14 SEPTEMBER 2010
ICANN OPEN FORUM PROPOSAL
SESSION OF 7
Note: The following is the output of the real-time captioning taken during Fifth Meeting of the IGF, in Vilnius. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid to understanding the proceedings at the session, but should not be treated as an authoritative record.
>> ROD BECKSTROM: So thank you very much for joining us for this opening session of the IGF agenda. This first session at IGF Vilnius is on ICANN. We have an ambitious goal this morning to capture the achievements of a multifaceted, multinational, multistakeholder organisation that is in a constant state of transition.
ICANN's purpose is to ensure a stable, secure and unified global Internet. It's a big task and we are here to tell you about our progress since we met in Sharm El Sheikh last year.
First a word on how this forum will be run. I'll provide a brief overview then ask the panel to address these issues in more depth. ICANN's Chair Peter Dengate Thrush will speak on the Affirmation of Commitments. Chuck Gomes will then address the new generic Top Level Domains. Jayantha Fernando will cover internationalized domain names, and Ram Mohan will discuss DNSSEC, the historic security upgrade to the Internet launched last July.
Like the Internet, ICANN is growing and maturing. I have just completed my first year as CEO and President, and one of the first achievements of my tenure was the Affirmation of Commitments - the landmark agreement with the US government that wrote the script for ICANN's independence and moved its oversight from the hands of one nation to the entire world.
The affirmation acknowledges the success of the ICANN model, commits ICANN to remaining a private, not-for-profit organisation, responsible to all stakeholders around the world, validates the role of the Government Advisory Committee, and declares that ICANN is independent and not controlled by anyone entity.
It is a fundamental recognition by both parties that all voices have the right to be heard in the governance of the Internet. New gTLDs. Promoting competition, consumer trust and consumer choice are the principles underlying the upcoming introduction of new generic top level domains. This new gTLD process is an excellent example of the multistakeholder model at work. It is an extraordinarily complex issue and has been the subject of a careful and detailed, transparent and deliberative policy development process involving a wide variety of stakeholders and their input. Governments, business and IP constituencies, civil society, individual users, academia, and the technical community.
We are now finalizing the applicant guidebook and moving towards the launch. We have taken fire for not moving faster, but it's essential that we get this right. And that means consulting extensively with all stakeholders.
Earlier this year, the Russian Top Level Domain name in Cyrillic was entered into the root of the Internet, meaning that for the first time, people whose primary language is written in non-Latin script could get online in their own language. With Arabic, Chinese, Sinhalese, Tamil and Thai scripts also now in the root, billions more have joined them. The fast track process was launched in November 2009 and by early 2010 the first of the new IDN top-level domains had entered the root. It's a clear indication that an abbreviated process can work, which is a credit to the multistakeholder model that is well-known for consultation and deliberation, but not necessarily for speed.
DNSSEC is the Domain Name System security extensions. It is a significant upgrade to Internet security that will help reduce two specific forms of cybercrime.
In the same bottom-up, cooperative fashion that characterizes the new gTLD process, the Internet community has developed and is now deploying DNSSEC. It's the result of almost two decades of the cooperative work by the Internet Engineering Task Force. The result is a secure and efficient protocol with support and buy-in from the community, and the deployment is a significant success for IETF, ICANN and for the world.
Thanks for your attention. Now I'll ask our Chairman to speak more in-depth about the Affirmation of Commitments.
>> PETER DENGATE THRUSH: The affirmation, I'll not take you through the text. But I'll put it into a historical context by reminding you that in 2006, ICANN signed a three-year joint project agreement with the United States government, which was a continuation of a memorandum of understanding process we had had with the US government since 1998. And the text of that was used in building the institution of ICANN. It set out a number of goals, of what the ICANN and everybody wanted, when the community came together to build ICANN in response to the US government's call for a global body that would coordinate these resources. There were a number of ambitious goals. And so the memorandum of understanding, which came in 2006, the joint project agreement, was a way of recording and measuring ICANN's performance against those institutional goals.
At the very beginning, of course, there wasn't an ICANN at all. There was half a board and a set of ambitious goals, including, for example, building what became the GNSA, a place in which the policy would be built for the generic domain names. Another a place where the policy could be coordinated for the global addressing system. Another one for the policy relating to ccTLDs. And so all of these things had to be built. And so the original MOU called for ICANN to establish these institutions and to form agreements with the root server operators, because ICANN's role to a large extent is coordinating these institutions, entities, people who were all there before ICANN was, and creating a single coordinating body that brings them together for the good of the Internet as a whole.
By the time we got to 2006, a lot of institutions were in place but a lot remained to be done. In 2006 it was changed from a shopping list of things people wanted, to a more sophisticated approach where the board was responsible for the goals and was including that in regular annual plans and so forth. Under the schedule for that, that was comprehensively reviewed in early 2008, and out of that came a -- a sense that for ICANN to fully mature and to have the complete trust of the Internet community to manage all the resources that needed to improve, what we call institutional confidence, and that came from a Commission by the US government itself into the process. We started in 2008 on an enhancing institutional confidence in ICANN process. And we felt by the time we got to the end of the scheduled three years of the joint project agreement at the end of 2009, that we had achieved that.
And the community substancely agreed.
And as a result, we ended that kind of relationship with the United States government. We ended the joint project agreement where the US government would periodically check on our progress on checking whether ICANN was the right model for managing these resources, checking whether ICANN had done the things.
And I cannot understate this: We shifted dramatically to a completely different form of oversight, as Rod said in the introduction. Instead of the structure and performance being reviewed by the US government, now it's reviewed by you. The users, the communities, have a role in measuring whether ICANN is achieving its goals. So now we have a system of independent reviews conducted by the Internet community itself. And they formed into four different categories.
I'll talk about one that is -- has been the most actively pursued so far, because it has one of the more progressive timelines. The review currently underway is the accountability and transparency review. That is where a team that has been picked from volunteers has come together and is measuring ICANN's performance of its promises and the affirmation of commitments that we signed the day after the joint project agreement ended. We signed that with the US government, but those are commitments that we make to the entire community. This is how we will do our work, openly and transparently and with full accountability. So that is what is being reviewed by the accountability review team. You see there is a team up on board. It's Chaired by Brian from Afilias, from the GAC and all parts of the community. And I think I saw one of the members of the review teams, Christopher Dispain, in the room.
What they have done is split up the commitments in relation to accountability and transparency into four different categories. And the first one deals with the accountability and transparency of the board. And the board is a special institution of ICANN. There are no members. The only decision-making body with any authority under the bylaws in ICANN is the board. So, a review of the board's accountability and transparency is entirely appropriate. So there is a group that is dealing with that.
There is another group dealing with the role of the GAC, the Governmental Advisory Committee. One of the principles of ICANN is this relationship that we have with the governments of the world. Governments of the world have a very important role in helping ICANN develop public policy aspects of our policies. And so the governmental advisory committee has been reviewed, its role and function and relationship with the board.
There is another very important committee. One of the ways that ICANN does its work is through public participation. As part of our transparency and part of our policy development process, policies are published for your comment. There is a team reviewing how well that is working. Now, one of the methods of public participation, how well are they listened to, what happens to public comment, and how is it taken account of in building the policies? And if the last group is looking at whether or not the decisions of the board can be challenged, and if so, how and how that might be improved. So that is in a quick sense the four different groups that are working through the review process.
From the -- I'm personally slightly conflicted because I Chair the organisation that is being reviewed. So I've seen my role as a facilitating role. I'm not serving on any working groups and I won't write any of the reports that are coming out. But I'm helping the access. One of the ways that worked, is, for example, with staff. We have had very good response from staff. The team I think feels that Rod and the staff are supporting the accountability and review team's work. Rod has made a former vice president, Denise Michelle, available as the chief liaison between the team and staff. And Denise is responding to requests from the review team member, where is the policy on this, what are the documents for that, how do we find this. And there is a great deal of help coming through from that area.
