[NA-Discuss] IMPORTANT: US Senate hearings on new gTLDs

Beau Brendler beaubrendler at earthlink.net
Thu Dec 8 22:24:57 UTC 2011

I've done it before -- you have to be invited. If you are not a US citizen you can refuse if called. However the issue is getting the message heard. Hearings are tightly scripted and you don't just get the chance to get up and make a statement, it's not like an ICANN free for all.

I agree that we should make a statement, and would be happy to author one for NARALO, providing we can actually come to a rough consensus as to what to say. Not everyone agrees with the current sentiment against new gTLDs.

That said, if we can create a statement with consensus, since we are a part of ICANN, we could, I should think, compel ICANN's lobbyist (whoever their VP of government affairs is now) to present the statement on our behalf, even if it goes against ICANN's party line. 

The other question to ask is, did Kurt do his due multi-stakeholder diligence and actually ask what policy position(s) should be presented? Did Olivier know anything about this in advance and was he consulted? One would think that the U.S. Congress would be interested in what the end-user community might think...

All that said, we could probably also submit a statement that would be taken seriously via John D. Rockefeller's office. I have, shall we say, discussed consumer issues with them before.

-----Original Message-----
>From: "Michele Neylon :: Blacknight" <michele at blacknight.ie>
>Sent: Dec 8, 2011 3:37 PM
>To: Evan Leibovitch <evan at telly.org>
>Cc: NARALO Discussion List <na-discuss at atlarge-lists.icann.org>
>Subject: Re: [NA-Discuss] IMPORTANT: US Senate hearings on new gTLDs
>They've had non-US witnesses at past hearings if my memory serves me
>Mr. Michele Neylon
>Via iPhone so excuse typos and brevity
>On 8 Dec 2011, at 14:59, "Evan Leibovitch" <evan at telly.org> wrote:
>> Hello all,
>> This morning, the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and
>> Transportation held a hearing on the ICANN new gTLD program.
>> The web page describing the hearing, which includes a video of the entire
>> 90-minute session, is at http://1.usa.gov/vzddPH
>> I am told that it will soon be uploaded to the Committee's YouTube channel
>> at http://www.youtube.com/user/SenateCommercePress
>> Among the speakers are
>>   - Kurt Pritz, ICANN VP
>>   - Dan Jaffe of the Association of National Advertisers who is trying to
>>   block the new gTLD program
>>   - Fiona Alexander with the US NTIA
>>   - Angela Williams of the US YMCA (speaking after deliberation with
>>   ICANN's Non-Profit Organization Constituency)
>>   - Esther Dyson, former ICANN Board member (and ALAC member from the
>>   pre-RALO days when ALAC was all-appointed)
>> It's VERY interesting listening. Kurt's message -- that adequate
>> protections are in place in the program to deter large amounts of money
>> spent on defensive registrations -- was not well received. In contrast, the
>> committee heard about several instances -- in some cases by the Senators
>> themselves -- who were the victims of cybersquatting and domain
>> speculators. All other speakers were critical of the program and some were
>> even asking if the US government has the authority to block the roll-out
>> from happening in January as ICANN intends.
>> Interesting note amongst the comments... many orgs have found themselves
>> needing to but defencive registrations in .XXX and are livid at the thought
>> of having to do a bunch more for future TLDs. (For instance, Indiana
>> University has purchased "hoosiers.xxx").
>> Of note to us.... much was made by Kurt of the consensus between
>> stakeholders. Dan shot that down in relation to business users and Angela
>> said the NPOC wasn't allowed to become a real stakeholder in time to have
>> an impact on decisions already made. Esther made mention at the end that
>> the real constituency not yet heard from (at least by the Senators) was the
>> billions of Internet end users. Mention was made that the committee now
>> needs to hear from them.
>> Sounds like an opportunity to me.
>> Now... I don't know if one has to be a US citizen to testify; if not the
>> ICANN Chair or vice chairs (of which I am one) would all be good candidates
>> and in fact the international character of ALAC sends a useful message IMO.
>> But if the requirement is to be a US resident, I have complete and utter
>> faith that NARALO's own leadership includes people (Beau, Ganesh, Eduardo)
>> who could easily step into the role and do the community proud.
>> Further to this, I would like to raise the issue as an agenda item on
>> Monday's NARALO call and I would like us to consider letting the Committee
>> know that there is indeed a group within ICANN that exists to provide the
>> voice of Internet end-users,
>> Thank you.
>> - Evan
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