August, 2017

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Webinar: “Statistical Analysis of DNS Abuse in gTLDs” (SADAG) Study

LOS ANGELES – 31 August 2017 – The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) today announced that they will host an interactive webinar entitled, "The Statistical Analysis of DNS Abuse in gTLDs" (SADAG). The webinar is based on a study commissioned by the Competition, Consumer Trust and Consumer Choice Review Team (CCTRT) as part of its examination of consumer trust and effectiveness of safeguards that were built into the New Generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD) Program. In defining the parameters of the study, the CCTRT sought to measure rates of common forms of abusive activities in the domain name system, such as spam, phishing, and malware distribution. The study compares rates of these activities between new and legacy gTLDs, as well as employs inferential statistical analysis to measure the effects of Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC), domain parking, and registration restrictions on abuse rates using historical data covering the first three full years of the New gTLD Program (2014 – 2016).

Researchers from SIDN and the Delft University of Technology conducted the study.

Join the webinar to receive a briefing from the study's researchers on its methodology and findings. Attending the webinars will also allow you to provide feedback and ask clarifying questions prior to submitting your public comment on the study. This public comment period is scheduled to close on 19 September 2017. The CCTRT will consider the public comments as it works toward developing its final report and recommendations.

On 13 and 14 September 2017, the ICANN organization will host two separate sessions to accommodate the Western and Eastern Hemispheres, respectively: 14:00 - 15:30 UTC and 04:00 - 05:30 UTC (time zone support here).

Webinar Details & How to Attend

Date: 13 September 2017
Time: 14:00 - 15:30 UTC
Join via Adobe Connect
View Dial-In Information
Participant Code: 1429847649

Date: 14 September 2017
Time: 04:00 - 05:30 UTC
Join via Adobe Connect
View Dial-In Information
Participant Code: 1429847649

The webinars will be conducted in English. Recordings of the webinars will be published on the New gTLD DNS Abuse Review page here.

Achieving the Right Formula for Youth Engagement

As the Internet continues to expand, it’s becoming more and more important that we involve younger generations, who are digital natives, in Internet governance discussions. They are the future leaders, and we want to encourage them to take an active role in shaping Internet policies. But how do we do that?

The recent Asia Pacific Internet Governance Academy (APIGA) 2017, which was co-organized by ICANN and the Korea Internet & Security Agency (KISA), appears to have found the right formula. Now in its second year, the five-day academy was targeted at young people between the ages of 18 to 35 that have expressed an interest in Internet governance.

Speakers and participants at APIGA 2017 in Seoul, Korea, which was held from 7-11 August 2017

 

The selection process was key to ensuring a successful meeting. Applicants were screened by a strict selection committee, who chose them based on their interests, experience and passion for Internet governance. Only 42 out of the 200 applicants were selected to participate in the academy.

The chosen applicants were required to take a 25-hour online course on Internet governance and ICANN before the academy started. The course was designed specifically to prepare them for the intense discussions that would take place during the academy.

The curriculum was rigorous, but not boring. We want to thank the organizers and regional partners for putting together interactive and fun ways, such as roleplaying exercises and card games, to teach participants about the domain name system (DNS), Internet infrastructure, and the ICANN community’s various stakeholder groups. The course also ensured participants were prepared for the mock ICANN conference, where the students had to put themselves into the shoes of the stakeholder group they were appointed to and defend their positions on their assigned ICANN topic.

Left: A student role playing as a domain name system packet trying to get to the right domain name; Right: APIGA 2017 students in action at the mock ICANN conference

 

The participation and mentorship of alumnus this year played an important role as well.

For Hojung Do, APIGA 2016 alumni and master’s student in Political Science, the mock ICANN conference was an eye-opener, stating “The multistakeholder model was an abstract concept when I was studying it in school. After experiencing the mock conference, the concept became a lot clearer.”

APIGA 2016 alumni, Rohan Wadhwa, felt that the close relationship that he built with speakers and fellow students at APIGA 2016 helped him in his Internet governance journey. “After APIGA 2016, I was invited to attend the 2016 Asia-Pacific Regional Internet Development Dialogue (APRIDD) in Bangkok, Thailand as a youth-fellow,” said Wadhwa. “I want to extend a big thanks to the Internet Society Asia-Pacific Bureau, who recognized my involvement at APIGA.”

