30 May 2014

Rogue Justice, UDRPs, ICANN, WIPO

The problems with ICANN's UDRP process are rampant, yet ICANN has failed to take corrective action:

A domain investor goes to WIPO’s home in Geneva to learn more about UDRP | Domain Name Wire (Nat Cohen): "ICANN has apparently abdicated any oversight role over the UDRP. The absence of ICANN oversight means there is no authority that can correct problems in the implementation of the UDRP, such as misapplication of the policy, incorrect interpretations, inconsistent decisions, or rogue panelists. WIPO does not view its role as determining the proper interpretation of the UDRP. The panelists must therefore take on, whether willingly or unwillingly, the responsibility to interpret and implement the UDRP." (read more at the link above)

So what happens? Terrible, inconsistent decisions are multiplying. In many cases lawful domain registrants have had their domain names in effect "stolen" through use of ICANN's UDRP process by claimants who decided not to purchase the domain legally but took a chance on getting a favorable decision from rogue panelists. And ICANN has done nothing to correct or prevent this kind of UDRP abuse.

And now, with the US-IANA transition, ICANN wants to be accountable only to itself?

Remember what Kieren McCarthy wrote over 2 years ago:

The case study that could kill ICANN | .Nxt | Internet policy and governance: "ICANN is organizationally misconfigured to deal with the demands of 22, let alone 1,022 Internet registries... the first instinct of the organization is to hide from this fact, even to the extent that it will willfully ignore serious flaws in its systems, and flagrant breaches of contract..." (emphasis added)

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29 May 2014

Mary Meeker's Internet Trends 2014 slides, Internet Users Growth Slowing

KPCB Internet trends 2014 from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers by Mary Meeker

Probably the most important takeaways for the domain name industry in the Internet trends 2014 slides by Mary Meeker, KPCB: the total number of Internet users in the world is growing less than 10 percent per year and slowing and internet users are increasingly accessing the web via mobile devices.

And while the number of total internet users may be relevant, unfortunately the KPCB internet trends report does not give us the data on the most important factors for domain name registrations per capita in a nation or region:
1. Good Internet Connectivity (available, fast, cheap) - for some of that data see here, and here (pdf);
2. High Gross National Income (GNI) per capita - (for that data see here and here);
3. Absence of internet censorship - for some of that data see here.

The above factors are why 78% of all TLD (gTLDs + ccTLDs) registrations in the world are in Europe and North America, and why there are fewer TLD domain names registered in China than the UK even though China's internet user population is 10 times that of the UK (see: Domain Name Registrations and the Global Internet Population).

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27 May 2014

Separating IANA from ICANN, the Internet Governance Project Roadmap for Globalizing IANA

Internet Governance Project Roadmap for globalizing IANA: Four principles and a proposal for reform - pdf available here - excerpts follow:

Four principles to guide IANA contract reform:
1. Keep the IANA function clerical; separate it from policy [ICANN]
2. Don’t internationalize political oversight: end it
3. Align incentives to ensure the accuracy and security of root zone maintenance
4. De­link globalization of the IANA function from broader ICANN policy process reforms

The proposal
"The current IANA contract expires September 30, 2015. This date should be taken as the deadline for globalizing the IANA functions. The Department of Commerce has the authority to relinquish its control by simply walking away from the IANA functions contract when it expires in September 2015 and announcing as a matter of policy that the transition referenced in the 1998 White Paper to NewCo is finished.

"We propose to combine the IANA Functions and the Root Zone Maintainer roles in a new nonprofit corporation, the DNS Authority (DNSA). The DNSA would be exclusively concerned with the IANA functions related to the DNS root zone and associated databases. The IANA functions related to protocol parameters would be moved to the IETF, and the IP address­related functions would be retained by ICANN until such time as new global policies regarding their disposition could be developed.

