Notes from ICANN 50 – June 26

Yvette Miller ⬥ 26 June

Timelines get pushed back, constituencies raise their voices, and ICANN sits up to listen – here is some of the latest coming out of ICANN 50.

The ICANN Board has not and will not pass any resolutions relating to name collision this week. It is expected that the ICANN Board will approve the final name collision mitigation solution before the end of July. Given the short amount of time between then and August, the strings to be auctioned in August will now be auctioned during the September and October auctions.

The Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC), which represents national governments in the ICANN community, sets out some priorities:

While ICANN stakeholder groups have always openly voiced their criticism of ICANN when issues arise, the GAC’s dissatisfaction with the actions and decisions made by the ICANN Board with connection to GAC Advice on new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) has become apparent and was communicated in the public ICANN Board – GAC meeting. The GAC’s London Communiqué echoes some of these frustrations. If the GAC gets its wish, the New gTLD Program Committee (NGPC) will have to develop much more specific requirements for Category 1 and Category 2 applicants, which it has been hesitant to do thus far.

The GAC expressed interest in dedicating time to discuss Whois issues – that is, issues with how domain name registration information is gathered and stored – at ICANN’s next public meeting in Los Angeles. The GAC considers this a public policy issue, and ICANN’s expert working group found that Whois conflicts with national privacy laws.

Under criticism, ICANN looks to put a good foot forward, showing a positive regard for the stakeholder community:

In light of the letter sent by the New TLD Applicant Group (NTAG) and the Registry Stakeholder Group, which listed out a litany of areas for improvement for ICANN’s Global Domains Division (GDD), the GDD is doing everything it can to show that it is responsive and dedicated to serving the interests of the applicants and new gTLD operators. For example, the GDD hosted a session to explain some operational aspects of the group and has made itself available to questions and feedback.

Another notable development from ICANN is that the community has officially begun talking about a second gTLD application round. The Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) Council, the policy-making arm of ICANN, approved a motion to create a discussion group “to discuss the experiences gained by the first round of new gTLD applications and identify subjects for future issue reports, if any, that might lead to changes or adjustments for subsequent application procedures.” They’ve also asked ICANN staff for a status report on this round, plus a projected timeline for future rounds. While a new round is still likely years away, this is a definitive step forward.

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