Do and Wadhwa were two of the many participants who have benefitted from APIGA. In fact, 12 out of the 48 participants from APIGA 2016 participated in other Internet governance-related events, including ICANN meetings, Internet Governance Forums (IGF), and Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) meetings. This is an excellent validation of the program, which is aimed at successfully identifying and nurturing young leaders to participate in the Internet ecosystem.

We hope to see even more APIGA 2017 alumni participating in Internet governance events. The network and connections that you have built at the academy will help you find your path. Continue to follow your passion, and help forge the future of Internet governance!

Do You Have a Domain Name? Here’s What You Need to Know (Part 1)

Part 1: Why You Need to Keep Your Contact Information Up-to-Date

Have you received an email reminder from your registrar sometime in the past year, reminding you to review and update your contact information? You should have. This reminder email may be long and contain a lot of information, but it's important that you don't ignore it. It requires action on your part to review the contact information associated with your domain name and make corrections if necessary. It's important to keep your contact information up-to-date for a couple of reasons.

When your domain name registration is about to expire, the registrar is required to notify you. This is typically done via email. If your registrar is unable to reach you because your contact information is not up to date and your domain name registration expires, it may take considerable time and expenses to recover, or it may not be recoverable at all.

Another important reason to keep your contact information up to date is to ensure that you receive notifications from your registrar when changes are made to your domain name registration. These notifications are for your protection, so that you can verify and confirm the validity of the changes made, or take appropriate measures in the case of unauthorized changes. Bad actors can use malicious means to gain access to your account and make changes to the information associated with your domain name registration to lock you out of your account and hijack your domain name. It is important to keep your domain name registration contact information up to date to protect yourself or your business.

What Can Happen if Your Domain Name Contact Information is Not Kept Up-to-Date

If you give wrong information on purpose, or don't update your information promptly if there is a change, your registrar can suspend or even cancel your domain name registration. This could also happen if you don't respond to inquiries by your registrar if they contact you about the accuracy of your contact information.

How to Ensure Your Domain Name Contact Information Is Up-to-Date

If any of your contact information (email, postal address, phone number, etc.) changes, contact your registrar to update your information. The annual reminder email that you receive from your registrar is a requirement under the ICANN WHOIS Data Reminder Policy (WDRP), but do not wait for this reminder. If there's a change, it's important that you update your contact information as soon as possible to prevent disruption or loss of your domain name registration. ICANN cannot update your contact information for you; you must contact your registrar to do so. 

Due to the prevalence of security concerns such as phishing attacks, if you have any doubt or questions about the legitimacy of emails about your WHOIS data, you can always contact your registrar directly. If you believe you haven't been receiving reminder emails from your registrar, you can contact ICANN at compliance@icann.org.

Want to learn more? Click here to learn five things that every domain name registrant should know about the ICANN WHOIS Data Reminder Policy (WDRP).


The 'Do You Have a Domain Name? Here's What You Need to Know' educational series is part of ICANN's broader efforts to help you better understand the ICANN policies that affect you, your role in the Domain Name System (DNS), and the role of the ICANN organization, registries and registrars in the DNS ecosystem.

Improvements to the Quarterly Stakeholder Updates

We're evolving the Quarterly Stakeholder Updates to serve your needs better. Despite the changes, you will still receive the core information in a transparent and accountable way, and will still be able to ask the ICANN organization questions.

After reviewing the data from the past three years, we recognized that most of you prefer to access the recordings and materials after the fact (see chart below). Due to the low interest in the live calls, we're discontinuing them. We'll continue to post the report, but instead of the live call, we'll also provide an Adobe Connect recording with a shorter 10-minute executive summary of the full report.  The materials will still be available in the six U.N. languages.

The first update in this new format will be posted on 7 September for the quarter ending 30 June. Next week, we will also post the results from the recent customer satisfaction survey for contracted parties, conducted by the MITA Group.  The anonymous survey was intended to help improve the quality of our work and the level of mutual trust.

Although historically we haven't had many questions on the calls, we want to keep the opportunity to ask questions as we try this new approach. We're experimenting with a question and answer (Q&A) webinar (in the six U.N. languages) and chat. Depending on the level of participation in the webinar, we may consider other means for questions in future quarters.

This evolution is part of our broader ongoing efforts to continue to be transparent, accountable, accessible, and engaging. These efforts include the Executive Team Q&A sessions at ICANN Public Meetings, the CEO Report to the Board, and the new Accountability Indicators webpage.

