ICANN Insider



Neustar Threatens Colombia with Arbitration as .CO Contract Set to Expire

#ccTLDs #arbitration #Neustar #ICSID

Investment Arbitration Reporter – a legal news service – revealed that on 16 September 2019 .CO registry operator Neustar submitted a notice of dispute to the government of Colombia. Neustar asserts that it has the right under a current agreement with Colombia to operate the .CO domain for second 10 year term.

Unless the matter is resolved, arbitration will be filed at the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). Steptoe and Johnson are acting on behalf of Neustar.

Battles for country code top-level domains (ccTLDs) have become more common. Neustar competitor Afilias, known for running .ORG registry operations, wrested control of .AU domain operations from Neustar in 2017.

Neustar responded by taking registry operations for India's .IN domain from Afilias in 2018. Neustar completed the transition in March 2019. Verisign, Neustar and Afilias all run operations for numerous ccTLDs.

More at IAReporter.com (paywall):



Botterman Begins Transition to ICANN Board Chair

#ICANN #Board #Afilias

The ICANN Board has appointed Maarten Botterman as Vice-Chair of the ICANN Board. Botterman is preparing to take over as Board Chair beginning in November 2019 at ICANN's 66th meeting in Montreal.

The advance Vice-Chair appointment is a new ICANN governance mechanism designed to smooth the transition between chairs.

Botterman is a Dutch national with degrees in Business Economics from the University of Rotterdam. His work experience includes time at the RAND Corporation and the Dutch Government advising on cyber-policy.

Botterman was first appointed to the ICANN Board of Directors by the Nominating Committee in November 2016. He was Chair of the .ORG Board of Directors from 2008 – 2016. Afilias Limited is the registry operator for .ORG.



Burr and Botterman Stress Need for Auction Proceeds Independence


In a 29 September 2019 letter to Erika Mann and Ching Chiao, Becky Burr and Maarten Botterman stress the need for independence in the evaluation and selection process for any future auction proceeds fund. The letter states:

“No member of the Evaluation Panel may have even the appearance of a conflict of interest with respect to any and all applications.”

The letter urged the community to focus on objectives as well as process. Process feedback re-iterated ICANN's fiduciary requirements to retain control over the funds, to disburse them in tranches and that they align with ICANN's mission while not duplicating existing operations. A second public comment round on the community's work is likely.

The ICANN community is working on a process for disbursing the US$233.5 million in funds generated by auctions from ICANN's last new gTLD application process.



Drazek Defers or Refers on all Competition, Trust and Choice Team Recommendations.

#gnso #cctrt #urs #udrp #tmch #abuse

In a 27 September 2019 Letter to the ICANN Board on behalf of the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO), Keith Drazek, Pam Little and Rafik Dammak defer or refer all recommendations from ICANN's Competition, Consumer Trust, and Consumer Choice Review Team (CCT-RT).

The GNSO rejected a new policy development process to create a consistent privacy baseline access all generic top-level domain (gTLD) registries. They argue an existing policy process already addresses the matter.

The GNSO further rejected the need to further study the relationship between registry operators, registrars, and domain name system (DNS) security abuse. They argue that ICANN itself should address the matter.

The GNSO referred CCT-RT recommendations to explore integration of ICANN's existing rights protection mechanisms – the Uniform Rapid Suspension (URS) process and the (UDRP) Uniform Rapid Dispute Mechanism – to its existing Rights Protection Mechanism Working Group.

It did the same for the recommendation to evaluate the effectiveness of the Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH).



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Drazek to Chalaby: ICANN Must Decide When to Enforce Thick WHOIS


On 27 August ICANN Board Chair Cherine Chalaby wrote to the GNSO Council asking whether ICANN should allow another delay before enforcing a Thick WHOIS transition policy on domain registries. The delay was requested by Verisign, the .com and .net registry.

GNSO Leaders Keith Drazek, Pam Little and Rafik Dammak responded that the request came from Verisign as a contracted party. This means the request was not a policy matter. ICANN staff therefore had to decide whether to enforce Thick WHOIS compliance.

