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Montevideo Meetings 3-9 September 2001 Verbatim

Montevideo Meetings 3-9 September 2001 Verbatim


ICANN/IANA and Getting Timely Changes to the Database 14/09/01

One of the key issues that we have in our relationship with IANA/ICANN is getting timely routine technical changes to the IANA database. In an effort to move forward on this, we have had two ccTLD-IANA workgroup meetings (Stockholm and Montevideo). Unfortunately those who attended ended up quite frustrated with the progress in Montevideo and have asked for a meeting with the CEO of ICANN and relevant IANA Staff at Marina del Rey in November (see the Communique of the ccTLD-IANA Workgroup )

I asked a series of questions at the Public Forum to try to clarify what the IANA means when it talks about redelegations in relation to updating the IANA ccTLD database, and got some constructive answers. I thought this might be useful for those of you unable to be present and so I have created a verbatim (that is, a word-for-word) transcript of the part of the Public Forum session which related to redelegation issues.

Please note that I have taken this from the official audio archive and I have been as careful as possible to be accurate. If anyone feels that there are errors, please contact me.

I have, however, removed the ums, ahs, and other speech hesitations for more clarity; and where the record was not clear I have placed my best guess in between square brackets [ ]. In one case I have put off-camera gestures into square brackets, or the next words wouldn't make sense.

One thing I've re-learned is that we don't speak the way we write!


Unofficial transcript of part of ICANN Public Forum session, September 9 2001.

Leader (.nz): I have a question for the Board, which possibly needs some background, in relation to making changes to nameservers or even changes of address - moving from one building to another. We fill in the modification template. Changes to nameservers are considered, technically, by IANA to be a 'redelegation'. OK? [shaking of heads from some Board members] Right, that's what we think.

Now, we've heard just now the same thing that seems to being said, and I'm willing to be corrected if I've misheard, the same thing that was said at the ccTLD-IANA workshop; and what seems to be being said is, except in cases of extreme emergency - the nameservers are down - there will not be a 'redelegation' without a contract. Could I ask when the Board passed a motion directing that activity by the Staff.

Cerf (Chair, ICANN Board of Directors):

Mr Lynn

Lynn (President and CEO, ICANN): Sue I suggest you read very carefully the email that I sent you because nowhere in that email does it say that a nameserver change constitutes a redelegation. What it said is that a technical contact change under certain circumstances might constitute a redelegation - the nameserver does not constitute a redelegation. Now, just to clarify some of the remarks that were raised earlier and you know one of the things that I hope we will do for those who will be at Bled and I really invite ["attend meeting at"] Marina del Rey, is for us to start working with data and facts instead of broad statements. So I would like those of you who feel that you have had long nameserver changes, and I know Sue that you are one of them, to gather that data and bring it to Marina del Rey and we'll compare it with the data that we have and let's see if we can reconcile it together. Because the data that we have ,shows that once you subtract off the often considerable time it takes to get a response from the ccTLD appropriate people on the information we request, that the time it actually spends in our house on the average is about three or four days. There is also a time as you know, as we explain in that note, that there is a turnaround from the US government. But the time it takes in our house is about three or four days. So I explained that to you, I think, in a note and your particular case I also explained that it took a little longer because it caught us on a vacation problem, but normally on the average it spends three to four days in our house.

Leader: If I may reply? We have received your letter and we will be responding when we get home so I have to leave that there.

[ Lynn ] Good

Leader : Could I just ensure that I did hear that a change of nameserver is not a redelegation?

Lynn: That is correct, if any of my colleagues want to correct me on that.

McLaughlin (Chief Policy Officer; Chief Financial Officer, ICANN): It's correct. I mean one of the things that you look out for when you see nameserver changes is that you look out for self-redelegation. So let me be clear - if you see a radical change in the nameserver that suggests that what is really happening is the operation itself is moving from one party to another and they're just leaving the contact information the same, even though it's soon to be enacted, you can analyse it and wonder whether it's a redelegation and investigate, and ask for confirmation from the Managers. But, assuming that that's not the case, a change of nameserver by the same organisation, that is the Admin and Tech contacts as we know them, that is not, almost by definition, a redelegation.

Leader: Fabulous. And therefore not being a redelegation, it does not require approval by the Department of Commerce?

McLaughlin: It does require approval by the Department of Commerce because it is a change in the root zone file. Changes in the root zone file are what gets approved by the Department of Commerce.

Leader: OK. So there is no Board Policy that there will be no 'redelegation', in other words, we choose for instance to change our technical contact - which counts as a redelegation; - there's "no redelegation without a contract" is not a rule of the Board and which has not been passed to the Staff to enact.

