Internet Architecture Board


January 2006

ICANN Liaison Report

Thomas Narten
January 2006

Highlights from December 2005 Vancouver meeting:

On proposed .com settlement:

The proposed litigation settlement with Verisign & proposed .com agreement was the focus of majority of all discussions. The community was rather unhappy with a number of aspects. Community summarized its concerns and ICANN has posted a summary of those concerns. ICANN indicated it would take that feedback, go back to Verisign and see what (if any) changes could be made.

See for details.

Note: IAB had one issue with the proposed settlement. There was some wording in the documents concerning that neglected to mention the IAB’s consultation role. This was apparently an oversight, and ICANN has stated it will get fixed.

On IDNs:

A 6 hour workshop on Implementation of Internationalized Top Level Domains IDNs ( was also held. The workshop included presentations from testbeds that were being run by the Chinese Domain Name Consortium, the Arabic Doman Names Pilot Project, as well as others.

From both the public and hallways discussions, there seems to be a sense of urgency that more visible progress be made on IDNs. There is also a lot of finger pointing going on, with much concern that the IETF “isn’t doing anything” and the vacuum has created ample opportunity for mischief. (ICANN has also not been particularly speedy.) Fortunately, some movement seems to (maybe) be happening. ICANN announced the formation of a President’s Advisory Committee for IDNs ( to provide additional focus on the problem. The topic of IDNs also came up in many meetings and there was a growing awareness that a number of the constituencies needed to get involved. Still, the problem is quite complex (see the just-released IETF document on IDNs (draft-iab-idn-nextsteps-01.txt). A number of parties need to cooperate with each other in order for an overall IDN “solution” to actually be useful to end users. In particular, any solution needs to be partnership among those responsible for policy considerations of new TLDs, those understanding the technical issues (and how DNS actually works today), browser implementors, and the operations folk that run the DNS.


The general feeling was that ICANN came out of the WSIS effort in pretty good shape. While there are some significant issues that ICANN needs to address (to make it more effective, efficient and responsive), the basic ICANN model was validated and no major change to the status quo was in the final output. Indeed, there was a general feeling that before WSIS, almost no one knew who ICANN was or what it did. But as a result of the overall WSIS effort, the world at large (including governments) had a much better understanding of ICANN and what it does, and indeed, now accepts and has validated ICANN’s role in the world. That, by itself, is no small feat. Having said that, the whole topic of “Internet Governance” is not over, and the WSIS work is probably best viewed as just one chapter in what will surely be a very long process.

PDP started on introduction of new TLDs:

The GNSO has kicked of a Policy Develoment Process (PDP) to come up with a revised process for the introduction of new TLDs. There is a widespread feeling that the efforts to date at creating new TLDs have been problematical, and no one seems to be happy. While the ICANN PDP process calls for a very short time frame for getting things done (completely unrealistic, IMO, if the goal is a reasonable document), it seems to be understood that the timeline is a problem and that the process will take longer. But how much longer is unclear. Also, there is some fairly serious concern (among some) that some quality/deep thinking needs to be done on the introduction of new TLDs, yet the existing process is far from guaranteed to achieve that.

For more details, see: