[IRP] follow up Internet Rights and Principles in the work of ICANN

Max Senges maxsenges
Thu Mar 5 02:02:15 EET 2009

Hello everybody

First of all thanks for participating in what i think we all felt was a
really productive session!

As agreed i'd like to follow up and summon you to team up to tackle the
topics discussed. Let's be pragmatic and identify means of influencing ICANN
policies / practices - and then do it!

+++++++++++ Registrants Right Charter +++++++++++++++++
I setup a wiki-home for us
http://internetrightsandprinciples.org/node/74where we can
collabowrite and coordinate on the Registrants Rights Charter

@Dharma: Can you send your checklist which might be a good starting point.

@Jannik: Can you send a link for the best practice from denmark

@Vittorio: is there any prior work we should be aware of?

@Carlos or Bill: Can you please point us to the relevant point where you
raised to have a Charter in the RAA

I think Jannik's idea to work on a Wikipedia article on registrant rights is
an excellent start!

Please invite anybody you think will be interested in joining this effort to
go to the wiki and contact me to include in this conversation.


Below you find the draft statement we contribute to the At-Large Summit
Declaration. As well as the minutes from our meeting in
i also put on our wiki page (and invite you to amend).


Freedome of Expression - Domain Names, new gTLDs
< : > < : > < : > < : > < : > < : > < : > < : > < : > < : >
@Carlton: Can you please coordinate a text and (if possible) tell us what we
as ALSs can do

Also a solution to resolve name legitimacy disputes was raised in the GNSO
wiki some time ago


As raised during the session I am really dedicated to coordinating the
Internet Rights and Principles Coalition and need YOU to committ to leading
the collaborations planned - please step forward team-up and self-organize!!


    < : > < : > < : > < : > < : > < : > < : > < : > < : > < : >

    Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful,
    committed citizens can change the world.
    Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.
    ?----------------------Margaret Mead

    < : > < : > < : > < : > < : > < : > < : > < : > < : > < : >

    Dr. Max Senges
    Chair Internet Rights and Principles Coalition


    < : > < : > < : > < : > < : > < : > < : > < : > < : > < : >

+++++++++Draft for At-Large Conference Declaration+++++++++++++++++

The thematic session on "Internet rights and principles" was focused on a
number of rights-related issues that fall under the purview of ICANN.

First of all, it was noted that ICANN still lacks a coherent and systemic
approach to evaluate the impact that its policy decisions have on rights in
general, be them human rights, consumer rights or other founding principles,
as internationally recognized and/or defined in the major national
legislations. It was suggested that ICANN should include in its policy
development processes, prior to final Board consideration, a formalized
assessment of such an impact, made by a staff function knowledgeable in the
matter and in ICANN's technical and business environment.

About Whois and privacy: ICANN's inability to progress and to make policies
compatible with the various national laws was noted: ICANN should cease
aiming at a single global policy and accommodate national differences
instead, depending on the country of the registrar and registrant.

About freedom of expression and new gTLDs: there was general unhappiness
with the ongoing policy provision to allow ICANN to reject applications
based on morality-based objections. Most people found inappropriate for the
ICANN Board to take this kind of decisions, and suggested deferring them to
appropriate global bodies, though one stressed the importance of full
self-governance instead. Nevertheless it was also acknowledged that this is
a very complex topic and a true challenge to find a globally applicable
solution that is satisfacory to all cultures. Therefore appropriate time and
occasion for disscussion that includes human rights experts should be
organized by ICANN.

About the right to participate in cultural life of community and its
relevance to new gTLDs: there was unanimous consent that the $185'000
application fee is too high and will exclude applicants from developing
countries or organizations of a non-profit nature, though it was reported
that other ICANN constituencies do not share the same view. A comparison to
spectrum allocation where frequencies are given for free or very low fees to
communities and non-profits has been brought up. Several reasonable
proposals for differentiated or progressive fees have been posted in past
months to ICANN's public comment fora, but they were openly ignored: it is
clear that such exclusion is actually desired by ICANN.

Finally, there was general support for the idea of a standardized statement
of registrant rights (Registrans Rights Charter) to be compulsorily shown by
registrars (and resellers as well) when a registrant buys a domain name.
Participants agreed to work on a proposal for its substance as well as means
to include the charter into ICANNs policy body as a follow-up to the
meeting. Anybody interested in joining this effort please go to

+++++++++++++++++Minutes of the Meeting++++++++++++++++++++++

Max: General introduction of the session. Presents agenda (see first slide).
Introduces main participants. Summarizes his paper's distinction of
three-layered commons, with ICANN being key in the lower level
"infrastructure commons". Shows the value chain of gTLD domain name

Dharma Dailey: How can we be practical? Formulate rights in terms of
checklists, need to streamline policy-making process so that rights issues
are clearly flagged in advance. In US there is the "negative declaration" -
entities have to declare that what they do does not harm or flag the

Wolfgang: Need to differentiate two layers - human rights / consumer rights,
where there is established law and we need to understand how does it apply,
plus privacy / freedom of expression, where there is no global standard and
so ICANN has to find new ways. And also need for new situations - need to
bridge engineers with the lawmakers and rights advocates and ICANN is a good

Max: You also have to convince them to talk with each other, even in the
same place they don't meet. Let's start from privacy and Whois.

