Scribe's Notes
March 8, 2000
Cairo, Egypt
GAC Public Forum


Government Advisory Committee Public ForumMarch 8, 2000 Ė Cairo, Egypt
I.   Paul Twomey, Presenting
II.   Presentation of Communique and "Principles for the Delegation and Administration of Country Code Top Level Domains"
III.   Listing of members present
IV.   Questions?
   A.   Representative of Russian Federation was previously present (in LA) but not this time. Why?
       1.   Twomey: We received no apologies from the Russian Federationís representative; youíd have to ask them. But this is not unusual; itís not atypical for members to attend some meetings but not others.
   B.   Does this paper have any legal status? Basis for a convention (treaty?) in the future?
       1.   Itís not in any sense a treaty or any kind of international agreement.
   C.   Concerns about sovereignty and restrictions of freedom.
       1.   Governments in the last hundred years give up sovereignty through a treaty. That often requires going to national parliaments for approval, which clearly hasnít taken place here.
       2.   Document attempts to recognize that we canít stop countries from exercising their jurisdiction. But some sections of the document attempt to address the worry of governments arbitrarily reassigning the administration of their ccTLDs so as to assure that ccTLDs are administered in a way thatís technically competent and doesnít put the DNS at risk.
       3.   This document doesnít anticipate a massive change in ccTLD administration.
   D.   Love: Understand that the US Government asked ICANN to get authentic information about the owners of web sites. Roberts says ICANN is getting a grant of competence. But how far does ICANNís authority go?
       1.   Twomey: ICANNís tasks are clearly expressed in its By-Laws and the White Paper. We donít think of this as a ďgovernment of the Internet.Ē If we thought ICANN was moving away from its By-Laws, weíd be concerned about that, but we donít think thatís the case.
       2.   Love: But how to make sure ICANN doesnít go beyond technical issues?
       3.   Twomey: Seek to avoid answering a hypothetical question. ICANNís specific focus issues may change somewhat Ė likely more IP issues in the future, fo rexample. But there are other issues for which ICANN clearly has no role, certain aspects of consumer protection, for example.
       4.   Love: Worry that ICANN will take on a policing role for illicit content. Is that beyond ICANNís proper scope?
       5.   Twomey: Remember that ICANN serves its stakeholders. If some issue seemed likely to take an issue beyond ICANNís jurisdiction into some other entityís scope of authority, the latter would assert its authority. But I (and the GAC) canít answer hypotheticals about particular issues ICANN might conceivably later be asked to consider.
   E.   Feld: US Government had endorsed the September 30 deadline for ICANNís elections (per ICANN-DoC MoU). But the Communique accepts the possibility of a somewhat delayed election.
       1.   Burr: Weíll accept a delay if necessary.
   F.   Feld: Did the GAC consider petitions for .EU, for a Palestinian ccTLD, or for other geographic ccTLDs?
       1.   Twomey: There was discussion of how ISO3166 operates. See section A of communique.
   G.   Feld: Until now, there has been no claim of sovereignty over the ccTLD space itself, rather only over operators. But by foreclosing certain TLDs, youíre changing from a naming structure based on convenience to one based on sovereignty.
       1.   Twomey: ISO3166-1 will continue in its current role. Thereís been a certain sovereign influence all along; this document is just a recognition of the fact that governments have sovereignty over what takes place in their own countries. Donít think this document extends sovereignty substantially.
   H.   Twomey: Consider that governments have to deal with elections with some regularity. Are conscious of the needs for effective and fair election processes. Effectiveness of the election is more important than keeping to a set deadline.
I.   Online comment read from Mark Measday (#742).
       1.   Twomey: Read the list of who attended; donít have the apology list at the moment. Re quorum, have sent extensive intivations. But itís up to each government to decide whom, if anyone, to send. If a government doesnít send someone, thereís little that can be done. Continue to look for help in contacting appropriate government officials. But this committee does have the authority to issue the sort of advisories it issues.

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For additional technical information, please contact:  

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Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School 

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