On February 19, 2020, ICANN announced that ICANN67 would be held via over-caution remote participation associated with the COVID-19 outbreak. We did not know at the time that twelve months later, ICANN meetings would still be held via remote participation. For a community used to meeting face-to-face at least three times a year since ICANN1 in Singapore in March 1999, this has created a huge challenge for the way we do business.
Planning an ICANN meeting is a huge undertaking at the best of times, and ICANN has adapted well to each new challenge, but it has been extremely difficult to overcome.
One of the biggest challenges being the time zone. It doesn’t matter what time you schedule a session or meeting; there will be at least one or more regions of participants which will be considerably disadvantaged. I will be in Australia for this meeting so I will feel the pain of my fellow APAC community members.
The lack of face-to-face interactions with the community has certainly impacted our ability to move forward on substantive issues, such as DNS abuse. During the last 12 months, many sessions have been devoted to this subject, but these have been generally unsatisfactory because the virtual format is not conducive to interaction and exchanges in real time as communication is essentially to One Way. In addition, there is no possibility of lane follow-up discussions which can often help to understand the respective decisions.
What can we expect at ICANN70?
As ICANN70 officially takes place March 22-25, a number of preparatory briefings have already been held, as well as a number of sessions with the ICANN Board.
Usually, the board identifies a topic that they wish to discuss with the community groups, but for this meeting, they have asked the community groups to identify the topics for discussion. The House of Contracting Parties (CPH) met with the Council on March 16 and topics for discussion included the final report of the Security, Stability and Resilience Review Team.
In the weeks leading up to ICANN70, the ICANN Board hosted a workshop that included an exercise on Strategic Perspectives Trends, a discussion of the SSR2 Final Report, the Standardized Access / Disclosure System (SSAD) to non-public gTLD registration data as well as recent data developments regarding the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) of the European Union.
The number of sessions scheduled for ICANN70 is considerably less than the number of in-person meetings. Plenary sessions are generally well attended; however, only one is planned for ICANN70:
Registry Voluntary Commitments: Getting It Right – This plenary session will discuss the pros and cons of Registry voluntary pledges as well as possible improvements and alternatives.
The CPH will hold an open house to provide the community with an update on DNS abuse initiatives undertaken by the RySG and RrSG together and separately; and is also intended to give people the opportunity to ask questions.
One of the advantages of the virtual meeting format is that with fewer sessions there are fewer session conflicts, and more people seem to migrate to GAC and ALAC sessions. The GAC will have a number of discussions on DNS abuse mitigation as well as subsequent proceedings.
The ALAC has identified 3 political sessions:
- The Future of ICANN’s Mandate and DNS Development: Next Generation Voices!
- Reinvent the role of ICANN; Respond to national pressures
- Support for candidates: what does success look like?
The meeting will conclude with a public forum and a meeting of the ICANN Board of Directors.
If you want to attend one of the sessions, you will need to register for the meeting, and in an attempt to avoid Zoom Bombers, the links to the sessions will only be available 24 hours before they start. More information is available at: https://70.schedule.icann.org/.
If you just want to get an overview of the program, I recommend going here first:
After the meeting, the GoDaddy Registry team will review the ICANN70 Virtual Community Forum and discuss some of the main topics covered.
To find out how you can benefit from partnering with GoDaddy Registry and help your organization manage, market and grow your top level domain, send an email [email protected] or visit www.registry.godaddy.