Quarterly Stakeholder updates

I hope you enjoy this new format and I welcome your feedback. You’ll see more announcements when we publish the Quarterly Stakeholder Update.

Introducing the New Accountability Indicators

Have you ever wondered how many events ICANN participates in by region and how many people we engage with? Or what is the state of ICANN's financials? Or how much is being spent on travel and meetings? Now you can find all of these answers and more on the beta version of our new Accountability Indicators page. It's a place where you can keep track of progress made against ICANN's strategic and operating plans.

This is an evolution from our previous Key Performance Indicators (KPI) Dashboard. Based on feedback from the ICANN community, organization, and Board over the last couple of years, we have transformed the KPI Dashboard to better demonstrate the organization's accountability and transparency to the community. We recognize that ICANN is a unique organization, so market trends and industry benchmarks do not always apply. Other measures better demonstrate our progress, including perception measures such as satisfaction surveys and non-performance measures such as Board composition.

We will update these indicators monthly. Initially, the page is in English, as we want to get your feedback right away. In the coming months, we will make the page available in the six U.N. languages.

What's New?

We've made several improvements to the data itself and are introducing a new interactive platform that makes the data easier to work with and understand. You can drill down to see data in more detail. For example, if you click a column in a chart, you'll see a cross-section of data, so you can hone in on what matters most to you. You can also download the underlying data.

Your Feedback Is Important

This page serves provides a central place where you can clearly see progress made against the goals and objectives you set in ICANN's strategic and operating plans. We will continue to improve it, and your feedback is important. Please email questions or comments to accountabililty-indicators-feedback@icann.org.

Celebrating Four Years of Supporting the Asia Pacific Region

Dear friends and colleagues,

Another year has gone by and the APAC regional office is now 4 years old. Please join me and the APAC team as we celebrate our 4th anniversary with a special report. This not only marks 4 years of the ICANN Organization’s presence in the APAC region, but also our journey and collaboration with you as one APAC community.

The APAC hub was established in 2013 to help spearhead ICANN’s globalization. The regional office now provides 10 key functions to the region. Our efforts to form a cohesive, effective APAC team has contributed to ICANN’s evolution, as seen from the recently announced international office strategy.

The APAC community’s participation in ICANN has grown, making our presence more prominent. Our anniversary report captures the community’s presence within ICANN today. I invite you, our APAC community, to share on social media how you are participating in ICANN’s stakeholder groups and constituencies. Let the global ICANN community know who you are. Please use our hashtags #ICANN #APACis4, whether you are using Facebook or Twitter.

Another key section in this report is how our work contributes to the security, stability, and resiliency of the Internet’s unique identifier system. We do this by collaborating with our community to host the ICANN operated L-Root instances, as well as provide capacity-development to community in technical areas including DNS operations and DNS security. If you’ve been trained by us, please also share your involvement with us on social media with the above hashtags. We want to know what you have learned and applied.

As we look back on our milestones, we also look ahead to continuing our journey together. With half the world’s Internet users residing in this region, we have a long way to go in our participation and representation in ICANN. In this regard, we will continue to facilitate conversations in the local and regional communities through key platforms such as ICANN Readouts and the APAC Space. We hope you can participate and let the APAC stakeholders’ voices be heard.

Thank you.

 

This is the 3rd instalment of our 3-part APAC Regional Office 4th Anniversary Series.

To read Joyce Chen’s blog (part 1), please go here.

To read Anupam Agrawal’s blog (part 2), please go here.

Proposed Renewal of .MUSEUM Sponsored Registry Agreement

Open Date: 24 August 2017 Close Date: 3 October 2017
Originating Organization: Global Domains Division
Categories/Tags: Contracted Party Agreements
Brief Overview: ICANN is posting for public comment the proposed agreement for renewal of the 2007 Registry Agreement for .MUSEUM, which is set to expire on 2 November 2017. The renewal proposal is a result of bilateral discussions between ICANN and Museum Domain Management Association (MuseDoma), the Registry Operator for the .MUSEUM TLD).
Link: https://www.icann.org/public-comments/museum-renewal-2017-08-24-en

Proposed Changes to the NCUC Charter

Open Date: 24 August 2017 Close Date: 3 October 2017
Originating Organization: ICANN Board of Directors, GNSO, NCUC
Categories/Tags: Bylaws
Brief Overview: The purpose of this public comment proceeding is to obtain community input on proposed changes to the charter of the GNSO Noncommercial Users Constituency (NCUC). The changes have been approved by the membership of the NCUC and are awaiting ICANN Board review and approval. Due to the extent of the revisions and consistent with the ICANN Board Process for Amending GNSO Stakeholder Group and Constituency Charters, the ICANN Board Organizational Effectiveness Committee has authorized this public comment proceeding.
Link: https://www.icann.org/public-comments/ncuc-charter-2017-08-24-en

