Google’s Kenyan web site was reportedly inaccessible yesterday due to a hijacking of the company’s local domain name.
Google.co.ke briefly redirected users to a site bearing the slogan “hacked” on a black background, according to the Daily Nation. A change of DNS was blamed.
Google Kenya reportedly said:
Google services in Kenya were not hacked. For a short period, some users visiting www.google.co.ke and a few other website were re-directed to a different website. We are in contact with the organisation responsible for managing domain names in Kenya.
Google is of course a high-profile target; hackers often exploit weaknesses at third-party providers such as domain name registries in order to take down its satellite sites.
Its Irish site was taken down in October last year, after attackers broke in through a vulnerability in IEDR’s Joomla content management system.
Governments may want new gTLD registries to become the internet’s police force, but ICANN doesn’t have to take it lying down.
ICANN is set to open up the shock Beijing communique to public comments, CEO Fadi Chehade said Friday, while chair Steve Crocker has already raised the possibility of not following the GAC’s advice.
“Advice from governments carries quite a bit of weight and equally it is not the end of the story,” Crocker said in a post-meeting interview with ICANN PR Brad White.
“We have a carefully constructed multi-stakeholder process,” he said. “We want very much to listen to governments, and we also want to make sure there’s a balance.”
The ICANN bylaws, he reminded us, give ICANN “a preference towards following advice from the GAC, but not an absolute requirement.”
That’s a reference the the part of the bylaws that enables ICANN’s board to overrule GAC advice, as long as it carries out consultation and provides sound reasoning.
It was invoked once before, when ICANN tried to get a handle on the GAC’s concerns about .xxx in 2011.
In this case, I’d be very surprised indeed if the GAC’s advice out of Beijing does not wind up in this bylaws process, if only because the document appears to be internally contradictory in parts.
It’s also vague and broad enough in parts that ICANN is going to need much more detail if it hopes to even begin to implement it.
It looks like at least 517 new gTLD applications will be affected by the GAC’s advice, but in the vast majority of cases it’s not clear what applicants are expected to do about it.
The first part of dissecting the Beijing communique will be a public comment period, Chehade said during the interview Friday. He said:
The community wishes to participate in the discussion about the GAC communique. So, alongside the staff analysis that is starting right now on the GAC communique we have decided to put the GAC communique out for public comment, soliciting the entire community to give us their input to ensure that the GAC communique is taken seriously but also encompasses our response, encompasses the views of the whole community.
Watch the full video below.
The launch window for new gTLDs may have just got pushed back another month or two, following the announcement of a new 42-day comment period on registry and registrar contracts.
But ICANN CEO Fadi Chehade said he’s looking at ways to streamline the process to offset the delays.
During the public forum in Beijing yesterday, ICANN CEO Fadi Chehade said that he’d cancelled a scheduled April 20 meeting of its board of directors, during which the new agreements were targeted for approval.
Instead, new versions of the 2013 Registrar Accreditation Agreement and new gTLDs base Registry Agreement will be posted for public comment next week.
As these are expected to be the final versions of both documents, they’re also expected to have full comment periods of 42 days — 21 for comments and 21 for replies.
“I believe that putting the last version of RAA for 2013 out for full public comment process is actually strengthening that agreement,” Chedhade said today. “It makes it an agreement of the community.”
For the Registry Agreement, Chehade said talks with registries are going well and that he hopes to have a version ready for public comment agreed with negotiators in less than a week.
Assuming an April 19 start, that puts the earliest possible date for ICANN board approval at May 31, assuming the board waits for the comment period to end before giving it the rubber stamp.
Before the contracts are approved, they can’t be signed by registries and registrars, and before they are signed new gTLD applicants cannot progress to the final pre-launch stages of the delegation process.
But Chehade is weighing an idea put forward during the public forum by Donuts’ Jon Nevett: why not allow applicants to complete pre-delegation technical testing before contract signing?
“We could potentially do something about advancing this step ahead of contracting, finding a way to start pre-delegation testing before contracting is done,” Chehade said.
With 132 new gTLD applications in receipt of their Initial Evaluation results, the first to fail has been revealed.
The failed application was for العلیان., an Arabic dot-brand filed by Olayan Investments Company, a 65-year-old privately held Saudi conglomerate.
It failed IE on financial grounds, according to its published results (pdf).
To pass the financial portion of the evaluations, applicants must score a minimum of eight points, scoring at least one point on each of the six questions.
While Olayan did score eight, it scored a zero on question 45, “Demonstration of Financial Capability”, which asks applicants to file audited or unaudited financial statements.
It appears that the applicant in this case did not provide enough information to be evaluated either during the application itself or in response to ICANN’s “clarifying questions”.
The application is now categorized as “Eligible for Extended Evaluation” by ICANN, meaning Olayan can provide extra information in an attempt to pass the failed question.
There’s no fee to do so in this case, but there would be a delay.
ICANN has so far delivered IE results for 132 applications for applications with priority queue numbers up to 149. Every other result to date has been a “pass”.
ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee has issued the kiss of death to two new gTLD applications and sweeping advice that will delay many, many more.
First, the GAC said that the .africa bid filed by DotConnectAfrica and the .gcc bid filed by GCCIX WLL should be rejected. Those were full consensus objections.
Two gTLDs related to Islam: .islam and .halal, have non-consensus objections, and will now have to be considered by the ICANN board of directors directly.
The GAC also said it needed more time, until ICANN’s meeting in Durban this July, to consider delivering specific advice against 14 more:
the GAC advises the ICANN Board to: not proceed beyond Initial Evaluation with the following strings: .shenzhen (IDN in Chinese), .persiangulf, .guangzhou (IDN in Chinese), .amazon (and IDNs in Japanese and Chinese), .patagonia, .date, .spa, .yun, .thai, .zulu, .wine, .vin
On the issue of plurals versus singulars, the GAC said ICANN should “Reconsider its decision to allow singular and plural versions of the same strings.” This affects about 60 applications.
But it doesn’t end there.
As predicted, the GAC has also issued swathes of advice against scores of proposed gTLDs in 12 categories: children, environmental, health and fitness, financial, gambling, charity, education, intellectual property, professional services, corporate identifiers, generic geographical terms and inherently governmental functions.
A “non-exhaustive” list of applications has been provided for each category, covering well over 100, setting the stage for a fight over inclusion for any application that the GAC forgot about.
If the GAC gets its way, any application that falls into one of these categories will have to have enhanced regulations governing Whois, abuse mitigation, and security.
The GAC also has its say on “closed generics”, which it calls “exclusive registry access” strings. They should only be awarded if they serve a public interest purpose, the GAC said.
In short, the advice is extraordinarily broad and seems to delegate the considerable work of picking through the mess to ICANN.
More analysis later…