The other development that I have to mention is that the budget was approved. A slight tension developed around that, just to expose the genuineness of this. The review team created a budget that it wanted to do its work. The board felt that the board's role was to make sure that that budget was properly spent. And naturally both sides wanted to make sure that there was no compromise to the independence of the review team. There was as you expect a healthy debate between the board and the review team on that. And I'm happy to say that was resolved entirely satisfactorily. And the review team is now satisfied with its budget.
One of the major expenditure items in that budget is the engagement of Harvard University, one of the world's most prestigious entities, has a Berkman Center for Internet and Society. They have been Commissioned to provide independent authoritative expertise in relation to these reviews.
So, the review teams have met face to face, once in Marina Del Ray, more recently in August in Beijing, to review an interim report from Berkman. The working groups started drafting their recommendations. A huge amount of work was done by the independent and volunteer groups, and we will meet in Boston in October, where the working groups receive the draft recommendations and receive the input from Berkman. And this is going to culminate in recommendations to the board on transparency and accountability for discussion by the public in Qatar and adoption in terms of the final report by the deadline of December 31. It's a time table on one of the most important issues, accountability to you and the community and transparency operations.
There are three other reviews, two others started. One in relation to WHOIS and another in relation to security. And a fourth review that is designed to cut in a year after the other things come . But there has been a good deal of work done by the accountability and transparency review teams.
>> ROD BECKSTROM: We will hear from Chuck Gomes, chair of the GNSO. It's the Generic Name Supporting Organisation that develops all the policies for the -- what are called the Generic Top Level Domains, effectively, and he does an extremely able job of reading that group. We are fortunate to have his leadership there and he will talk about new generic Top Level Domains.
>> CHUCK GOMES: Thanks for joining us here this morning. One of the first things I'll say is that the work on new gTLDs in the GNSO goes back to 2005 for this particular round of new gTLDs. Just to put you at ease, I'm not going to try to give too much detail, because obviously I could go on for a long time in that regard. But hopefully give you enough highlights and information in terms of especially where we are at today, that maybe you can ask some questions, and we can better meet your needs in that regard.
February 6 of 2006, the GNSO council initiated a policy development process, commonly referred to as a PDP, regarding the introduction of new gTLDs, and that was after I already indicated some introductory work that happened starting in 2005.
On the 8th of August in 2007, the GNSO council approved final recommendations for the introduction of new gTLDs, and that was approved by a supermajority vote of council.
And on the 26th of June, 2008, the ICANN board adopted the final report with those recommendations and asked staff, directed staff, to continue an implementation process that they had actually started even before then to try and get a head start in terms of the implementation plan. That particular implementation work is still going on today, hopefully coming to a close shortly.
In October of 2008, the first draft applicant guidebook was published for public comment. Lots of comments were submitted by I think all sectors of the community. On February of 2009, draft applicant guidebook version 2 was published. Additional comments were received from the entire community, and again not restricted to just the GNSO.
May 2009 version 3 of that guidebook was published for public comment.
And then May of this year, the fourth version of that applicant guidebook was published for public comment. And that comment period ended a month or two ago.
In each case, the guidebook was revised in response to the public comments submitted.
Now, the most important thing for me to share with you today is where are we at right now? On the 18th of August, a revised initial report by the vertical integration PDP working group was finalized, and that has been forwarded to the ICANN implementation team and in particular to the board. That particular issue deals with the -- the question of whether registries and registrars should have cross ownership and issues related to that. So, should registries and registrars be vertically integrated in offering new gTLDs or not? That has been a very complex issue, and one that a lot of work has gone on. And so that report has already been forwarded to the board without any formal recommendations, because of the complexity of the issue and the short timeframe. But that is one of the issues that is outstanding right now.
Just a short time ago, at the request of the Governmental Advisory Committee, the GAC, and I see several GAC members here in the audience today, a letter from Heather Dryden, Chair of the GAC, was sent to Peter and to the board with regard to some concerns they had with regard to recommendation 6 of the new gTLD recommendations from the GNSO, and that had to do with terms used in the GNSO report regarding morality and public order. In response to the GAC request to form a community wide working group, Heather Dryden, Chair of the GAC, Cheryl Langdenorr, and myself, formed a community working group. It wasn't restricted to those three organisations. It was open to any organisation, including the CCNSO and other SOs or advisory committees.