"The DNSA would be run by a nonprofit consortium of all the firms operating root servers and domain name registries (i.e., all companies with top level domains in the root and root servers), just as some of the early ccTLDs were jointly owned by that country’s registrars. The owners would include generic TLD registries such as Afilias and Verisign, as well as country code TLD registries such as DENIC (Germany) and CNNIC (China). This would make governance of the DNS­related IANA functions highly diverse and globalized. A one registry, one vote structure might best ensure the neutrality of DNSA governance, but other structures (e.g., basing voting shares and financial support on the size of the registry) are worth considering as well. ICANN currently spends about US$ 7 million annually on the IANA functions; Verisign’s expenditures on the Root Zone Maintainer functions are not known but are likely to also be in the low millions. We propose an initial grant from ICANN of about $12 million to support the initial formation and early operation of the DNSA; after that the consortium would have to work out a fee structure for its members to support operations.

"The DNSA would require a binding contract with ICANN regarding the conditions under which it would agree to implement changes in the root zone or other associated databases to reflect policies emerging from ICANN’s policy development processes. The contract should ensure that the DNSA has no policy authority but merely implements valid requests for additions or deletions emerging from ICANN’s policy process. DNSA would promise to abide by ICANN policy directives on the condition that ICANN’s policy decisions related to the root not be used to impose requirements on registries, via registry agreements, to regulate content or otherwise locally lawful behavior of registrants. The existence of this contract would provide the opportunity for developing an additional accountability check on ICANN. For example, if the contract was not in perpetuity but was renewable every five years, diverse entities might compete to replace the existing ICANN as the policy development authority. As for the DNSA, as a private association of incumbent registries, any attempt by it to manipulate root zone management to thwart competition or discriminate against eligible members would be easily challenged by competition law authorities in Europe, the U.S., or elsewhere.

"The initial step for executing this proposal should be a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between multiple principals (governments, businesses, civil society organizations) and the agents (ICANN, and eventually, DNSA)...."

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26 May 2014

Who Will Control the Internet Domain Name and Number System?

 ICANN, ITU, or a separate IANA? Who will control the internet's domain name and numbering system? At this point that is an unknown -- one view below:

"The capabilities and political strength of the institution [ICANN] are unproven and remain a question mark. If, as the Chinese proverb goes, it is a curse to live in “interesting” times, I fear we may be facing several years of living dangerously."(source infra)

Who Controls the Internet Address Book? ICANN, NTIA and IANA: ".... It is simply untenable for the United States to continue to be the proprietor of the globalized internet domain. At some point, a transition to an international system was required. On the other hand, ICANN may not necessarily be in a good position to take over this responsibility (as anxious as it is to do so). Many are worried that ICANN is beholden to the domain name registry industry, who pay large fees to ICANN for the privilege of managing (and reselling) top level domain systems. When ICANN recently opened up new gTLDs it reaped a huge profit. If you accept the maxim that “he who has the gold makes the rules” the transition to ICANN control may actually be about a transition to corporate control through ICANN. ICANN is often thought of as unaccountable. It’s multi-stakeholder model of governance attempts to bring all parties to the table. But that’s an awfully big table. In the end, the ICANN executive group usually takes the initiative and drives the agenda—and without the check of the NTIA (however modest it has been in the past) they may have greater leeway to do as they please. More worryingly, from my perspective, is the question of technical expertise. It is far from clear to me that ICANN is ready and able to take over the implementation role of root zone management. The worst possible result would be a broken DNS system. The move by the United States to start this transition now is either very canny or panicked...." (read more at link above)

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25 May 2014

State of Digital Advertising Q1 2014 (comScore Presentation)

State of Digital Advertising Q1 2014 - comScore, Inc:

State of Digital Advertising Q1 2014 (comScore Presentation) above - Digital ad spending, up 17 percent year-over-year in 2013, continues to grow at a fast rate, with digital poised to play an even greater role in the future of advertising. In this presentation, comScore VP of Marketing & Insights Andrew Lipsman and comScore Sr. Director of Product Marketing & Ad Effectiveness Andrea Vollman take an in-depth look at the critical trends and issues that are shaping the digital advertising industry.                          

