NCUC read-out session: updates on post-ICANN 79 activities.

Written by: Benjamin Akinmoyeje and Theorose E. Dzineku. Recording

The Non-commercial Users Constituency met on Wednesday, March 20th, 2024, to share with its members the activities that happened during ICANN 79, which was held in San Juan, Puerto Rico. 

  • Benjamin Akinmoyeje, the NCUC’s chair, emphasized the importance of giving an account of our experiences after every ICANN meeting.
    • Benjamin also acknowledged that the NCUC had a lot of significant engagements at this ICANN meeting, hence the need to share that feedback and update with the community.  
    • Ines Hfaiedh, who is the African representative on the Executive Committee, shared her interactions with various stakeholders, formally and informally, on different issues and topics.
      • The interaction also continued during the membership session, where there were many suggestions for the need for strategic communication and outreach activities by the NCUC working group to keep members updated on the group’s activities and how people can participate. 
      • Again, she pointed out that the group plans on conducting policy outreach through the NCUC website, mailing list, blog posts, and through the GNSO council representative. 
      • Ines also acknowledged the support from PIR and hoped for other ways to continue discussions beyond ICANN meetings that are sustainable.

Farzaneh introduced herself as a member of the Non-commercial stakeholder group (NCSG) EC, representing NCUC, and she participates actively in ICANN policy development processes.  She mentioned how NCSG engages with the ICANN Board and the updates provided for the group. She informed the team about the outcome of the NCSG meeting with the board at the ICANN79 meeting. 

  • The topic of human rights impact assessment was discussed with the ICANN Board, especially as NCSG requested the board to conduct a large-scale human rights impact assessment of board resolutions.
    • This would involve creating a human rights impact assessment scorecard for every ICANN Board resolution, similar to the scorecard used in considering Government Advisory Council requests. 
    • The Board, in its response, welcomed the idea but requested that NCSG suggest or recommend to the Board how to proceed with it. 
  • Another issue discussed was about creating a minimum crisis report and information page that would show the status of the transfer and operations of the ccTLD in a state of uncertainty during a crisis situation in a particular country, for example, civil war.
    •  The ICANN Board responded that there have been no conflicts that have limited the operations of a ccTLD. 
    • NCSG was adamant about requesting that the ICANN structure, like IANA, provide some minimal information on the state of operations of ccTLDs in countries experiencing crises. 
  • DNS Abuse was also discussed with the ICANN Board, which Farzaneh highlighted as a trending issue. Multiple stakeholders believe there is a lot of DNS Abuse happening and it requires urgent attention.
    • The DNS Abuse outcry from the perspective of the NCSG appears to be a way for other users of the WhoIS to regain open access to the WhoIS system with registrants’ sensitive data, such as email and home address. 
    • She highlighted the work the small team on DNS Abuse was doing. 
    • The former chairman of the GNSO council was at the meeting to explain the role of the GNSO small team on DNS Abuse in coming up with contractual amendments, especially to define the term DNS Abuse and make enforcement easier for the ICANN compliance teams. 
    • He mentioned that these amendments are going into effect in April 2024. 
    • NCSG’s request is to have a definition of DNS Abuse that is not ambiguous and the need for measurable parameters and processes in DNS Abuse mitigation implementations. 
    • NCSG also requested that any plan to be deployed must make room for the appeal process and not be automated. 
    • She highlighted that the discussion is still ongoing, especially with the contracted party. 
    • In conclusion, the Noncommercial Stakeholder Group and its constituencies believe that DNS Abuse mitigation measures should not affect individual rights and privacy. 
  • Finally, Farzaneh discussed the registration disclosure system (RDRS).
    • Because when the WhoIS data, when the private personal information of domain names is redacted, the stakeholders wanted to have access to sensitive registrant data. 
    • The need for law enforcement, IP lawyers, and cybersecurity researchers to get data appeared to be necessary. 
    • Farzaneh stated that the RDRS works like a triage system. 
    • The requestor of data can submit a request and ask for domain name registrants’ private, sensitive information, such as their email or mailing address. 
    • She mentioned that the system had come into effect in November of the previous year. 
    • The statistics of the RDRS system published so far showed that the majority of the requests were from intellectual property lawyers, and the rest were by law enforcement, according to Farzaneh.
  • Sebastien Ducos took the stage to clarify certain questions about the RDRS system.
    • He explained how the ODP came about, the role of the board after evaluating the initial cost of developing a system as recommended by the GNSO council PDP process. 
    • According to Sebastien, the estimated cost of running the system would cost ICANN about 100 million dollars to run for 5 years. 
    • The recommendations were returned to the council due to the high cost of the system. 
    • Beyond the cost of the system, there was also the issue around the legitimacy and accreditation of requesters, which were two issues that arose in setting up the system. 
    • As a result, the GNSO council created a new arrangement to address this matter in the form of working as a small team. 
    • He explained the requirement system to be a simple ticketing system that has data about the registrant. 
    • This system will provide users with the ability to enter requests through a form from the registrar’s portal with mandatory fields required. 
    • This system will be made up of voluntary participating registrars, thus the RDRS was not mandatory for all registrars to join. 
    • Sebastien Ducos explains that the RDRS operates outside of established policy, based on a mutual agreement that keeps request information private between the requester and registrar. 
    • The RDRS only counts and categorizes requests without revealing underlying information, including jurisdictions of law enforcement requests. 
    • In addition, Ephraim put out a call to invite members of the constituency to join the cross-community working party on human rights impact assessment (CCWP-HRIA), while Peter touched on what happened during the leadership meeting. 
    • He mentioned that it would be prudent for NCUC to participate more in policy work. 

Other NCUC Executive Committee members, like Amin Hacha also shared their experience at the ICANN 79 meeting and encouraged more active engagement of members.



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