That group is still working. In fact, some of you on that group are in the room today. And we went until past 1 o'clock last night in the morning, trying to finalize a report for the board. And that report should be delivered to the the board with a little follow-up work still needed by first thing tomorrow morning.
And again, that is a great example of the cross community work with regard to GNSO policies. GNSO policies don't just impact the GNSO. They impact probably everybody in this room in some way or another. And so that is a great example of collaborative efforts between the Governmental Advisory Committee, ALAC, GNSO and other interested parties in the community.
Work is also continuing in response to a board recommendation to investigate the possibility of providing support to new gTLD applicants from organisations and areas of the world where financial resources and other resources including technical resources may be limited. That group is ongoing. All the indications are that they are making very good progress and will be coming forward with some recommendations in that regard.
Work is also continuing by a joint IDN working group involving the GNSO, the CCNSO, and the at-large community, regarding a few remaining issues regarding IDN gTLDs and IDN ccTLDs, so that group is ongoing. They also appear to be making good progress and some of you in this audience today and on stage are probably involved in that effort.
One other issue that is current right now, a final analysis and summary of all of the many comments submitted on guidebook 4. I expect we will see that shortly.
Finally, the next big step is a board retreat. And I won't talk too much about that, because that is also not in my area of direct concern, but the board in Brussels committed to focus on the new gTLD process at their retreat, the 24th and 25th of this month. And that will be a key contributor to the overall process in helping us come to some closure in the not too distant future.
This process, as you can tell, has been long. But, I would like to remind everyone, and I probably don't need to, that a bottom up process takes a long time if you adequately listen to and try to accommodate the concerns of the diverse parties that are impacted by a policy. So, whereas some become very impatient. At the same time, it demonstrates our willingness, as Rod said, to get it right and to listen to everybody in the community.
>> ROD BECKSTROM: Thank you very much, Chuck. Now I'd like to introduce Jayantha Fernando, the GAC representative of Sri Lanka. He will speak about IDNs. He has recently actually deployed IDN in Sri Lanka.
>> JAYANTHA FERNANDO: Thank you for the opportunity to discuss what is happening on the IDN front and what it means to us.
Well, the IDN discussion has been in place for many years. But what was important is the multi-stakeholder driven process that opened up an opportunity for many countries to apply through the fast track process to get their scripts on the road.
The stakeholder engagement within ICANN was across constituencies, and we had the GAC, the Government Advisory Committee, the CCNSO, and many other stakeholders involved and engaged right from the beginning. And I can sees Chris Disspain is here and we have Ram, who is speaking after me, who Chaired the board working group on IDNs. So it was across constituencies, and they all got engaged in creating the opportunity for countries to get their scripts on the road.
Well, the fast track process itself was approved by the board on the 30th of October, 2009. And the fast track process opened up for applications and launched on the 16th of November 2009. And I'd like to highlight some of the achievements since then. We currently have the number of requests reaching 33, representing 22 languages, is that right?
And out of that, I would like to highlight some of the countries that benefited from this process. So we have Egypt, Russian Federation, USE, Saudi Arabia, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Palestine authority, Qutar, and on the 23th of March we saw other countries passing through the evaluation -- the string evaluation process. And then on the 5th of August, 2010, just over a month ago, we had Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tunisia and Jordan joining this very important milestone.
Currently, we have several other countries whose applications are pending. And some have already passed the string evaluation stagement so we have a recent announcement about Singapore and Syria moving past that stage. And we know that India has applied for 7 IDN scripts.
