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It has been a very busy couple of weeks since my last update in mid-February. Today I want to provide you with a brief recap of where we are and next steps.
As we entered 2018, we focused on developing and soliciting input on interim models for collecting registration data and implementing registration directory services to comply with the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and ICANN's agreements with contracted parties. We subsequently published three ICANN-proposed models [PDF, 623 KB] that incorporated a tiered/layered access approach, and held a webinar to discuss and consider views on these models and alternatives proposed by members of the community.
We continued to engage with individuals and groups including constituencies, contracted parties, and data protection agencies to discuss the pros and cons of various models, as well as alternative options for a path forward. These discussions have been enlightening and fruitful. We are beginning to converge on a single model that includes elements where we have consensus and some areas that may require further discussion with the community.
Today we published two important documents for community review:
- A document [PDF, 728 KB] providing a high-level summary of the proposed interim model, including a proposal for an accreditation program for continued access to full Thick WHOIS data for accredited users/entities. The legal justification for collection and use of the WHOIS data included in the interim model is not included in this summary document, but will be based on legitimate interests of the controllers or third parties, and will be detailed in an analysis accompanying the final model.
- A comparison [XLSX, 21 KB] of ICANN organization and community-proposed models based on various elements of registration data against the proposed interim model.
We're now much closer to settling on a final interim model to use until the community adopts new policies to guide our work. ICANN org, with multistakeholder input, is attempting to identify the appropriate balance for a path forward to ensure compliance with the GDPR while maintaining the existing WHOIS system to the greatest extent possible. Your input remains critical to this process. I am asking for your feedback, preferably prior to ICANN61, where we will continue this conversation on the direction we are taking toward interim compliance with the GDPR.
We will also continue to engage with data protection authorities, which are tasked with enforcing data protection laws at a national level, and solicit their input on aspects of the GDPR related to the work of ICANN and ICANN's contracts with registries and registrars.
This has been an intensive, time-consuming process. I am grateful for the outstanding efforts of so many of you in the global multistakeholder community. Thank you for your diligence and hard work. On behalf of ICANN org, we look forward to continuing the dialogue during the upcoming ICANN61 meeting in Puerto Rico. If you won't be there in person, I encourage you to check the schedule and participate remotely in the discussions that will occur. You can also email your input to email@example.com. Let's continue to push forward together.
Don't forget to visit our data protection/privacy page for recent and historical information on this topic.
A year full of challenges has started – requiring more and more of our commitment and participation. We are fortunate to be an active region and to have many opportunities to participate. LACTLD is pleased to be part of the council of ICANN's Latin America and Caribbean Strategic Plan.
We have a busy agenda in the country code top-level domain (ccTLD) community. There will be two ICANN Public Meetings in our region, both in countries with members of our organization. We took advantage of this situation and decided to accompany them with two of our three workshops. One of our goals is to strengthen and facilitate the participation of our ccTLDs, particularly in the processes of the Country Code Names Supporting Organization (ccNSO).
We will hold our Commercial Workshop alongside the ICANN61 meeting in Puerto Rico, on 8 and 9 March 2018. The agenda for this workshop is available here. I hope to see you all there! Soon after that, our Policy and Legal Workshop will be held alongside ICANN62 in Panama City. In support of these efforts, ICANN has granted our organization three scholarships for the ICANN62 meeting. These scholarships will allow three of our members to participate as Fellows, something for which we are grateful.
We have several projects underway this year together with ICANN. The Internship Program enables our region's ccTLDs that have fewer resources to be trained with the help of other ccTLDs that are in stages of greater maturity. Another important project that we will continue to support is the Domain Name System (DNS) Observatory, a project initiated by ICANN and NIC Chile.
From LACTLD we wish you a great year and we hope to find you actively participating in the activities that bring us together. See you in Puerto Rico!
The Registration Directory Service Review Team (RDS-WHOIS2) developed and submitted its terms of reference and corresponding work plan to the ICANN Board to ensure that the team's scope and timeline is consistent with the requirements of the ICANN Bylaws.1
As the team enters its fact-finding phase, we welcome community input on our planned approach.
Where will the review focus?
After carefully considering ICANN Bylaws for the RDS-WHOIS2 Review (Section 4.6(e)) and receiving input for a limited scope proposal from Supporting Organizations (SOs) and Advisory Committees (ACs), the review team agreed to the following scope:
- The review team will:
- Evaluate the extent to which the ICANN organization has implemented each prior Directory Service Review recommendation.
- Assess, to the degree practical, the extent to which implementation of each recommendation was effective in addressing the issue identified by the prior review team, or generated additional information useful to management and evolution of WHOIS (RDS).
