ICANN Fellowship at San Juan, Part 3

At the Fellowship meeting we had a great speaker, Dr. Steve Goldstein, an ICANN Board Member. He gave us an historical overview of networks, starting in 1989 when he first got involved. He often explained events with his perspective that ” When there is real money on the table, all the rules change”, which he applied to the changing fortunes and importance of ICANN and network policies throughout these years. He will give us a link to his presentation slides, in case anyone is interested.

I found his mention of José Soriano and his pioneering, often dangerous work setting up networks in Peru, and of Randy Bush, who did a lot of volunteer work, for instance in setting up Networks in South Africa, to be very interesting. I met both José and Randy at the LACNIC meeting in Margarita Island, Venezuela, and had heard of what can only be called their “exploits”. Steve implied that they are among the “unsung heroes” of Internet history, and give good perspective on the early efforts to help the developing world on the part of these pioneers.

ICANN Fellowship at San Juan, Part 3

Just a quick note (upon re-reading, I see it’s not so quick or short. Sorry.) on what’s happening at ICANN in Puerto Rico, from my particular viewpoint.

I the attended the ICANN Public Forum, and found the President’s report by ICANN president Paul Twomey, to actually be very interesting, not the dry, formal information one might expect. There was lots of intensity in this report, lots of policy work, lots of progress.

I found his emphasis– that there are no back room deals with ICANN staff, with registrars or others– to be important. He reiterated that staff does not make policy, and there is constant stress on the importance of participation and transparency. Paul Twomey again invited everyone to participate by any means possible, including through the ICANN Blog.

He also mentioned the renovated ICANN website which includes “The world according to ICANN” in maps, which is worth a look, and the documents and background information which ensure transparency.

Mr. Twomey also mentioned the ICANN fellowship program, which illustrates the importance that ICANN is giving to outreach and the program itself.

I found it interesting that there was no mention of .xxx. I thought it might be revisited. More and more it seems to me, from conversations here at ICANN, that the .xxx was not the media circus that I saw on the Internet, but business as usual for ICANN, and was decided on the rules as interpreted in normal procedures. I now understand that the .xxx was probably rejected on its business model and lack of consensus even within its own area.

In the IDN update report, we were told that the IDNs have been laboratory tested, and are in the process of a decision on the feasibility of implementation. Of course we were given much more detail, but I’m not going to go into that here.

We also heard a report on the proposed fiscal year 2008 by Doug Brent, Chief Operating Officer. The Budget has been posted on the website in Spanish, French, and English, and Arabic was considered, in order to make comments and participation easier. The feedback has already changed the budget.

In the Workshop on Protection of Registrants the point was made that they are also looking for suggestions as to how to make the data accessible and readable, so that it can be understood and used.

At one point, an aside by Vincent Cerf, the quintessential expert speaker, was a tip to a panelist who was speaking too fast for the transcribers: “Don’t let your enthusiasm get in the way of communication.”

We were told that competition and local registrars will be a part of the solution for protection of registrants and in particular registrants in developing countries, and a member of the audience pointed out the necessity of education, as a contribution from ALAC, and the use of plain language in explanations and reports.

One of the biggest questions dealt with was the Protection of Registrants in case of registry failure.–what happens if your registry or registrar goes bankrupt? What happens to your web page? Do you have any recourse? These questions have not been answered yet, but are of importance to those involved, who are actively looking for solutions.

At the Fellowship meeting we had a great speaker, Dr. Steve Goldstein, an ICANN Board Member. He gave us an historical overview of networks, starting in 1989 when he first got involved. He often explained events with his perspective that ” When there is real money on the table, all the rules change”, which he applied to the changing fortunes and importance of ICANN and network policies throughout these years. He will give us a link to his presentation slides, in case anyone is interested.

I found his mention of José Soriano and his pioneering, often dangerous work setting up networks in Peru, and of Randy Bush, who did a lot of volunteer work, for instance in setting up Networks in South Africa, to be very interesting. I met both José and Randy at the LACNIC meeting in Margarita Island, Venezuela, and had heard of what can only be called their “exploits”. Steve implied that they are among the “unsung heroes” of Internet history, and give good perspective on the early efforts to help the developing world on the part of these pioneers.

Steve gave us what looked like the “clouds” of Internet Governance, which we at Diplo call “baskets”, and I found it interesting to see how he divided the areas: Illegal Activity (Pornography, fraud, gambling, trafficking, stalking), Legal Activity (eCommerce, Social areas, Education, Research, Entertainment), Operations (Transmissions, names and numbers, DNS), Regulation (WIPO, content, taxation) Standards, and Applications (browsing, virtual reality, video, audio). It was interesting to see this viewpoint and contrast it with our division of the issues.

You will see that he gave ICANN a very small section of the operations area, which is similar to how I perceive the Diplo viewpoint: small, but very important. (Like a diamond?)🙂.

Well, back to work. I hate to miss even a minute of these activities: there is so much going on.

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