The Kolkata L-Root Instance Journey

The deployment of the L-Root Instance in Kolkata was initiated as part of the Critical Internet Infrastructure support program. The Internet Society (ISOC) Kolkata Chapter launched in 2013. ISOC Kolkata Chapter’s philosophy has been to facilitate the technical capacity development of people working at the core and edge of the Internet in India.

At the time, one key question of the program was whether India should have more root server instances to help support routing traffic. We realised there was a need for additional root server instances by calculating the average number of Internet users in a region by root instance. America and European regions had 4-5 million users per instance. Whereas, in India it was approximately 100 million users per instance. Though a crude method, it gave us a clear objective to move ahead.

Having gained support from the Indian community, we began to approach various Root instance operators and we spoke with ICANN, the L-Root operator. At the time, ICANN did not operate a L-Root server instance in India. The arrangement with ICANN is simple, ICANN charges the host nothing for hosting the instance, and ICANN staff look after the software and the administrative management. ISOC Kolkata arranges for a server, bandwidth, and supporting cost for the maintenance of the server.

Supplying hardware, preparing necessary security arrangements, and acquiring bandwidth may be routine for an Internet Service Provider (ISP) hosting a root instance, but for our chapter it was a new and first-hand experience.

The process of providing the server to Kolkata required multiple meetings with our sponsors and the suppliers. Presenting the purpose of a server in Kolkata for not-for-profit use versus business needs had to be explained to the taxman.

We also needed to find a location to house the server. It currently sits in one of ISOC Kolkata’s office buildings. Security access systems needed to be established, including installing window grills. This is the responsibility of supporting critical Internet infrastructure!

Our most essential challenge was bringing high speed bandwidth to the server’s connection. We found it difficult to receive sponsorship support, even from some of the not-for-profit organisations created to serve the Internet community of India. This delayed the start of the L-Root instance operations. Finally, a telco agreed to sponsor at a reasonable cost with a condition: the chapter would take the responsibility of completing the final steps of connectivity. These final steps included handling pole climbing, drilling holes, and splicing wires. Volunteer effort and community support made it possible to make the L-Root instance operational.

The technical team working under Anand Raje’s (ISOC Kolkata Vice President) leadership was able to make the connection and the ICANN DNS Engineering team completed the setup. We are now live.

Over the next two days the traffic increased and the bandwidth was unable to handle the traffic. After another series of presentations and approaching local ISPs, an ISP was roped in to support the extra bandwidth.

There was a sense of satisfaction once the issues of bandwidth were resolved. I would like to thank our community and sponsors for working together towards this cause, as well as the ICANN team including Champika Wijayatunga and Samiran Gupta from the ICANN APAC Regional Office, Chris Mondini, and the DNS Engineering team.

 

This is the 2nd instalment of our 3-part APAC Regional Office 4th Anniversary series. If you missed the 1st instalment, you can read it here. Our 3rd instalment is coming soon.

ICANN Middle East – One Year in Review

In July 2016, a community-led working group of over 50 members and observers began working on a three-year regional Middle East engagement strategy, along with a one-year implementation plan. Over the past year, ICANN has made significant progress on this strategy. The following are some of the highlights.

Key highlights

  • A variety of regional events and webinars on various ICANN-related issues were held for the regional community, which attracted a wide range of stakeholder groups, with over 350 participants attending from across the region.
  • Domain Name System (DNS) capacity building workshops were conducted in several cities throughout the Middle East. Key development in those programs is the participation of trained instructors from the region.
  • The DNS Entrepreneurship Center (DNS-EC) partnered with industry and academia to offer DNS capacity-building seminars to students and young community members.
  • The launch of a youth education initiative, in cooperation with Tunisia's Centre de Calcul Khawarizmi (CCK), to raise awareness within the local community about the Internet's system of unique identifiers.
  • The Task Force on Arabic Script IDNs made significant progress towards established Label Generation Rules at the second level and Universal Acceptance.
  • ICANN Fellows have become more active and engaged in ICANN's various groups, including in the Middle East Strategy Working Group (MEAC-SWG).
  • Thousands of ICANN-related news pieces were published in Middle East countries, with the UAE, Turkey and Egypt representing the largest share.

