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November 2003 Archives

November 1, 2003

40 Questions about New Registry Services.

ICANN has now published an Excerpt from Draft Version of Staff Managerís Issues Report for the Development of a Process for the Introduction of New or Modified Registry Services, consisting of 40 questions regarding the introduction of new registry services. The final issues report is now scheduled for November 7.

Some of the questions in this first draft are questions of fact; I'd hope that the final issues report actually gives the answers to these questions. Among the policy questions, it's particularly interesting that ICANN now starts asking who should provide registry services: The registry, or maybe a different party that has been determined, e.g., by a public bidding process?

November 2, 2003

VeriSign's sitefinder user survey: The language question.

At the October 15 SECSAC meeting, VeriSign had presented results from a survey of end users in the US, the UK, Germany, and China. According to the VeriSign slides, 61% of users surveyed in Germany preferred SiteFinder somewhat or strongly; 76% in China, 81% in the UK, and 84% in the US.

Back on October 15, I asked how many of the respondents to the surveys quoted (which included users from Germany and China) do not speak English, and started wondering what language was used for the survey questions.

I'm now hearing that the survey was conducted in English.

Blogging Council Meetings.

In Carthage, I posted two blog items from the GNSO Council session in which I participated as the ALAC's liaison.

The first one announced that the Council had kicked off three WHOIS Task Forces; the second "covered" subsequent administrative decisions, and the council's work on a resolution regarding the sTLD RFP.

After the session, I had a discussion with several council members who had issues with this, and found my blogging activities inappropriate for various reasons.

There are two main directions from which objections can come. One, blogging should never take priority over participating in the meeting, and it must not distract from focusing on council work. Two, an acting person is taking the journalist's role and reporting about the council session, which is inherently a conflict of interest; also, the quality of the reporting suffers from the priorities an acting person has to set.

With a little bit of distance to the Carthage Council meeting, I believe that the only way for me to take these objections into account is to refrain from blogging Council discussions. In the future, I'll limit any real-time blogging from GNSO Council sessions to giving a terse account of resolutions adopted, to the extent time and attention permit.

Later: I just notice that Amadeu Abril i Abril (who sat next to me on the council) has blogged some thoughts about the same debate.

Post-Carthage Remarks: Meeting Infrastructure.

To begin with, Carthage was an extremely well-organized ICANN meeting. Participants were picked up by the local organizers at the airport and brought to the hotels with buses; wireless was up as early as Friday in the main meeting area (no Internet access was available in the rooms, though).

The social events left room for improvement: It's important that these give meeting participants enough possibility to network and talk to many others who are also at the conference. Gala diners (and similar fixed-place events) with loud music aren't very helpful for that purpose.

Meeting bags are another topic: They should be light, it should be possible to carry them over the shoulder, and they should be useful for carrying a laptop including its power adapter around.

November 3, 2003

Proof-of-Concept reports.

It seems like Richard Henderson didn't hear the answer to his public forum question about proof-of-concept reports.

The answer was: http://www.icann.org/tlds /agreements/info /poc-afilias-082702.pdf.

(In other words, these reports are added to the TLD contract overview page.)

Nigeria taking over Deutsche Bank?

You know your economy is in bad regard when standard Nigeria-style spam claims it comes from an auditor with Deutsche Bank.

November 4, 2003

Anonymization service search was illegal.

Heise reports that the AN.ON project has won another victory in court.

An illegal order from a lower court had forced the anonymization service to implement and activate a wiretapping function. When a higher court suspended that order, police obtained a search warrant and seized the data gathered when the (illegal) wiretapping function was active.

That search has now been found to be illegal.

Later: Press release.

November 7, 2003

Hans Kraaijenbrink has passed away.

Stichting Internet Domeinregistratie Nederland has unexpected and sad news for the ICANN community.

Op 5 november 2003 is volkomen onverwacht overleden

Hans Kraaijenbrink
Voorzitter van het bestuur van SIDN

Wij zijn diep geschokt door zijn plotseling overlijden.
Van 2001 tot zijn overlijden heeft Hans leiding gegeven aan SIDN. Door de inzet van zijn vele talenten heeft hij de vernieuwingen rond SIDN in de afgelopen periode voortdurend in goede banen geleid. Wij verliezen in hem een scherpzinnige en dierbare collega en voorzitter.

Hans Kraaijenbrink had been a member of ICANN's initial board, and served as a board member until this summer. During the reform process, he was one of the members of ICANN's Evolution and Reform Committee. Only three weeks ago, the board appointed Hans Kraaijenbrink as the chair of the 2004 nominating committee.

November 8, 2003

Public Comment Period for WHOIS Task Forces.

The GNSO is soliciting public comments on the issue areas that will be covered by the WHOIS Task Forces that were kicked off in Carthage: Data mining prevention (dow1(at)gnso.icann.org; archived comments); Data elements collected and displayed (dow2(at)gnso.icann.org; archived comments); Improving accuracy of collected data (dow3(at)gnso.icann.org; archived comments).

This is the first of several public comment periods that are part of the new policy-development process. Comments are accepted until 28 November 2003.

November 11, 2003

Where's that issues report?

ICANN, on 31 October: The recent ICANN meeting in Carthage, Tunisia was a rich source of information and discussion of the many issues involved with the development of this Issues Report. In order to fully reflect this information, the posting of the full Issues Report will be postponed until no later than 7 November 2003.

November 17, 2003

"This is just a notice, it is not a virus!"

This must be the most stupid outgoing anti-virus filter software feature I have seen so far: Instead of a virus, the "intended" recipient gets a notification that someone tried to send a virus to them, but that this virus was caught by a filtering service. Basically, this replaces outgoing viruses by outgoing spam.

