Updated ALAC advice on gTLDs (DRAFT)

Draft: Revision 3

WHEREAS

  • The At-Large Advisory Committee (ALAC) supports the introduction of new genertic Top-level Domains (gTLDs);
  • Most of the problems identified by the At-Large Community in its Mexico City Summit declaration of February 2009 related to the new-gTLD program remain to be addressed;
  • Insistent concerns expressed both by ICANN stakeholders and outside organizations indicate that law enforcement and public-protection measures in the current design of the gTLD program remain to be satisfactorally addressed;
  • The ICANN Board has rejected the Joint Applicant Support Working Group (JAS) recommendations to reduce costs of new gTLD in developing economies independent of any fixed fund;
  • The rejected JAS recommendation was actively supported by ICANN's three main public-interest communities (GAC, ALAC and NCSG) and had no active opposition from any single defined component of the ICANN multi-stakeholder community
  • The absence of a staggered release schedule or a fixed timetable for future rounds severely inhibits ICANN's ability to correct errors and assess unintended consequences in the proposed application round;
  • ICANN has still not convincingly demonstrated the end-user need or benefit of a simultaneous launch of hundreds of new TLDs;
  • The history of ICANN's compliance regime gives serious doubt regarding its capacity to protect the interests of Internet end-users as it scales to cope with a massive expansion in the namespace;

RESOLVED THAT

  • The ALAC conveys to the ICANN Board and community a deep concern about the possible harmful effect on Internet end-users of a single massive expansion of gTLDs;
  • In the affirmation of the multi-stakeholder model and the community-driven process, the ALAC urges the ICANN Board to
    • Adopt the recommendations expressed in the ALAC Statement on the Preliminary Support Implementation Program published December 21 2011
    • Phase-in the introduction of new gTLDs gradually, releasing no more than 25 every three months and that each such release be comprised of at least 30% community, support-eligible, "geo-region" or IDN TLDs
    • Enable development of a community-devised process to monitor the progress of the releases;
    • Commit publicly to contain with due haste any and all elements of the application process demonstrated to cause or allow harm or confusion to registrants, Internet end-users or content/service providers
    • that the Board discuss with the ALAC any of the advice
      Engage with ALAC to discuss of the above advice considered unacceptable, and to produce a formal reply on the outcome of any such engagementwhich it finds it can't accept and requests a formal  reply from the Board on the outcome of any such 
      discussions.

Notes:

  • Items marked in bold may be considered arbitrary values which are subject to review and consensus.
  • The Summit declaration is available at http://www.atlarge.icann.org/files/atlarge/correspondence-05mar09-en.pdf
  • The Preliminary Support Implementation Program published December 21 2011 is not yet listed on the ICANN correspondence page; a link will be provided as soon as it is available. Until then the document is available here

History:

A draft version of the first motion was submitted by Evan Leibovitch to the ALAC and NARALO email lists December 18.
In response to early comments, a slightly modified version of the motion was posted to this Wiki 

A second revision was created Dec 20 in reaction to community members who, while disagreeing strongly with elements of the gTLD program, believed that an actual halt or suspension of the program was ill-advised and that At-Large's main concerns about the scalability and possible end-user harms could be addressed by a combination of a staggered gTLD rollout combined with active community monitoring and ongoing program refinement.

A third revision was created Dec 21 in response to further comments, and the awareness that the ALAC had endorsed its gTLD working group's statement on ICANN's preliminary Support Implementation Program. This statement includes, among others, a recommendation to reconsider rejection of the fund-independent fee reduction proposed by the JAS.

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14 Comments

  1. I am (as  sent to the various email lists)  AGAINST  any such motion being made by the ALAC

    I am  absolutely for an ALAC/At-Large and ICANN wide discussion  on the matter of "the Public Interest"

    I see there being  much opportunity  for changes  to be made in the new gTLD program TO BE MADE  but THIS approach of  sanction / protest  is NOT the way to get the desired fixes  agreed to and made  so this  Motion is IMO  *Counterproductive for ALAC  to even consider *in the extreeme...

    1. Anonymous

      (I don't have a login....)

      This is Annalisa of NARALO and (for transparency, I am also the founder and CEO of DotGreen which is a new gTLD applicant for the purpose of serving and engaging the Internet user to boost the green economy through the .green Internet which will give back to people and planet)

      For what it is worth, and regardless of what may seem like an obvious conflict,  I do not like this motion either. 

      An ALAC/ICANN discussion is beneficial, but this approach is not good. 

