ASO AC Teleconference 12 October 2005

AC Attendees:

Sanford George (SG) – ARIN
Lee Howard (LH) – ARIN
Louis Lee (LL) – ARIN
Kenny S. Huang (KH) – APNIC
Hartmut Glaser (HG) – LACNIC
Sebastian Bellagamba (SB) – LACNIC
Hans Petter Holen (HPH) – RIPE NCC
Wilfried Woeber (WW) – RIPE NCC
Sabine Jaume (SJ) – RIPE NCC
Jean Robert Hountomey (JH) – AfriNIC
Alan Barret (AB) – AfriNIC


Ray Plzak (RP) – ARIN
Axel Pawlik (AP) – RIPE NCC
Adiel Akplogan (AA) – AfriNIC
Raimundo Beca (RB) – ICANN Board of Directors
Adriana Rivero (AR) – LACNIC (Secretariat)

Minutes taken by AR.

Draft Agenda:

  1. Welcome & roll call
  2. Agenda review
  3. Discuss further action on the ICANN Strategic Plan (ICANN Strategic Planning Issues Paper)


1) Welcome & roll call

The teleconference was opened at 22.00 UTC.

As per roll call 11 AC members and 7 observers were present. Quorum was established.

2) Agenda review

Hearing no objections, the draft agenda was approved.

3) Discuss further action on the ICANN Strategic Plan (ICANN Strategic Planning Issues Paper)

HPH: I recall from last meeting that we were going to ask the NRO EC for any comments they have on the Strategic Plan so far. Have we received anything from them?

It was established that no information had been received from the NRO EC.

HPH: Does anybody have any suggestions on how to proceed with this agenda item, in view of the fact that we have no information from the NRO EC?

It was mentioned that SB and LH put together some ideas, but it was a draft version.

HPH: I know that SJ and WW have spent some time going through the document. Perhaps I can ask SJ or WW to share with us what they discussed before this meeting.

SJ: One general thought that I shared with WW: The document says that some believe one of ICANN’s roles should be to assist the countries which are less advanced. Perhaps ICANN could also ensure that there is equal treatment among all countries, equal treatment meaning that they can have the resources, addresses, etc. But we were discussing with WW whether it’s really ICANN’s role to do that  to ensure that everyone’s equal. We also discussed about regional issues.

WW: All of my notes are related to the section “Major issues that need to be considered in the 2006-2009 Strategic Plan.”
In relation to the paragraph that begins “Members of the community suggest that the demands on ICANN to encourage all relevant parties to take part in the ICANN process and also to accommodate all Internet users as members of the ICANN community have a number of implications,” my general comment is that the wording used is still extremely ICANN centered. I get the feeling that it is written with the mindset that ICANN fits somewhere and the rest of the community across the globe is expected to come to ICANN instead of ICANN being developed into something which is distributed across the focal points where the infrastructure is used.
In my opinion this is not so much a geographical problem, as it is a cultural and legal problem. I feel ICANN should not expect the world to come to an organization which is incorporated under one particular national law, but that ICANN should become something formally and legally distributed around the globe. Then, if for any reason one of the integral pieces of ICANN has problems and cannot perform its functions, the Internet could root around the problem and simply ignore or partition the defunct part and all the other entities could simply continue with business.

LH: That’s an interesting idea for decentralization given that ICANN only defines missions. As far as I can tell from their bylaws, they have a coordination role. I have trouble imagining a decentralized coordination role. I can actually imagine some additional risks: being sued or subject to whichever laws are the least favorable to ICANN in various jurisdictions.

RP: Actually you can have decentralized execution of coordination. Having everything concentrated in one place is a real problem.

LH: I agree that having a presence in different parts would be positive, but having a separate organization incorporated in different parts of the world is a different matter altogether.

WW: In the case of the NRO, if you take away the NRO you would still be left with five independent RIRs, each one of those five regional entities could continue to function either as a single body or as a group of bodies. But if you take away the company incorporated in California ICANN is gone and, other than dealing with financial things or things related to the US Department of Commerce, I don’t see any vital functions of ICANN that couldn’t continue with a home base outside of the United States.

LH: I still think that there are two different points there: 1) Could ICANN’s headquarters be moved?, and 2) Could there be, for example, five ICANNs running in parallel?

