The Registrar Stakeholder Group (RrSG) and its members had an incredibly busy and productive week in Prague during ICANN’s latest meeting. The RrSG would like to provide a brief update on a few of the topics and initiatives that members spent time on during our week in Prague.
We would also like to take this opportunity to thank outgoing ICANN CEO Rod Beckstrom for his efforts over the past 3 years and look forward to working with current CEO Akram Atallah and incoming CEO Fadi Chehadé when he joins the organization in October.
Members of the RrSG participated in a wide range of interactions with many different members of the community during the week in Prague and would like to provide a summary on some of those discussions:
– GAC Interaction
- On Sunday, a number of registrars participated in a briefing with the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) regarding the Domain Name Marketplace and the role of registrars in the ecosystem. Alongside ICANN staff and registry operators, the registrars set out to provide GAC members with information regarding a variety of registrar business models, the role resellers play in relation to registrars and the diverse nature of the RrSG members. After a brief presentation, GAC members had an opportunity to ask questions and there was very good interaction between all participants. Of particular interest for GAC members was the role of resellers and ICANN’s interaction and oversight of those parties. Additionally, the introduction of new gTLDs and its implications on the marketplace as it stands today was also a topic of interest. The RrSG appreciated the time provided by the GAC for this interaction and looks forward to further briefings and discussions with the GAC at ICANN meetings in the future.
– RAA Update
- Registrars participated in a number of sessions during the week relating to the current status of the Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA) negotiations with ICANN. Registrars have been actively engaged in these discussions with ICANN staff since November 2011 and significant progress has been made. Prior to the start of the Prague meeting, ICANN posted a draft RAA (http://www.icann.org/en/news/announcements/announcement-7-04jun12-en.htm) and the RrSG subsequently provided its feedback and commentary to that draft (category/icann-rrsg-meetings/). The RrSG encourages both its members and members of the broader ICANN community to provide feedback regarding the draft RAA as posted by ICANN.
- The RrSG met directly with representatives from the Law Enforcement community on Monday to provide an update to them and to report to them on the status of the 12 requests they had previously indicated were important to them relative to the RAA. The RrSG has accepted 10 of the 12 proposals mostly unchanged, but believes the remaining two items (as requested) require greater community feedback with registrars cooperatively working with the community and law enforcement in an attempt to resolve those additional requests. The RrSG appreciates the viewpoint and requests of the law enforcement groups and believes what has already been agreed to provides a significant improvement to what is included in the agreement currently. For example, the current registrar proposal regarding whois verification includes a requirement for registrars to verify either an e-mail address or phone/SMS (post-registration). This new requirement is a meaningful step in the ongoing efforts of the community to increase whois accuracy.
- Alongside ICANN staff, members of the RrSG participated in an update to the community on the status of the RAA negotiations. In addition to highlighting the significant progress made on the law enforcement requests, the session was meant as an opportunity to get community feedback on both whois verification and data retention as those remain issues which registrars feel will not be resolved in these current RAA negotiations. Additionally, the RrSG wanted to bring attention to its own “asks” which include removal of bulk access to whois data, removal of port 43 access for “thick” registries, alignment of consensus policy language with the new gTLD registry agreement and the automatic accreditation in all new gTLDs. Community feedback was very constructive and many participants urged caution relating to both the whois verification and data retention issues.
– RrSG Tuesday Meeting
- The RrSG met all day Tuesday to have interactions with a variety of ICANN staff and other groups within the community including the ICANN Board. Among the topics discussed were the RAA, the introduction of new gTLD’s and its implications on registrars, ICANN compliance efforts and updates on a variety of policy developments currently underway. Registrars also interacted with members of the ICANN Registrar Relations team to discuss a wide variety of operational topics that are of keen interest to members.
- The Executive Committee of the RrSG met with the ICANN Board Tuesday afternoon for a very good interaction. One of the main focus areas of this discussion was the status of the RAA and the view of the RrSG that we have worked hard to address the vast majority of law enforcement requests and we are hopeful to wrap up these negotiations as quickly as possible and move outstanding issues through the policy development process with the broader community. The topic of organizational readiness regarding rollout of the new gTLD program was an additional topic the RrSG members brought up with the Board and how registrars will be impacted once new gTLDs start to enter the marketplace. We also discussed current pressures on the ICANN model from outside influences and how those influences were being monitored by the board.
- Additionally, the RrSG discussed its ongoing efforts to reach out to existing members to encourage increased participation and have a broader representation to the community on a variety of topics. The RrSG Executive Committee was extremely pleased to have several new members join and participate in Tuesday’s meeting and we look forward to continuing to look for ways to encourage participation further in future meetings.
The RrSG would like to thank all of our members who were able to join us in person in Prague as well as those members who participated remotely.
Additionally, we would like to thank our local hosts (cz nic), ICANN meeting staff, Hilton Prague staff and all of the technical and operational support which allowed us to have a very successful meeting.
We look forward to seeing our members and members of the community at ICANN’s next meeting in Toronto later this year.