For their part, registries like Afilias were obliged by their Agreement with ICANN (Appendix U) to submit very detailed records of each aspect of their roll-out period. These conditions can be found here.
According to this agreement, Afilias's submissions of information were only to be kept private for a limited period of time (in most cases 3 months, in some cases not at all). These time limitations have now long expired.
However, requests to view these documents, or even confirmation that they were ever submitted, have met with stony silence so far from ICANN.
As there is a widely-held public perception that serious mistakes were made in roll-out of the New TLDs and the process was at times shambolic and detrimental to the public interest, I think it is wholly correct that Afilias's explanation of what happened should be accessible to the public (as clearly implied by this Appendix U).
It is therefore extremely disappointing that, to date, ICANN has declined to release this data, which is central to any serious Evaluation of the NewTLD process. It is pretty obvious that these Proof of Concept Evaluations are of value and relevance for the whole of the ICANN community if its participation is to be informed, serious and open.
Dan Halloran, Vint Cerf, and Stuart Lynn have been formally and politely asked for a professional response about (1) whether these "Missing Documents" have even been submitted; (2) why they are not available for the public to see; (3) how all parties can participate in the New TLDs Evaluation Process without them; and (4) why no acknowledgement of my previous polite requests had been made.
These key DOCUMENTS are, as of now, MISSING and UNACCOUNTED FOR. I feel sure that ICANN can and should account for them by answering my enquiries. We are talking about documents which were expressly not intended to remain private (stated clearly in Appendix U) and there can be little integrity in the Proof of Concept process if they either (a) haven't been submitted, or (b) are being withheld.
Stuart Lynn recently gave assurances to Nancy Victory that ICANN was pointed in the direction of greater openness and responsiveness, and I find the silence and evasion on this matter of central documents disappointing.
If we are to participate as a community in the future development of the DNS, then the much-publicised "Proof of Concept" processes need to be wholly open and fully disclosed. Many people want to know whether or if or when the next TLDs will be released. The TLD Evaluation Process to which Afilias was obliged to contribute with documents, as of now effectively missing, will be essential to the future roll-out of further TLDs. ICANN cannot withhold these documents.
There is a further, final twist of irony to these Afilias documents. When last autumn the full extent of the Afilias .info fiasco became apparent - what resigning Director Robert Connelly called an "abomination" because of the way Landrush 1 customers were abandoned - Professor Robert Connor produced the widely-accepted "Domebase Solution" which would have protected the interests of all parties except the Sunrise fraudsters. But Afilias refused to implement it, and one of their defences was that they had to stick to the pre-planned mechanisms to protect the "Proof of Concept" process.
The same excuse was offered when they declined requests to delete Sunrise names even when the actual registrants themselves were asking them to. There was a "Proof of Concept" process going on, and it had to be protected.
It would be ironic indeed, if Afilias and ICANN failed to uphold the Proof of Concept process themselves, after the loss and inconvenience suffered by so many people.
The Evaluation Documents were not intended to be kept secret. Where are they? Please can they be published in detail (and ideally viewed by a trusted party like Karl Auerbach)? Please could ICANN respond to this request? Otherwise the Internet community and the ICANN constituencies cannot fully participate in the New TLDs Evaluation Process, and we are left with "top-down" decision-making instead of "bottom-up" openness and deliberation.
(I have been participating for over a year on ICANN's own NewTLDs Evaluation Forum (and its predecessor) and am recognised as having a knowledge of the process and its impact, from the user/registrant point of view. I am also an elected @large representative and a regular participant in the GA. I feel my correspondence deserves the courtesy of a reply from ICANN. I sent previous mail to Dan Halloran concerning the New TLDs back in April and May, and to date I have received not even an acknowledgement. We need openness and integrity.)