Jun 19, 2018 - by Staff Writer

Heading into Panama for ICANN62

Well amazingly, it’s that time again. Next week, individuals from around the world with a keen interest in Internet policy will head to Panama City, Panama for the second ICANN meeting of the year. As always, Brandsight will be attending to follow all of the important policy work being carried out by the community.

Before I head off to the meeting (which based on my research will actually be my 32nd ICANN meeting!), I’d like to share a preview of the major topics slated for discussion.

We will be about a month into the GDRP enforcement era and this topic will surely dominate the conversations during the week. The temporary specification ICANN issued to address WHOIS in a GDPR-compliant world has already resulted in legal action in Germany with ICANN seeking clarity from a court regarding the requirements in the temporary specification.

The temporary specification is still new and has many questions surrounding its interpretation and enforcement, so the community will have an opportunity to get some additional clarity on those outstanding questions.

Discussion around the actual policy work to address a long-term solution to WHOIS will undoubtedly be a hotly debated topic. Since the temporary specification can only be in place for a year, the policy making body within ICANN (the GNSO) will need to develop a bottom-up policy to effectively take its place at that time, if not before. Generally, policy work at ICANN takes several years, so to complete the policy initiative around such a contentious issue as WHOIS in a year will be challenging for sure.

In addition to issues regarding collection of WHOIS data and the development of new WHIOS policy, access to non-public WHOIS data is still unresolved. The temporary specification calls for contracted parties to provide “reasonable access” to non-public, personal information, but that is obviously open to all kinds of interpretation by different parties. We are already hearing reports of issues when access to that data has been requested.

In a late-breaking development, ICANN has just published a framework for what they call “Unified Access Model for continued access to full WHOIS.” This draft document was put out by ICANN to serve as a guide for community discussion around how third-parties will access non-public WHOIS data. Undoubtedly, this recently released proposal will be a major topic of conversation during the week in Panama City.

Of course, GDPR won’t be the only topic of discussion. The policy work regarding the next round of new gTLDs will also be on the agenda. The subsequent procedures group is scheduled to release their preliminary report around the time of the meeting and that will certainly be something in which folks are interested. In addition, the group looking at the Rights Protection Mechanisms will also be meeting and discussing a survey recently sent to Uniform Rapid Suspension practitioners.

As is the case with every ICANN meeting, the Governmental Advisory Committee will be meeting and working on their traditional communiqué which will be released at the end of the meeting. This is always something to watch closely due to the weight their advice carries with the ICANN board.

With so much happening in the domain name system it’s sure to be a very active meeting. I’m looking forward to seeing those who are attending, and sharing the highlights of the meeting during Brandsight’s traditional post-ICANN webinar on July 11th.

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