For a visual representation of relevant Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) from this period, see the infographic here [PDF, 286 KB].

What's next?

The second year implementation plan has been developed in consultation with the strategy working group and can be found here. Also, planning is underway for outreach activities in the lead-up to ICANN60 in Abu Dhabi. We look forward to seeing significant participation from the region.

For any questions or comments, or if you are interested in helping with regional strategy work, please reach out to us at meac.swg@icann.org.

Taking APAC Space to the Next Level

Last year, we hosted the first APAC Space in a web conference format. The aim of the new format was to encourage sustained interaction among the community and facilitate active community participation regarding ICANN-related discussions.

Since then, we have organized six APAC Space web conferences, which have resulted in regular participation from our community members. Each web conference provided community members the opportunity to learn about and discuss ICANN-related policy issues. It also allowed us to build a network among ourselves, and get to know leaders from the ICANN community.

In May 2017, we conducted the first APAC Space Survey to get the community’s feedback on which topics they were most interested in. The results suggested a rotation of topics including ongoing policy development processes (PDPs), reviews, and discussions on current issues that have an impact on the domain name system (DNS), the DNS industry, and ICANN.

Another important outcome of the survey discussions was the formation of APAC Space subgroups, which takes the community-led APAC Space to the next level. Community members could self-organize a subgroup based on their common interest topics. The subgroups enable community members with subject matter knowledge to have an in-depth discussion on the topic. At the same time, they can also help other community members better understand complex issues with their knowledge. Such community-led initiatives can help our community become more confident about getting involved in ICANN’s work.

These subgroups can also share their discussions with the wider APAC community. For instance, the first subgroup that was formed, the APAC Space Data Privacy & Protection subgroup (led by Kuo-Wei Wu and Holly Raiche), introduced the topic to the APAC community in the recent APAC Space web conference held on July 2017. The subgroup proved to be effective, as there was a vibrant and lively discussion among the participants.

We would like to thank you for growing together with us, and for playing a part in evolving the APAC Space. We hope that the APAC Space will continue to be a regional platform or “practice ground” for you to get together, so as to facilitate your participation in global ICANN discussions.

To engage with us and participate in APAC Space discussions, subscribe to discuss@apacspace.asia or email apachub@icann.org.

 

This is the 1st installment of our 3-part APAC Regional Office 4th Anniversary Series. Look out for our 2nd & 3rd installments soon.

Alexandra Kulikova to head Stakeholder Engagement for Eastern Europe & Central Asia at ICANN

21 August 2017 – Today, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) announced that Alexandra Kulikova will take over for Michael Yavushev as Head of Global Stakeholder Engagement for Eastern Europe & Central Asia. She will be assuming this role in September, following Yakushev's departure from ICANN.

"We would like to thank Michael Yakushev for playing an integral part in building ICANN's presence and engagement strategy in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, and we hope to work with him in the future, as a member of the ICANN community," said Sally Costerton, ICANN's Senior Vice President for Global Stakeholder Engagement. "Building on the excellent work already done by Michael in this important part of the world, Alexandra brings substantial knowledge of ICANN, Internet governance and cybersecurity to the role. She will be using that experience to further enhance our engagement program for ICANN and the community. I'm looking forward to working with her."

Alexandra will continue to work closely with the rest of the ICANN organization and its senior management, including Regional Vice President for Europe, Jean-Jacques Sahel, to serve the region and its users.

Alexandra joined the organization in 2015, as Global Stakeoholder Engagement (GSE) Manager for Eastern Europe and Central Asia. In this role, she drove engagement initiatives across the region in close partnership with local Internet communities.

Alexandra has a strong background in Internet governance and cybersecurity, having led the Global Internet Governance and International Information Security research programme at the PIR Center, the Moscow-based non-governmental think-tank that focuses on global security issues. Alexandra holds an MSc (Hons) in Media and Communication Governance from the London School of Economics and Political Science in the United Kingdom, and an undergraduate degree in linguistics and multicultural communication from Moscow State Linguistic University in Russia.

About ICANN

ICANN's mission is to help ensure a stable, secure and unified global Internet. To reach another person on the Internet, you need to type an address – a name or a number – into your computer or other device. That address must be unique so computers know where to find each other. ICANN helps coordinate and support these unique identifiers across the world. ICANN was formed in 1998 as a not-for-profit public-benefit corporation with a community of participants from all over the world.

