[NA-Discuss] Inclusion of Individual Internet Users within the City-TLD Multistakeholder Governance Environment

Thomas Lowenhaupt toml at communisphere.com
Sun May 8 04:04:33 UTC 2016

Fellow NARALO Members,

ICANN granted the city of New York the right to issue domain names using 
the .nyc TLD in January 2014. As of May 1, 2016, 76,682 names had been 
issued to individuals and organizations.

Connecting.nyc Inc. is an At-Large Structure associated with the ICANN 
and an active participant in its multistakeholder governance process. 
With our focus on the development of the .nyc TLD as a public interest 
resource, I recently reviewed the .nyc Registry Agreement page on 
ICANN's website 
<https://www.icann.org/resources/agreement/nyc-2014-01-23-en>, and noted 
that four changes to the original agreement had been recorded there. 
Three were under the heading "Authorization(s) for Release of Reserved 
Names," as follows:


    All Digit/Digit, Letter/Digit, and Digit/Letter Two-Character ASCII
    Labels at the Second Level (01 December 2014)


    Letter/Letter Two-Character ASCII Labels (26 May 2015)


    Letter/Letter Two-Character ASCII Labels (14 March 2016)

The fourth was listed under "Amendment No.1 (31 March 2016)":


    This PDF amendment deals with the addition of 14 new data fields to
    the Registration Data Directory.

The existence of these changes came as a complete surprise to me. As 
Chair of Connecting.nyc Inc., a NYS nonprofit created in 2007 to engage 
and educate New Yorkers about the use of the .nyc TLD, and as an active 
participant in ICANN's governance processes through our association as 
an At-Large Structure, I had presumed we would have been consulted about 
changes to the registry agreement.

My desire for inclusion of individual Internet users in consultations 
about future registry changes provides the basis for this message.

Note: An earlier email on this general subject led some to think I was 
challenging the 4 registry changes as being out of compliance with 
approved ICANN procedures. This is not the case. And based on my perusal 
of precedent references kindly provided by a fellow ALSer (see them 
below), I’d say that ICANN and the city followed the “letter of the 
law.” However...

However, I do question the efficacy of a process that allows changes to 
a registry agreement without taking full advantage of the existing 
machinery of governance, i.e., the multistakeholder model and the extant 
At-Large Structures (ISOC-NY is also a NYC based ALS). With the Internet 
community having settled on a multistakeholder governance model, one 
would imagine that our ALS would be involved in changing the basic 
agreement that guides the operation of the .nyc TLD.

But perhaps we were excluded from the review process for good reason, 
for example, that the city’s governance structure more effectively 
represents the needs of the various stakeholders than the Internet’s 
multistakeholder model. After all, New York City does have a democratic 
governance system, and a general election was held in November 2013. 
Perhaps it's thought the people thereby approved or acquiesced to the 
registry agreement, and thus, in the eyes of ICANN, a city-based ALS 
should not have a formal role. If this is the situation, I would 
appreciate someone pointing me to the relevant guidelines. For indeed...

At this point, the city is acting as if there is no role for its 
residents in a traditional multistakeholder model. While there was a 20 
month period during which the city acknowledged the role of the 
residents and users through a .NYC Community Advisory Board (May 2013 - 
December 2014), the city unilaterally decided that entity should cease 
to exist on January 1, 2015. And to my dismay, it followed this decision 
by eliminating all reference to the .NYC Community Advisory Board’s very 
existence from the city’s website.

NOTE: To my knowledge city government has not been provided with any 
requirement or guideline about the operation of an inclusive, 
multistakeholder governance process for the .nyc TLD. So I’m not 
faulting the city administration for the current state of affairs. To do 
so would be to assume greater awareness and concomitant responsibility 
about this new resource than is seemingly warranted.

What’s to be done?

This email seeks the assistance or NARALO in learning if Connecting.nyc 
Inc. should be provided with an opportunity to consult and consent to 
future registry agreement changes. We see precedent for this with the 
.us TLD.

The .us TLD is currently governed with the assistance of a .usTLD 
Stakeholder Council: 
The council has a charter 
<http://www.neustar.us/ustld-stakeholder-council/charter/>, operating 
a membership (which is appointed by the contractor!), and  operational 
parameters (see usTLD Administrative Component graphic below).

If it is the consensus that we are inappropriately outside the extant 
"consultation loop" I suggest that NARALO initiate a review to determine 
if the current process should be changed to more closely align with the 
tenets of the multistakeholder governance system that underpins the 
operation of ICANN and the Internet.


Thomas Lowenhaupt


Basis for ICANN approval of 4 .nyc TLD registry agreement changes


    The release of 2-character names at the second level has been the
    subject of extensive public consultation. The ALAC did comment on
    these and explicitly said we did not see any problems with that.
    This was a result of discussion and consultation within-At-Large.
    The call for comments on our first such statement can be seen at
    The net result was that we supported the release of such names. Note
    that the approval to release such names does not compel a registry
    to release them, it only allows them to make such a decision.


    You can see the history of our full process on this by going to
    https://atlarge.icann.org/policy-summaryand doing a search on
    statement titles including the words TWO CHARACTER DOMAIN.


    The contract amendment to include additional RDDS fields was made at
    the explicit request of the registry to allow .nyc to satisfy the
    nexus requirements of the registry (that is, to allow verification
    that the registrant does have a connection with New York City
    (http://www.ownit.nyc/policies/nyc_nexus_policy.php). The request by
    the registry can be viewed at
    Such Registry Service Evaluation Process (RSEP) requests can be
    viewed athttps://www.icann.org/resources/pages/rsep-2014-02-19-en.
    The overall process followed in RSEP can be seen at
    https://www.icann.org/resources/pages/workflow-2012-02-25-en. The
    process requires a formal public comment only if there is the
    possibility (based on a "quick look" review) of a security or
    stability issue (which it did not in this case).


    The RSEP is the result of one of the early GNSO Consensus Policy
    Development Processes -
    That process was of course subject to public comments and the
    resultant policy was widely supported.

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