- Determine if any specific measurable steps should be recommended to enhance results achieved through the prior review team's recommendations.
- Inventory changes made to WHOIS (RDS) policies and procedures since the completion of the prior review to identify significant new areas and determine if any specific measurable steps should be recommended to enhance effectiveness in those new areas.
- Assess the extent to which the implementation of today's WHOIS (the current gTLD RDS):
- Meets legitimate needs of law enforcement for swiftly accessible, accurate and complete data.
- Promotes consumer trust in gTLD domain names.
- Safeguards registrant data.
- Assess the effectiveness and transparency of ICANN enforcement of existing policy relating to WHOIS (RDS) through Contractual Compliance actions, structure and processes.
Further possible areas were considered (e.g., OECD Guidelines on the Protection of Privacy and Transborder Flows of Personal Data, WHOIS protocol replacement by RDAP) but are not expected to be areas of focus as these are being addressed through other on-going efforts such as the RDS Policy Development Process (PDP).
In recognition that the WHOIS landscape will be changing, perhaps radically, over the coming months as ICANN addresses how it will respond to the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the review team may choose to defer some or all of its work in relation to assessing the effectiveness of today's WHOIS until it is clearer what path ICANN will be following.
Finally, the team will review and identify any suggested amendments to ICANN Bylaws Section 4.6(e) which mandates this periodic review.
What are the next steps for the review team?
Several subgroups were formed to conduct detailed fact-finding with the objective of producing draft findings and recommendations for review team discussion at its face-to-face meeting in Brussels (16-17-18 April 2018). The review team will consider these findings and recommend specific measureable steps (if any) it believes are important to fill gaps.
How can people get involved in the RDS-WHOIS2 Review?
Visit the RDS-WHOIS2 Review wiki page for the latest news, updates, and opportunities to participate. Here you can learn how to become and RDS-WHOIS2 observer, how to share your expertise on RDS/WHOIS issues, and how to subscribe to the RDS-WHOIS2 mailing list for calendar invites, agendas, and "read only" access to mailing list exchanges.
The review team plans to conduct outreach at every key step – read our outreach plan for more information.
Looking ahead, the review team expects to hold public sessions and/or webinars to help the community learn about the objectives of this Review and how to get involved. The review team expects to hold a community consultation at ICANN62 to update the community on its objectives and progress-to-date and welcome community input.
Just a month ago, the ICANN Board met in Los Angeles for our first workshop of calendar 2018, and we are already preparing to head to San Juan for what will surely be another productive workshop, from 9 to 11 March, followed by a busy ICANN61.
Starting on Friday, 9 March, the Board Committees will meet to conduct their regular business. The Board Technical Committee will be holding a public session to provide an update of the activities of the Office of the CTO, and I hope you will be able to join them.
On Saturday, 10 March, we will begin the day with our regular dialogue with Göran Marby, ICANN President and CEO, which we do at all of our workshops. We will hear about his current priorities and efforts, and then we’ll have an opportunity to discuss them with him. After that, Avri Doria will lead two consecutive sessions: first, a policy and advice briefing on priority issues that will be discussed at ICANN61, and second, a detailed preparation for Constituency Day, including a review of all the questions which were submitted by the constituencies for their meetings with the Board.
After our Constituency Day preparation, Chris Disspain will lead a session to review any outstanding resolutions or active accountability mechanisms. Our final session of the day will be a follow-up discussion to the one held at our last workshop on the potential impact of new technologies on the root server system, which will be led jointly by Kaveh Ranjbar and Ram Mohan.
On the morning of Sunday, 11 March, I will lead a discussion on planning for Workstream 2 implementation, followed by a lengthy session on the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), led by Becky Burr and Göran Marby. We will be focusing on the emerging recommended interim model and next steps for ensuring compliance and implementation. We will also be holding a session, led by Chris Disspain, where we will discuss the implications for the ongoing policy work related to WHOIS in light of the latest updates on GDPR.
In the afternoon, we will hold a public session, led by Ram Mohan, on the anticipated updates to the Internationalized Domain Name (IDN) Implementation Guidelines, which apply to the IDNs at the second level. Maarten Botterman and Becky Burr will then lead a discussion with the Board on the proposed disbursement mechanisms considered by the Cross Community Working Group on Auction Proceeds. After that Avri Doria will lead a session on the status of work on New gTLD Subsequent Procedures. Matthew Shears will run the final session of the day. He will guide us through a brief review of the workshop, so that we can look for ways to improve the Board’s efficiency and effectiveness while it is still fresh in our minds.
In the days following ICANN61, I will provide you with an update on this workshop, as well as the overall meeting. I hope to see and hear from many of you at ICANN61 in Puerto Rico, both in person and remotely.