RP: The real problem is that ICANN has never really attempted to regionalize. What they do is they hire people and put them in offices in different places but they are clearly functioning out of the headquarters in Marina del Rey. The fact that they haven’t seen the need for regionalized offices in North America is kind of troublesome, as they could easily set one up in Canada.

HG: Let me use an example: ICANN made the decision that every meeting should be held in a different continent, and after 25 meetings probably we have already gone to all the rich countries. What we need now is to have ICANN meetings in other countries that do not have the necessary financial resources. Next year, in November, it’s Latin America’s turn and we expect an invitation from Central America. However, none of the countries are able to invite 500-800 people to an ICANN meeting. If ICANN is not willing to include in their budget a strategic amount (e.g. 100-150 thousand dollars) for each meeting, poor countries cannot have meetings. This is one of the problems: ICANN never supports us so that we can go to the ICANN meetings. This is probably a point that we should mention on the Strategic Plan. I think ICANN should include a specific item in the budget so that ICANN can spend specific funds on international meetings.

SJ: I agree. I also think that one way of doing some outreach for ICANN would be to maybe subsidize some people in poor countries to go to ICANN meetings. Maybe this is also a way for people from developing countries to attend these meetings. It’s not only a matter of having a nice meeting, it’s also necessary having people attend.

HG: This is one point we can address, as this is general, not specific.

HPH: While I think we should also include general points, I think we should also look very carefully at the items that are related to addressing.

SB: A summary of the last comments paper we issued on the Strategic Plan: One big title would be “Outreaching”, which in my opinion would include the regional issue and the use of languages for communications. This paper we are talking about is being published at least in English, Spanish and French, but in any case we should insist on that. The second point we made in the comments refers to having some key or strategy to execute the MoU with the US Department of Commerce. The third point we made is the lack of formal contracts with root server operators. We also mentioned that the Strategic Plan lacks some differentiation between IP addresses and domain names.
I would also include in our priorities the IPv6 issue, which is in my opinion the main concern for the addressing community. Do you agree with these general points?

HPH: I would like to add that I don’t know whether IPv6  as already mentioned  and DNSSEC fall within ICANN’s sphere.

LH: I agree with that as a general principle, but in fact it’s not ICANN job to do much of anything.

HPH: The only thing needed from ICANN is the top level domain. Whatever happens to be below the top level domain, i.e. applications, is outside ICANN’s mandate.
I’m not going to reply whether I’m in favor or against this, but I would like to add something which you have partly covered already: The paper says something on completing the MoU, but to me, a non-US citizen, I find it strange that the global or multinational coordinating body is a business incorporated in California. I’m not too happy about having the Internet being run by the US government.
I discussed this with Vint a while back and he said that we need to suggest a place for ICANN to be incorporated. To this I reply that I don’t care where it’s incorporated as long as it’s not in the US. Maybe ICANN should function under the umbrella of the United Nations. This would be the only way for it to have an international life without establishing organizations in every country. But I do realize this is highly political and I’m not sure whether we should take it.

WW: I think we should definitely state this, as we are not talking about an operational planning paper but about a strategic paper for the next two or three years. I think our key focus should be on strategic issues. My greatest personal concern is that, looking at ICANN’s mandate, the potentially vital infrastructure necessary for operating the Internet that we have at the moment has a single point of failure. Right now if someone somewhere in the US goes completely crazy he or she can take down the infrastructure of the Internet simply by signing a piece of paper.

LH: I will try to respond to both of the last two points in the same way: Personally I don’t much care where ICANN is located or incorporated. I completely agree it should not have to report to the US government and therefore one of its primary strategic goals over the next few years would be to fulfill and complete the MoU with the US Department of Commerce. I think they’ve identified this in their issues paper.

WW: I agree that part of completing or fulfilling that document would be to have a very clear and automatic failure plan. What happens if a building falls down or someone signs the wrong document? There needs to be a contingency plan for the continuance of Internet that is ready to go with little interaction required. I suggest we should try to stay away from specific recommendations on root servers or other areas of ICANN operations that are not specific to numbering.