"Some key takeaways from the webinar for marketers and publishers include:
  • Use industry benchmarks to guide campaign planning and performance evaluation
  • Set proper expectations between buyers and sellers to avoid painful reconciliations
  • Adopt a Total Video approach to quantifying video audiences across platforms to account for mobile and over-the-top viewing
  • Begin attracting dollars to mobile by measuring its audiences and ad campaign effectiveness
  • Evaluate native advertising to generate incremental marketing and monetization opportunities, particularly on mobile"
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24 May 2014

WordPress sites launching DDoS attacks

How vulnerable is WordPress? If you use WordPress for your website(s), you should read the full article at the link below (excerpt follows):

Attackers trick 162,000 WordPress sites into launching DDoS attack | Ars Technica: " . . . The WordPress-enabled attacks are just one technique in a growing arsenal of powerful DDoS weapons. Other implementations include the abuse of the Internet's time-synchronization protocol and the exploitation of open domain name system servers to greatly amplify traffic. Attackers have also waged extremely powerful DDoS campaigns using botnets of WordPress servers. The growing body of attacks shows that there's no shortage of ways to inflict crippling damage on the Internet...."

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23 May 2014

ICANN Accountability, IANA Transition, Karl Auerbach Letter

By now, most people in the domain name industry are aware of the NTIA announcement and the ongoing process convened by ICANN in regard to IANA functions, as well as ICANN's own process for enhancing its own accountability. The most important document published thus far in regard to either ICANN accountability or IANA transition is a letter written by Karl Auerbach to the US Congress that covers both issues. Karl is a former member of the ICANN Board of Directors, an internet technologist who has written internet standards that have been adopted by the IETF, has been a principal in several internet start-ups, is a recipient of the Norbert Wiener Award for Social and Professional Responsibility, and has been named a fellow of law and technology at Cal Tech and Loyola Marymount. He is also a member of the California Bar and its Intellectual Property section.

Those interested in either ICANN or IANA should read his entire letter (it is a "must read") which can be found here.

Excerpts from Karl Auerbach's letter (emphasis added):

"IANA is essentially a clerical job that usually involves no significant amount of discretion. (And in those rare cases where technical discretion is needed the various technical standards organizations, such as the Internet Engineering Task Force – the IETF – provide specific guidance and designate experts to be consulted.) There is no particular reason why ICANN and IANA are bundled into the same organization. IANA could be handled by any competent clerical provider – such as an established accounting firm. Rather than being a parent organization to IANA, ICANN could just as well be a client for IANA services. Because ICANN is essentially a body that regulates economic and business matters – and is thus subject to storms of debate from financially interested groups – it would be better for IANA to be held separate from ICANN and allowed to do its clerical job in peace and avoid being dragged into matters in which it has no interest and no role."

"ICANN does vanishingly little with regard to the technical stability of the internet and, instead, uses its de facto monopoly position to do a land office business selling rights to internet territory. ICANN does not “assure the technical stability of the internet”. Rather, ICANN dispenses commercial rights and privileges. In exchange for its largess ICANN obtains monopoly rents, significantly restricts legitimate and innovative business practices, and imposes expansive trademark protection well beyond what is required by any law of any nation. ICANN is a private regulatory body that promotes its particular view of social engineering, internet business practices, trademark protection, and preservation of incumbent interests."

"NTIA's role in ICANN has largely been to shield ICANN from questions, most particularly questions that would normally arise about a private body that restrains trade and innovation. One must ask whether that behavior constitutes oversight at all. Or has an absence of oversight by NTIA allowed ICANN to become a permissive playground for financially interested entities to promote private agendas?"

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20 May 2014

IANA functions transition, Commerce Counsel's Letter to Congress

Kelly R. Welsh, the General Counsel of the US Department of Commerce, wrote a letter to Congress on May 6, 2014, documenting the Department's position about the NTIA authority to transition the stewardship role regarding the IANA Functions. Full letter here (pdf)


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18 May 2014

Hague Institute Conference on the Future of Cyber Governance (video)

Conference: The Future of Cyber Governance -
On May 15, 2014, The Hague Institute concluded a successful three-day conference on the future of cyber governance. The conference, which was part of the Institute's Global Governance Reform Initiative, brought together renowned academics and practitioners from more than a dozen countries to discuss critical challenges in and policy recommendations for the global governance of cyberspace.

