GAC Meeting with the ICANN Board

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Event reports

Author:
Amrita Choudhury

At the meeting of the Government Advisory Committee (GAC) with the ICANN Board during ICANN59, the topics discussed included an update on the new Board process for considering and processing GAC advice, ICANN document handling, two-character country and territory codes at the second level, the Board’s response to GAC advice on international governmental organisations (IGOs) protections, and the mitigation of domain name abuse, among others.

On the issue of mitigating domain name abuse, Ms Cathrin Bauer-Bulst (Deputy Head of Unit, Fight Against Cybercrime, Belgium) thanked Mr Göran Marby (CEO, ICANN) for initiating a dialogue on abuse mitigation measures between the GAC, the GAC Public Safety Working Group and the CEO.

Mr Thomas Schneider (GAC Chair) raised concerns over the handling of the existing ICANN document, and the need for following minimum standards to track important information, which include details about the author of the document, its purpose, the address and status. Mr Markus Kummer (ICANN Board Member) responded by saying that initiatives are currently underway to improve the internal processes handled by the Board, while making them more traceable, as well as to develop a new document management system within ICANN. Marby stated that ICANN is exploring modalities to support fact-based discussions within the GAC, as well as between the GAC and the Board. It was also said that efforts are made for the GAC to receive Board responses on its advice earlier, thus avoiding having such responses sent shortly before an ICANN meeting.

To a question raised by the GAC Chair on how the GAC can add value to the annual Global Domains Division (GDD) Summit, and contribute to policy discussion, Marby clarified that the event is not for policy-making, and that ICANN was merely facilitating the meeting and was not responsible for preparing the agenda. Mr Akram Atallah (President, GDD, ICANN ) equated it to the intersessional sessions of contracted parties, and not an event for policies. In response, the GAC representative from Argentina raised the question of geographic name discussions during the GDD, where the GAC could have added value. Marby responded by saying that some cross-community dialogue or exchange of information should be possible.

Ms Lousewies van der Laan (ICANN Board) emphasised the importance of continued dialogue between the GAC and the Board.

Bulst raised the issue of how ICANN was planning to comply with the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), since the Next-Generation gTLD Registration Directory Services (RDS) Policy Development Process (PDP) would not be ready by the entry into force of the regulation. Marby emphasised the importance of the GAC's input on issues related to ICANN’s compliance with privacy and data protection law, within the context of the public interest. Burr said that in order to help meet the compliance requirements, ICANN has created several processes, including a GDPR Compliance Consultation Group, and the Next-Generation gTLD RDS PDP, where GAC input would be welcome.

On the issue of IGO protection, Switzerland urged the Board to advise the Working Group on IGO-INGO Access to Curative Rights Protection Mechanisms to take into consideration the inputs shared by the GAC, especially through the Copenhagen GAC Communiqué. The GAC also expressed concerns over the fact that the Board response to the committee’s Copenhagen Communiqué does not adequately addressed issues raised by governments. Marby responded by saying that the Board would support a dialogue and that the PDP process had noted the comments of the GAC.

Brazil raised the issue of the two-character country code and the need to discuss and understand the next steps. He further suggested setting up a task force with members from the GAC, the ICANN Board and other groups.

Iran expressed concerns over allowing two-character country codes at second level in gTLDd without the consent of governments, and changing the 60 day time limit for governments to respond to an application of the two-character country code, and requested for it to be continued on an interim basis. Atallah pointed out that even in the 2012 new gTLD round, there were options for applicants to either get consent from the GAC or implement mitigation measures, and that this option was still available.

Marby suggested creating a task force, comprising of the GAC chair and a few countries, to figure out how information flow can be improved.

South Africa commented that there should be more capacity building in underserved areas related to issues such as the two-character country codes.