ICANN silent on new gTLD evaluations
Date: Tuesday August 27 2002, @07:00PM
Topic: New gTLDs

Richard_Henderson writes "Requests for information about key documents in the evaluation process of the NewTLDs (like .info and .biz) have been met with silence and evasion from ICANN. The allocation of New TLDs to Registries like Afilias and Neulevel were subject to Registry Agreements with detailed conditions, and included a mandatory "self-evaluation" of their performance as part of what ICANN called the "Proof of Concept". In short, the prospect of further TLDs would be determined according to the "Proof of Concept" processes which were to be shared and undertaken by all ICANN's constituencies. Indeed the New TLD Evaluation Process was set up (including a specific forum) to give the appearance that everybody could be involved in assessing the success or otherwise of these new registries."

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.

Richard Henderson

(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.)

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Even ICANN's own Evaluation Task Force hasn't seen
by Richard_Henderson on Sunday September 01 2002, @05:08AM (#8870)
User #3269 Info | http://www.atlarge.org/


Why hasn't the NTEPPTF had access to the "Proof of Concept Evaluation reports" which had to be submitted by Afilias, in accordance with Appendix U of the .info Agreement with ICANN?


This task force was specifically set up by the Board to Evaluate the New TLDs. How can it have done so without access to the vital data?


Has this data been fully submitted by Afilias?


Where is it?


Why hasn't it been provided, even to the Task Force set up to evaluate it? I have had it confirmed to me by members of this Task Force that these documents have not been provided to them.


Will Stuart Lynn now please confirm that all the documents have been properly submitted, and will the NTEPPTF please now reconvene and submit a revised report based on this data?


And will the ICANN Board please make this data available for others too, as specifically allowed under the terms of Appendix U?


What is the point of a "proof of concept" or an evaluation process if you withhold the vital data from the Registries involved?


It makes it seem like the Board wants to "go through the motions" without having to address all the details.


Richard Henderson


[ Reply to This | Parent ]
Re: ICANN silent on new gTLD evaluations
by fnord (groy2kNO@SPAMyahoo.com) on Sunday September 01 2002, @04:23PM (#8899)
User #2810 Info
Vint Cerf has now responded to Richard Henderson, stating in full (other than quotes and salutations):
my understanding is that at least some, if not all, reports have been received but some contain proprietary information. Before these reports can be released in public form, they have to be redacted to preserve the confidentiality of proprietary data. Staff has simply been busy with other work so this is still on the task queue.
This seems like a great non-answer, which to me is an increasingly common problem with recent 'answers' from Vint Cerf, and which his busy staff seem happy to let him write.

First, what are 'some'? Are they all that are required? If so, fine, but why not say so? If not, why not? Other than annual reports, all material was supposed to be reported within a range of 90 to 180 days, those periods are now well past for at least .biz and .info.

Second, under 11. Confidentiality, the range of time that such information would be kept confidential was for a period of none at all ranging to 18 months. Surely some of these time restrictions are now well past. Simply saying that the staff is busy with other things is not acceptable. What other things? Who prioritized those other things as being more important tasks? Where are the minutes showing that the Board has made such a decision, or even that the staff has told (not asked, because that's not the way ICANN works) them that such a decision has been made? In short, where is this task queue? Vint? Staff?

Third, 11. Confidentiality contains a table laying out which parts of which reports will be made available when. It isn't up to staff, nor should they have to, go through and redact anything. If a report from registry A states that section so and so is in answer to such and such a question, how hard is it to maintain a flat database that flags whether or not that is due for release under the rules? If no ICANN staff is competent to construct such in a couple of hours then can them and hire any of thousands who could.

This isn't just a non-answer, it is misleading. I'm not accusing Vint of being deliberately misleading, the staff no doubt tells him this stuff and he just passes it on. Witness the cc's of the letter, do you think any of them will contradict him? And a few months down the road, after they have passed the hurdle of keeping the USG asleep, or after they have morphed into some other entity which can't be held accountable, we'll find out that this is a complete mess. What a scam, it's all smoke and mirrors. -g

[ Reply to This | Parent ]
Re: ICANN silent on new gTLD evaluations
by RFassett on Wednesday August 28 2002, @03:44AM (#8745)
User #3226 Info | http://www.enum.info
"Think: threat of court action."

better yet, how ICANN can keep itself OUT of court action (by sticking to its duties as a technical coordinator - and not a global DNS regulator by way of "mutally agreed" contract).
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