Holly (ISOC-AU): What is required for the functionality of the system?
People should have the right to withhold the information only when it is

? (Denmark): Anti-terrorist laws attacked privacy after 9/11. In .dk you (if
individual registrant) can hide your data entirely for free, and registrars
hate it because they'd like to sell data. You can denounce and get domain
names immediately if inaccurate information.

VB: Fundamental issue: ICANN was born from a narrow community of business
and technical people, they are not bad but they are not used at considering
rights issues. We need to educate them and also to put things in a less
theoretical and aggressive manner, and in a more constructive and practical
one. ICANN should hire a rights expert or at least task someone so that a
"rights impact assessment" is made as a standard part of any PDP. However,
it is still today very hard to get many ICANN leaders to recognize that
there are rights issues in this.

Max: There were even problems to get this session approved by ICANN staff.

VB: About Whois: the problem is that there are very different and
incompatible cultural approaches to privacy throughout the world. I would
focus the discussion on understanding how can we have different policies
according to the country of the registrant, rather than pretending to have a
"one size fits all" solution; unfortunately, most participants in the
discussion seem to just push their vision and require that ICANN adopts it
for everyone.

Sergio Salinas: It is a problem that no translation was arranged for this
session. Whois is a very important theme for us, and also the issue of
freedom of expression in the use of domain names. How do we prevent children
to get to inappropriate content by mistyping a letter in the domain name. I
hope that next time I can speak in English.

Holly: The AU laws are actually European-style, with support for anonymity.
Why can't we insert into these discussions the need to consider rights?

Max: Move to freedom of expression and new gTLDs.

Holly: It is not in ICANN's remit to evaluate where gTLD names are
offensive, yet it's still there.

Carlton Samuels: I agree, we in ALAC drafted a strong response to that.
Moreover, the current proposal raises a strong barrier of entry to smaller
proposals, which also hinders the ability to express. ... is offensive.
ICANN said that at implementation time they will find a way to accommodate
concerns, but they will ignore. We should have a proposal on this to
response if they move forward.

Carlos Affonso Pereira: It's been one year since we were shown the
parameters for morality objections. At that time the list included not only
blasphemies or violence, but also obscenity or incitement to disobey the law
non-violently. The new version of the application now mentions only a few,
but the procedure to examine morality objections now foresees an
ICC-appointed expert that lets the ICANN Board decide, and why is the Board
the authority to decide?

Annette: The issue is also who has access to new gTLDs, e.g. pricing (both
for applying and for registering) or restrictions to allowed registrants
(generic words used as community-only TLDs).

Wolfgang: You have 40 years of discussion on these matters, we should use
them. If you see the exchange of letters between Vatican and Twomey, the
Vatican raises the issue of .catholic and similar, and what to do with
competing claims and possible disputes. Twomey replied that they can object.
However the objection process is vague, and the board gets to be come a
political decision making body.

VB: If you start from a practical point of view, you realize that there's
stuff that clearly should not be approved (e.g. .blasphemy), but once you
get there, then someone has to decide - and who? It's simplistic to say
"just approve everything", that could lead to major political uproar and
even to break up the Internet; or .catholic: the problem is there, people
have been killing each other for thousand of years, you can't just give it
away to the first who applies. I am sympathetic to the difficulties that
ICANN is having, it's not an easy task.

Thomas Schneider: Who has the right to decide who gets controversial stuff
(.tibet etc)? It's not ICANN's competence. In Europe you could defer to
specialized rights offices, or the Council of Europe, or rights courts. What
could be the appropriate UN institution to decide or appoint experts? Also
which process, or appeals?

Alejandro Pisanty: There is clearly need to understand better how
self-regulation of the DNS is important. Deferring to the UN would be sort
of recognizing a world government or discharging ICANN's responsibilities.
Let's think more deeply at how we can self-regulate. .xxx will get back.
Everyone thinks that freedom of expression is of utmost importance, but...
here we have no muslim. Or would you approve a TLD devoted to demeaning
women, though that is legal? We need to involve experts of 3rd-4th
generation rights.

Max: We recognize we are somewhat biased towards a young Westerner view.
It's good to involve other views. Now move to IDNs.

Dharma: Our NA secretariat is from the Arctic circle using their own script,
they'd never be able to pay ICANN fees.

VB: TLDs could be very important to protect disappearing minority languages
and cultures, but even in developed countries and in Latin scripts fees are
too high. ICANN is not considering at all the goal of promoting cultural

Holly: Many many people yesterday commented that fees are too high and will
disenfranchise applicants or raise final prices to registrants.

Izumi Aizu: People from developing countries should be given a level playing
field. However some ALAC members said "that's not a big amount of money",
and registry/registrar people will say the same. There could be incremental
payment as you proceed.

Holly: You never looked at the budget of an average NGO...

Izumi Aizu: When the At LArge membership fee in 2000 was reduced to zero, we
got too many.

