This weekend ICANN’s 61st public meeting will kick off in San Juan, Puerto Rico. As usual I will be attending in person. Blacknight has been engaged with ICANN and internet policy development for several years, so being present at meetings such as this one is important to ensure that our voice is heard. I currently serve on the GNSO Council as a representative of the Registrars.

What’s on the menu for the meeting?

I strongly suspect that pretty much every topic is going to be served with a side of GDPR. It’ll be everywhere. It’ll dominate everything. However GDPR is NOT the only thing that will be discussed in Puerto Rico this week, even if people feel that it is the topic that will dominate the meeting.

During the IANA transition the discussions sucked the air out of the room leaving very little space for anything else. GDPR is having a similar impact.

Apart from GDPR there are a few other important topics that will get some airtime in Puerto Rico:

  • ICANN Budget – ICANN’s spend over the last few years has mushroomed. The staff headcount has grown significantly. Funding for a multitude of projects that are at best tenuously linked to ICANN’s core mission has expanded. Now the revenues have stopped growing ICANN will need to tighten its belt. We submitted comments on the ICANN budget earlier this week
  • Proxy privacy accreditation – the process and policies surrounding how providers of whois privacy proxy services were developed during a long and contentious policy development process. It was messy and it was ugly. But after about 2 years we ended up with what we hoped would be a workable set of policies. Unfortunately converting those agreed policy principles into actual enforceable contracts and written policies has also been far from easy. This process kicked off long before anyone was even mumbling about GDPR, yet in light of GDPR many of the finer details that had been decided in theory could be challenged.
  • UDRP and other rights protection mechanisms – The UDRP is the de facto rights protection mechanism for domain names, both in the gTLD space and beyond. However both it and other rights protection mechanisms were long overdue a review. You cannot expect policies to be set in stone forever. They need to evolve and change over time, though opening up a policy for review can make things worse.
  • New TLDs next round – when ICANN introduced new top level domain names a couple of years back there was a “window” for applications. It’s been closed ever since and some people would like to see there be more top level domain names. It’s probably of more interest to big brands than anyone else, but unfortunately there has been a push to re-open several topics that many of us thought had been put to bed, such as “closed generics
  • KSK rollover – Due to concerns about DNS operators globally simply not being ready for this ICANN delayed it. They’re now trying to restart that process. What is it? Basically it’s all about changing cryptogenic keys in the DNS, but at the root level which would impact all DNS resolvers. You can read more about the project here.

Overall it’s going to be a fairly intense and interesting week in Puerto Rico and some of the outputs from this meeting will have impacts on registrars and registries and, by extension, our clients.

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