The panel featured a select group of preeminent global scholars and practitioners: 

Mr. Sunil Abraham - Executive Director, Center for Internet and Society
Professor Laura DeNardis - Professor and Associate Dean, School of Communication, American University
Ms. Rebecca MacKinnon - Director, Ranking Digital Rights Project, New America Foundation
Professor Milton Mueller - Professor, Syracuse University School of Information Studies & the Internet Governance Project
Professor Nii Narku Quaynor - Chairman, Ghana Dot Com Ltd. & Internet Hall of Fame Inductee
Mr. Paul Rosenzweig - Founder, Red Branch Consulting, PLLC

Dr. Richard Ponzio - Head of Global Governance Program, The Hague Institute
Mr. Samir Saran - Vice President, Observer Research Foundation, New Delhi

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16 May 2014

ICANN Releases Financials, Questions Raised

ICANN finally releases its financials (IRS Form 990) (pdf) for the period ending June 30, 2013, and questions are being raised --

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14 May 2014

Understanding How ICANN Became So Dysfunctional

Whether you are just a domain name registrant concerned about the IANA transition, or more involved in the organization known as ICANN, the following is a "must read" --

Understanding ICANN's Complexity in a Growing and Changing Internet by Cecilia Testart, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), April 15, 2014 (download here), excerpt (from pp. 28-29):

".... as some constituencies did not engage as described in the bylaws, different stakeholders do not have the same power or influence inside ICANN.…Adding to this complexity is the fact that not all internal bodies were created at the same time or use the same instrument as definition. Hence, there is not a unified document where the principles governing the structure and work of ICANN are clearly exposed. Equally important, there is a significant barrier for constituencies to actively participate in or follow-up inside ICANN. The accountability process of ICANN requires full disclosure of reports and meeting documents by the parties involved, but it does not standardize how the disclosure has to be done. As a result, there is a continual feed of announcements, ongoing activities, open discussions and reports spread across ICANN’s main website and each internal body’s website. There are no tools to easily search for particular documents, compare content, follow a particular thread or simply have all relevant documents in the same repository. Consequently, the most influential stakeholders or constituencies are also the most active, increasing the gap between them and the less involved ones or new comers. For instance, the main link of ICANN with the International System is the Governmental Advisory Committee, which fails to be a sufficient mechanism for many governments. This committee is in the delicate position of being an advisory committee but with more influence and internal links than other structures. However, it seldom uses them. This difference and internal inequality is a source of future contentions. In addition, ICANN’s resources have been constantly growing in the past 10 years, and only in the last year increased three-fold compared with the year before. These growing resources are also growing sources of concern to stakeholders such as top-level domain managers, registries, registrars and Internet users.It constitutes a challenge to understand ICANN’s internal structure and follow-up its different processes. The role of its internal bodies should be clearly stated and represent the operational mechanisms in place, and there should be a centralized online tool where all relevant documents can be found and be searched for. There are still more than three billion potential new Internet users on the world and many new usage trends are just emerging…." (emphasis added)

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13 May 2014

ICANN fails to follow its own Bylaws and procedures says IRP panel

"Our bylaws are very important to us. They capture our mission of security, stability and accessibility, and compel the organization to be open and transparent." -- from the ICANN website

ICANN may claim its bylaws are important, but apparently ICANN doesn't follow its bylaws. At least that is what an IRP panel ruled yesterday in the DotConnectAfrica (DCA) Trust Case #50117T108313, full decision here (pdf), stating "In the Panel’s unanimous view, it would be unfair and unjust to deny DCA Trust’s request for interim relief when the need for such a relief by DCA Trust arises out of ICANN’s failure to follow its own Bylaws and procedures." (emphasis added)