In terms of the process, let me just highlight what the process is about. And some of the key points and the milestones that we may have to be aware of and place under the fast track process. First, we have the preparation phase. This involves building community consensus within the country before identifying which string is appropriate to represent that community in coordination to the country's ccTLD. So from a Sri Lankan perspective, this brought together multiple linguistic experts. For us, in a post-conflict arena, it was important to create a commonality in this process. And we had both official languages going together at the same time. Singhali and Tamil. And this involves the linguistic communities from both segments working together with the government as stakeholders in identifying the relevant script that was appropriate, and would represent the country ccTLD from an IDN perspective.
And with that consensus, multi-stakeholder process done in country, we were able to identify Dot Lanka and Dot Langi, to be the two national official language representations for this. And before the delegation on the 5th of August, in 2010, we had a celebration of the launch and we are happy to have partnered with ICANN. And we had Ram making an excellent speech that helped the awareness in the community.
Before you move on, you develop consensus with linguistic experts and then prepare the supporting documents to apply. And then the next stage is the most important. The string evaluation stage. It determines what string can be used to represent the country. And then there is a test of the string requirement and then there is a process through which one can submit a request via the online request system. And then the string evaluation stage is done and there is a formal announcement of that. And the formal dedication opens up and that process is handled by IANA.
All of this information is available on the ICANN Web site, under the IDN bullet, if you look. You can see for yourself the process.
From a Sri Lankan perspective, what makes this important? Well, when people ask this question, we reply that until now most of the content available to our communities in Sri Lanka was in English. English is also an important language for Sri Lanka, because it is a link language by the constitution. But we didn't have a way in which to put local content effectively. And here is an opportunity to put all of that content in the local languages and make them available. And this, in effect, helps to bridge the digital divide.
And in terms of the application process, another final point I want to emphasize is a point which might help you decide which operator should -- who should apply for the IDN string from your country. And there was some element of discussion in this in Sri Lanka, and we agreed that the experienced ccTLD operator currently handling the SK ccTLD would be the most qualified and competent to run the operations. But it's up to the home country to decide. Your government can decide who the operator should be. You can move through the process. And once you get IDN ccTLD delegate, you can decide who you are allowing it to operate.
But at one point in that connection, from a Sri Lankan perspective, we thought the current operator would be the most viable. Because if you have two players in the Scene, they would be different dispute processes and that might create disharmony. So we decided that what we should have is the current ccTLD operator applying for the process, and we supported that.
Rod, thank you for the opportunity of sharing our experience. Thank you.
>> ROD BECKSTROM: Thank you very much, Jayantha, for the overview of the programme. Now I want to introduce Ram Mohan. Member of the ICANN board. He is the security advisory committee to the ICANN board. We are fortunate to have him involved. And he will be speaking to us about the DNSSEC, where he contributed on the technical side, policy side and also on implementation. Ram? Thank you for being here.
>> RAM MOHAN: I'm here to speak about DNSSEC. This is considered by many to be the biggest structural improvement to the Internet in the past 20 years. If you spend any time on the Internet, browsing Web Pages, sending e-mail, or using social networks, you are using the Domain Name System, also called DNS, without even knowing it. You expect it to just work and for the most part it does.
Now, the DNS translates domain names that are meaningful to humans into the numerical identifiers associated with networking equipment, so that the equipment can address these devices worldwide. So, in other words, the DNS acts as the Internet's phone directory or the Internet's phone book, if you will, and it associates human readable strings with various machine readable values. And it uses a system of DNS servers to talk to each other.
Now, many of the protocols uses on the Internet were developed during a period when the number of infrastructure providers was limited, and trust between each of these providers could be assumed.
Hence, communication with the various DNS servers was done, so to speak, in the clear, with limited authenticity checking. And what that did was it left the DNS system vulnerable to what is called substitution or man in the middle attacks. What this means is that a user who clicks on a Web site today, on a Web site link today, is vulnerable to highjack, to be taken to another Web site altogether, without the ability to control such a highjack.