      The demand of a formal reply to each piece of advice from an advisory committee is not a new gTLD issue, it is an ICANN Bylaw issue with regards to ALAC.  It may be appropriate for other reasons, but the new gTLD forum is not the place to take this request.

      The new gTLD program was approved and scheduled back on June 20th, 2011 issues raised or re-raised now are way late in the process of new gTLDs.  ALAC has been advising and doing their job very well all along for the many years this has been going on. To take another stand now and to demand ICANN change their program or schedule is harmful to the new gTLD process, the integrity of the multi-stakeholder process, ALAC's reputation, and the new gTLD applicants - many of whom like ALAC also represent and have the support of the Internet users they will serve.  Delaying the program will cause real harm to those applicants who have trusted ICANN and the process ALAC is such an important part of.  Applicants have made announcements and have planned and committed resources based on the January 12 - April 12 application window in addition to subsequent operational expenses.  My fear is a motion like this one at a time as late as this would bring negativity to the hardworking and important community of ALAC and would most likely not produce a desired effect.

      Thank you for the opportunity to voice my thoughts on this issue.

      1. While I don't advocate a delay, if the Board decides that there are reasons, consistent with the multistakeholder process, for a fixed short delay to give the ICANN Staff time to fix a specific set of pending issues, that won't be the end of the ICANN credibility.  Due diligence in the endgame can only help ICANN's reputation.  And if there is ICANN/ALAC consensus in At-Large that there are such reasons, I do not think it will harm ALAC to say so.  In fact it may be a requirement of ALAC/At-Large's roles and responsibilities to do so

        I also think it always makes sense to remind the Board of the need to discuss and repsond to ALAC/At-Large comments.  An event is firmly etched in my memory of Vint asking a chair of ALAC who was complaining about having their comments ignored, whether they had added an RSVP to the message.  Until such time as the proper reaction to ALAC advice is enshrined in the By Laws and Board procedures, I beleive that ALAC must attach such a pro-forma RSVP to all of its communications with the Board.

        So while I do not support a delay, I don't accept that advising one for the right reasons should hurt ALAC, and I do beleive that if they do advise a delay, they should demand proper treatment of that advice.  They should also do it real soon now so the Board has it before their scheduled meeting (whenever it might be, I can't find a list of 2012 meeting for the Board)

        1. The dates of the Board meetings in 2012 are not yet finalized.
          I don't think it is confidential that the first of the year will be around the 19th of January.

          But we have a Board information call schedule around the 5th of January.

          And as you know ICANN offices are closed for this week.

          I hope that At-Large/ALAC will take good decision to help the new gTLDs program to go forward.
          I will follow as much as possible your exchange on this page.
          Thanks

  2. We discussed this issue at the national / Swiss level with other stakeholders, and one observation or conclusion was:

    "As a key conclusion from the recent Swiss event can be drawn: Several private and business projects seem to be well prepared for the first application round early next year (January – April 2012). But as it was mentioned by Sandra at our last monthly call (referring to the German event early November in Berlin), most of the public entities are not aware about these new gTLD options and cannot submit projects in time for the first – and narrow – application round, besides the few and well-known city/community projects like .Berlin, .Paris, .London etc. In the public sector there is still a lot of awareness raising and consultation needed to convince the decision makers about these new opportunities."

  3. Strong agreement with Cheryl's comment. The motion ignores and reverses much ALAC advice on the gTLD program. Simply re-writes long history of valuable contribution from this community.  The first Whereas clause patently false, the second a gross exaggeration... and so on.  It would be pointless and irresponsible to submit such a motion after the launch of the new gTLD program (12/1). The motion should be thrown out. 

    However, it does mention important issues At Large should consider; the background to the 3rd Whereas;   Continued work on applicant support (pricing/fee from the Mexico statement); The important issue Wolf raises on the efficacy of the outreach program.  But these can and should be addressed as separate issues.

  4. I agree with Cheryl and Adam. The program is running at full speed, the motion seems counter productive and may throw out the history of valuable contributions that ALAC has offered to the ICANN community. 

    The only things that I will support is to have a join statement from the NCSG/ GAG/ALAC to request that the ICANN Board reconsider its rejection of the JAS-WG recommendations. The rest I will not support. 

