DNSO General Assembly -- Scribe's Notes
June 2, 2001
Stockholm, Sweden
ICANN Public Meetings

I.   Opening
   A.   Report from the Chair - Danny Younger
       1.   Thanks to Gaetano and Alvestrand, former Chair and co-Chair
       2.   Alvestrand: Rough process, requires a thick skin. Hopeful for the future.
       3.   Younger: Believe GA is most representative body in ICANN because it’s a group of individuals – loud, noisy, but “on top of it.” Sympathize with the causes of individuals. Note that there is not currently an Individuals constituency. Note that GA currently has no voting power in the ICANN process. Concerned about issues of representation. Concerned about funding for At Large. Concerned by NC plan to require constituency contributions for continued voting rights with NC. Concerned to see some working groups shut down by NC. Know that there are problems within GA, but are working hard to solve them.
           • Tired of waiting – for NC to adopt Terms of Reference to allow Interim Committees to make progress. Need to speed up the process.
           • GA brought to the attention of the NC the issue of collisions in name space.
           • Have created topical mailing lists. See http://www.dnso.org/archives.html “Specific Purpose Lists.”
           • Pleased to see briefing papers from Mueller, Forsyth, Lynn, new.net. Process is coming together for considering difficult issues on a consensus basis.
           • Concerned to see only NC members on certain committees. Need more cooperation.
           • Consensus process requires documenting the process, documenting dissent and intensity of dissent, etc. Requires a larger group than the small task forces used so far.
           • GA takes seriously the need for substantive work. Note the lengthy documents the GA has prepared in the past.
           • Board has previously discussed need for improvements to the DNSO. (See Melbourne resolutions.) We take the Board seriously and want to work on these problems.
           • Need to expand outreach. Need more participation. May need restructuring for full representation, especially of individuals.
           • Note Lynn’s comment that At-Large representation remains a difficult problem. But note that GA exactly addresses the representation problem. We can generate many comments quickly. GA can do a better job of reaching community consensus. This is exactly what the GA specializes in.
           • ICANN’s legitimacy depends on inclusion of a public voice in its decision-making structure. GA is part of that public voice.
           • Look forward to an increased role of GA in the future.
   B.   Report from Secretariat, Porteneuve
       1.   Have provided Secretariat services for two years.
       2.   Provide a variety of features to the community. See http://www.dnso.org and http://www.dnso.org/dnso/gaindex.html .
       3.   Note rules and election process prepared over the past years.
   C.   Report from List Monitor Committee: Alvestrand
       1.   Presentation delivered
       2.   Rules: One person, one voice. Be polite. Don’t post too much. See http://www.dnso.org/dnso/notes/2000.GA-ga-rules.html
           • Also: Only subscribers can post, no crossposting, all postings go to ga-full (even those from non-subscribers).
           • GA-full makes the list filtering transparent – lets anyone see what filtering is taking place.
       3.   List monitor is one or more persons who may:
           • Warn offenders
           • Monitor postings (for fake posts)
           • Block members’ posting rights (to GA) for a limited period.
       4.   History:
           • Feb 2000 to Nov 2000: List rules by fiat, Alvestrand monitor. 11 actions.
           • Nov 2000 to March 2001: List rules by membership vote, Alvestrand monitor. 5 actions, 2 of them overturned on appeal.
           • Since March 2001: More monitors (James, McKee, Svensson, Corliss, Alvestrand), consensus operations.
       5.   Politeness and courtesy still an issue.
       6.   Problems got worse during transition period this spring.
       7.   Svensson: Agree with Alvestrand. “Digging our way out of the hole.”
   D.   Feedback from the Interim Coordinating Committee of At-Large Membership
       1.   No representatives present.
   E.   NAIS study: http://www.naisproject.org . Forum at noon at the adjacent hotel.
       1.   Aizu: NAIS = NGO and Academic ICANN Study. Sixteen members on NAIS; at least one representative from each region. Focusing on At Large elections, have produced a 120pg Interim report that addresses many issues but not all. Any attempt at change should be made w/ consideration of functional and geographic diversity. Issues are complex; greater discussion in meeting at noon today.
