Blacknight attending ICANN 45 in Toronto

We’ll be attending the ICANN meeting in Toronto next week. It’s the 3rd ICANN public meeting this year and as always the schedule is very busy. Choosing which sessions to attend is always a challenge at ICANN public meetings.

I’ll be representing Blacknight as usual.

We are actively involved in the Registrar Stakeholder Group, which will be meeting all day Tuesday. Beyond that, there are several other sessions that I’ll need to attend for one reason or another

So what’s actually on the agenda in Toronto?

Is it just a junket?

If only! The meeting will officially open on Monday morning, but if you look at the schedule you’ll see that there are meetings for some people from Friday morning onwards. So basically that means that about 1000 of us will be sequestered in a conference centre all day for about a week! (Ok, admittedly we do get some time off for good behaviour and I’m sure our hosts (CIRA) will do a wonderful job)

Key topics this time round:

RAA- Registrar Accreditation Agreement

This is the contract between ICANN and registrars – including us – which governs how we can offer domain name services to our clients. As we have previously mentioned it is currently under re-negotiation and ICANN along with law enforcement and government have been pushing very hard to include much more stringent controls. We view these changes as both unnecessary and very negative to the development of online business. Some of the proposed changes would also put us and other EU based registrars in breach of EU law.

Trademark Clearing House and other IP protections in new TLDs

The new TLD program includes a lot of protection for trademark and other rights holder. One of the most contentious, in terms of cost and implementation, is the Trademark Clearing House. In simple terms rights holders will be able to register with it once, in order to “flag” potential trademark infringements with prospective registrants of domains in the new TLD program. (Yes – that is a gross simplification!) However the costs of running it is proving to be problematic, while actually implementing it with registries and registrars is going nowhere fast. To add to it all the US government and others want ICANN to add even stronger rights protection mechanisms.. And I won’t even mention the entire debacle around the Internatinal Olympics Committee and the Red Cross (that’s one huge mess)

New TLDs

ICANN published a new proposal this morning to solve the “batching” issue. With so many new TLD applications some sort of “pecking order” needed to be provided. The new proposal is a form of lottery or draw, though asking applicants to go to the ICANN offices in person and pony up another $100 per entry seems a bit odd – ICANN’s already collected $185 thousand per application. Sure, ICANN might offer proxies, but how the entire thing will work in reality is not that clear yet. I suspect a lot of applicants are going to want to be present in person.

Apart from that there’s a lot of other “loose ends” that really need to be tied up.

Applicants need a proper, clear and realistic timeline. We, as a registrar, need to know what is coming and when so that we can prepare for it. There are also a lot of technical and business implications for registrars, registries and ICANN that need to be dealt with.

Universal Adoption of New TLDs

Just because a domain extension exists does not mean that you’ll be able to use it ..

Desktop, mobile and web applications will need to be able to cater to users of the new domain name extensions. For example, a lot of web forms do email validation. Depending on how they’re doing it you might not be able to sign up for a service using your new .$whatever domain name..

What else?

Law enforcement and government are going to be present in reasonable numbers. Depending on how they feel things are progressing with the RAA negotiations they may or may not rattle a few sabres..

IPv6 deployment is on the agenda  of course and with RIPE already in a post-IPv4 phase the topic should be getting more attention.

DNSSEC is nearly always on the agenda in some shape or form.


It’s going to be a busy week!

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