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

Thomas Lowenhaupt toml at communisphere.com
Thu May 19 17:33:26 UTC 2016


You asked about my cause for concern regarding the changes to the .nyc 
registry agreement. They are twofold. I’ve some specific concerns about 
the several changes to the .nyc registry that were undertaken without 
consulting New York City's individual Internet users. But I’ve broader 
concerns that center on a governance process that has excluded New York 
City’s individual Internet users (IIUs) from meaningful participation in 
scoping and imagining our city’s TLD in every phase of its development 
and ongoing operation. I review that situation below and conclude with 
some actions that might help correction the situation. But first, let me 
address your question about the changes to the .nyc registry agreement.


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

    This change seems quite reasonable to me.


    Letter/Letter Two-Character ASCII Labels
    May 2015)

    This change also seems reasonable. However, with 1/2 our city's 8
    million population foreign born, some might have submitted comments
    about domain names such as mx.nyc: perhaps suggesting that it be
    used to address the needs of New York City's 300,000 Mexican
    immigrants. Or perhaps some of the 800,000 residents with ties to
    the Dominican Republic would have had suggestions about do.nyc's
    potential to serve that community. But they (nor the Chinese,
    Nigerians, Bolivians, etc.) were never provided with that
    opportunity. One is left to wonder what might have emerged from the
    minds of those 4,000,000 foreign born and the other New Yorkers.


    Letter/Letter Two-Character ASCII Labels
    March 2016)

    My comments for the 4 2-character domains activated here (ac, in,
    na, vg) are similar to those authorized by the 26 May 2015 change
    above. But seeing the “in” domain name, and with my residence
    located in “Little India,” and long holding hope of one day
    traveling to that wonderful country, I dreamt about traveling there
    and finding a nyc.mumbai, nyc.chennai, or nyc.bangalore, and how
    they might ease navigation and add comfort to my visit. And on
    another level I wondered if these domain names might provide an
    opportunity to establish bilateral social, cultural, and economic
    exchanges between these great cities?



    With this change (which added 14 new RDDS fields to each domain
    name’s contact data) I'm curious about the impact it will have on
    the city's nexus policy. Nexus is a key .nyc feature that offers the
    potential to differentiate our city’s TLD from the 1000 competitors
    that strive to sell domain names to our residents and organizations.
    The policy was arrived at after much consideration and years of
    urging on our part. Had New York's independent Internet users been
    consulted here, it might have sparked a broader conversation about
    the nexus policy . For example, how well it is being enforced, its
    impact on privacy, how does registration transparency help or hinder
    name sales, etc. As well, it might have enabled a discussion about
    open data and bulk access to the registrant data, something the city
    has refused to share.

Let me conclude these thoughts by reiterating that they are my 
individual concerns and not those of my fellow New Yorkers who were not 
offered the opportunity to comment on these matters.

*Getting back to my broader concern… *

When one considers that the city administration has never had a 
meaningful consultation with NYC's individual Internet users, not during 
the long process leading up to the submission of the application for the 
.nyc TLD, nor in the years since its submission, one wonders about how 
well the public interest is being served and the efficacy of the 
multistakeholder model, the foundation for Internet governance. And when 
one considers that there's no ongoing channel enabling New York’s IIUs 
to participate in a local, home grown, governance process, the At-Large 
must ask how well the .nyc TLD is advancing the public interest.

**What**’s **to **be **done**?**

Short term the following:


    NARALO, then ALAC should pass a resolution calling for ICANN to
    redouble its efforts to facilitate engagement of New York City’s
    IIUs in considering registry changes that impact the operation of
    the .nyc TLD. (This policy might apply more broadly, e.g., to
    dotCities globally, but that’s subject to some research. See below.)


        The resolution should require that ICANN staff immediately begin
        sending notifications to local At-Large Structures when the
        operator of a city-TLD in their realm makes application to
        modify a registry agreement.


        The resolution should include a recommendation that these ALSes
        be provided with the opportunity to comment on all proposed
        changes to the registry agreement at traditional ICANN PDPs and
        locally at open public hearings. (Recognizing that a contract is
        in place, the ICANN should recommend that appropriate changes
        take place ASAP, noting that they will seek permanency upon
        renewal of the registry agreement.)


    At-Large Structures located in other cities with TLDs should be
    asked to assess the level of engagement by IIUs in TLD policy
    development processes. If the engagement level is unsatisfactory,
    ICANN should work to facilitate more involvement by IIUs, working
    through ALSes when practicable.


    In cities without At-Large Structures ICANN should determine the
    level of engagement by IIUs. In instances where it is found to be
    unsatisfactory, ICANN should seek remediation through the formation
    of effective At-Large Structures.

