ICANN 61 Community Forum - San Juan, Puerto Rico

10-15 March 2018

Highlights of ICANN61

  • New Chairs takeover for the ICANN Board, GAC and GNSO.
  • GDPR, GDPR, GDPR – the train is coming but is ICANN ready to board?
  • ICANN’s FY19 Budget and plans to shore up the reserves.
  • Subsequent Procedures – realisation of timelines before future new gTLD applications.
  • A walk in the shoes of a New gTLD Registry Operator – success viewed in different ways.
  • The GAC provides no additional information to ICANN Board for .amazon.
  • Remote access services disrupted following security concerns.

This was ICANN’s first meeting of 2018 and saw some of the key leaders settle into their recently-elected roles, notably, Cherine Chalaby as the ICANN Chair, Manal Ismail as the GAC Chair and Heather Forrest as GNSO Chair.

Throughout ICANN61, the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was the overarching topic in many sessions and open forums, discussing its impact on registration directory services (WHOIS) and ICANN’s contracts, and reviewing a proposed interim model. Another subject of regular focus during the week was ICANN’s budget plans for FY19 and their approach to topping up their reserves.

ICANN’s Draft FY19 Operating Plan and Budget was issued for public comment prior to ICANN61 and highlighted concerns with lower than expected revenues, diminished reserves and higher expenses incurred by a growing organisation with broader engagement from an expanding community. Overall, ICANN needs to be more efficient after what has been a period of substantial growth and far-ranging activities, prioritising its resources and funding more effectively.

The Generic Names Supporting Organisation (GNSO) spent significant working group time advancing PDPs on New gTLD Subsequent Procedures, Right Protection Mechanism, and Next Generation Registration Directory Services. The GNSO held a workshop on Sunday morning devoted to exploring ways to improve its policy development work to be more efficient and effective.

A mix of registry operators presented at the Cross-Community Session “A Walk in the Shoes of a New gTLD Registry Operator”, highlighting a variety of experiences and the different ways that success is measured across different registry models. Neustar told of their experience for launching and developing their dotBrand and the BRG added the broader voice of dotBrands, helping to raise awareness of active growth, user adoption and some of the challenges. The session clearly highlighted the synergies between highly-restricted TLDs (.bank, .pharmacy, etc.) and dotBrand registries, with a strong theme of “zero-abuse” and “user trust”.

The Government Advisory Committee (GAC) also weighed-in on the GDPR issue, urging ICANN to complete the interim model as swiftly as possible whilst raising its concerns about the negative consequences of restricting access WHOIS data to combat online abuse and trademark infringements. The GAC also discussed .amazon but at the end of the meeting had no additional information to offer the ICANN Board in response to Steve Crocker’s request of 29 October 2017 – the GAC’s letter and further details are included in the GAC Communiqué.

Midway through the week, ICANN switched off the remote access service, Adobe Connect, after a “potentially serious security issue” was identified that “could possibly lead to the disclosure of the information shared in an ICANN Adobe Connect room”.  In a recent blog, ICANN states “Until we know more, ICANN’s Adobe Connect services will remain offline. In the meantime, we will be rolling out alternative collaboration tools to the community soon, so stay tuned.”

For further information about ICANN61 and the BRG meetings in Puerto Rico, members can read more in their BRG@ICANN61 summary.