Worse, the user may click on a link or use e-mail and it is possible that access to their own e-mail is directed via a malicious server, which listens in on their conversations. This is called a man in the middle attack, where you have a malicious server that eavesdrops on you as you travel from one place to another. DNSSEC addresses this vulnerability by adding digital signature technology to the DNS hierarchy. And that makes substitution or redirection or man in the middle attacks nearly impossible. This digital signature technology ensures that information returned from the DNS has not been modified while in transit to its authoritative source. Now, DNSSEC itself, it has been declined and implemented by the Internet community for the Internet community, in the same bottom up cooperative fashion that created the Internet, that the Internet community has developed and is deploying DNSSEC now at an aggressive rate. DNSSEC is the result of almost two decades of cooperative development by the Internet Engineering Task Force or the IETF. The result is a secure and efficient protocol that has support and buy-in from the community that intends to use it.
Security researchers recently discovered improved exploits of the cache poisoning vulnerability, and that resulted in a coordinated community wide response to patch vulnerable systems. This coordinated response and the publicity associated with that eventually led to an acceleration of DNSSEC deployment efforts. DNSSEC is a major milestone for the Internet and a significant success for IETF, for ICANN and for the community of Internet users.
The DNS route was signed on July 15, 2010. ICANN played a significant coordinating role in this effort in association with Verisign and IMTA. This had involvement of the global Internet community and the management of the root key through key ceremonies. There are 20 -- I believe there are 21 representatives of which 18 are from outside of the United States.
The signing of the DNS root now allows Top Level Domain registries, registrars and domain name users to deploy DNSSEC with the surety that the train of trust will be ensured from the top of the Domain Name System heirarchy. Interestingly, DNSSEC deployment has been faster than expected. With just a few trail blazing TLDs a year ago, now there are 20 top level domains that deployed DNSSEC. And there are 14 others in preparation right now. Once fully deployed, and with continued collaboration between the IETF, registries, registrar, network service providers and the community. DNSSEC is poised to become a corner stone for Internet security. And as a common source of authentication, and it is poised to allow the continued use of the Internet and the Domain Name System as a secure platform that allows for innovation, new product development, and access to knowledge worldwide.
>> ROD BECKSTROM: Excellent. Thank you very much, Ram. And for the scribe, it's Ram.
I wanted to point out, in summarizing, referring to the excellent presentations, when you look at the strategic plan one pager that was handed out to each of you, there are four major focus areas for ICANN. For of the boxes on the top you see, the first one is DNS stability and security. So the DNSSEC effort that Ram spoke to is one of the projects under that column, instead of activities from ICANN.
The second box is consumer choice, competition and innovation. And the presentations by Jayantha and Chuck spoke to that. IDNs and new gTLDs are going to add choice and competition into the global name system. IN we didn't discuss today but IN is involved with the efforts of course.
So that overlaps.
On the right is a healthy Internet system and all the activities that go with that. And Peter's presentation on the Affirmation of Commitments and the review of accountability and transparency is part of making sure that ICANN is playing its appropriate role in a transparent fashion within the Internet community and within its limited role in Internet governance. So the strategic plan summarizes all the activities of ICANN.
There is an expanded version online. If you want any of the additional information on what ICANN is engaged with, and on the back is simply a very short summary of some of what ICANN does and does not do, since both are important.
And with that, I think we would like to turn it over to responding to your questions either on these topics or anything else that is of interest to you.
So, I don't know, we have two microphones in the room, in each of the aisles. And we're very happy to take questions. Otherwise, we will begin reading the ten page strategic plan in-depth, line by line!
> PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Could I add something to Chuck's presentation. Basically, how long this current round of work has been going on. There is a reaction from some people in the community when they find out an element of this that has been rushed. And I think Chuck's probably put that to bed. This has been a community development process in this round for five years. But of course it goes back earlier than that. And in November it will be ten years since we allocated the first of the new gTLDs, and the obligation to create the programme is older than that. It's in the DNA of ICANN, if you like, and the original green paper and the white papers in which the US government called for a body like ICANN to be set up. One of the tasks that ICANN was originally given, if you like, was an orderly process for the introduction of new gTLDs. So this is a long-term project that had several iterations. And the current one is a well shaped process that has taken five years. Sometimes we get challenged: Why are you doing this and why didn't I know about it? And the reality is that we do what we can, to get the news out, but this has been running for quite a while.
