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April 2002 Archives

April 2, 2002

GA summary 2002-12

This summary covers the DNSO GA mailing list's (and related) discussions and news between March 26, 2002, and April 02, 2002.

GA list archives are available online at [www.dnso.org].


Please feel free to forward this summary as you believe to be appropriate.


(i) WLS. In a follow-up to the last summary, George Kirikos said: "The only item I'd have added was a brief mention of the thread where Verisign has submitted WLS to ICANN (despite opposition by the RC, and no consensus), as that hadn't been officially mentioned anywhere else but on this list (i.e. except for the quiet release on Verisign's website)." [www.dnso.org]

(ii) Request for a Working Group. Danny Younger requested a working group devoted to the topic of "abuse and deceptive registrar and re-seller business practices." Michael Froomkin, William X. Walsh (and several others) agreed that this topic should be "regulated by the national authorities where a business is located." (Michael's words.) Marilyn Cade suggested that ICANN should publish the list of the appropriate entities. [www.dnso.org], [www.dnso.org], [www.dnso.org], [www.dnso.org].

(iii) The Heathrow Declaration. Ross Wm. Rader published a pointer to the "Heathrow Declaration," "an alternative ICANN reform proposal crafted by Tucows." There is also a separate mailing list to discuss this proposal. [www.dnso.org]

(iv) Consensus. Danny Younger quoted Karl Auerbach's "Prescription to Promote," and asked: "is it time to replace the consensus process? If so, how to we avoid establishing a structural model that relegates certain groups automatically to minority status?" [www.dnso.org].

In a follow-up, Karl argued that the current "stakeholder" system of ICANN "is a simpleminded assignment of people/entities to a voting bloc (or to observer status) based on one external attribute." Instead, Karl suggested, "a better approach is to designate some 'atomic unit' of voting" - for instance a single individual - "and let those units chose for themselves which other units they wish to be associated on any particular issue." He also points out that he does not "agree with the assertion of 'greater stake'," and compares the registry income with the "cumulative 'stake' as measured by the indirect charges that fall on those who use and pay for domain name services." Finally, Karl compares all this to the political system in the US, "in which the voters in most of our public elections are people and not corporations or other collective entities." [www.dnso.org]

Chuck Gomes of Verisign suggested that "it would be a good idea to first give 'consensus' a legitimate chance." In particular, he said, "it is okay if consensus cannot be reached on particular issues." "That allows for diversity in the marketplace and gives consumers choices." [www.dnso.org]

In a message which should be considered required reading, David Johnson noted that "any restructuring plan must deal with the problem of the tyranny of the majority (or even supermajority)." He emphasized that ICANN's powers "must be based on the 'consent of the governed'." "The point is NOT to make rules where there is substantial, principled disagreement from those with a stake. The point is to NOT make rules where there is such disagreement," he writes. He also suggests that "there is still a way to shrink ICANN's mission back to the ... task of attempting to catalyze agreement on global issues that require coordination." Instead creating a "global regulator," competition should be introduced at the registry level, so that the market can "provide the voice for the 'governed' to be heard'." "That is," he writes, "why it is important not to allow the development of objective minimum qualifications for new TLDs to slip off the agenda." [www.dnso.org]

(v) New deadline for structure input. In a message from Louis Touton to the Names Council (which was also distributed through other channels), ICANN notes that "comments received after 29 April 2002 are likely to be significantly less useful than those received by that date." The letter also contains a set of questions the Evolution and Reform Committee would like to hear views on. [www.dnso.org]

(vi) NC teleconference minutes posted. [www.dnso.org]

April 9, 2002

GA summary 2002-13

This summary covers the DNSO GA mailing list's (and related) discussions and news between April 3, 2002, and April 9, 2002.

GA list archives are available online at [www.dnso.org].

Please feel free to forward this summary as you believe to be appropriate.