Long term:


    ICANN should require that cities applying for TLDs demonstrate in
    their applications that a suitable level of "informed consent" about
    a TLD’s potential role exists in the jurisdiction.


    That participants in a multistakeholder environment have been
    appraised of the opportunities provided by a city-TLD and have been
    meaningfully engaged in the application’s development.


    That cities applying for TLDs incorporate the opinions of residents
    and independent Internet users when preparing their applications.


    That At-Large Structures or similar entities be created to enable
    long-term engagement by IIUs in the operation of the city-TLD.
    (Note, there's an obvious At-Large self-interest in such a
    resolution as it might provide a basis for future development of
    local At-Large structures.)

I hope this answers your question.

In support of the above I’d like to see if New York is alone in regard 
to the exclusion of IIUs from the city-TLD governance process. I’ve 
compiled two lists of cities that have been issued TLDs: those that have 
At-Large Structures (13) and those with ISOC chapters (22). There’s some 
overlap. I’ve begun a Google questionnaire to gather some info here 
Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated.  [_This invite applies to 
all, not just Joly._]


Tom Lowenhaupt

On 5/16/2016 1:41 AM, Internet Society - NY Chapter wrote:
> Tom,
> I apologize if I have not been duly diligent in this matter.
> What in particular in the changes to the registry agreement is the 
> cause for concern?
> j
> On Sun, May 15, 2016 at 10:52 PM, Thomas Lowenhaupt 
> <toml at communisphere.com <mailto:toml at communisphere.com>> wrote:
>     Following up on the recent exchange here on NARALO Discuss,
>     concerning the 4 changes to New York City's .nyc registry
>     agreement, and my belief that modification to the extant operating
>     processes were in order, today I reviewed the ICANN By-Laws
>     <https://www.icann.org/resources/pages/governance/bylaws-en#XI> as
>     they relate to ALAC responsibilities. And it seems apparent that
>     more should be done to keep New York City's individual Internet
>     users informed and engaged about ICANN activities.
>     I base this conclusion on my reading of Article XI, subsection
>     2.4.j which lists 10 responsibilities of ALAC. If one considers
>     responsibilities 2, 4, 5, 6, and 10, one is likely to conclude
>     that something fell through the cracks
>     <https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/fall_through_the_cracks> in the 4
>     instances where the registry agreement was changed and the city's
>     individual Internet users were not informed.
>         "The ALAC is also responsible, working in conjunction with the
>         RALOs, for coordinating the following activities:
>          1. Making a selection by the At-Large Community to fill Seat
>             15 on the Board. Notification of the At-Large Community's
>             selection shall be given by the ALAC Chair in writing to
>             the ICANN Secretary, consistent with Article VI, Sections
>             8(4) and 12(1).
>          2. *Keeping the community of individual Internet users
>             informed about the significant news from **ICANN**;*
>          3. Distributing (through posting or otherwise) an updated
>             agenda, news about ICANN, and information about items in
>             the ICANN policy-development process;
>          4. *Promoting outreach activities in the community of
>             individual Internet users;*
>          5. *Developing and maintaining on-going information and
>             education programs, regarding **ICANN**and its work;*
>          6. *Establishing an outreach strategy about **ICANN**issues
>             in each RALO's Region;*
>          7. Participating in the ICANN policy development processes
>             and providing input and advice that accurately reflects
>             the views of individual Internet users;
>          8. Making public, and analyzing, ICANN's proposed policies
>             and its decisions and their (potential) regional impact
>             and (potential) effect on individuals in the region;
>          9. Offering Internet-based mechanisms that enable discussions
>             among members of At-Large structures; and
>         10. *Establishing mechanisms and processes that enable two-way
>             communication between members of At-Large Structures and
>             those involved in **ICANN**decision-making, so interested
>             individuals can share their views on pending
>             **ICANN**issues."*
>     Think about it... Between December 1, 2014 and March 31, 2016 four
>     (4) changes were made to the .nyc registry agreement
>     <https://www.icann.org/resources/agreement/nyc-2014-01-23-en>. No
>     effort was made to inform New York City's individual Internet
>     users about these changes or their possible impact. After reading
>     clauses 2, 4, 5, 6 and 10 does anyone disagree with my conclusion,
>     that more should be done to keep New York City's individual
>     Internet users informed and engaged about ICANN activities?
>     If there 's no disagreement, how do we move ahead to assure that
>     ALAC responsibilities, as spelled out in Article XI of ICANN's
>     By-Laws,  are appropriately adhered to in the future?
>     Sincerely,
>     Tom Lowenhaupt
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