Thick WHOIS is important because it contains contact information about the owner – registrant – of a domain name. Thin WHOIS doesn't.



Pattullo Wants Universal Acceptance Plan Before Next gTLD Round

#uawg #bc #newgtlds

Marie Patullo has called for ICANN to set a 'goal oriented' plan to improve universal acceptance of new gTLDs before the launch of the next gTLD round. In a 10 September 2019 Business Constituency Comment she calls the 84% acceptance rate of TLDs longer than 4 characters 'quite concerning'.

Pattullo also said there is a 50% acceptance rate of internationalized domain names (domains with non-english scripts) at the browser level.

Universal Acceptance describes the goal of ensuring that domain names are accepted in online forms or elsewhere on websites and applications, regardless of their length.

The Business constituency has also called on ICANN to resolve contention sets faster. The constituency finally asks for background on ICANN's assumption that about the same number of applications can be expected as in the last round.


02.10.2019 Update:

Mark Datysgeld clarified that he, Marie Pattullo, Statton Hammock, Jimson Olufuye, Lawrence Olawale-Roberts, and Steve DelBianco all contributed to this correspondence.

Datysgeld recommended a report of the Universal Acceptance Working Group (USAG), in 2019 on the global acceptance of email addresses. The report is available here:



.WEB Preliminary Hearing Set for 2 October 2019

#WEB #arbitration #irp

International Centre for Dispute Resolution Case 01-18-0004-2702 is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on 2 October 2019. The case was brought by Afilias Limited. Afilias is represented by Arif Ali at Dechert LLP and Ethan Litwin at Constantine Cannon LLP.

Afilias alleges that a Nu Dot Co – an applicant for the .WEB top-level domain contract – contravened ICANN rules by not notifying ICANN that it had a relationship with Verisign. Verisign runs the .com registry.



US and 26 other Western states say there Must be Consequences for Bad Cyber Behaviour

#usg #unoda #humanrights #cyberspace

The US State Department has released a joint statement of support for the ongoing negotiations at the UN Office of Disarmament Affairs on Cyberspace matters.

The report also affirms that human rights apply and must be respected and protected by states online, as well as offline, when addressing cybersecurity.



Rasmussen Says 1000 TLDs/year Limit Irrelevant


That the 1000/TLDs/year limit “has no relevance for the security of the root zone”. Rod Rasmussen, Chair of the ICANN Security and Stability Advisory Committee (SSAC), made the case in an August 30, 2019 letter to Cyrus Namazi, Senior Vice President at ICANN.

The 1000/TLDs/year limit was put in place during the last new TLD round. There was concern that adding too many TLDs at once could pose risks to Internet stability.

SSAC is instead asking ICANN to enhance monitoring and early warning capability. Mitigation measures including delegation delays are also proposed. Full letter.


Demetriou Questions Strength of ICANN gTLD Round Assumptions


Samantha Demetriou, Vice Chair of Policy for the Registry Stakeholder Group (RySG), has questioned the rigor of ICANN contingency planning. In an August 30, 2019 letter, Demetriou asked ICANN to add confidence levels to assumptions for the forthcoming application round for generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs).

Where ICANN has a high level of uncertainty, Demetriou added, there should be contingency plans.

The last gTLD round experienced delays due to receiving almost 2,000 applications instead of the planned for 500. The ICANN community later agreed on a lottery system to process the applications in batches. Full letter.


Full Panel Confirmed for Afilias’ .WEB Independent Review

#WEB #IRP #arbitration

The full three person panel for Afilias’ .WEB Independent Review Panel (IRP) was confirmed on August 20, 2019. The IRP request was submitted on 14 November 2018.

Arif H. Ali of Dechert LLP is representing Afilias in the case. Afilias claims that Verisign purchased Nu Dot Co LLC, a .WEB applicant, to allow it to win the auction .WEB even though it did not apply.

According to the IRP this contravened ICANN rules because the Nu Dot Co LLC company should have notified ICANN of the change in ownership. IRP documentation.