(i) RIR contracts. Jefsey Morfin forwarded a message from Ray Plzak of ARIN in which the RIRs make an assuring statement on the state of contract negotiations with ICANN, and indicate that "as a sign of good faith [...] the RIRs will release one half of" the funds kept in escrow "to ICANN." [www.dnso.org]

As an update to this, Bret Fausett's icann.Blog points to a draft of a "Relationship Agreement", which was posted on ICANN's web site. [www.lextext.com]

(ii) Final statement of NAIS. Rob Courtney posted the NAIS group's final statement to the GA list, which states that the group's work is "largely complete." [www.dnso.org]

(iii) Transfers. The Transfer Task Force's work showed up in discussions at various points of time; I'll restrict the summary to those postings which consisted of something else than rhetorics.

Danny Younger forwarded a message Patrick Mevzeck had sent to the registrars' list. The message suggests that investigation of a subject's "apparent authority" to initiate a domain transfer should be outsourced to some accredited provider - like what happens with UDRP as well. [www.dnso.org], [www.dnso.org], [www.dnso.org].

Joanna Lane suggested that the "bankruptcy clause" should be removed from the transfer policy, and that this should be an issue with which the transfer task force should deal. In a follow-up, William Walsh noted that "this issue is not the reason why the transfer task force was created." He suggested that the bankruptcy clause "can wait." Marilyn Cade suggested that Joanna should draft questions related to that issue for the transfer task force's survey. [www.dnso.org], [www.dnso.org], [www.dnso.org].

(iv) NC teleconference on April 4. The agenda and the MP3 recording were posted. [www.dnso.org], [www.dnso.org].

(v) Skeleton structure. Alexander Svensson posted a skeleton structure. The document consists of two parts: "The first part is a hopefully less controversial layered skeleton structure. Additionally, there is a proposal on splitting responsibilities into three recognizable parts which separate budgets. Be prepared to like the first and dislike the second part or vice versa," Alexander writes. [www.dnso.org]

(vi) Policy development. I posted a rough outline of a moderately modified task force process for policy development, which assumes that (a) membership is restricted to stakeholder representatives, but not names council members, and (b) uses staff instead of (naturally biased) volunteers for the chair's and editor's jobs. [www.dnso.org], [www.dnso.org]

Michael Froomkin responded that "the difficulty of doing this right is one of the most powerful arguments for decentralization and parallel processing. ICANN's sole job would be to prevent inconsistent outcomes [...]." [www.dnso.org]

Danny Younger suggested not to use task forces, and rely on the work of WG-D instead. [www.dnso.org], [www.dnso.org]

In order to bring more structure into that debate, I also posted a rough list of parameters for policy making. Alexander Svensson and others added various comments, and pros and cons. A summary of some of these is available as a large table ([does-not-exist.org]). [www.dnso.org], [www.dnso.org].

Part of the discussion also covered the question what size a working group or task force can realistically have, while still working. Alexander argued that his "personal impression is that the maximum size for such a group is somewhere at 15 or 20 persons, regardless of the tools used." [www.dnso.org].

(vii) Reseller/registrar (mis-)behavior and ICANN mission. Danny Younger forwarded a message on a reseller causing massive SPAM. He concludes that "if registrars take no action to police their own industry, and if they are not held accountable for the actions of their re-sellers, then this industry is surely begging for the same type of governmental intervention that impacted the telecommunications industry." Danny's suggestion is that ICANN should help to bring "resellers acting as loose cannons" "under control." [www.dnso.org]

There were several posters who disagreed, and argued that anticompetitive and illegal behavior of resellers and registrars should be left to traditional authorities which are already responsible for dealing with it. [www.dnso.org], [www.dnso.org], [www.dnso.org].

April 15, 2002

GA summary #14: April 10 - April 15, 2002.

This summary covers the DNSO GA mailing list's (and related) discussions and news between April 10, 2002, and April 15, 2002.

GA list archives are available online at [www.dnso.org].

Please feel free to forward this summary as you believe to be appropriate.