  5. As indicated before, I still think that the listing of concerns is far too comprehensive and I have particular difficulties with notions like "sovereign states" (3rd point) when claims on "sovereignty" are often abused by most restrictive or totalitarian governments. IMO, this may be an issue for the GAC but cannot be a key concern for At-Large and Internet users in general. From a European angle, references to law enforcement ambitions are often violating openness and open access principles, what is NOT necessarily in the public or user's interest. IMO -- if we do such a statement -- we should concentrate on essentials like the rejected JAS Working Group recommendations and our key concerns "that the pursuit and warranty of the public interest and concerns from public entities should be better respected and closely monitored in the application and launching process of the new gTLD program" (or the like). The shorter, pin-pointed and concise we argue, the better such a statement might be considered -- this includes an abstention from any "fall backs" (as pointed out by Cheryl and Adam).

  6. I wish it were stronger but I still support this version.

    As I noted on the list, the fact that we've offered bad advice in the past doesn't mean that we have to keep offering the same bad advice now, so changes from what we said in 2009 don't bother me.

  7. I still do not find myself supporting this motion, but do find that I object less with each revision.  

    A few points on this revision:

    i) One thing I would suggest if this motion were to go forward, is to actually mention what advice was given to the Board in the 2009 declaration that was not followed. Having just re-read that section of the declaration, I must admit I find it hard to find much explicit advice, but rather find mostly statements saying that it might be better to do A, rather than B.  If the explicit advice given, that was not properly discussed and resolved can be extracted for further discussion, that might help make this motion more accessible.  At this point there seems to be an undefined and amorphous bunch of suggestions that are difficult to evaluate in the light of 2 year's progress in designing the new gTLD program based on public forum and GAC comments.

    On this issue, I do want to point out that the At-Large New gTLD WG (ANgWG) did consider recommending that a letter be sent to the Board on just this topic - the advice given but not accepted or explained, but in the end decided not to recommend such an action.  This lack of a recommendation, of course, does not preclude the ALAC from sending in something motivated by a bottom-up processe in the ALSes and the RALOs, but I did want to point out that despite asking for support of this goal over several meetings of the ANgWG, it did not get group support.

    On this issue it is also probably worth noting that for some of the issues, such as the expansion of categories, the issue was also presented by the GAC and dealt with by the Board.  While this issue may not have been dealt with adequately in some peoples viewpoint, it was given a very thorough discussion.  If the ALAC is going to send such a letter, it should present new arguments and not those that have been covered in great detail already.

    On other issues, such as MAPO, we need to recognize that while many of us want to see less (or none) of this in the objection process, there are those, e.g. the GAC, who want to see much more of this and we may just be at the point of compromise on such issues.

    ii) Regarding staggered release, while the Board has not accepted a staggered release of 25 each month, it has made two similar decisions. On one hand, it has decided to work in batches with the understanding that not many names will be ready for delegation each month, and while I expect that the release will be closer to 50+ per month in 2013, it will not be in the hundreds or thousands.  Further, in response to GAC and others concerns, the Board has mandated the creation of a process by which the delegation of TLDs can be slowed or stopped in the event there is a strain to the stability and security of the Internet. 

    iii) While I think that there may be value in reinforcing the recently sent ALAC letter regarding the Applicant Support Program, I am concerned that the issues as discussed in this note might muddy the discussion somewhat when considering the points made in that letter.

    iv) I think the creation "of a community-devised process to monitor the progress of the releases;" is an excellent idea and I think it is something that ALAC should propose a concrete program on.  In fact, I think that this goal is not far from the one of the chartered mandates of the ANgWG working group.  I think this monitoring process should be developed and deployed and that ALAC should produce issue specific advice on any problems that surface as a result of this monitoring. I do not know what we can achieve by asking the Board to do this other than to take the creation of such a process out of At-Large hands and put into the ICANN Staff's basket of responsibilities.  

    All in all, while I think the conversation that this motion has engendered is a good thing, I do not see any current positive gains that can be achieved in the approval of this motion.

  8. Anonymous

    I  support  this version. It is well balanced expression

    of concern of considerable part of Internet community in

    that the new gTLDs program conceptually is not good prepared,

    and is quite irrational.

    Despite applying every effort to stimulate broad discussions of program, the oppositional

    voices still remain not listened. It is felt some drive to leverage the program for not only Internet benefit.

    1. Can you identify yourself?

  9. Even in this current  (more  balanced in my view form as at Jan 9th 2011)   I still  <<shudder>> at the possibility  of ALAC endorsing and sending this Statement and still so no benefit  in sending it.  It still does NOT have my support  BUT we do need to continue to work to resolve the matters that At-Large still see "needs work" on in the new gTLD process and  for a "potted history' of what has been said by ALAC regarding new gTLDs with links  to Statements  documents etc.,  (which IS a work in progress and will be updated) please see History of ALAC Statements on new gTLDs