Proposed Dates for ICANN Public Meetings 2021–2023

Open Date: 21 AUG 2017 Close Date: 2 OCT 2017
Originating Organization: Meetings Team – Global Stakeholder Engagement (GSE)
Categories/Tags:
  • Events/Conferences
  • Accountability/Transparency
Brief Overview: ICANN has proposed dates for Public Meetings to be held in 2021, 2022, and 2023. In choosing meeting dates, ICANN took care to avoid conflicts with global, national, and religious holidays and other community events. The public comment period is an opportunity for the community to review the proposed dates, and bring any concerns or potential conflicts to our attention before we post the official meeting dates.
Link: https://www.icann.org/public-comments/icann-meetings-dates-2017-08-21-en

The Africa DNS Forum Turns Five

The Africa DNS Forum turned five this year, and what a journey it has been. Held from 26-28 July 2017 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and hosted by TZNIC, we sought to choose a theme that captured the signifance of this journey: "Taking stock of the Africa DNS Industry and planning ahead."

Having reached such an important milestone, I feel that now is an appropriate occasion to not just take stock, but also praise the African Internet community on its efforts throughout the years. It is their hard work and continued participation that has made the Africa DNS Forum into an annual pilgrimage for the regional DNS community. Like any relationship, five years is a major milestone, and the forum is no exception. It continues to provide a rich and effective platform for the exchange of ideas that are aimed at furthering the growth of both the DNS and Internet industry in Africa.

The first ever edition of the Africa Domain Name System (ADNS) forum took place at the International Convention Center (ICC) in Durban, South Africa, from 12-13 July 2013. This was just a few months after I assumed my new role as ICANN's Vice President of Stakeholder Engagement for Africa. The forum was co-organized by ICANN, the Internet Society (ISOC), and Africa Top Level Domains (AfTLD) as a pre-workshop to ICANN47, which was also being held at the ICC from 14-18 July 2013.

After Durban, the ICANN organization, the ICANN community, and our global partners kept the momentum going by making the DNS Forum an annual event with subsequent iterations taking place in 2014 (Nigeria), 2015 (Kenya), and 2016 (Morocco).

Over the years, the AFDNS forum has lived up to its expectations, identifying key national and cross-border issues that continue to challenge the growth of the industry, such as:

  • Registry and registrar strategies (domain name growth, competitive environment)
  • Legal issues (dispute resolutions, cross-border domain registrations)
  • Registrar accreditation (ICANN accreditation and ccTLD accreditation in a borderless environment)
  • Automation (technical capacity and the resiliency of registries, payment gateways, etc.)
  • Governments supporting the growth of ccTLDs

This year's forum participants were noticeably more informed and prepared.The deliberations on the issues mentioned above were rich, honest, and practical. Delegates understood the need to bring on more stakeholders, and engage with new audiences that have traditionally been ignored but still impact businesses, either directly or indirectly.

We also had a full session during the forum dedicated to key findings from ICANN's 2016 Africa DNS Market Study, which was published in June 2017. One of the main recommendations, a DNS Observatory in Africa, was discussed amongst the participants, with unanimous consensus from those participating that AfTLD should take ownership of the project and spearhead its establishment.

The study demonstrates that we are moving ahead in reaching the key objectives of ICANN's Africa Strategy. I strongly believe that together, we have laid down a strong foundation for the DNS industry in Africa. However, a lot still remains to be done, especially at the national level.

It is my hope that this fifth anniversary of the Africa DNS Forum will inspire all of our regional partners to continue in their efforts towards transforming the African DNS industry. For our part, ICANN promises to remain a commited partner throughout this journey.

Second Version of Label Generation Rules for the Root Zone (RZ-LGR-2) Released

ICANN is pleased to announce that the second version of Label Generation Rules for the Root Zone (RZ-LGR-2) has been released. RZ-LGR comprises of rules which define a set of criteria for determining valid Internationalized Domain Name (IDN) labels for the DNS Root Zone and their variant labels.

The first version (RZ-LGR-1), released in March 2016, integrated the Arabic script.  RZ-LGR-2 integrates five additional scripts, Ethiopic, Georgian, Khmer, Lao and Thai. These label generation rules have been defined by the respective community-based Generation Panels and evaluated by the Integration Panel, following the Procedure to Develop and Maintain the Label Generation Rules for the Root Zone in Respect of IDNA Labels [PDF, 1.4MB].