Deadline: 14 days until E&R-day

The deadline for useful input to the Evolution and Reform Committee expires on April 29, i.e., in 14 days. [www.dnso.org]


(i) OECD report on whois issues. Danny Younger forwarded an excerpt from an OECD report [www.oecd.org] on WHOIS and cybersquatting experience. The report claims, based on OECD's own experience with ocde.org [the French abbreviation of the organization's name], that "the registrars' interest is to keep the cybersquatters as client for the volume of registration fees they generate and to avoid helping the victim." In a follow-up message, Dan Steinberg notes that "a determination of 'cybersquatting' is really something no one can make in advance." "Only the courts have the right to act as courts," Dan writes. Ross Rader added that "the OECD statements make statements concerning the whole based on observations of the parts. As a result, the conclusion doesn't hold, despite its base in a valid root observation." [www.dnso.org], [www.dnso.org], [www.dnso.org].

(ii) The UDRP, and court orders. James Love forwarded some information on the CNNews.com case: "The registrar is apparently in Hong Kong. ICANN has recently written the registrar, telling them to turn over the domain to Time-Warner's CNN subsidiary. There is a complicated legal dispute over whether or not the Virginia court has jurisdiction over Eastcom, and even whether or not the Virginia court has ordered Eastcom to do anything. But CNN's lawyers wrote the ICANN, who then wrote Eastcom, and say that Eastcom is obligated to comply with the Virginia court order under the terms of its accreditation agreement." James' message included links to some of the correspondence. Finally, he asks whether there is "some policy guidance as to when ICANN should jump in and take matters into its own hands to enforce one nation's court orders in a cross border dispute over jurisdiction?" [www.dnso.org]

I posted a follow-up note stating that "I seem to understand that paragraph 3(b) of the UDRP is believed to be applicable." Dan Steinberg (who represents the GA on the UDRP task force) followed up to this and reminded participants to be careful what exactly we are talking about. In particular, he notes that paragraph 3(b) of the UDRP governs the actions of the registrar, not ICANN's. (The paragraph in question says that the registrar will "cancel, transfer or otherwise make changes to domain name registrations under the following circumstances: [...] receipt of an order from a court or arbitral tribunal, in each case of competent jurisdiction, requiring such action")

As a conclusion, Dan writes: "Given that apparently 3b does not oblige ICANN to intervene, we must ask does it mean that ICANN cannot or should not intervene? or does it fall under general discretionary authority?" [www.dnso.org], [www.dnso.org].

Maybe the UDRP task force should cover this question in its work?

(iii) Independent Review. I sent a couple of possible options for independent review mechanisms to the GA list. Joop Teernstra replied that he thinks "it is misguided to now start casting about for watered-down alternatives." The only idea he likes "is that of an industry Ombudsman, but this office could be separated from ICANN altogether and should not be used for review of board decisions." Peter Dengate-Thrush followed up to state his agreement. "As a member of the IRAC," he writes, "I can say this was one of the early successes of ICANN - a policy worked out by an industry led group in transparent bottom up style, passed to the board posted for public comment and approved by the community." He then gives some details on the implementation process, in which three out of six members of the nomination committee proposed a list of names for an independent review panel, while the other three did not actively support that list. [www.dnso.org], [www.dnso.org], [www.dnso.org].

In related news, another member of the Independent Review Advisory Committee, Ethan Katsh, has sent a reconsideration request to ICANN. He specifically asks for the board resolutions 02.46 and 02.47 to be reconsidered. In these resolutions, the independent review issue is passed on to the Evolution and Reform Committee. Katsh argues that the board based its decision exclusively on implementation problems, which could be solved by, for instance, replacing some of the members of the nomination committee. "The response of the Board to disband the committee, rather than to attempt to get new members or replace non-participating ones, cannot be an action that is consistent with what the MOU requires," Katsh writes. [www.umass.edu], [www.icannwatch.org], [www.icann.org].

Finally, yet another proposal for an independent review panel can be found in a business constituency draft quoted and criticized by Danny Younger: "a <>." [www.dnso.org], [www.dnso.org].

(iv) Evolution / GA. Philip Sheppard posted a personal reflection on the relationship between the NC and GA. In his message, he suggests to get all groups who represent significant stakeholders to form a constituency, and participate in the NC. For individual domain name holders, the at-large structure is used. Finally, all constituencies vote for a DNSO chair "who simultaneously chairs the NC and GA." Alexander Svensson agreed that "individual gTLD registrants must have a recognized place in gTLD policy development," but disagrees on using an at large structure for this representation since an at large membership would encompass more than just domain name holders. [www.dnso.org], [www.dnso.org].