SB: There’s something funny about what LH said. It got me thinking about what it is that ICANN actually does. I believe that even if the building in Marina del Rey disappeared, the Internet would continue to work and I think there’s something funny about this. Am I wrong?

HPH: It would continue to work for a while and then the RIPE NCC would run out of addresses and then they would need to get them from somewhere else.

SB: I mean there would be no policies regarding the root servers, but the root servers are not on ICANN premises. I agree that ICANN needs some kind of contingency plan, but I just wonder what would happen if the building disappears.

RB: In fact there is a contingency plan. I would say that it’s not 100 percent perfect, but it does exist. A plan on how to rebuild the organization if ICANN ceases to exist.

RP: The most interesting point is that I don’t think that the RIRs are aware of any contingency plan on the part of ICANN, so we’d be running around doing our own thing oblivious of what ICANN would want us to do to help them rebuild.

RB: I’m aware of that and that’s why I say that the plan is not perfect. In fact it was drafted before the existence of the NRO, for example.

HG: I think that probably we need to have two points: 1) Generic points, mention some important contributions that we’d like to see in the Strategic Plan, and 2) A specific point on addresses. Then we can discuss them in more detail.

Everybody agreed with HG’s previous intervention.

HG: In my opinion an eight-page document with so many details  quality, budget, finance, organization  is not a strategic plan. A strategic plan should have only one or two pages containing objectives, methodologies, etc.

LH: It seems to me that in this meeting we are approaching consensus in the sense that one of the highest priorities for ICANN over the next few years is to escape the control of the US government. We can phrase that however it is appropriate.

All those present agreed with LH’s previous intervention.

HG: The MoU finishes in September 2006. I remember that Paul Towmey said that all the milestones mentioned by the MoU will be fulfilled, probably before the end of 2005. I remember that the document mentions that if ICANN fulfills all the expectations there will be no new MoU, therefore we can assume that there will be no new MoU for ICANN.

RP: I agree with that, although I’m not sure whether the US government agrees with this position. ICANN may believe it’s fulfilled its obligations, but perhaps the US government doesn’t.

LH: Fulfilling everything is one thing, but having the MoU doesn’t necessarily mean that ICANN is off on it’s own either.

WW: One of the major problems from my point of view is that even if we assume that the MoU process is successfully completed and the obvious direct lines of control have been removed, this does not change the fact that ICANN is still under US jurisdiction, both under federal jurisdiction as well as under the jurisdiction of California.

RP: I think that incorporation deals with some aspects of the organization but not with not how it actually conducts its own business, so I believe WW’s point is not valid.

RP: For example, ARIN is incorporated in the Commonwealth of Virginia (even though we also deal with Canadian provinces, the other 40 states, etc.). Yet as we go through contracts and other matters the governing law that’s applied is not always that of the Commonwealth of Virginia, it’s not even necessarily that of the country we’re in: it’s a matter of where we do business. The incorporation status is there primarily for the purpose of finance, taxes and so forth. The policies that are being made in the ARIN region and the way ARIN conducts its business are not approved by the Commonwealth of Virginia or by the US government. Nobody from the Commonwealth or the government has ever demanded to see anything.

WW: One question: If the US government issues another embargo regulation, then any entity functioning under US laws would be bound by those provisions.

RP: Not necessarily, look at Cuba for example. There’s an embargo with Cuba, yet ARIN did business with Cuba. I say that this problem will exist in whatever country you incorporate ICANN. When we were talking about incorporating the NRO we had the same problems everywhere we went, although some places were worse than others. I think it’s a bad argument to say if “the US government” would do something;” the correct argument would be to say if “any government” would do something. The real issue is whether ICANN is being controlled or manipulated by one government in particular, not the fact of where it’s incorporated. ICANN could be incorporated in another country but it would still have a contract with the TLC so everything would still be the same.

HPH: One way of solving problem this would be to put it under the UN umbrella. This way it would not be incorporated in any country in particular.

HG: My understanding is that the MoU will be fulfilled and there will be not need for a new MoU. So there will be not strong binding with one nation. Then we need to have more decentralization in the structure. We need to go step by step, we can’t achieve the best possible model in just 12 months. What we need to do is work in the correct direction.

SJ: Maybe one solution could be to change the organization if ICANN. For instance the board structure could be modified, leaving some room for GAC people for example, having people from government level on the Board, or making more room for the governments.

