[ALAC] Where is ALAC on the TAS problem?

Beau Brendler beaubrendler at earthlink.net
Thu Apr 19 14:31:19 UTC 2012

   Happy to help out.

   Regardless of what happens tomorrow I believe ALAC at minimum needs to push
   for a full accounting of what happened here, emergency process issues and
   whatever potential issues may be at stake regards the stability of the
   Internet. The public perception is that this flagship TAS has been on ice
   now several days, just after extensive reporting about the new gTLD process
   in the mainstream press.

   No matter how you look at it, from the outside this is a public relations
   disaster -- it would be less so, perhaps, if the organization involved was
   not mandated with Internet stability, safety and security. "We're working on
   it, we'll get back to you" might be an acceptable response for a corporate
   IT department, but not for the IT department of the Internet.

     -----Original Message-----
     From: JJS
     Sent: Apr 19, 2012 3:03 AM
     To: Carlton Samuels
     Cc: Beau Brendler , alac at atlarge-lists.icann.org
     Subject: Re: [ALAC] Where is ALAC on the TAS problem?
     I agree with Carlton that we can/should wait until the next (hopefully
     conclusive) statement by the COO.

   That being said, Beau makes several good points:

   - this does seem to have the potential of impacting the user community, but
   also of harming user trust in ICANN;

   - we require a thorough account of what went wrong, in order to understand
   whether the design was faulty, or the implementation;

   - and yes, within ALAC and At-Large we should be mindful of the context in
   which this incident is taking place: NTIA sending ICANN back to the drawing
   board to better claim the IANA contract, a period of expectation before the
   nomination of the next CEO, an overall sense of uncertainty regarding the
   capability to receive numerous applications for new gTLDs and to process
   them correctly.

   So, if ICANN's report in the next few days does not properly address the TAS
   problems, I think the ALAC should be prepared to voice its concern and offer
   recommendations where necessary.

   In  light  of  this, may I suggest that Beau, Carlton and a handful of
   volunteers if required, make a note of what an ALAC statement would have to
   include, in terse prose? As to the most efficient delivery, I would suggest
   a letter from the ALAC Chair to the Chair of the Board (we did this a few
   months ago, and it did have an impact), which could also be posted on a
   couple of influential sites.

   Best regards,

   Le 19 avril 2012 07:16, Carlton Samuels <[1]carlton.samuels at gmail.com> a
   écrit :

     Yes,  I do agree that there is a PI angle here.  And the ALAC has a duty
     I have been following the updates from both thru my 'watcher' on the
     Announcements page as well as the Skype chat.  Those of us with some
     technical skills do indeed have worries; Dev, for one, has privately
     a few, in fact in line with some of the questions you raised.
     I've run a few operating support systems for a living so I confess some
     sympathy here.  In my view, Akram's statement should give us pause; we now
     have a proximate cause, a better understanding of the risk profile but
     than useful hard facts on impact or origination/initiation. So, let's keep
     our powder dry and wait till we see what they come with in the promised
     'details' on Friday.
     - Carlton
     Carlton A Samuels
     Mobile: 876-818-1799
     *Strategy, Planning, Governance, Assessment & Turnaround*
     On Wed, Apr 18, 2012 at 1:34 PM, Beau Brendler
     <[2]beaubrendler at earthlink.net>wrote:

   > Greetings, colleagues.
   > Some discussions are taking place on the NCSG list about the TAS problem
   > and the way ICANN is handling it. I do not see similar discussions taking
   > place among the at-large. Pardon me if I have missed them. Indeed, I
   > believe some have raised the issue in the skype chat of the TAS SNAFU (or,
   > as my English relatives would call it, monumental cock-up), but with the
   > opinion that end-users are not affected, so it's not worth worrying about.
   > In my opinion the situation has become worse, to the degree I beg to
   > differ -- the public interest is indeed affected. Note the most current
   > communique from ICANN staff April 17:
   > ---------------------------------------------------
   > TAS Interruption - Update (17 April 2012)
   > Statement by Akram Atallah, COO
   > 17 April 2012
   > ICANN's review of the technical glitch that resulted in the TLD
   > application system being taken offline indicates that the issue stems
   > from a problem in the way the system handled interrupted deletions of
   > file attachments. This resulted in some applicants being able to see
   > some other applicants' file names and user names.
   > As reported yesterday, we are seeking confirmation that the solution we
   > have implemented for this issue is effective.
   > We are also conducting research to determine which applicants' file
   > names and user names were potentially viewable, as well as which
   > applicants had the ability to see them.
   > Many organizations are seeking information on whether we will proceed
   > with the planned publication of applied-for domain names on 30 April. We
   > will update the target date for publication as part of our update on the
   > timing of the reopening, no later than Friday, 20 April at 23.59 UTC.
   > ---------------------------------------------------------------
   > Note that ICANN was aware of this "glitch" almost a month previously, but
   > apparently took no action. In my opinion (and others), this situation is
   > going to escalate. Certainly it is in the public interest, even beyond the
   > obvious issue that there may be problems with applications from would-be
   > public-interest gTLD sponsors.
   > * Is it not within the public interest to demand a full accounting of what
   > went wrong with an integral system, indeed, the first "system," to be
   > publicly rolled out in the "mechanical" application process for new gTLDs?
   > * Was the TAS hacked? Coded incorrectly? Who performed the work? Who
   > reviewed it? Can ICANN as an organization address the credibility problem
   > created by this? How can the public expect that the safety, stability and
   > security of the Internet will be safeguarded by ICANN, if at the first
   > phase of the process the organization cannot field a working system for
   > gTLD applications?
   > * Is ICANN aware, regardless of the bureaucratic or technical processes
   > involved, that together with the temporary loss of the IANA contract, the
   > back-and-forth of the IOC/RC process, and now the TAS problem, an observer
   > may conclude that the organization can't fulfill its mandate?
   > What should the ALAC do (in my opinion)?
   > * Call for a full, independent review of the TAS process from soup to
   > nuts. Why was the technical problem not acted upon sooner? What emergency
   > response protocols are in place? Any?
   > * Offer to coordinate candidate selection for such a review, to help
   > ensure the same people who made the mistakes are not reviewing their own
   > work.
   > * Determine what organizational problems within ICANN led to this failure.
   > * Undertake an analysis of those problems to address whether such
   > incompetence could spill over into the actual process of bringing new
   > online, vis-a-vis the stability, safety and security of the Internet. Make
   > that analysis comprehensive and, most important, public.
   > * Undertake a review to determine if ICANN does, in fact, have the
   > technical and organizational capabilities to actually execute its mission,
   > and if not, fess up and hire some people who know what they are doing.
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