Roberto Gaetano followed up to Philip with some doubts, too: "First of all, the GA should also be an open forum, hence not restricted in principle, although one would expect that the core would be built around the participants in the constituencies." As examples for people who may not be constituency members, but could still wish to participate, he mentions people from the PSO or ASO. "So the GA will include all constituencies, but not limited to." Also, he notes that "the logic of the representativity in the GA is 'one individual - one voice', which is different from the NC/constituencies" - and can lead to results different from what a vote which is counted by constituencies would yield. Roberto also disagrees about using an at large membership as an "eight constituency" because (1) it should include individuals who may just have an interest in non-DNSO ICANN issues, and (2) such a constituency would be unmanageable. Starting from the same assumptions as Philip, Roberto ends up with two options for a solution: "1. dynamically correct the constituency structure with a mechanism to add/delete/modify the number of constituencies when needed (remember the 'Paris Draft'?) 2. get rid altogether of the constituency structure and replace it with a GA type structure (Karl Auerbach's solution, identifiable to a certain extent with the BWG draft)." [www.dnso.org].

(v) Unrelated reregistrations. Ben Edelman asked for assistance with "unrelated reregistrations." The example which prompted his research was a search for a bicycle dealer, which lead him to a "sexually-explicit" site which resides under the domain name no longer used by Bicycle Bill. The links below lead to the discussion on this, which includes a couple of suggestions how to find more examples of the kind of reregistration Ben mentioned; these suggestions included mining old and current versions of TLD zone files, and looking at older SnapNames.com lists of successful SnapBacks. [www.dnso.org], [www.dnso.org], [www.dnso.org], [www.dnso.org], [www.dnso.org].

George Kirikos noted that "from an ICANN policy point of view these matters are related to:" 1. uniform deletions regulation and transfer policies, 2. whois data correctness, 3. better education of the end user community. [www.dnso.org].

If you want to help Ben with his research, please go to [cyber.law.harvard.edu] and submit more examples.

April 22, 2002

GA summary #15: April 16 - April 22, 2002.

This summary covers the DNSO GA mailing list's (and related) discussions and news between April 16, 2002, and April 22, 2002.

GA list archives are available online at [www.dnso.org].

Please feel free to forward this summary as you believe to be appropriate.

Deadline: 7 days until E&R-day

The deadline for useful input to the Evolution and Reform Committee expires on April 29, i.e., in 7 days (of these, only 5 are work days). [www.dnso.org]


(i) Names Council telephone conference on April 18. The telephone conference's original agenda is available from [www.dnso.org]. An MP3 encoding is available from [www.dnso.org]. Also, Alexander and Thomas posted a short note collecting some of their recollection of a key section of the call; Alexander later sent a more precise transcript of what was said there. [www.dnso.org], [www.dnso.org].

Most of the phone call was spent discussing the then-current draft for Names Council recommendations on structure, including the BC's suggested edits. [www.dnso.org]

Roger Cochetti of the gTLD registries' constituency suggested various changes, too; during the discussion of these, strong disagreement between DNSO constituencies became visible on a number of key points.

Here are some pointers into the MP3 file: The really interesting part begins about 53 minutes into the recording, when Cochetti started to make his suggestions for changes. In minute 55, it was discussed for whose benefit ICANN should work (part of recommendation #1): Originally, it said "the public" (suggested by Cary Karp, also from the gTLD registries), after the BC edits "the Internet's users". The gTLD registries considered the previous language "disturbingly vague", because "ICANN represents a cooperative effort between registries, registrars, and registrants," working for the benefit of all these parties. In minute 62, the list of ICANN's contractual enforcement missions was discussed. Between minutes 71 and 82, recommendation #9 was on the table: Who should drive consensus process? The gTLDs' suggestion was that the "affected stakeholders" of the original text (or "all stakeholders" according to the BC edits) should be replaced by the "stakeholders principally affected". In minute 82, the gTLDs suggested to strike recommendation 11, which included the recommendation that the DNSO should remain intact ("in function" after BC edits). Seek to 82:15 in order to hear the key comment on this, which was also transcribed by Alexander. 104 minutes into the call, you can finally hear some discussion of what the gTLD registry and IP constituencies think about ICANN policy; this is also contained with Alex' transcript.

