See Los Angeles Documents for those documents and statements presented during the meeting

ALAC has been undergoing a lot of change in the past year. We are definitely living in interesting times! We've had a turnover of almost the entire ALAC, with only 2 members at this time having had more that 1 years' experience on the ALAC. We've moved from working in English only to working consistently in English, Spanish and French! We have had a lot of cultural adjustment to make, and this is ongoing. Growing pains, indeed! It has been painful, and I am sure there are more painful steps to be undergone, but I believe the worst is over. I truly believe in the potential of the At-Large to make valuable input into ICANN policies and processes, and to advise the Board on behalf of Internet users. I hope you all share my belief!

There's still a need to review the mission of the ALAC, and put new goals in place. For the past year, our focus has been on ending the Interim ALAC and forming the real ALAC. This has finally been achieved. All that remains is for the APRALO to have their signing ceremony, postponed to February in Delhi by circumstances. But they are all up and running.

We thank all the members of the ALAC (past and present) and of the ALSes who have worked so hard to make this a reality. The ALAC would greatly appreciate continued involvement in At Large from those of us who are moving on. The knowledge and experience of the past will be invaluable to the ALAC as it moves forward.

The ALAC on Sunday went through a one-day strategy session, including team-building and SWOT analysis. This was very useful, as we have three new members appointed by NomCom taking their seats at the end of this meeting, and only 2 of 15 members of the ALAC will have been there for more than one year at the conclusion of this ICANN meeting, so this is the full transition.
Therefore, this meeting was designed to facilitate building the new team. We think a common vision of the ALAC by its members is vital to move forward successfully and that vision was shared by all as the outcome of the session.

The Secretariats of the RALOs have also been meeting in LA. They had a very productive meeting. They have set up systems for cross-regional coordination and information sharing. We do not want the regions to function as silos, but rather to have a truly global organisation. To this end, the At Large is currently working on a proposal to have a Summit of the regions.

Despite all this work being done on organisational issues, we still have managed to develop some policy positions. (with the able and invaluable contribution of the At Large members, and I want to single out to thank for their incredible work - Hong Xue, Danny Younger, John Levine and Vittorio Bertola)

Policy Development Work

The At-Large community has developed, via working groups, policy positions on several other issues.

Internationalised Domain Names (IDNs)

IDNs are a long-standing priority of the At-Large community. The At Large working group on IDNs has ben hard at work and a detailed statement responding to the June 2006 request for comments on particular questions was approved by the ALAC on behalf of the community on 29th October 2007. This statement has been provided to the Board and may be found here.

A particularly trenchant portion of the statement follows:
> The ALAC emphasizes the pressing need from the user community for IDNs. We support a balanced and effective fast-track approach for implementation of IDN ccTLDs. We welcome the new PDP proposal from the ccNSO and reiterate our strong commitment to bring the individual users' voices to this policy-making process. ALAC has submitted to the Board the status report on IDN ccTLDs issues, which contains our recommendations on the principles, policies and implementation of IDN ccTLDs. We primarily recommend that implementation of IDN ccTLDs comply with all the technical standards to ensure the interoperability and security and selection and accreditation of any IDN ccTLD be subject to sufficient, transparent and effective consultations in the pertinent ccTLD user community.
>Given that the IDN test is going on and the IDN protocols are being reviewed, we are keen to know whether there is a timeline for implementation of IDN gTLDs under the auspices of the new gTLD process.

RAA Renegotiation Process

A detailed statement on the RAA renegotiation process was presented to the ICANN Board on 13th September 2007 after intensive work in the At-Large RAA Working Group over a period of months and this statement was reinforced in a widely-admired Workshop on the RAA which featured a tour-de-force explanation of the RAA, and the proposed amendments to it by Danny Younger. Detailed reference materials provided by Danny can be found on the Los Angeles Documents page.

In brief from the Statement to the ICANN Board on the RAA:

>While the ALAC regards the synthesis of public commentary on Registrar Accredition Agreements to be a good start, we are concerned that a number of proposals made by the at-large community and consumer organizations, intended to make more concrete some specific contract enforcement provisions between ICANN and registrars, along with compliance with the agreements themselves, have been classified "unfeasible" or outside ICANN's scope (Section F).
>A number of provisions in section F were suggested to give consumers assistance, direction and help in choosing a registrar; means of redress when disputes arise; objective and public data detailing registrar problems; and some assignation of responsibility on registrars to provide security enhancing and stability (for example, DNSSEC). Perhaps somewhat predictably, the classification of at-large and user comments on the RAA into what probably will be done, might be done through other means or venues, and what probably is not going to be done, seems to go easy on registrars while still leaving substantial gaps in the registrar agreements for abuse of the user community.
>Section F, item 21 states, "We ask ICANN staff to prepare a summary of the current practices, fees and burdens imposed on registrants by a significant sample of registrars. (The ALAC is ready to ask for an Issues Report if necessary)." We have not yet determined if this step is necessary.

New GTLDs Policy

In response to the GNSO's recommendations to the Board on new gTLDs, At-Large convened a working group as part of the GNSO Liaison role to draft a response. Working in record time, this group put together a position paper. Although not yet a formal ALAC position, the ALAC, in conjunction with the RALO's, is reviewing it and will be sending its formal position to the Board shortly.

GNSO Improvements

Another major item of concern to At-Large is the GNSO Improvements process, and three issues related to the Board Governance Committee's latest draft working papers have been singled out by the ALAC for particular comment.

  1. There is a discussion on whether At Large should be represented on the GNSO which ends with the statement that users could participate in the commercial or non-commercial groups "depending on how they viewed their registration". Surely the BGC understands that not all users have their own registrations. Something over 1 billion of then are just "users".
  2. The argument is made that since the ALAC/At-Large exists to advise the Board, they do not need a presence on the GNSO. This presumes that it is adequate to be reactive to GNSO policy drafts. In reality, inputs received during comment periods do not have a good record of making it into next revisions unless there are strong advocates for it. The move to working groups which can include individuals may help this, but a vote on the GNSO council will still be an effective mechanism for helping to ensure that end user needs are addressed during the policy creation process instead of after.
  3. The new Board Governance Committee proposal does not mention Liaisons, apparently because the BGC did not see any reason to change things. But the report does explicitly say that there should be regular contact between the various SOs and ACs includign the ALAC and mentions telephone conference calls between the Chairs. If such calls make sense, certainly the corresponding Liaison should also be included.

Domain Tasting

The Issues Report on Domain Tasting requested by the ALAC earlier this year has at the Los Angeles Meeting led to the GNSO to resolve to start a full Policy Development Process on Domain Tasting. This is a major victory for the interests of Internet end users and At-Large will remain actively engaged in the PDP process.

IPv4 to IPv6 Migration

At-Large's work in this important area has been growing over the past several months and in Los Angeles a draft statement was presented in the ASO on 30th October was well received. Continued work to complete the statement is underway, and a process by which the RALOs can interact more frequently with the RIRs is being developed.

We continue to build relationships both with other groups within ICANN and without and more work is on the cards - so stay tuned.

In sum, the ALAC has gone through a very difficult transition and has come out ready to take on its responsibilities as an Advisor to the Board, with the input of the user community. We have, through our ALSes, several million members, and we are working to

  1. Educate users on the issues
  2. Bring their concerns to the Board
  3. Advise the Board on the user perspective in policy issues
  4. Work with ICANN staff to make ICANN more user-friendly, including multi-lingual documents and other tools to allow users to participate without the need to learn English.

The Chair of ALAC for 2007, Jacqueline Morris, welcomed new members (insert list) and thanked departing members (list here) upon the end of her term.

  • No labels