VB: There have been registries giving away tens of thousands of domain names
for free for 12 years and running without problems, you don't need millions
to run a TLD. Also all sorts of clever proposals were already submitted to
ICANN to solve this problem and make the system accessible to all depending
on their project, but ICANN just won't listen.

?: ICANN did not accept to reduce the $185'000 figure but they were unable
to justify it. It is important to insist on this.

Thomas Schneider: Allocation of these fees is important, there is no
transparency on how they will use them.

Jannick: Don't forget about the objection fees. In the end who has the most
money will win.

Max: Move to registrants rights charter.

VB: Idea that came when the RAA was being revised - ICANN could require
registrars to show registrants a statement of their rights when they buy a
domain name. Not everyone buys from registrars (there are resellers) but at
least some do. It should be a standard, short, easily understandable message
available in several languages.

Max: Can we work on this online?

Dharma: How do we follow up? However, we should be ambitious and also get it
to resellers.

Max: We will collect emails and exchange views. Please contribute, I can't
take the lead. We could endorse the request by consumer associations to work
on the RAA.

Carlton: GNSO has offered ALAC to work on this. ALAC would like to bind
resellers exactly as registrars (via registrar-reseller agreements).

Jannick: Make a Wikipedia article on registrant rights.

Thomas: The problems is that many contractual aspects are national, so need
to accommodate that. How do you get this psoted on the front page of the
sales website? Self-regulation only works when there is public pressure or
governmental pressure.

Max: Maybe registrars could use this to make their image better.

?: Maybe we could start from a ccTLD, to act as example.

Alejandro: Let's make sure what sphere these rights belong to: are these
consumer rights? This could remove opposition. Also if they are consumer
rights they are protected in several countries. This self-regulation is a
big pyramid of private law where you need to act.

Max: Thank you. We will circulate the notes.


On Tue, Mar 3, 2009 at 6:08 PM, Annette Muehlberg
<Annette.Muehlberg at web.de>wrote:

> fyi, this is what i wrote some years ago on the alac-icannwiki. at this
> point, not discussing the issue of prices but the problem of restriction.
> greetings
> annette
> --
> The introduction of new TLDs should serve public interest not particular
> interests. To expand the use and usability of the internet it is important,
> that generic TLDs are not restricted to a certain group of domain name
> applicants (eg. arbitrarily chosen by the sponsor of the TLD).
> If the name of a new TLD has a general meaning, such as >.god<, >.food<,
> >.love< etc., the use of such a TLD has to be open for everyone. By
> sponsoring and running a generic TLD one must not any longer gain the right
> to choose its users (as it already happened with .travel and others).
> The continuation of this policy of restricted TLDs would cause unsolvable
> conflicts: What, if the first sponsor for a new TLD .god belongs to some
> fundamentalist branch of a religious group and wants only members of this
> group give the right to use it? >God< belongs to everyone, even to atheists,
> >food< is important to every human being and cannot be restricted to eg.
> food companies, >love< not to marriage brokers...
> Communication is a matter of public interest and generic TLDs, as platforms
> for worldwide communication, must be open to everyone.
> The idea, that a Top Level Domain guides people through the world of
> communication like an index-system in the library does not work. The meaning
> of a Top Level Domain gives some guidance to the users, but the meaning it
> has to the users differs, especially in a global world. The meaning and
> usage of a generic TLD cannot be strictly defined in a top down process by
> those who come first and have the money to start a TLD. This is not what
> internet communication is about.
> People want to have the free choice to use a TLD what they think serves
> their communication-interests. A generic TLD lives from the bottom-up, from
> the creativity of the people and their will to express themselves and do
> business in a free manner.
> Different languages, cultures and legal systems set a limit to a clear
> defined restricted use of generic TLDs. For example: >.pro<: What is it
> supposed to mean? >Pro< as counterpart of >against<? Eventually, this is the
> most logic interpretation of >pro<. So that TLD might be restricted for
> advocacy groups. It is not. Especially non-english speakers have to learn it
> is about professionals, sort of. To be an expert of your profession is not
> enough to be able to register.
> >The registration is restricted to persons and entities that are
> credentialed by appropriate entities (such as through governmental bodies
> and professional organizations) to provide professional services within a
> stated geographic region (a Licensing Jurisdiction)... <
> How do you make totally different systems of education, professional
> certifications and organisations worldwide compatibel? This is impossible.
> Who in all the different countries of the world are the appropriate entities
> going to give these credentials? The >appropriate entities< differ too much
> to make any sense to a reliable internet-users guidance.
> TLDs cannot accomplish what generations of politicians did not achieve   to
> make the political and social systems compatible and in all languages
> understandable.
> Restrictions to the use of generic TLDs do more harm to the creativity and
> freedom of expression by the users than giving them real guidance through
> the labyrinth of the internet.
> No process for creating a list of reserved strings for TLDs could create a
> complete set given the myriad cultural, religious, legal and political
> reasons that a particular string might not be appropriate for designation as
> a TLD. The process itself would take significant time, the results would be
> outdated immediately, and the persons creating the list necessarily could
> not take account of any unique circumstances presented by a specific future
> application
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