       2.   Younger: Read the report. It’s well done and worth reading.
II.   Reports from Constituencies
   A.   Howard (ccTLD Constituency): 130 participants from most regions. Have appointed a permanent secretariat. Best practice document for ccTLDs, combining suggestions from several separate documents. Discussed the possibility of a separate cc SO (outside of DNSO). Thinking about outreach, wanting to get more people involved with ICANN generally and ccTLDs in particular. Met with GAC and discussed outreach, education.
   B.   Swinehart (Commercial Constituency): Discussed TUCOWS privacy initiative, second WIPO proceedings, WHOIS, housekeeping. Draft statement: Roughly “… applauds competition in DNS. Confusion in naming scheme poses a severe threat to stability … to all users worldwide. Business require consistent and reliable means of communication … Encourage competition while assuring uniqueness.”
   C.   Gomes (gTLDs): Yesterday was first meeting with more than one member. All three current active members (Afilias, Neulevel, Verisign) present. Formed new committees. Registry operators presented status reports.
   D.   Holmes (ISPCP): Had both open and closed sessions. Presentations from EU, new.net. Discussion of enum. Update of WHOIS. Endorse statement from Business Constituency re competition. Add “Business models which potentially cause conflicts or instability create uncompensated costs in technical and customer support areas for ISPs. This needs to be taken into consideration in any discussion of alternative roots.”
   E.   Mueller (Non-Commercial): New membership structure requires fees unless AdCom specifically waives the requirement. Discussed fundraising tactics to address DNSO dues. Concern about movement from committees to working groups.
       1.   Five resolutions passed
           • UDRP: time limit on challenges – exemption from UDRP for those who have had their domain names for several years. Concern about forum shopping, perhaps solvable by declaratory judgment or by registrars choosing dispute resolution service provider for all their customers. Concerned about the prospect of “too much regulatory baggage” threatening stability. Concern, at least within the US, that recourse to courts may not be working out as anticipated.
           • Endorse the idea of an individuals domain name owner constituency.
           • ccTLDs: Need technical & policy advice re how to operate ccTLDs. Seeking assistance. Concern about delegation process. Need consultation with local Internet communities.
           • Critical of ICANN budget for lack of funding for At-Large and for translation.
   F.   Palage (Registrars): Large turnout. Adoption of new bylaws. Summary by Sims of finalized contracts between ICANN, Verisign, and DoC. Concern about unauthorized transfers (“slamming”). Follow-up meeting scheduled. Focusing on stability, consumer confidence. Discussed ICANN budget and the approval process necessary under bylaws. Presentations from new registries. Discussed WHOIS task force and EU privacy concerns.
   G.   Evans (Intellectual Property): IPC is sponsoring a study of the UDRP by the Max Plank Institute. Hope that a report will be issued by Montevideo. Have posted FAQ on IP claims, sunrise periods, random assignment, etc. in multiple languages on IPC site, http://ipc.songbird.com . Reports from new registries. Discussed ccTLD best practices. Discussed papers about alternative roots.
   H.   Question for Mueller: Why does NCDNHC feel that ccTLDs need technical assistance?
       1.   Mueller: Representatives to NCDNHC from some small developing countries were of the opinion that their ccTLDs could benefit from both technical and policy assistance.
III.   Discussion with Constituencies – ICANN Board Resolution 01.28 http://www.icann.org/minutes/prelim-report-13mar01.htm
   A.   Board asks DNSO to consider possible structural changes.
   B.   Gomes: Progress being made towards achieving matching funds from Verisign. But as NC members all have full-time jobs, it’s hard to take on this kind of task.
   C.   Mueller: NCDNHC members don’t have a direct financial interest in domain names. So it can be harder for us to raise money. Have asked the NC for a lower amount, but no progress as yet. Concerned about structure of DNSO – seems artificial. Some NCDNHC members unsure that it’s worth being involved. Would be especially concerned to see the CCs pull out of the DNSO.
   D.   Younger: Should there be a separate small-business constituency?
       1.   Swinehart: The Business Constituency budget encourages participation by small businesses via a tiered fee structure. Noted that small businesses may be too busy to deal with big-picture issues like ICANN (due to staffing, revenues, etc.). Small businesses pay only 100 euros per year. See http://www.bcdnso.org/form.htm . Note openness via mailing list archives (http://www.bcdnso.org/MailingList.htm) etc.
   E.   Gomes: It may not be a “dead issue” whether a constituency loses its vote for nonpayment. Encourage NCDNHC to go back to the NC if their efforts (to raise money) fail. Also, hope to discuss the Verisign matching funds arrangement during this afternoon’s NC meeting.