As additional script proposals for the RZ-LGR are developed and meet the requirements for integration, new versions of the RZ-LGR will be released. Further mechanisms are being investigated for determining how the variant labels may be allocated to those who have applied for top-level domains.

About ICANN

ICANN's mission is to help ensure a stable, secure and unified global Internet. To reach another person on the Internet, you have to type an address into your computer - a name or a number. That address has to be unique so computers know where to find each other. ICANN helps coordinate and support these unique identifiers across the world. ICANN was formed in 1998 as a not-for-profit public-benefit corporation and a community with participants from all over the world. ICANN and its community help keep the Internet secure, stable and interoperable. It also promotes competition and develops policy for the top-level of the Internet's naming system and facilitates the use of other unique Internet identifiers. For more information please visit: www.icann.org.

Request for Proposal: ICANN Designated Agent for Registrar Data Escrow Services

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers ("ICANN") is seeking to identify one or more additional ICANN-designated Registrar Data Escrow (RDE) agent(s) suitable to provide RDE services to accredited registrars.

In 2007, the ICANN organization began implementing an RDE program that required accredited registrars to regularly deposit a back-up copy of gTLD registration data with the ICANN organization, through its arrangement with ICANN organization's designated Registrar Data Escrow agent, or alternatively, an ICANN-approved RDE agent pursuant to the terms of its Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA) and the Registrar Data Escrow Specification.

Since the program launched, the industry has grown. Regulations have changed and, in turn, needs have evolved. Registrars are located throughout the world; thus, the ICANN organization will be considering RDE agents with the capability to offer broad global or multiregional support.

The objective of this request for proposal (RFP) is to identify one or more additional ICANN-designated Registrar Data Escrow agent(s) suitable to support the ICANN organization and its accredited registrars in their selection of designated agents across the ICANN organization regions.

For a complete overview of the RFP including the timeline, please see here [PDF, 225 KB].

Indications of interest should be emailed to RrDataEscrowServices-RFP@icann.org. Proposals should be electronically submitted by 23:59 UTC on 06 Oct 2017 using ICANN's sourcing tool. Access to the ICANN organization sourcing tool may be requested via the same email (RrDataEscrowServices-RFP@icann.org).

Request for Proposal: Human Rights Impact Assessment RFP

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers ("ICANN") is seeking a provider to conduct an independent internal Human Rights Impact Assessment (HRIA) of ICANN's organizational operations.

The HRIA is intended to review ICANN organization's internal operational commitment to respect human rights, including mitigate risks and capitalize on opportunities to improve global business operations. The findings will enhance the transparency of internal operations and optimize planning and budgeting necessary to meet the ICANN organization's continued commitment to respect human rights.

The HRIA is scheduled to take place from 20th October 2017 through 15 March 2018.

For a complete overview of the RFP including the timeline, please see here [PDF 421 KB].

Indications of interest are to be received by emailing HRIA-RFP@icann.org. Proposals should be electronically submitted by 18:00 PDT on 8 September 2017 using ICANN's sourcing tool, access to which may be requested via the same email address above.

ICANN59 Ombuds Harassment Complaint

I'm writing this blog because I received a complaint that has since been resolved with an apology.

The complaint bothered me because it involved historic events that took place before most of us were born. I will not go into details, but it did involve: a) behavior that was perceived to be harassment, b) a request to stop that was respected, and c) a departing comment that enflamed the incident to the point that my intervention was requested.

International or domestic conflict, politics, war, genocide, racism, sexism, religion, you name it - we all carry around beliefs and biases passed on from generation to generation. Or that are being developed and influenced by incidents happening around the world today. Or a mixture of both.

What does that have to do with ICANN? ICANN brings people together from around the world and asks them to be productive, constructive, respectful, civil, and to embrace diversity as a value that makes the community stronger. And generally, it works.

Personal beliefs and biases are unfortunately not something that can be easily supressed. It requires conscious effort to suppress things that one may profoundly believe. Despite one's best intentions (and this rarely happens, thankfully) prejudices can surface and take everyone by surprise.

We cannot, and never should, condone inappropriate, harassing, or disrespectful behavior. We all harbor biases, prejudices, dislike, and even hate. It has unequivocally no place in a society or organization like ICANN that values multiculturalism and diversity.

