[At-Large] A message from the bottom on city TLD governance

Barrack Otieno otieno.barrack at gmail.com
Tue May 5 12:37:14 UTC 2015

Hi Tom,

Would be interesting to compare with .Durban and .Joburg in Africa,
they have  picked up well.


On 5/4/15, Thomas Lowenhaupt <toml at communisphere.com> wrote:
> Fellow At-Large Members:
> With multistakeholder governance a bottom-up process, I thought the
> At-Large would be interested in the experiences we've had here in New
> York City with the .nyc TLD. While it's still under a year since our TLD
> was activated, some experience might aide those shaping the global
> governance structure. Our recent post "Toward Effective Governance Of
> The .nyc TLD" is available at http://wp.me/pBzzv-A6 and reprinted below.
> Also, we did a 6 month review of the TLD available here
> <http://www.connectingnyc.org/digital-nyc/>.
> The above activities largely reflect our traditional advocacy role. As
> an At-Large Structure we're exploring the local role we will play. Any
> experiences from At-Large Structures in other newly TLD'd cities would
> be greatly appreciated.
> Best,
> Tom Lowenhaupt
> -----------------------------------------------
> Thomas Lowenhaupt, Founder & Chair
> Connecting.nyc Inc.
> (former) Member, .NYC Community Advisory Board
> TomL at connectingnyc.org <mailto:toml at communisphere.com>
> Connectingnyc.org <http://Connectingnyc.org>
> Jackson Hts., NYC
> 718 639 4222
> Toward Effective Governance Of The .nyc TLD (from http://wp.me/pBzzv-A6):
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>     Toward Effective Governance Of The .nyc TLD
> <http://www.connectingnyc.org/toward-effective-governance-of-the-nyc-tld/>
> Posted by: Editor <http://www.connectingnyc.org/author/editor/>
> city hall question
> <http://www.connectingnyc.org/toward-effective-governance-of-the-nyc-tld/city-hall-question/>Jackson
> Hts., New York, April 29, 2015 – While there are no published governance
> documents for the .nyc TLD, it’s our understanding that oversight is
> shared by representatives from the Department of Information and Telecom
> Technology, the Economic Development Corporation, the Office of
> Innovation and Technology, with the Department of Law advising. It’s a
> fluid process outlined in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), with the
> contractor implementing consensus decisions. But who does what and the
> existence (or not) of channels for public engagement remains unclear.
> Having emerged from the city’s democratic governance structure, we
> acknowledge the MOU as legitimate by traditional standards. However,
> considering the plethora of roles our city’s TLD will play, we believe
> additional channels for public engagement are essential – especially in
> these early days of .nyc’s development. Before offering our suggestions
> on an improved governance structure, we’d like to present some thoughts
> on the context in which .nyc exists.
>   * Our City Charter was approved in 1987, before the Internet as we
>     know it existed. It provides little guidance for oversight of .nyc
>     or other Net resources.
>   * New York City is among the first to develop a city specific-TLD and
>     is ploughing virgin pastures with no experience among other global
>     cities to draw upon.
>   * Experience and expertise for operating city TLDs is emerging on a
>     daily basis here and in the 30 other global cities developing their
>     own TLDs.
>   * The Internet will become an increasingly vital part of our city’s
>     social and economic health in the coming years. Internet access,
>     training, and our domain names must be managed with utmost care.
>   * This is the Internet, it’s 2015, and people – especially our younger
>     population – expect oversight to be open, transparent, and accountable.
>   * There is some resistance to the development of Internet resources
>     such as TLDs being managed in the public interest.
>       Issues
> With minimal experience to draw upon, the scope and scale of issues
> requiring oversight remains an unknown. User experiences will set the
> oversight agenda over the next few years, however, questions such as the
> following will certainly need attention.
> bottom-line
>   * How much should it cost to buy a .nyc domain name?
>   * Should prices be uniform for businesses, nonprofits, individuals,
>     etc., or should there be a pricing structure that encourages
>     not-for-profit activity in this area?
>   * Is the .nyc TLD infrastructure worthy of investment?
>   * Must the .nyc TLD be self sufficient?
> ownership rights
>   * Should some of the 3,000 premium names (.news.nyc, hotels.nyc,
>     pizza.nyc, etc) be set aside for distribution by a means other than
>     a high bid auction?
>   * Should the encouragement of innovative proposals be given preference
>     in making premium domain name allocation decisions?
>   * Which premium names should have public interest commitments attached
>     to their development rights?
>   * What are these public interest requirements?
>   * Who sets and approves them?
>   * What should be the compliance mechanisms?
> efficiency
>   * Does the city stand behind its TLD?
>   * Where does one go to make a complaint about a service or product
>     sold by a site using a .nyc domain name?
>   * Who assures that complaints are addressed?
>   * What monitoring of user registration (nexus) and activation is in
>     place and planned?
>   * Should the requirements of INTRO. 683-2015
> <http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CB8QFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nyc.gov%2Fhtml%2Fdoitt%2Fdownloads%2Fpdf%2Ftestimony_for_4_20_technology_hearing.pdf&ei=FKhDVZHkJ4rigwSAu4G4Cg&usg=AFQjCNFLhd9QfI_YjHp7ucjn7WFbGO0_Ug&sig2=dYzqMHfTvKZgo6w8rC1U0g>,
>     setting accessibility standards for city government operated
>     websites, be required for all .nyc sites?
> the public commons
>   * How are civicly important domain names to be identified?