Our stakeholders' commitment and engagement is a key contribution to the fulfilment of ICANN's mission of ensuring a stable, secure and unified global Internet. It is our responsibility as the ICANN organization to not only keep the current community members engaged, but also guide the newcomers in our community.
On 21 February, we conducted a pilot training themed "Get Engaged in ICANN – Seminar for Registrars" as evidence of our support for the new registrar community members. The daylong event took place in parallel with the Domain Pulse in Munich, Germany.
Over the past few years, we've been discussing this concept with the European registrar community and receiving their feedback. We learned that newcomers can find it challenging to enter the ICANN world, grasp ICANN processes and issues, or even know how to start participating.
During the planning process of this pilot program, we reached out to representatives from the registrar community to share ideas for the agenda. It became clear that our target community wanted to learn more about key topics that range from a general introduction to ICANN and the multistakeholder process to operational issues such as contractual compliance obligations, best practices, and data protection. On the basis of these community requests, we developed an inclusive day-long program.
Our goal was to not only introduce participants to ICANN, but also provide them with sufficient tools and insights to become active community members.
Registrars, both ICANN-accredited and non-accredited, were invited to attend the training. Remote participation was offered to those not in attendance.
ICANN organization staff, and experienced community members from Afilias, Blacknight, eco, Larsen Data and United Domains contributed to the training and extended an opportunity for the attendees to discuss the challenges they face.
Programs for other community groups are currently in their development stages. We will gradually launch these programs in 2018. We hope that this training serves as a kickstarter for similar ones across all regions. Stay tuned for updates!
I want to extend my warmest wishes and heartfelt thanks to Duncan Burns, Senior Vice President of Global Communications and Managing Director, Washington D.C. Office, who has decided to leave the ICANN organization at the end of March, after ICANN61.
In the nearly five years since Duncan joined ICANN, he has made significant contributions to the ICANN org in the areas of Communications, in his role on the Executive Team, in overseeing Language Services, U.S. Government Relations, and the Information Transparency Initiative (ITI), among other projects.
While we evaluate how to best handle Duncan's responsibilities, his number two, Gwen Carlson, Senior Director, will run Communications and Language Services and help ensure a smooth transition. Chris Mondini, ICANN's Vice President of Stakeholder Engagement for North America and Global Business Engagement, will lead our U.S. Government engagement activities during this time. In addition, David Conrad, Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, will continue to lead our Information Transparency Initiative, in conjunction with the ITI Steering Committee.
We recently traveled to South Asia to initiate and support community-driven efforts for developing the Internet's Root Zone Label Generation Rules (RZ-LGR), which will further enable a multilingual internet. This included meetings for Neo-Brahmi, Sinhala and Thaana Generation Panels.
We started our series in the Maldives, where we were hosted by the Communications Authority of Maldives (CAM) for a two-day engagement on the domain name system and cybersecurity. Next on the agenda was a day of training on Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs), as well as the purpose and design of RZ-LGR. This training was attended by members of Computer Society of Maldives, the Dhivehi Academy and local experts working on Thaana – the Maldivian script -software.
Participants explained how the Thaana script is fairly regular in its use of consonants and vowel marks to write Dhivehi [PDF, 154 KB] language in a right-to-left direction. Interestingly, we also learned that the community mixes scripts. For example, they use the Thaana and Arabic scripts to write the name Abdullah [PDF, 221 KB]. From our meetings, there is now interest from the community in forming a Generation Panel (GP) for Thaana script to develop its proposal for RZ-LGR.
The Maldives meetings were productive and proved to be a great warm-up or net-practice for the five-day engagement in Colombo, Sri Lanka, where we supported discussions on development and review of multiple script based proposals. Over the weekend, we prepared to bat with the Sinhala script team members, many of whom have long been involved with Sinhala Unicode standardization and second-level domain names.
We were hosted by Theekshana, a non-profit company associated to University of Colombo School of Computing (UCSC), with our meeting room overlooking the beautiful cricket grounds on UCSC campus.
The Sinhala (සිංහල) script used to be written on palm leaves and is drawn in curves because straight lines could tear the leaves. It is used to write Sanskrit and Pali texts. During the meetings, we explained the constraints imposed by the procedure to develop the RZ-LGR and discussed the implications on the Sinhala script. The panel was also briefed on label-level rules being developed for Devanagari script by the Neo-Brahmi Generation Panel (NBGP) to organize the Akshara constraints, as an example for organizing Sinhala characters. Finally, the panel reviewed other scripts and found possible cross-script variant character cases with Kannada, Malayalam, Myanmar and Telegu scripts, which it intends to investigate further. The meeting ended with a media briefing where the Sinhala GP chair, Sri Lanka's representative on the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC), and ICANN org talked about the importance of IDNs and announced the formation of the Sinhala GP.