The details of how ICANN failed to "follow its own Bylaws and procedures" are set out in full in the decision. Suffice to say, this is one more reason for the global multistakeholder community to question ICANN's pretenses of competency and accountability. Excerpt from the decision (pp.7-8) is set out in the graphics below:

graphic of page 7 of IRP Panel decision in DCA Trust and ICANN case

graphic of portion of page 8 of IRP Panel decision in DCA Trust and ICANN case

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12 May 2014

Replace ICANN, Prohibit Trafficking in Domain Names, says Attorney

"... [The new] gTLDs are a mess—a legal quagmire for legitimate businesses. . . . the domain name itself, remains subject to all manner of abuse by infringers ... Of course, ICANN did provide the trademark clearinghouse for gTLDs.  Admirable if inadequate." (emphasis and link added, source: Nicholas Wells, infra)

So says one enterprising trademark attorney in his article posted at: Replacing ICANN | Nicholas Wells. He proposes an INTA-managed domain system with terms such as the following:

"A. After requesting registration, each domain is subject to a 30-day opposition period during which 3rd parties can object based on pre-existing rights.... D. Domains that are not used within a given period and are not associated with the owner’s registered trademark or a version thereof (so as to provide for typos etc.) would be considered abandoned and would be shut down and returned to public availability.... F. Trafficking in domain names could be prohibited except under specific circumstances, such as for domains transferred as part of a transfer of related trademark rights..." (Emphasis added; read more at the Nicholas Wells link above)

In his article, Attorney Wells notes that INTA, the International Trademark Association, is holding its Annual Meeting in Hong Kong this week. Stay tuned.

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09 May 2014

Google Says ICANN Board may have IANA Conflict of Interest

Domain name registrants, and internet users globally, owe a big thank you to Google for its forthright and courageous response to ICANN's Draft Proposal to Transition NTIA's Stewardship of the IANA Functions -- full Google document here (pdf), excerpts follow --

"....Community should be empowered to determine the scope of the transition discussion - The draft scoping document enumerates the role of the ICANN Board of Directors as follows: “...1) ensure that the process executed adheres to the principles outlined by the community input and the NTIA principles outlined for this effort, and 2) ensure that the parameters of the scope document are upheld.”

"At a minimum, this proposed plan creates the appearance of a conflict of interest, if not an actual conflict of interest, for the ICANN Board. The role of ICANN’s Board is to oversee all of ICANN’s business and operational actions and to ensure its continued solvency as an organization.* As such, the Board has a vested interest in ensuring ICANN’s continued relevancy within the Internet governance ecosystem and arguably has an interest in scoping the process to preserve ICANN’s existing role. While we are confident that ICANN’s Board would not act in a way that would harm the Internet or the IANA functions transition, the presence of a conflict of interest -- even if perceived -- could impact the overall integrity of the process. We urge ICANN to reconsider this path forward.

"Instead, ICANN should delegate the authority for deciding proper scope to the steering committee. As noted in the NTIA announcement, determining the parameters of the scope of the IANA transition process is a decision that should be left to the community, and the Board of Directors’ fiduciary duty to ICANN as an institution may cloud its ability to scope the process objectively. Allowing the steering group to perform this task would also free up the Board to work on other pressing matters facing the ICANN community, such as implementation of the ATRT recommendations and broader concerns over organizational accountability and transparency, which are closer to the Board’s remit....in order to ensure maximum global support for the transition plan, which will likely include both technical and policy components, it will require buy-in from both the technical and non-technical communities alike. Therefore, we would urge ICANN to consider broadening their scope to include other fora such as the global and regional Internet Governance Forum (IGF) meetings, including IGF 2014 in Istanbul, EuroDIG, and APrIGF and regional Internet-based summits like the Africa Internet Summit...."


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08 May 2014

Will the NTIA Decision Hurt VeriSign?

"The U.S. government's plan of relinquishing control of the system for assigning website addresses is expected to hurt VeriSign 's ( VRSN ) growth prospects going forward." (source infra)

Will the NTIA's Decision Hurt VeriSign? - Analyst Blog - NASDAQ.com: " ... VeriSign, which operates the infrastructure for the .com, .net and.gov, stated that the NTIA decision will not affect its operations in any way as its Internet functions are much different from those included in the announcement. Further, the company clarified that functions performed by VeriSign that come under the purview of the NTIA announcement have been performed as a community service spanning three decades without compensation and hence their non-renewal will not affect profitability going forward. Nevertheless, this announcement seems to be a major setback for VeriSign. It is likely to be an overhang on the registration business, which is a major contributor of revenues (contributed nearly $1.0 billion revenue in 2013)....."