I ask each one of you to feel comfortable bringing these incidents to my attention, or to the attention of any of the leaders in the community or organization. Whether you are a witness or a victim of harassment or inappropriate behavior, the ICANN community and organization will stand with you to make our environment a safe, respectful, and harassment free place for all.

Request for Proposal: PTI Service Organization Control Audits

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers ("ICANN") is seeking a provider to conduct information systems audits mandated by the various contracts between the ICANN organization and the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and the Regional Internet Registries (RIR). The audits are also part of the contract between the ICANN organization and its affiliate, Public Technical Identifiers (PTI).

PTI is responsible for the operational aspects of coordinating the Internet's unique identifiers and maintaining the trust of the community to provide these services in an unbiased, responsible and effective manner. Mainly, PTI is responsible for the operation of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions; domain names, number resources, and protocol parameter assignments.

The objective of this request for proposal (RFP) is to select an independent audit firm to examine the security, process integrity and availability of the controls created as part of the Trust Services Criteria for the SOC 2® and the SOC 3®. The defined audit periods are 1 October 2017 through 30 September 2018 for the SOC 2® and 1 December 2017 through 30 November 2018 for the SOC 3®.

For a complete overview of the RFP including the timeline, please see here [PDF, 545 KB].

Indications of interest are to be received by emailing PTI.SOC2nSOC3.Audits-RFP@icann.org. Proposals should be electronically submitted by 18:00 PDT on 8 September 2017 using ICANN's sourcing tool, access to which may be requested via the same email address above.

Thank You, Africa, for a Successful ICANN59

It has been over a month since ICANN59, and yet it already seems like such a long time ago!

I'd like to take this opportunity to share a few takeaways from the meeting, which was the third hosted in South Africa, the eleventh on the African continent, and the second meeting dedicated to policy development, per ICANN's new meeting strategy. ICANN59 had a total of 1,353 checked-in participants, with 498 of them from Africa, representing 37% of the total onsite attendance. This was complemented by over 1,900 participants from around the globe who joined the meeting remotely through our online platforms. You can read more about this here.

Takeaways

During the four days of ICANN59, stakeholders in their respective constituencies worked on outreach, advancing policy, and advice development efforts. There were a variety of cross-community sessions exploring topics such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the details of ICANN's budget, the continuation of Workstream 2, new gTLD auction proceeds, an amendment of the fundamental law on reconsideration requests, and much, much more. If you're interested in learning more about the many policy-related topics discussed during ICANN59, please download the Post-ICANN59 Policy Report here [PDF, 672 KB].

I was encouraged by the strong level of participation from the African Regional At-Large Organization. (AFRALO). With over 50 At-Large Structures (ALSs) located in 30 countries in Africa, AFRALO is an important avenue for stakeholders to participate in the multistakeholder process. AFRALO also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the African Network Information Center (AFRINIC) during ICANN59, which will increase collaboration between the two groups.

A few encouraging words came from our fellowship program alumni. I would like to share one in particular from Evelyn Namara, a second-time fellow. "As (a) returning fellow, I felt very privileged and honored to be at this event. The impact of the Fellowship Program can be felt across the ICANN meetings. One fellow is even a member of the ICANN Board," said Namara. "As I prepare for my journey past the Fellowship Program, I want to be able to contribute to the community as much as the fellows before me and continue to work on pertinent issues regarding Internet governance. I want to thank ICANN again for providing this rare opportunity for people like me to be engaged in this multistakeholder process of Internet governance."

With this in mind, I am convinced that the high percentage of African attendance, both onsite and remotely, will go a long way towards encouraging more Africans to fully and effectively participate, especially within the new Empowered Community framework.

Still, more needs to be done regarding the level, quality, and regularity of participation. The meeting statistics highlighted a low gender balance for ICANN59, with 61% male participation versus 29% female participation. On the stakeholder classification, while governments and civil society were relatively well represented (19% governments and 27% for civil society/end users), the technical community accounted for 18%, and 15% of participants came from the private sector and domain name industry.

Last but not least, I would like to congratulate the recipients of ICANN's 2017 Multistakeholder Ethos Award, Hiro Hotta and Patricio Poblete. These two community members are setting great examples for the rest of the ICANN community to follow.

I would also like to extend a warm thank you to all who made ICANN59 another success, especially our gracious local host ZADNA. I look forward to seeing you all at ICANN60 in Abu Dhabi!

If you have any questions, please reach out to us through our Nairobi Engagement Centre, which can be reached at queries.nairobiec@icann.org.

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