>   * What usage level constitutes effective use of a civicly important
>     domain name?
>   * How can the city promote effective use of civicly important domain
>     names?
>   * What process should be followed to reclaim impotent civicly
>     important domain names?
>   * Should the city invest in templates to facilitate developing
>     websites for categories of domain names, for example, the
>     dotNeighborhoods?
> policy
>   * What are the linkages between the city’s universal broadband policy,
>     education, the public access channels, and domain names?
>   * How can mom and pop businesses be encouraged to utilize .nyc domain
>     names (and the Internet)?
>   * Should individual domain name registrants be able to keep their home
>     addresses private through some type of proxy service?
>   * What pricing, training, and allocation policies will facilitate the
>     equitable distribution of .nyc domain names?
> education
>   * What programs should be used to educate New Yorkers about the
>     utility and structure of the .nyc TLD?
>   * What awareness and training programs can encourage civil society to
>     better utilize the web?
>   * How can we encourage a culture that proudly presents and protects
>     our city’s internet resources?
> optimization
>   * Would effective privacy and security features entice more New
>     Yorkers to use our city’s TLD?
>   * Should we explore “digital city” relations with other TLD cities?
>   * Should the city support a “green” policy that encourages .nyc
>     websites to use power efficient systems?
>   * Should access to .nyc sites be sped up by requiring that DNS servers
>     be housed in the city?
>   * What levels of transparency access should there be to DNS usage data?
> It’s worth reiterating that the .nyc domain was only activated in late
> 2014, and the range of issues a city TLD will face is only emerging.
> It’s reasonable to assume that the experiences of city dwellers here,
> and in 30 other cities just activating their TLDs, will help answer
> these questions and bring up others for resolution.
> But today there are no direct or dedicated channels for communicating
> with city government about our TLD. Today’s communications options are
> limited, with an email to the mayor or a council member being perhaps
> the most effective.
>       Recommendations
> City-TLD governance is a complex process requiring a framework,
> operating model, and infrastructure to enable effective oversight and
> relationships between management and users.
> With 75,000 domain names sold and new websites being activated every
> day, we need engagement efforts and communication channels that
> facilitate sharing between residents and oversight entities. We need
> these here in the city and we need channels to share issues and best
> practices with the 30 other cities developing their TLDs.
> The experts on our city’s TLD are the 8,200,000 residents who are
> purchasing the domain names, making websites, and accessing them. It’s
> time we empower them to shape our city’s TLD. To do so City Hall should
> initiate short and long term governance efforts.
> *Long Term *– Looking back to 2001 and the Internet Empowerment
> Resolution that first called for our city to acquire .nyc, Queens
> Community Board 3’s recommendation was that the Commission on Public
> information and Communication
> <http://datanyc.org/nycgov/commission-on-public-information-and-communication/>
> (COPIC) be .nyc’s oversight entity. That still sounds like a reasonable
> approach.
> But COPIC needs funding, staffing, and a legislative fix. The Public
> Advocate, Trish James, has applied for funding, and staffing will follow.
> The legislative fix should create a more comprehensive purview of the
> digital city, taking into account the need for universal access,
> processes and programs to facilitate the Internet’s effective use, the
> role (cable’s) public access channels should play in the Internet world,
> as well as the oversight of domain names. Additional public members
> should be placed on COPIC, selected by individual owners of .nyc domain
> names.
> The digital revolution’s impact on all aspect of city government’s
> operation should be reflected in .nyc’s planning and development. With
> the similarities of domain names to real estate, we see value in the
> City Planning Commission participating in COPIC reviews. Lessons from
> its ULURP and other public participation processes would aide in
> exploring appropriate uses for our city’s digital land. Additionally,
> CUNY and our other universities should have a say in the review processes.
> *Short Term* – The .NYC Community Advisory Board should be
> reconstituted. This interim body was appointed by Mayor Bloomberg and
> strengthened by Mayor de Blasio. But it’s charter ended last December 31
> and nothing has emerged to replacement it.
>   * The .nyc Advisory Board had a knowledgeable and active core
>     membership that should be reappointed.
>   * It should be supported with staff and resources to facilitate broad
>     public engagement.
>   * The Board’s operation should be open and transparent with channels
>     enabling contributions by the public, small businesses, and civil
>     society.
>   * Channels should be established with other TLD cities experiencing
>     the same challenging birth to identify common issues and best practices.
> To a far greater degree than the global Internet, New York’s Internet is
> a tangible resource, with its impact seen and felt as we move through
> the city. Let’s assure that tools to enable our residents to effectively
> govern this new force are made available now and for the long term.
> In a future post we’ll take a look at the technology and relationships
> that enable the Internet’s global reach and see where and how the city
> might interact there.
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
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Barrack O. Otieno
Skype: barrack.otieno

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