Of course, there is still the unanswered question of how Verisign is going to avoid antitrust liability after the US Department of Commerce walks away from its oversight.

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07 May 2014

ICANN Now Says It Wants to "Enhance ICANN Accountability"

Looks like the US Department of Commerce and ICANN may have put the cart before the horse. Now, almost 2 months after the US Department of Commerce's NTIA made its IANA transition announcement, ICANN yesterday announced its intention to enhance its own accountability by engaging in a process parallel to, but simultaneous with the IANA transition process:

In a blog post yesterday, Steve Crocker, Chairman of the ICANN Board of Directors, wrote: "Ever since the NTIA announced its intention to transition the stewardship of the IANA functions, the ICANN Community, our Board, and ICANN’s leadership all have been in agreement that a process on ICANN’s overall accountability is needed. This process should look at from an organizational perspective, whether and how ICANN’s broader accountability mechanisms should be strengthened to address the absence of its historical contractual relationship to the U.S. Government....I can say that the framing of this process and how it relates to the other, recently- launched process on the transition of IANA stewardship itself, are top priorities for the Board and me. As Fadi noted in Sao Paulo, the two are closely interrelated and will run in parallel. Our handling of these processes will be closely scrutinized. Enhancing ICANN’s accountability is key to the success of the IANA functions stewardship transition process. We must be accountable to the global community beyond our role as the administrator of the IANA functions....The two processes, however, will run on separate tracks. Though open to all, the accountability process will take place mainly within the ICANN community, whereas the process on the transition of the IANA functions stewardship will occur across multiple fora. ICANN’s role in the latter is also limited to that of a convener and facilitator...."

The full announcement on the accountability process can be found here.

The public comment period is open and the deadline for input is 27 May 2014 (23:59 UTC).

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06 May 2014

Top-Down Internet Governance, Secret ICANN Board Resolutions

Philip Corwin (beginning @56:25 in the video here), of Virtualaw LLC, and ICANN watchdog for the Internet Commerce Association, spoke at the 49th ICANN meeting. Corwin revealed that ICANN CEO Fadi Chehade passed secret resolutions to further the goal of “an internet cooperation agenda.” Corwin stated: “In the last period, particularly in the question which was out there since last summer of whether the NSA revelations undermined trust in ICANN and the Internet and required the type of response we’re seeing. Instead, we saw the establishment of top‐down presidential strategy panels. We saw ‐‐ and I hate to say this ‐‐ a new low point in ICANN with the secret Board resolution last September that authorized the CEO to take many of the actions that have been taken…”

The secret ICANN resolution, issued in September 2013, was published a month after the October 2013 ICANN meeting that pushed for the globalization of ICANN. The October meeting called on members to sign the “Montevideo Statement on the Future of Internet Cooperation”. Corwin notes that “While the Montevideo Statement was signed by ten entities, the actual work of coordinating its issuance was performed by CEO Chehade pursuant to a secret resolution passed by the ICANN Board on September 28th.”Corwin has noted that No consultation effort was engaged in with ICANN’s stakeholders and constituencies before these decisions were made.”

Note the complete absence of a Bottom-Up Multistakeholder Process in how ICANN actually functions.


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05 May 2014

Mueller: ccNSO smashed the tricks of ICANN and NTIA

ccNSO interim comments are here (pdf), excerpt:

