RE: [council] IAB Statement on IDN
Given the packed agenda already for the 20th I suggest we defer this discussion until the meeting in Rio.
I think we should encourage a meeting between GNSO council and ICANN Staff (and/or Board members) in Rio to get some clarification on your question. To me it is an important process question as to what does ICANN do with any advice from IAB or the Security and Advisory Committee. Ideally I would have thought under the new ICANN processes that the Board might as a result raise an "Issue paper" via the ICANN staff as a result of such advice and get some input from the relevant council (which may be RIR and GNSO).
So I recommend placing on the agenda for the meeting in Rio.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Harold J. Feld [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
> Sent: Thursday, February 06, 2003 9:46 AM
> To: Names Council (E-mail)
> Cc: Alejandro Pisanty; Vint Cerf; Louis Touton; M. Stuart Lynn
> Subject: [council] IAB Statement on IDN
> Bruce and fellow Council members:
> I have, as yet, received no response to email of last week asking for
> clarification on how ICANN will proceed on the IAB statement
> Verisign's IDN proposal (copied below). I should therefore like to
> request that the matter be placed on the agenda for the 20th.
> I wish to stress that I have no wish to debate the merits of the IAB
> statement and that, I believe, ICANN has acted entirely properly and
> within its mandate in consulting the IAB on a technical matter that
> pertains to the stability of the Internet. What I would ask us to
> discuss, and invite resolution from the ICANN Board, is what happens
> _next._ The IAB statement was in that middle ground where
> assesments of risk and guiding policy are most conflicted and where a
> clear standard on regulation is desperately needed. It will
> not serve
> users for Verisign to wodely deploy, only to be required to shut down
> its IDN system becuase it induces instability in the DNS. At
> the same
> time, some risk must be tolerable or we devolve to total
> statis, which
> is anathema to the dynamic nature of the Internet.
> Harold Feld
> Stuart, Vint and Louis (I have cc:ed the Names Council list,
> as I expect
> this to be a matter of some interest):
> I am writing to ask what follows from yesterday's IAB Response to
> questions about Verisign's IDN efforts.
> Let me begin by stressing that it was absolutely proper for
> the BoD to
> consult the IAB. This is an issue of technical stability and
> interoperability which lies at the heart of ICANN's purview.
> And, if it
> appeared that Verisign's IDN project would cause the DNS to crash and
> burn then action under either the Cooperative Agreement or Verisign's
> registry contract would certainly have been appropriate.
> That said, it appears that the IAB did not reach that
> conclusion. As a
> lay person, I am not entirely sure what the IAB precisely did
> say. They
> clearly had some issues with Verisign's IDN, and in
> particular appeared
> to favor a uniform approach among gTLDs arrived at via the
> IETF standards.
> We now come to the perilous intersection of technical stability and
> policy. It appears that Verisign's IDN does not create a
> crisis. But
> the IAB has issues. How do we (ICANN) proceed?
> There is, of course, a straightforward legal question which lies in
> Louis' baliwick. What is ICANN legally required to do, and
> what is it
> empowered to do? But there is a broader question of what
> ICANN _should_
> do. Arguably, having determined that no crisis exists, ICANN should
> leave well enough alone. Alternatively, if the IAB assesment
> that there is a potential for real disaster, some prophylactic steps
> might be justified. At the very least, further discussion is
> and some means of monitoring so as to avert a crisis before it occurs
> would seem desirable.
> But if the crux of the IAB objection is that Verisign has
> moved forward
> without the blessing of the IETF, or that there is some potential for
> consumer confusion, or that all IDN should be standardized
> for reasons
> other than interoperability, then, it seems to me, a very different
> approach is warranted.
> As I have said before, I am very leary of ICANN becoming an industry
> regulatory body. I have some experience of both public utility
> regulation and media regulation in the United States. They are not
> pretty, but such intrusive regulation is sometimes necessary.
> But the
> entire purpose of ICANN is to spare the Internet from such a
> need. While
> some have proposed treating gTLD registries as public utilities or
> public assets, this has never been sanctioned as ICANN's mandate.
> Rather, ICANN exists to maintain sufficient stability to
> allow the DNS
> to both function and continue to evolve.
> I would therefore personally urge a course that permits the greatest
> autonomy for gTLDs consistent with basic principles of
> technical stability, and fairness to all registries. Verisign should
> not, of course, enjoy a greater freedom to innovate than
> other TLDs. But
> innovation in registry-level services is, it seems to me, a positive
> good. Indeed, one of the criteria in the .org re-delegation
> was whether
> the new registry proposed innovative services.
> In particular, I hope that nothing is done which would appear to make
> conformance to IETF standards mandatory, or which would limit
> until the IETF has formalized a standard or process. The great
> strength of the IETF (again, from an outsider's perspective) has been
> its voluntary nature. "Rough consensus and running code" has
> considerable innovation precisely because it imposed no orthodoxy.
> Anyone with a different approach to a problem was free to try it, and
> this competition of ideas has served the Internet exceedingly well.
> While enough of us rely on the DNS that experimentation cannot be
> allowed to place the Internet at-large at risk, I believe the
> -- and the IETF and IAB -- would be disserved by making IETF
> I wish I had a definite suggestion to offer on how to proceed, but I
> don't. I can only say that ICANN has behaved prudently so far, and I
> hope it will continue to do so. But we must not equate prudence with
> stasis, nor equate caution with the elimination of all risk.
> Harold Feld
> GNSO Rep.