A close second (and long-time favorite) is e-mail scanning software that adds "certified virus-free" notices to outgoing messages. These notices are, of course, about as trustworthy as the words "I love you" in an e-mail's subject line.

November 19, 2003

Time to revise the PDP?

It may be time to revise ICANN's shiny new policy-development process: While that process has a lot of good elements, the deadlines suggested prove to be too tight.

The new registry services PDP is a particularly extreme example: In trying to follow the new PDP as closely as possible, ICANN staff has promised an issues report for October 31, for November 7, and on November 14 for last week-end. The issues report is still not there, despite being on the GNSO Council's agenda for tomorrow.

More realistic deadlines -- that can actually be kept by ICANN staff, and, in later stages of the process, by the parties involved then -- may be a better approach than the current sorry state of affairs. (In particular since this isn't the first time this happens -- in Montreal, the Council planned to discuss the staff manager's report on UDRP review which came out on 1 August, more than four weeks after Montreal.)

Later: The Issues Report Has Finally Arrived.

ICANN Studienkreis is now Domain Pulse.

The ICANN Studienkreis events are changing their name to Domain Pulse, according to a note from Switch. The next conference will take place on 5 and 6 February 2004 in Zurich.

Fedora Core Notes.

I've been playing around quite a bit with Fedora Core recently, the successor to the non-enterprise versions of RedHat Linux -- RedHat 9.1, if you want.

Continue reading "Fedora Core Notes." »

November 20, 2003

What's really in that Issues Report?

After having read the issues report on new registry services several times and after having slept over it, I'm still trying to parse what ICANN staff is really suggesting here. Your comments would be highly welcome.

Continue reading "What's really in that Issues Report?" »

November 21, 2003

Shadow Board?

The idea to have a shadow board is currently floating through the ICANN blogosphere (icann.Blog; Chris Ambler; ICANNwatch).

Such a shadow board would vote on the same topics as the real board, but would deliberate and discuss entirely in the open. My guess would be that, with many (not all!) of the important topics, this might be a far less interesting exercise than it may seem: Many of the juicy discussions about consensus policies, for instance, happen among the members of the GNSO council, in the GNSO's task forces.

Maybe a shadow council would actually be more interesting than a shadow board.

Memo to self: GPRS with T-Mobile, Germany.

Phone: *99***1#
Username: any
Password: t-d1

Yesterday's council call

Yesterday's council call (besides re-electing Bruce Tonkin as GNSO Chair and voting on the number of representatives on the newly-created WHOIS task forces) mostly dealt with the new registry services issues report.

Since the report had been released less than 24 hours before the call began, there was less discussion than I had anticipated, mostly dealing with clarifications and some procedural issues (and with the registries stating a number of concerns). It seems like there is general agreement (including ICANN staff that was present on the call) that the suggested PDP will not be about establishing a new consensus policy (that would then be binding for registries), but that it is about definining a process that is used by ICANN for reviewing proposals by the registries that require ICANN approval under the existing contractual terms.

This understanding is also mirrored in the draft Terms of Reference that Bruce Tonkin has extracted from the issues report.

The Council will vote on commencing the policy-development process on a conference call on 2 December, in order to give constituencies and council members time to review the issues report and refine the terms of reference.

November 27, 2003

New registry services: WLS and Sitefinder as use cases.

In thinking about the new registry services PDP that is now beginning in the GNSO, I'm trying to find use cases for the planned decision-making process, and to figure out why the process should produce what result -- and how the rationale for the suggested decision can be cast into an objective criterium. I'm less interested, at this point, in arguments about the contractual standing that ICANN might have to deny or acknowledge any particular service.

Two examples tonight: SiteFinder and WLS.

I feel that SiteFinder is relatively easy -- not so much because of stability considerations, but most importantly for two other reasons: (1) It moved decisions from the edge to the center, thereby negatively affecting competition. (2) It caused cost to the public, for the benefit of a single player, much like environmental pollution.

WLS is a more difficult case. It grew out of a "tragedy of the commons" situation, as Rick Wesson observed accurately: Registrars were using up shared resources (transaction bandwidth) that came without a price tag to the point where these resources degraded, and "normal" registration was affected; using overflow pools and other limitations only moved the cattle to a different pastry. The WLS proposal appeared to introduce an approach to the registration of expiring names that would not lead registrars to engage in behavior that is detrimental to the public (although perfectly rational for the individual registrar!). The downside is that WLS gives precedence to a specific business model for registering expiring names. Different business models are essentially pushed out of the market.

Had there been an alternative to WLS in order to stop the detrimental behavior? I believe yes -- namely, changing the price structure for using registry resources in a way which rewards successful registrations, but financially punishes failed transactions and excessive use of bandwidth. In such an environment, publicly detrimental consumption of transaction bandwidth would be irrational (and ruinous); different providers of expired domain name registration could continue to compete on an equal footing, and with the business models they desire; many of the complexities of WLS would simply be unnecessary.

Now, how should ICANN have dealt with the situation in the light of this argument (which, I believe, wasn't made at the time -- but I might be wrong)? My current inclination would be to say that ICANN should have denied WLS, and should have favored the decentral approach. If that's indeed the right approach, then how can the argument be cast into a more generic form that would be useful for an evaluation process?

Comments welcome!

November 30, 2003

www.name defaced.

George Kirikos reports that www.name has been the victim of a defacement tonight. Mirror here; comment unnecessary.

About November 2003

This page contains all entries posted to No Such Weblog in November 2003. They are listed from oldest to newest.

October 2003 is the previous archive.

December 2003 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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