I’m off to Buenos Aires tomorrow for the 53rd ICANN public meeting.

Although the meeting doesn’t “officially” start until Monday next I’ve got quite a few meetings before then, which is why I’m heading out so early.

The Buenos Aires meeting is the last ICANN meeting before Dublin this October. And while we are not the actual host for the meeting in Dublin we are working closely with INEX to make sure that the welcome we extend to ICANN attendees is as warm and smooth as possible.

ICANN meetings are always “important” and there’s always a bunch of “hot topics” that take up a lot of our time and energy. This time round is no different.

Here’s a few items that I’ll be keeping an eye on:

  • Stakeholder engagement and overload – there’s a LOT going on and the pool of people who are involved in policy work and decision making hasn’t grown exponentially.
  • IANA transition – this “chestnut” is the gift that keeps on giving .. seriously though .. the transition of the IANA functions from the US government to the wider internet community is a welcome move. However organising it properly has been taking up a lot of time and energy. Whether it’ll be “done” in time for ICANN 54 or ICANN 55 remains to be seen
  • Proxy and privacy services – as I mentioned earlier this week the policies around this are currently being discussed and I expect it’ll be a topic in Buenos Aires
  • Contract interpretation – as an ICANN accredited registrar we have certain obligations with respect to abuse reports. Unfortunately some people seem to want to use this mechanism to silence speech, so there’s an ongoing debate around what is abuse, what isn’t and what appropriate responses and actions actually are. If we host a domain name’s services we have more flexibility about what we can do, but if we’re just the registrar of record all we can do is pull the plug entirely, which isn’t exactly ideal ..
  • Privacy and human rights at ICANN – this is not a new topic, but one that has appeared in various forms over the last few years. With the EU moving towards a more centralised and harmonised approach to data protection / privacy legislation it’s long overdue that ICANN address this properly. ICANN is data controller for millions of domain names yet doesn’t have a dedicated privacy officer!
  • Whois – this is like a permanent fixture on everyone’s agenda. You can try to get it off the agenda, but it’ll always always come back to haunt you..
  • Replacing ICANN’s CEO .. The current incumbent announced his departure so he’s going to have to be replaced. There’s going to be some public meetings on this in Buenos Aires, but it’s definitely a topic that will be discussed by everyone over drinks, lunch, dinner etc
  • ICANN 54 Dublin – not an actual “topic”, but with Dublin being the venue for the autumn ICANN meeting a lot of attendees will be curious to know about the venue etc.,

It’ll be a busy few days, but I’m looking forward to it.

I’m not looking forward to the 14 hour flight from Frankfurt though 🙂


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