>> ROD BECKSTROM: If there are not questions, something else I'd refer to in the one pager, to give you the structure of this document, the first thing is this one pager was developed by the community, with open session and discussions we had in Korea, and continuing discussions online submission, and it's structured so that there are four focus areas of ICANN. And we are beginning to track these. There are four components under each area. The strategic objectives. And the community work going on such as the policy development that we have been speaking of today and the strategic projects, the specific projects that the community would like to see ICANN work on and would like to participate in.
And then finally, staff work. Specific staff work in each area. And then across the bottom are the sort of the five overarching values that should guide everything that we do, the multi-stakeholder collaborative Internet transparent and accountability. I'll point out, this document then feeds into the operational plans of ICANN, but not everything on here gets financed and therefore cost not get immediately prioritized into the operating plan, because the budget is limited by the financial model and what the community wants to support. These are the high level strategic elements. Most of this is translated into the detailed operating plans and the budgets of the organisation from a process standpoint, and we're looking at how we can improve that process in the future.
Yes. The first question. Please introduce yourself Sabina and we look forward to your question.
Can we turn that microphone on, please?
>> SABINA: My name is Sabina. The Top Level Domain registry for dot le. There is a lot of things mentioned where I didn't see ICANN working on. And there was mention about more secure Top Level Domain TLD operations. And according to my understanding of ICANN's mission, ICANN is not in the TLD operation business. I know that ICANN is doing oversight for gTLDs, and is working on the gTLDs and working on the contract with ICANN. But it's for ccTLDs. The operational issue is a complete issue which is dealt with on a local level.
There is other issues in there with training for ccTLD, which is currently also done on an operational local level. And my question is: Has ICANN expanded its mission now and where is it documented?
>> ROD BECKSTROM: I'm sorry I missed that last bit, Sabina.
>> SABINA: Has ICANN expanded its mission and where is it documented and was there discussion about that?
>> ROD BECKSTROM: Well, ICANN has not expanded its mission, it remains enshrined in our bylaws. If you feel anything here should not be in the strategic process list, please participate in the coming process this year. Can you point me to which new gTLD bullet you were referring to? I'm not sure that I understand.
>> SABINA: More security Top Level Domain operation. That's the strategic objective.
>> ROD BECKSTROM: Okay.
>> SABINA: Is ICANN doing the root operation?
>> ROD BECKSTROM: Well, the mission of ICANN clearly includes stability of the Domain Name System. That includes the route and top level and second level domains. So ICANN's role here is in advocating the adoption of DNSSEC across the Domain Name System. There are different interpretations that can be done.
>> SABINA: More secure top level domain operation.
>> ROD BECKSTROM: Show me which box?
>> SABINA: First box, third line.
>> ROD BECKSTROM: Which is what -- which is what you were discussoing, and which the community is very much engaged in. The community operates -- the strategic objectives are for ICANN and the community. This sheet includes community work and staff work. So, I think the community is very much involved.
>> RAM: Perhaps I can jump in a bit. I think the clarity is ICANN is not in the business of TLD operation, which I think, Sabina, is what you're asking. You're saying it says here that in the strategic plan more secure Top Level Domain operations. I think ICANN is in the business of helping, you know, coordinate and help bring the kind of environment that allows for the TLD operators to ensure that their TLDs are run in a more secure way. And I think ICANN's role here, as I mentioned earlier, was in the signing of the DNS root, which was again, you know, applauded by the community.
>> PETER DENGATE THRUSH: To build on what Ram said, it's the security of your operation of TLDs that we're interested in. And the obvious example is the DNSSEC. The work we did in relation to CONFLICA, coming to ccTLD regional meetings and having discussions on security, increased enhancement for the newly emerging ccTLDs, it's that stuff.
So there is no suggestion that we will start running secure TLDs. We started calling it the gold standard new TLDs in the programme. TLD operators have to go through enhanced security checks and they will be running TLDs with enhanced security. We don't want dot bank or dot insurance or dot finance or some of those if they come through to be able to be used for consumer fraud. We want to make sure they have a higher standard of security. This is what this is about, enhancing the environment in which TLDs are operated, not running TLDs.