IV.   Guest Speaker: David Johnson
   A.   Document presented – “Why a General Assembly Matters”
V.   Guest Speaker: Esther Dyson
   A.   Speaking only for myself.
   B.   Am a member of ALSC. ALSC has not yet made decisions; still collecting a variety of reports. No formal positions as yet. Committee will meet tomorrow and Monday, so Committee will meet open meetings of community and Board. ALSC outreach meeting on Tuesday. See http://www.atlargestudy.org
   C.   Committee represents a variety of points of view. Two former ICANN Directors, two “Democracy People,” some “not-so-Democracy People,” others. Begins the process with a clean sheet, and no question is forbidden.
   D.   Questions: How to structure At-Large Membership, and how many/how to choose At-Large Directors.
   E.   Consider the model of courts – actually do count votes among judges, but judges enforce laws rather than follow their own preferences.
   F.   Question of who is the proper population from which At-Large Membership is drawn. Need representation on the basis of issues rather than of people. Questions about fees, required knowledge, etc. Difficult decisions.
   G.   Question of At-Large Directors – range from zero to the majority of the Board. But having too many At-Large Directors risks that ICANN becomes “thick.”
   H.   Representing the public interest – one seventh of one third doesn’t obviously do enough.
   I.   Many issues still open. Independent Review Panel, questions of funding (though ALSC thinks current budget is not worrisome in this regard), etc.
   J.   Questions:
       1.   Cerf: Concern that anyone who wants the Internet to change will come to ICANN to seek assistance. Given rise in importance of the Internet, it’s important that users have the ability to influence policy, but also keep in mind that they do not in other contexts (highways, etc.).
           • Dyson: Not talking about direct democracy. ICANN’s legitimacy results from following rules and community feedback. Meanwhile, those with a point of view should promote it and organize immediately, then seek ICANN recognition.
           • Cerf: A fan of diversity, but not of diversity that causes the entire structure to collapse.
       2.   From Kendall Dawson (#1284): “If ccTLD members are attempting to gain seats on ICANN Board … at the expense of Membership At Large seats?”
       3.   Mueller: Concerned that ICANN is already “thick.” Alternate roots may cause ICANN to take on additional policy positions that make it even thicker.
           • Johnson: ICANN needs to avoid the “gardening” role – the decision about whether or not the world needs a new .whatever. Need to reduce the thickness of the regulatory model.
           • Dyson: See the ICANN Board as more of an antitrust enforcer rather than as a regulator. Raises the question of whether ICANN itself has too much power. Think ICANN should never have the ability to make things illegal. Should try to open new TLDs, and should try to foster diversity. Requirements for new TLDs should be minimal. ICANN should focus on disclosure requirements.
       4.   (RealNames): Trained in political science. Worry is that ICANN structure places too much power in Board. It’s hard to have a dialogue with ICANN Board.
           • Dyson: What do you want approval for? Has ICANN stopped you?
           • Believe that there’s a consensus that keywords are a good way of finding things.
           • Dyson: You should go out into the marketplace and run your business, especially if you don’t want anything from ICANN.
           • Johnson: No need to bring every issue into one institution.
       5.   Gaetano (#1285): “Either ICANN bases its representativeness on consensus or we have to have a role for governments. Can’t just have business interests.”
       6.   Kleinwaechter: Note that governments cannot participate directly in ICANN process.
           • Johnson: At-Large Study should think about how to build a Board that best gauges consensus.
           • Dyson: Have seen many different governments, and not all are representative or focus on ICANN-related issues.
       7.   Younger: Has anyone suggested that all of Directors should be elected by At-Large?
           • Dyson: Maybe. We’re not likely to recommend it, though.
       8.   Younger: Interaction between ALSC and ICC?
           • Dyson: Informal. Have exchanged views. Want to talk to everyone, but we do have a shortage of people.
       9.   Svensson: Johnson’s model seems to require representation from a large group, not just those within existing SOs.
           • Johnson: It’s important to include not only those with a traditional commercial stake in this.
VI.   Break for NAIS Report – First Hotel Royal Star, noon
VII.   Adjournment


For additional technical information, please contact:  

Ben Edelman and Rebecca Nesson
Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School 

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