ICANN AT-LARGE MONTHLY ANNOUNCEMENT
In this issue:
- Action: Hi, 高 , Hola, 高い – Internationalized Domain Names Creep Forward. Your input is needed – and accepted in many languages.
- Action: Ready for the future? Your thoughts are needed on what ICANN should do to face opportunities and challenges the future will bring.
- Action: Hey .NET domain name holders! What does the New .NET agreement mean for you?
- Action: Dot What? How should more top level domain names be introduced?
- Meeting: Join us in Vancouver! ICANN At-Large invites you to join the debates about the Internet’s future.
Information: Asia/Pacific user groups are forming a Regional At-Large Organization
Action: Hi, 高, Hola, 高い – Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) Creep Forward. Your input is needed – and accepted in many languages.
Registries that are offering IDNs have drafted a new version of the “IDN Guidelines,” which ICANN has posted for public comments <http://www.icann.org/announcements/announcement-20sep05.htm>. These are proposed “rules” Registries would follow in implementing IDNs, and they attempt to address such challenges as how to prevent the deceptive use of visually confusable characters from different scripts in individual IDN labels. For those not immersed in IDNs, the draft guidelines will be challenging reading. And if English is not your language, they will be daunting. They are worth the effort, however, because they are a critical step towards enabling the global Internet community to be *truly* global.
Before the ALAC addresses the substance of the proposed guidelines, we asked ICANN to adjust the process of soliciting comments by posting the proposed guidelines in multiple languages and extending the comment period. They are working on it – the proposed guidelines were just posted in French <http://www.icann.org/announcements/announcement-20sep05-french.htm>.
The ALAC believes that IDNs are not just a technical or business matter, but rather a fundamental element of the respect for cultural diversity and the internationalization of the Internet. The ALAC has been promoting the prompt introduction of full and non-discriminating support for all scripts and languages in domain names, as well as in other elements of the Internet that are directly used by the final consumers, in a manner that ensures an orderly and wise deployment of IDN registrations. The ALAC believes this to be one of the most pressing issues for the global Internet community and encourages all interested At-Large groups and individuals to provide input. Send emails to <email@example.com> *and* <firstname.lastname@example.org>. The ALAC can accept comments in English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian, German, Japanese, and Chinese.
Action: Ready for the future? Your thoughts are needed on what ICANN should do to face opportunities and challenges the future will bring.
Dust off your crystal ball. ICANN has asked for the At-Large community’s help in planning for the future. A “Strategic Planning Issue Paper” has been posted in English, Spanish, and French for public comment (English at <http://www.icann.org/strategic-plan/strategic-planning-issues-paper-04oct05.pdf>; see <http://www.icann.org> for other languages), along with a request for the community’s views. The paper summarizes strategic planning discussions in which the ALAC and other stakeholders participated at ICANN's July 2005 meeting in Luxembourg, and includes a list of ICANN’s “opportunities and challenges,” such as:
- The continued rise of the Internet as a truly global means of communication and the need for ICANN to meet the needs of a truly global stakeholder base;
- Maintaining stability given expected increases in scale driven by the number of devices using the Internet and the number of users;
- Possible fracturing of the current system perhaps brought about by some users becoming dissatisfied with perceived restrictions imposed by technical protocols or by actions of a government or governments.
The ALAC has been asked to provide comments on this paper and would like guidance from the At-Large community in doing so. Community input will be used to craft ICANN’s Strategic Plan and will drive discussions that are being planned for ICANN’s November meeting in Vancouver <http://www.icann.org/meetings/vancouver/>.
Action: Hey .NET domain name holders! What does the New .NET agreement mean for you?
On 12 October 2005 ICANN’s Board approved an amendment to the .NET agreement, which finalizes VeriSign’s contract as the .NET Registry and limits domain name registration fee increases to no more than 10% per year. The amendment addresses some complaints raised by the community after the Board approved the agreement on 1 July 2005.
Strong concern was voiced by several ICANN constituencies about the approval process and the substance of the agreement approved three months ago (see Luxembourg public forum transcript at <http://www.icann.org/meetings/luxembourg/>). Objections were raised about not allowing for complete public review of the agreement before it was approved, and about elements of the agreement such as the removal of all price caps on .NET domain names and the ability to give volume discounts to some Registrars. ICANN’s Board and VeriSign subsequently agreed to re-negotiate parts of the contract and a proposed amendment to the agreement was posted for public comment <http://www.icann.org/announcements/announcement-22sep05.htm>. The proposed amendment, which was negotiated with representatives of ICANN-Accredited Registrars, includes, among other things, a limit on registration fee increases to no more than 10% per year, but still enables VeriSign to offer Registrars volume discounts and incentives.
Public comment on the proposed amendment was sparse, but worth considering (see <http://forum.icann.org/lists/net-amendment-comments/>) since they raise fundamental issues about the appropriate role of ICANN in setting price controls, fostering marketplace competition and protecting consumers. Share your views about these and other .NET issues by sending an email to <email@example.com>.
Dot What? How should more top level domain names be introduced?
The GNSO Council, a primary policy-making body within ICANN, has launched a new policy development process to guide ICANN on what to do next on top level domain (TLD) introductions. ICANN wants to take the lessons learned from past TLD introductions, along with community input, and develop a new process for introducing TLDs. The ALAC is developing detailed guidance for ICANN to help ensure that such a process meets individual Internet users’ needs. The type of issues on which ICANN is seeking advice is posted at <http://www.icann.org/tlds/new-gTLD-questions.pdf>. The ALAC will post proposed input on its website <http://www.alac.icann.org/>. Please post your views to <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
The ALAC has pushed ICANN to regularize the process of examining and approving new TLD proposals, and has urged ICANN to move beyond testbeds and evaluations and permit those proposing new TLDs to put their plans into effect. Last year ICANN launched a limited process for selecting new sponsored TLDs (sTLDs) from a pool of ten applications <http://www.icann.org/tlds/stld-apps-19mar04/stld-public-comments.htm>. The ALAC recommended that, rather than restrict the applicant pool to a few sTLDs, ICANN create a quick, effective and uncontroversial process for the creation of any kind and number of new TLDs.
The ALAC would like specific input from you on questions posted by ICANN (see initial questions at <http://www.icann.org/tlds/new-gTLD-questions.pdf>).
Meeting: Join us in Vancouver! ICANN At-Large invites you to join the debates about the Internet’s future.
You are invited to join the ICANN community in Vancouver, Canada 30 November – 4 December, and participate in several meetings and fora on issues that affect the Internet's end-users. If you are interested in seeing more new top level domain names, using domain names in your own (non-English) language, protecting your personal information listed in WHOIS databases, and advancing individual users’ Internet interests in other areas, you won’t want to miss this meeting. You can attend in person or follow some proceedings via the Internet. Participation is free and Internet users are encouraged to come!! Check <http://www.icann.org/meetings/vancouver/> for general information and <http://www.alac.icann.org/> for details on At-Large-related events.
Information: Asia/Pacific user groups are forming a Regional At-Large Organization
All individuals involved in Internet user issues in the Asia/Australia/Pacific (AP) region, are invited to participate in efforts to launch an Asia-Pacific Regional At-Large Organization (APRALO). Representatives of user groups involved in ICANN At-Large met last month during the APAN meeting in Taiwan to develop a charter, bylaws, and outreach plans aimed at enabling user groups in this region to work together to advance Internet users’ needs. Follow-up meetings/conference calls are being planned for November/December in Vancouver. More information is posted at <http://www.apralo.org/>. Send questions to <email@example.com>.
The Interim At-Large Advisory Committee