RP: This is a very interesting discussion, but I have a question: what does it all have to do with the eight-page Issues paper that we’re supposed to be discussing?

LH: Well, being independent of any single government is a point by the paper. Increasing its presence in various regions is also mentioned in the paper.

RP: I agree with that, but is it a valid issue as it is? Do we have to solve all the problems involved with it? We’re not here to provide the facts for the security plan, are we?

HG: My understanding is that the NRO should discuss this document or some priorities. Does anyone have any key points that you can mention?

LH: If the agenda was to come up with 2-5 key points for ICANN and we have not achieved that. We have maybe 1 or 2 points; we haven’t discussed any policy issues. Personally I think our policy position is “stay out of it and let us do our job.” I believe there’s very little we need from ICANN on IPv6.

HPH: That’s an interesting point. The most important things for the next couple of years is IPv6. I’m not sure what ICANN should be doing about that. I mean they should just hand out IP addresses to the RIRs, period, and maybe make sure that all the other business they’re doing is not blocking the deployment of IPv6. In my opinion there are many things in this paper we don’t understand. For example take the bullet point that reads “The risks associated with multiple complicated changes to Internet operations or protocols that need to be managed in parallel.” It’s good to have that phrase in the Strategic Plan but I don’t understand what it means.

WW: One of my notes might be that we have a concern regarding the protection of the root server system itself. My question is if ICANN thinks about outsourcing management of the root zones then we are going back to what we had before ICANN. If ICANN’s thinks from getting away from that directly then what is the point of ICANN or what’s the mandate of ICANN in getting IPv6 deployed?

RP: I submitted comments to the EC. They were in general categories: 1) dealing with the issue of regionalization (there should be regionalization); 2) the paper itself (it really doesn’t get down to actually identifying technical issues; it’s supposed to be ICANN’s business but then they just say that there are other documents that discuss this. They say that IPv6 is an issue, but there are many issues that have to do with IPv6, the amount or rate of allocation, distribution, routing, deployment, etc. They just throw them all into one bag and say “if you want to know about this then read some other document”).

LH: ICANN should let us do our jobs.

RP: Yes, but they’re trying to make an issue of something that is not an issue. It’s the same thing you hear at WSIS: someone mentions IPv6 and everybody says it’s a problem. The only real issue of concern that might be addressed in any governance thing is the fairness and equity of distribution. This is what we should be concerned about from an addressing perspective.

HPH: I see 3 options for moving forward: 1) We can gather this input and give it to the NRO EC so they can include it in the ASO response to ICANN and not replying directly from the AC; 2) We can put together a working group to prepare a draft paper to circulate among the AC and then send it to ICANN; or 3) Something in between.

HG: As to the timeline, the face-to-face meeting will be next Wednesday, so we have exactly one week.

HPH: This is precisely why we scheduled this conference today.

HPH: Is the NRO EC planning to send someone to the meeting?

RP: No, a paper will be prepared and sent in; nobody from the EC will attend. The Security and Stability Advisory Committee is not going to attend either, for similar reasons. They said that they’re not going to attend because if this is an exercise then it’s not a good idea; if it’s supposed to be a brainstorming it’s too short a notice and not very well organized; and if the purpose is to discuss a document then the document can be discussed by email.

SB: I have a question for RP: If we decide to go, is the NRO prepared to finance the trip?

RP: We’re prepared to pay something but we have not yet decided for how many people.

SB: I mean that if the NRO doesn’t finance this then there’s no point in continuing the discussion about going personally.

HG: ICANN must pay the bill.

RP: ICANN pays no money to the ASO, and we’re not about to accept it.

HG: During last meting the AC appointed my name. I want to mention that I’m not happy to spend 1-2 days for nothing. I suggest we do the following: we can try to put together a document, perhaps 1-2 pages, and send it as our contribution, seeing that we never received any official invitation to contribute. Now we have the opportunity, and although it probably won’t be a perfect document, if we abstain I believe it will be negative. We can say that time was short, that we didn’t have sufficient input, etc., and then we could include 3-4 points and send it on Monday or Tuesday in the form of joint document, as a council.

SJ: I agree.

