choose the appropriate level of security for their needs, or two, ICANN decide that the market has failed to protect registrants and non-registrant users, and require all registrars or registries to implement a minimum level of security. The recent work done by the ICANN Security and Stability committee on domain name hijacking is an example where there is an attempt to inform the public, and then it is left to the GNSO to decide whether to impose some security requirements through a policy.

Tony Holmes commented that a missing element was the need to cooperate on security with other groups across other areas.

An proposed objective would be not to develop security solutions but collaborate with those who did develop security solutions and provide information to the GNSO community, except perhaps in the area of ensuring the adoption of security standards in areas where ICANN had direct oversight or technical coordination.
Another approach was suggested, mandating at the top level, and create an awareness in the user population of the importance of advancing the adoption of DNSSEC

Security is singled out by the MoU as a subset of stability and should continue to be seen in that perspective rather than a separate item.

Ross Rader suggested leaving a placeholder on security. The scope of the GNSO as opposed to the ICANN world should be considered. There were a number of clear security issues in both the registration and the resolution processes, such as transfers, which are well documented.
At the GNSO level security should be more specific, stating the current status, what is or would be desirable and how would those objectives be reached, e.g. increasing awareness, and if after a year awareness has not been increased, then mandate.

In summary the strategic objectives could be stated as:

The GNSO will aim to cooperate with security experts (such as SSAC) and technical standards bodies (such as IETF) to raise awareness of security issues and possible solutions to those issues.

The GNSO will identify known security issues within the domain name registration and the maintenance of domain name records, and identify possible solutions.

2.3 Scale Issues
Stability in relation to scale is important from an IP address point of view.
From a TLD point of view one of the issues relating to scale are domain names. For example, if the number of users increased from 40 million to a 100 million what would that do to the DNS system, would it be putting more load at the root server level, should there be new TLDs?

New gTLD allocation policy needs to be discussed, for example does each device type get their own TLD (e.g. .mobile, .ipod etc)?
International Domain Names (IDN's) could become a scaling issue, for example if there were an increase in English speaking Internet what affect would that have as a scale and if there were more languages being used scaling would be an issue in the sense of languages as well.
The fundamental question is whether there would be a large increase in domain names, how it would work and then what policy decisions should follow.

In summary a strategic objective could be stated as follows:

The GNSO seeks to ensure that the gtld domain name system can handle at least three times the number of top level and second level domain names, and at least 100 languages by 2009.

2. 4 Multiple complicated changes to Internet operations
Looking at environmental changes, domain names existed before the world wide web and before search engines but will there be a continued need for them and what will be the interaction of the growth of research on domain names and technology.
The GNSO would not change the technology, but in considering environmental changes may be in a position to request new requirements in technical standards by being informed at a standardisation and application level.

Proposed objective:
- to increase liaisons with technical groups such as the Internet Engineering Task Force (IET and WC3
- to arrange workshops or conferences with these groups to facilitate two way discussions to understand the impact of technological change on the DNS, and changes in the use of domain names by Internet users.

2 5 Possible fracturing of the address space
At a domain name level alternative roots over the DNS become an issue.
ORSN, an alternative registry, of alternate  root servers operating with a 'stale' root zone file. was mentioned.
Proposed objective:
To preserve the integrity of the single root for both ASCI and IDN related domain names.
Objectives need to be framed around what is good for the DNS and the single root argument leans toward what is good for ICANN and the GNSO and not necessarily what is good for the DNS.
ICANN is founded on the support of a single authoritative root and it would take a significant amount of rethinking, redebating for the community that supports ICANN to move away from that base.
However current technology is limited to a single root system and without a technological solution it is difficult to move beyond that.
The reality is that with a fragmented root there will be no sure way of knowing the outcome when there is a DNS query or parts of the DNS will be unreachable.
There is not necessarily a commitment to a single root but committed to the restraints that exists.
A proposed objective should encompass predictability and reliability.

[Related references from the IETF include, RFC2956 (Overview of 1999 IAB Network Layer Workshop, dated October 2000), RFC2775 (Internet Transparency, dated February 2000), RFC 2826 (IAB Technical Comment on the Unique DNS Root, dated May 2000)]

In summary an objective could be stated as:

The GNSO will continue to support a domain name system that consists of globally unique identifiers that ensures two users in different parts of the Internet using the same application would experience the same application behaviour when using the same identifier (predictability), and that this behaviour is repeatable at different times of the day (reliability).

2. 6 ICANN taking an appropriate role in the further evolution of the broad group of international entities involved in Internet co-ordination.
This item has been broadly encompassed by issues such as security, changes in protocols, fracturing of the root.
The need for ICANN to develop an appropriate role, which could be co-operation, collaboration, co-existence and/or participation within a broader group of entities, such as the IETF, W3C, ITU, ISO, the Unicode consortium and regional bodies such as CENTR and APTLDs.
Separating strategy from operations, the strategy could be:

to establish outreach with international entities involved in Internet coordination.

2. 7 Designing appropriate structures and processes for a post-MOU ICANN.
Strategic objectives for 3 years ahead could be defined in the above mentioned objectives and any post MoU structure would need to support those areas.
Ensuring the ability to maintain the bottom up consensus policy development process maintaining the broader private sector leadership, which would include civil society, broad set of Internet users, the technical community and business users, .

Next Steps:

- Formulate objectives.
- State the initiatives to achieve the objectives
- Input for the operational planning of the GNSO
- Next 12 months Continued work focus on current issues such as Transfers and Whois as well as work on strategic goals.

Planning for Vancouver meeting:

2 Documents:
1. Operational document stating goals for the next 4 months and 12 months, such as transfers, WHOIS, GNSO Council review output
2. Strategic objectives document based on 7 items above
- establishing the initiatives in each category

OAB 3.
Marilyn Cade
asked whether there would be any budget items related to the strategic or operational plan that should be noted for the Vancouver meeting as there were certain outstanding issues that had to be addressed by the community and resolved.
Michael Palage
commented that there has been a proposal submitted by the staff to the finance committee regarding moving forward with some of the set aside budget items. Procedurally the recommendations of the Board Finance committee will have to be submitted to the full Board before deciding how to move forward.

Bruce Tonkin declared the GNSO meeting closed and thanked everybody for participating.
The meeting ended: 16: 15 CET.

  • Next GNSO Council Teleconference Thursday 6 October 2005 at 12:00 UTC.
    see: Calendar