Policy Update from Kobe

Where’s the Beef?! At #ICANN64 in Kobe Japan, we finally got to answer the question, “Were’s the beef?!”  This began as a slogan for an ad campaign for Wendy’s in 1984 and went on to be a catchphrase that essentially meant, “Where’s the substance?” At ICANN meetings, it’s easy for the At-large to get lost in questions of process and budget but in Kobe, under ALAC Chair Maureen Hillyard, the At-large had a determined focus on policy.  Specifically, we had three policy sessions on the topics of privacy, subsequent procedures (ie more new gTLDs!) and Universal Acceptance, one of the primary barriers to the success of the 2012 round. Of course, in Kobe, we all endeavored to have Kobe beef at least once, if not multiple times during the course of the week so we can definitively say “the beef” was in Kobe!

Balancing Privacy with Security and Stability for the Internet End User

The At-large hosted a lively panel of experts on the topic of Privacy vs Consumer Projection. The experts included Laureen Kapin, of the FTC, Greg Aaron from the SSAC and Kathy Kleiman and Farzi Baddi of the NCSG. While this informational session is only part of a process to develop consensus At-large objectives for Phase II of the EPDP on GDPR compliance there are a number of points of interest. First, the At-large remain committed to representing the interests of non-registrant end users, when working on the EPDP, both because they represent the majority of end users and because those interests are under represented on the EPDP. Greg Aaron, made it clear that reputation systems are indeed suffering under the WHOIS virtual blackout. The Data show that the capacity of SPAMHAUS and others to identify malicious websites has been cut nearly in half. The the concerns raised by the At-large throughout Phase I of the EPDP have been confirmed. This suggests a need for efficiency in Phase II to minimize the damage the data shortfall produces. That said, accreditation is no simple task and will require a lot of nuance and fineness. It appears that distinctions will even need to be made between various law enforcement jurisdictions to protect free speech. Kathy and Farzi made it clear that we can’t make assumptions about any category of potential data requester. Find out more here: https://64.schedule.icann.org/meetings/961989

Challenges and Possible Opportunities Regarding Universal Acceptance

As the At-large discussed Universal Acceptance, two areas of consensus became apparent. First, it became clear that the interests of end users, particularly those using non-Latin scripts are being undermined by a lack of universal acceptance around the world. Consequently, it was unanimous among those present that UA should be a priority issue for the At-large. We had a great presentation from the Universal Acceptance Steering Committee (UASG) who are a wealth of information on the topic, including this piece. Second, there was enthusiasm to experiment with At-large community mobilization on the issue of UA. Given the worldwide challenges that a lack of UA poses, the Regional Leaders of At-large committed to participating in a program of widespread outreach to end users to engage them in testing applications and websites around the world and reporting those that fail to accept tlds longer that 3 characters or in non-Latin scripts (so-called International Domain Names or IDNs). John Laprise, co-chair of the ALAC and Chair of the At-large Outreach WG has taken on an action item to develop a proposal and plan for multi-tier end user outreach and activation on UA. At John’s direction, staff will set up a wiki page for discussion and brainstorming on the way forward in terms of audience, ask and technology for this program. The result may be a request for additional funds from ICANN. Find out more here: https://64.schedule.icann.org/meetings/962007

New gTLD Subsequent Procedures and Objectives for the At-Large Community

While the At-large view the notion of a new round with significant skepticism, our priority would be to focus our efforts on those left behind in the last round, namely communities and so-called “under-served” regions around the world. Krista Taylor from the Subsequent Procedures Working Group (subproc), explained that the WG is tending towards trying to identify a “middle tier” region that was not present in the last round but that might likely be interested in the new gTLD program. They are uncertain what to do differently in a future round but are dedicated to improving the applicant assistance over what was provided in the 2012 round. The At-large have committed to help with a more functional definition of community and to make recommendations for qualified participants on the various evaluation committees when that time comes. Furthermore, the At-large have committed to spreading word of a new round if and when it happens. Find out more here: https://64.schedule.icann.org/meetings/961988