".... it is the view of the ccNSO Council that any transition of responsibility for the IANA Functions must establish the processes and procedures through which operational requirements for the root zone management functions will be developed, processes and procedures through which the IANA functions operator will be chosen, as well as processes and procedures by which the IANA functions operator will be accountable to the stakeholder community with respect to such requirements. ... ICANN has consistently failed to acknowledge that TLD registries – both country code TLDs and generic TLDs – are as much “affected parties” as are the IETF, the IAB, ISOC, and NRO....Accordingly, we call on ICANN to expand the proposed steering group to include two representatives selected by the ccTLD community and two representatives selected by the Registry Stakeholder Group as “affected parties...Because ICANN is directly interested in the outcome of the multi-stakeholder process being launched, SO and AC participants on the steering committee should be selected by the communities they represent, not by the chairs of the ICANN Board and GAC. The approach proposed in the ICANN Draft is “top-down” and also has the appearance of being self-serving...this process must take into account and provide a replacement for the role that NTIA has played in overseeing ICANN’s obligation to develop and implement consensus policies through a bottom up multistakeholder process, and to be accountable to all stakeholders for the outcome of its decision-making. The ccNSO was not alone in expressing concern about ICANN’s apparent insistence on separating these issues. To the extent that ICANN continues to insist on maintaining separate tracks to address each of these issues, it must ensure that the two tracks come together in advance of the transition itself. Moreover, ICANN should not prejudge or attempt to manipulate the outcome by conflating the issues of globalization and accountability, nor should it assume an “affirmation of commitments” approach to accountability. We understand that in the near future ICANN will issue a draft proposal to address broader accountability issues, and we look forward to reviewing and commenting on that document as well. (emphasis added)

In other words, ccNSO is telling ICANN (and NTIA), stop the BS, we will not allow you to hijack the IANA transition process in your typical top-down manner, and ICANN accountability needs to be addressed by the multi-stakeholder community.

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03 May 2014

IANA Transition? US House Subcommittee Cuts NTIA Funding

Senate delays patent vote again - Scoop: Appropriations report concerned about ICANN transition - MPOLITICO Morning Tech - POLITICO.com: "The House Commerce-Justice-Science appropriations subcommittee report on its FY15 funding bill unveiled this week expresses wariness about NTIA's plan to relinquish oversight of ICANN, according to an excerpt of the report shared with MT. The language won’t be official until the full committee approves it — but it’s not a huge surprise, given the House committee is led by Republicans, who have generally been opposed to the switch. Still, it puts on the record more opposition to the proposal — and could perhaps explain why the CJS subcommittee’s FY15 funding recommendations would cut NTIA spending by about 20 percent compared to this fiscal year. “In order for this issue to be more fully considered by the Congress, the recommendation for NTIA does not include any funds to carry out a transition of these functions,” the report states. The full report is likely to be made public when the full appropriations committee approves it later this year."

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New gTLD Domain Names, Google Search Rank

Matt Cutts - Google+ - I read a post by someone offering new top-level domain…: ""Will a new TLD web address automatically be favoured by Google over a .com equivalent?..."

"Matt Cutts: Sorry, but that's just not true, and as an engineer in the search quality team at Google, I feel the need to debunk this misconception. Google has a lot of experience in returning relevant web pages, regardless of the top-level domain (TLD). Google will attempt to rank new TLDs appropriately, but I don't expect a new TLD to get any kind of initial preference over .com, and I wouldn't bet on that happening in the long-term either. If you want to register an entirely new TLD for other reasons, that's your choice, but you shouldn't register a TLD in the mistaken belief that you'll get some sort of boost in search engine rankings."

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01 May 2014

ICANN, IANA function, NTIA Says Congressional Approval Not Needed (video)

ICANN, IANA function, Future of Internet Governance - Scenarios for the Future of Internet Governance video above, April 30, 2014,  Internet Society, Washington DC Chapter. Panelists: Fiona Alexander - Office of International Affairs, NTIA, US Department of Commerce; Pat Kane - Senior Vice President, Naming and Directory Services, Verisign; Richard Jimmerson - Chief Information Officer, ARIN; Steve DelBianco - Executive Director, NetChoice; Milton Mueller - Professor at Syracuse University School of Information Studies; Moderator: Tim Lordan - Executive Director at Internet Education Foundation

Highlights: Milton Mueller @30:00; Structural Separation of IANA from ICANN @56:45; BUT the real action starts @01:17:00 when Attorney Philip Sbarbaro asks NTIA if Congressional approval is needed and how Verisign can avoid antitrust liability once the US Department of Commerce walks away from its oversight role.
Entire program available here: http://new.livestream.com/internetsociety/internetscenarios

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