The Neo-Brahmi Generation Panel (NBGP) panel was also convening in Colombo for their face-to-face meeting. The Neo-Brahmi and Sinhala GP teams started with a joint session, with members from India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka (we hope Bangladesh will join soon), focused on matters of mutual interest. These included the consistent framework for label-level rules for South Asian scripts, cross-script variants between Sinhala script and the scripts covered by NBGP, and the proposal for the Tamil script being developed by the NBGP.
The NBGP had set an aggressive goal to hit at its meeting. After discussing Tamil, the next meeting featured a formidable line-up of experts to deliberate on Gujarati, Gurmukhi, Kannada, Malayalam, and Telugu scripts.
Work on these scripts has progressed significantly. The first complete drafts were reviewed by the panel, which identified challenges and possible ways forward. Experts working on the Kannada script identified characters which haven't been used in nearly 50 years and eventually excluded them from the RZ-LGR proposal.
The panel had a detailed discussion on cross-script variant characters to determine an agreeable mechanism to identify them – should variant characters be strictly homoglyphs, or should they also include other confusing characters? The panel converged on a solution to tag each pair of candidate cross-script variant characters with one of the three colors , based on independent feedback from members from both relevant scripts, for indistinguishable, similar and distinct characters. The GP identified multiple script pairs including Devanagari-Gurmukhi (देवनागरी - ਗੁਰਮੁਖੀ), Kannada-Telugu (ಅಕ್ಷರಮಾಲೆ - తెలుగు లిపి) and Tamil-Malayalam (தமிழ் - മലയാളലിപി) for the cross-script variant analysis.
We concluded our trip with a visit to the Cricket Club Café, a popular eatery in Colombo. We were surrounded by nostalgic cricket memorabilia including a bat with signatures of the Sri Lankan eleven who won the 1996 Cricket World Cup. Although we were as tired as we would be after playing a five-day cricket match, we were also enthused by the immense energy the community members injected in the invigorating discussions. We were driven by their passion to speak up for their languages and scripts. As we perused the menu, we were silently mindful of the line-up of the eleven scripts covered by the three panels we had been supporting in this trip. These scripts also exhibited a glorious variety in their style, simultaneously arraying a unifying South Asian Abugida writing culture at a deeper level.
The Internet as we know it today owes its development and scalability to the meticulous work of thousands of volunteers who develop technical standards and specifications that ensure global interoperability. This work is mostly done by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), both online and three times a year during face-to-face meetings around the world.
This year, ICANN is cohost with Google of the 101st meeting of the IETF in London from 18–23 March. IETF meetings gather about a thousand volunteer technologists. For a week, they discuss to advance their work on new standards or specifications candidates, and ways to improve or evolve existing ones. Over the past few meetings, a pre-event Hackathon has gained significant momentum. During the Hackathons dozens of coders and engineers from around the world work for two days to develop and debug applications that implement specific Internet standards or specifications which often includes work on both current and future Domain Name System (DNS) standards. This pre-event showcases practical implementations of the IETF standards and specifications through actual "running code."
For ICANN, supporting the IETF through sponsoring or cohosting allow us to express our continuous trust in the process and the thousands of volunteers who make it work. They contribute in the IETF to help build a robust set of standards and specifications that support the secure, stable, and resilient Internet that we all work for. ICANN's mission to help coordinate the smooth management of current unique Internet identifiers is a function that resulted from Internet Protocol (IP) specifications that the IETF defined. Supporting the IETF's work is also a way for ICANN to ensure that through our technical engagement we fulfill part of our own mission to support "One World, One Internet."
Several members of the ICANN organization participate in and contribute to the IETF's work. Our team members are currently working as authors or coauthors of more than 15 Internet drafts, many of which are under discussion in different working groups. Many of them will be presented in London.
IETF 101 in London will be another opportunity to engage with the IETF community and bring some emerging technical issues and solutions home for further review or implementation. Recent meetings have showcased topics related to encryption in protocol specifications, deliverability of the DNS, and IP version 6 (IPv6).
Göran Marby, ICANN President and CEO, will give a short address during the plenary on Wednesday. We also expect the attendance of Cherine Chalabi, Chair, ICANN Board of Directors, who lives in London, and other members of the ICANN Board and community. If you are attending IETF 101 and want to learn more about ICANN, feel free to visit our team at the ICANN booth.
ICANN also hosted the IETF 89 meeting in London in 2014 (at the same hotel!) and has sponsored a few recent meetings, including IETF 100, held in Singapore in November 2017.
Read more about the IETF 101 meeting at https://www.ietf.org/how/meetings/101/.