HG: HPH mentioned the possibility of creating a small Working Group. They probably could work during the weekend and have the document ready by Monday.

SB: I fully agree with RP’s point about the NRO not attending this meeting. But the difference between the Number Council of the NRO and the Address Council of the ICANN is that we are inside ICANN. Isn’t it a different standpoint? We are ICANN, so shouldn’t we go? Wouldn’t it be the polite thing to do?

RP: I can say that the Security and Stability Advisory Committee was created by ICANN and yet it’s not going.

SB: Well, I could argue that just because they are impolite this does not mean that we should do the same.

RP: I’m just saying that it’s not impolite. I’ve stated the reasons for not going and I believe they are all valid reasons.

HG: How will the EC proceed after you send the email to the members?

RP: We’re working on something now, we’ll put something together, transmit it to Paul Twomey and Axel will sign it as Chair. By the way, I wanted to mention that, by virtue of the MoU, the NRO is the ASO.

HPH: One way the AC could handle this is the following: we give the EC our opinions on this paper. We had previously referred the Strategic Plan back to the EC, so I will simply reply to Paul Towmey’s letter saying that it has been referred back to the EC and they will be hearing back from the chair of the EC. In this way the decision of what to do next would be up to the EC. The other option would be that the AC issue a statement anyway.

RP: The AC could also put together some thoughts about this eight-page document and send them to Axel so they are included as part of our ASO package.

LH: I definitely think that we should say something. I think doing it through the EC would be fine. We can’t just abdicate our responsibility to comment on strategic policy even if our comment is simply “do nothing.”

All members present agreed with LH.

LH: I think we only have two or three sentences that we want to say to ICANN:
We think that ICANN needs to increase its presence in regions outside North America;
We think that the major policy areas are addressing and the future of IPv6. The ASO makes specific policy recommendations as they continue to develop within each region; operational strategic input will be provided by the NRO EC.

AB: I would like to add one more: Instead of merely increasing its presence outside the United States I think that ICANN should try to free itself from US government control.

LH: It would be better to word it “of any government”, not only the “US government.” This is because, as RP pointed out, they could free themselves of the US government only to be controlled by some other government.

This was agreed.

HPH: One question: ICANN is advised through the GAC. Are we saying that they should get rid of the GAC or just not be under any single government control?

LH: Good point. I think it’s easy to change the wording and say “must not require the approval of any governments,” or “independent” instead of “the advice of.”

SB: We are obviously going to have some language problems because we are talking about politics.

At this moment LH, AB and SB volunteered to put something together, so the following action was decided:

Action #051012-1 (LH, AB, SB):
To prepare the document we would like to present to ICANN regarding the ICANN Strategic Planning Issues Paper, to send it to the AC mailing list so that everybody can read it, and then to send it to the NRO EC so that they can include it in a single response from the ASO.
Timeline for circulation: Circulate the document before the weekend so that everybody can read it before Monday.

RP: I would like to make one comment on the representation of ICANN outside of the US. ICANN has very little activity that it conducts inside the US or North America. It’s presence in the US and North America is hardly felt. I think that the fact that they’re located in California has nothing to do with what they do in the US. I think that the real issue is ICANN being able to get out of it’s headquarters shell and actually becoming a presence in all regions.

HPH: I think the language more or less converts to ICANN not being under the control of any single government.

RP: That’s one thing, but the other point is simply broadening out their business (regionalization).

LH: It may be only a matter of perception, but there’s a fairly universal perception that ICANN is too strongly centered in California.

RP: Yes, but do they do anything there, carry out activities in the US or Canada other than ICANN meetings? I can’t remember the last time there was any kind of ICANN activity inside the US, other than occupy office space in Marina del Rey.

LH: We hear you but I’m not sure we can understand you.

RP: I’ll circulate it on the list.

Having decided how to continue with the matter, the meeting was adjourned at 2315 UTC).


Action #051012-1 (LH, AB, SB):
To prepare the document we would like to present to ICANN regarding the ICANN Strategic Planning Issues Paper, to send it to the AC mailing list so that everybody can read it, and then to send it to the NRO EC so that they can include it in a single response from the ASO.
Timeline for circulation: Circulate the document before the weekend so that everybody can read it before Monday.

Last modified on 29/01/2020