The NC's next telephone conference is scheduled for the 24th. It's expected to last 3 hours, and Stuart Lynn and Alejandro Pisanty are expected to participate. [www.dnso.org]  

(ii) Task forces at a glance: A list of DNSO task forces is available at [www.dnso.org].

(iii) CNN vs. cnnews.com. As a follow-up to the previous week's discussion, James Love forwarded a message he had received from Louis Touton. In that message, Touton explains that the cnnews.com registrar had filed a "Registrar Certificate" with the court in question, in which it "tenders to the Court complete control and authority over the registration for the CNNEWS.COM domain name registration record." [www.dnso.org]

(iv) Whois. Danny Younger started a discussion on whois (and, in particular, bulk access), by forwarding a message posted by Tim Ruiz to the registrars' list. In that message, Tim writes that "in this day and age of privacy concerns it's a little insane that registrars are required to make their customer data available to the public in bulk. One-offs through a web interface are one thing. Requirements for bulk access, including open ports, to the data are just too much." [www.dnso.org]

In a follow-up message, Joanna Lane claims that "disclosing personal data in the whois is unlawful in the 15 member nations of the European Union." (Note that reality is more complex than that.) [www.dnso.org]

George Kirikos asked "what would folks do who are after abusive registrants (e.g. UDRP cases for TM infringement, or other matters". [www.dnso.org]

To that, Joop Teernstra responded that "there is a fundamental tension between two positions and ICANN is being asked to come up with a reasonable compromise. Perhaps registrars should provide the service of a PO Box address," so "parties with a legitimate reason to contact the registrant could be given the details on a case-by-case basis." [www.dnso.org]

In a reply to Joanna's message, William Walsh wrote that, assuming Joanna was right, "all this will do is require ICANN to not accredit European registrars. The whois data is, and ought to remain, public, without exception," William believes. On bulk whois, he notes that "the downside to not allowing bulk whois access is that it will bring back the massive automated mining of the whois databases again." [www.dnso.org]

In a different branch of the thread, Ross Rader suggested that the "opt-out" clause of the whois policy should be examined and possibly revised. He pointed to an earlier proposal Tucows had circulated. [www.dnso.org]

In a long essay posted Saturday afternoon, George Kirikos elaborated on various arguments for and against public whois access. As one example, he takes the OCDE.org case (see [www.oecd.org] for details), and writes: "Ultimately, what moved things forward towards a favorable outcome was that the registrant was being forced to put TRUE and PUBLIC contact information into the WHOIS database." He concludes that having "absolute privacy become standard would only encourage and embolden those who seek to commit abuse." He also notes that there are, generally, "no absolute rights to certain privileges," but that privileges come with responsibilities. After discussing some more arguments from different mails in the thread, George asks about what a compromise between the different positions could look like. He suggests that, for the administrative contact (which could be replaced by a dedicated "legal" contact for that purpose), there "should be enough details to be identified and legally served a process," but that these details should be minimized. No other contact information should be needed for the public."Having a third party to be the administrative contact could work," he also suggests. He finally makes an economical point, and suggests that those who find their privacy important should assign some value to it, and then look if they can't find a third party willing to be their admin-c for an adequate fee. [www.dnso.org]

In an earlier message from that day, Michael Froomkin also takes up the idea of the third party, and notes that the procedure available to have a third party listed in the WHOIS is "expensive, since not routinized, and has nasty potential legal consequences (they can steal your domain name) unless you draft a contract (which is expensive), and even then gives them the power to do it (which would take an expensive lawsuit to win back). Saying, 'use a lawyer' as your nominee ignores the happy reality that most people don't have a lawyer on retainer, and the unhappy reality that most people couldn't afford what most lawyers might charge." [www.dnso.org]

About April 2002

This page contains all entries posted to No Such Weblog in April 2002. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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