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ccTLD anger over IANA group “capture”

Kevin Murphy, July 23, 2014, 11:58:39 (UTC), Domain Policy

Operators of dozens of ccTLDs are said to be furious that they don’t have representation on the group coordinating the transition of the IANA functions from US oversight.
The IANA Stewardship Transition Coordination Group (ICG) has been “captured” by members of ICANN’s country-code Names Supporting Organization, which does not represent all ccTLDs, according to ccTLD sources.
While the ccNSO is the official body representing ccTLDs within ICANN, many refuse to participate.
Some registries fear that signing up to ICANN and its rules may one day lead to them losing their delegations, while others have sovereignty or liability concerns.
It is believed that while 151 ccTLDs participate in the ccNSO, 104 do not.
None of these 104 are represented on the new ICG, which met for the first time to draft a charter in London last Thursday and Friday.
The ICG is tasked with holding the pen when the community writes a proposal for replacing the US government in the management of the DNS root zone and other IANA functions.
The ccTLD community was given four seats on the ICG, out of a total of 27. All four seats were taken by ccNSO members, picked by a five-person selection committee that included one non-ccNSO member.
I gather that about 20 non-ccNSO ccTLDs are up in arms about this state of affairs, which they believe has seen them “proactively excluded” from the ICG.
Some concerns originate from operators of ccTLDs for dependent territories that may face the risk of being taken over by governments in future.
Because IANA manages the DNS root zone, the transition process may ultimately impact ccTLD redelegations.
But the loudest voice, one of only two speaking on the record so far, is India’s government-established National Internet Exchange of India, which runs .in.
Dr Govind (apparently he doesn’t use his first name), CEO of NIXI, said in a statement last week:

Clearly the process has already been captured by a subset of the ccTLD community. The selection process controlled by the ccNSO resulted in all four seats being assigned to their members. A significant section of the ccTLD Registry operator community do not share the objectives of the ccNSO membership are now excluded from the process.

Balazs Martos, registry manager of Hungary’s .hu, added:

I am very concerned that the ccNSO seem to feel they speak for the whole ccTLD Community when dealing with every IANA matter. They do not, .HU is an IANA service user, but we are not a member of the ccNSO.

The joint statement also raises concerns about “cultural diversity”, which seems like a cheap move played from a position in the deck close to the race card.
The ccTLD representation on the ICG comprises the UK, New Zealand, China and Nigeria.
The chair of the ccNSO, .ca’s Byron Holland, has stated that the way the these four were selected from the 12 candidates (two of whom were non-ccNSO) was a “very difficult task”.
The selection committee had to consider factors such as geography, registry size, candidate expertise and available time, governance structure and business model, Holland said.
Blogging last week, addressing Govind’s concerns if not directly acknowledging them, he wrote:

Given the criteria we had to balance, there were no ‘reserved’ seats for any one group. The fact is four seats only allowed us to ensure some – not all – of the criteria were met. The discussion was difficult and the outcome was not unanimous. We did, however, reach consensus. In paring this list down to the final four, we balanced the selection criteria – balance being the keyword here. Geographic diversity is a good example of this – while there are five ICANN-defined geographic regions, we only had four seats on the Coordination Committee.

Did we meet the all of the criteria set out at the beginning of the process? No, but given the constraints we were facing – four seats to represent a community as large and diverse as ccTLDs – I have no hesitation in endorsing each of them for their ability to be representative of the global ccTLD community – both ccNSO members and non-members – effectively.

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Comments (2)

  1. Kevin:
    In due course ccTLDs such as Nominet will be stripped of their fiefdoms, as were granted by patronage appointment’s such as the “exchanges of letters”.
    The .UK will be managed by the; and similarly here in Canada, .ca will be run by CIPO.
    So sorry .CA Your particular “gravy train” will stop moving “ford”.
    The NTIA having illustrated disdain & disinterest in “protecting American consumers from harm” by way of the frauds & counterfeits they’ve been the “causation” of, through the appointed “leadership” at WIPO, having let CentralNic go outside US Law 15/1125, with False Designation & Dilutive “.com” DOMAIN NAMES masquerading as ccTLDs, will be replaced by the USPTO.
    With USPTO managing all US related TLDs, including the Commerce Departments contracted “New gTLDs” all under US Law, with the FTC replacing the NTIA, consumers will have greater protection from harm.
    No doubt VeriSign will remain, as the servants of IT to the USPTO, regardless of the fact that they participated in / are in part the “causation” of Dilution of “.com” having not enforcing RAA.
    Cheers, Graham.

  2. Phil McK. says:

    I was reading a bit more about this earlier today. The diagram on the stewardship page ( shows that the Coordination Group consists of 27 people, and that it says “ccNSO and non-ccNSO ccTLD operators, as selected by the ccNSO” and shows 4 seats. Clicking through to see the actual roster of the Coordination Group, I see 4 ccNSO people but I don’t see any non-CCNSO participant ccTLDs.
    On the surface it looks like the ccNSO excluded non-members. Not suggesting anything questionable, but it is hard to explain how only selecting current members does not represent some form of capture/censorship; intentional or not.
    There is also a footnote on the roster page that talks about the coordination group allowing for some seat expansion. The main stewardship page says there are 27 seats, but the GAC expanded their representation from 2 to 5 seats – so obviously there is some precedent and room for the ccNSO to name 1 or 2 non-ccNSO participants and resolve the situation with a very easy fix.

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