>> SABINA: Is it a regulation function or a coordinating function?
>> PETER DENGATE THRUSH: I think different legal systems have different definitions of those words. I might say one thing, Ram might say another. How does the answer help you understand what we're doing?
>> I mean, what is the difference in the distinction in your mind and how does that help you help you understand? If I said it was regulating, would that help you --
>> SABINA: The question is for the strategic plan for 2010 and 2013. The question is, is ICANN going from a coordinating function to a more regulating function or is ICANN maintaining the coordination function?
>> ROD BECKSTROM: It's coordinating. But it's also the policy development body and oversight body for the Domain Name System. Again, I think the mission statement is pretty clearly worded in the bylaws, in terms of our role in a secure and -- for coordinating a secure and stable Internet Domain Name System. It clearly, the interpretation of that mission is what we worked through I think in the community and all the processes that go on.
>> SABINA: Thank you.
>> CHUCK GOMES: I'm not going to say anything that Sabina doesn't know. But maybe it's helpful for the rest of the audience here today. Certainly, in the new gTLD process, the GNSO has been very concerned about security and stability, especially rate lags to new gTLDs, and the level of security. Rod referred to certain TLDs that might really need an especially high level of security. And the GNSO recommendations definitely recognize the importance of security and stability. But we also recognized that the importance of the contracts that new gTLD operators will be operating in.
Now, the situation with gTLDs is different than with the CCs, as you know firsthand.
But in the contracts, we certainly have been working very hard in the GNSO to make sure that there is a proper balance between the coordination and regulation. Obviously, our contracts as registry operators, happening to be one of those, okay, do have some regulatory function, some things that we're required to comply with and that we agree to when we sign them. So there is that balance of that, and we also watch out -- we have been very careful and we're started working with the ICANN implementation team and the legal team in terms of those agreements for new gTLDs, with regard to making sure there is that proper balance of registries being able to have the freedom to innovate and operate effectively while at the same time ensuring compliance.
So, there is a balancing there, and especially with the registry agreements, the issues that you talk about are very important and we're very concerned about those and have tried to work and accomplish that balance.
>> ROD BECKSTROM: Thank you very much, Sabina.
Sir, if you can come to the microphone, please, sir, then it can be recorded on the video. Thank you.
>> Thank you. I'm from Bangladesh. You mentioned that so many languages have been applied. For Bangela, yes, is it in the process?
>> ROD BECKSTROM: We -- please feel free to contribute, Baear.
>> BAHER ESMAT: Just quickly, I mean, applications before they get to the -- what we call the string, they pass string evaluation, meaning that they are approved as strings. Applications are dealt with being confidential. ICANN cannot disclose any information about those applications. And this is the request of the community of the applicants themselves. So, I presume that the applications or the string you're talking about is still in this phase.
>> ROD BECKSTROM: And I'll add to that that the applicant can choose to share, if they wish, that they have applied for a string. But it's ICANN's policy, as approved by the community, that we do not discuss or comment upon any applications until they have reached string approval. Thank you.
And this was Baher Esmat, the manager for the Middle East for ICANN who shared those comments. Thank you Baher.
>> PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Brian, could you stand up. I gave word of the good work that you're leading on the accountability and transparency team. I'm glad you're here, because if there are hard questions that are going on for that team, I'll ask you to answer them. Brian, the Chair of the ATIT, Brian.
>> CHUCK GOMES: I know the question was about ccTLDs and the fast track, but I think it's help follow for everyone to understand that in the new gTLD process, once the applications have been submitted, there is a point where all of those will be publicly known. And it's different than the CC process, but they will be posted. And it's important that you watch for that, so that if you have concerns or questions, you can comment on that in the new gTLD process. But it will be very open, so that concerns can be addressed.
>> ROD BECKSTROM: Are there any other questions about ICANN?
If not, we will bring the session to a close. And thank you very much for joining us today. Thank you.