McLaughlin: The Staff has been directed by the Board in two or maybe three resolutions to move as best we can to get as many agreement as we can as early as we can to complete the transition.

As I said before, we do not regard it as being a one hundred percent rule, but we think that where a redelegation is taking place it ought to be done in the context of the formal agreement which is the goal of this process. So the resolutions I'm thinking of would be Melbourne, perhaps Marina del Rey last Fall; I can't remember if the Board said anything about it in Stockholm, but the marching orders from the Board have been "all steam ahead" for written agreements.

Leader: So, if I understand correctly then, that there is no requirement to have a contract signed before a redelegation takes place, it's simply been convenient in those situations.

McLaughlin: We think that redelegation ought to take place in the context of a formal written agreement to solidify, make transparent, and reliable the relationship.

Cerf: Let me intervene for just a moment. Let's make sure that we don't have confusion here.

First of all, if it is a change of nameserver and that's all, and the same party is operating, I wouldn't consider that to be a redelegation. If there is in fact a change of operator for the TLD, I would consider that to be a redelegation. And I believe that the Board has stated, if not in a resolution then at least in the sense of the Board, that we would like the Staff to seek written agreements upon redelegation.

Cerf: Elisabeth [Porteneuve] was next at the mike - no - Mr Thrush.

Dengate Thrush (ccTLD AdCom) Mr Chairman, I think this is a problem and we have already called in one of our documents for a meeting with the CEO and the IANA staff in Los Angeles. I wonder if before then there could be some Staff papers ready to go to the Board. I get the sense that many of the Board are as surprised as some of we are to learn that the instruction to move rapidly into contracts is being used by the Staff as a means of withholding changes of the IANA database. I'm not sure that's what the Board intended. I assume that the Board appreciates the difficulty that there is in signing a contract, and to put a ccTLD facing a delegation or redelegation change under duress, to sign a contract seem to be something the Board would not support. I may be wrong, it may be that the Board all understands that the Staff is using this circumstance to try and pick off ccTLD's who need redelegation. If that is a Board Policy, then I think it should go through the usual process of establishing ICANN Policy, and I ask therefore that at this meeting that we have called for in Los Angeles, that there be a very clear set of papers presented as to what the Board means by instructing the Staff to go ahead with all due speed with contracts, and whether the Board approves of the tactic adopted by the Staff of requiring ccTLD's that need redelegation approvals, to force them under those circumstances to sign a contract. This seems to me a circumstance I've not been fully aware of - to be a major significant Policy which should be going through the appropriate channels. So, I ask that at the meeting in Los Angeles some very clear statements from the Board and the Staff be available for us, and if necessary, that a Resolution approving the current approach or rejecting the current approach, be able to be taken by the Board in Marina del Rey.

Cerf: Thank you. Andrew.

McLaughlin: Peter's comment was directed to the Board, so I don't want to get between you and that comment, but let me just say one thing about the terminology of "picking off ccTLD's", because it implies the sort of, actually it embodies a kind of "Death Star" mentality about ICANN in this context. We really at the Staff level at least, conceive of this problem in a totally different way. This is not a labour-management negotiation that we're trying to execute, in our opinion. Rather, we are trying to formalise a set of community relationships in service to the Internet community, globally and locally, in written documents that benefit everybody. And the Agreements that we've posted that we call the Legacy Situation Agreement is, by any measure, extraordinarily lightweight. It is, as I said, about two pages, it is general, any party can walk away from it with 30 days notice. It is designed to be the most rudimentary written documentation of our relationship that could be imagined, and given that we've indicated that this is a perfectly acceptable way to formalise the relationship, for now, at least, maybe permanently, but for now, it doesn't strike the Staff as being an astonishingly burdensome or oppressive condition that we work towards a mutually agreeable document of that nature when executing a redelegation. We think of this as a community obligation on both parties to serve the Internet in a transparent and stable way, not as some kind of cherry-picking of ccTLD's to bring them into our "Evil Empire".

Cerf: Before I order the cream pies to be brought in so that the two of you can throw them at each other and entertain us, let me invite one more comment since you're at the microphone Peter, but then I would suggest that we put this topic to rest for today. I would think that the Board would be interested in hearing more both from Mr Thrush and from the Staff about the nature of the problems you appear to be having, but today is not the right day to try to accomplish that. Mr Thrush.

Dengate Thrush : Just to say that we are not really interested in a further justification of the Staff's ["approach, desire"]. I asked the Board a question - was the Board aware of this, and in any event, can we have some assurance that it's on the Agenda for Los Angeles.

Cerf: Hans [Kraaijenbrink]

Kraaijenbrink (Board Director, ICANN): If you'll allow me a reaction on this issue. What surprises me is that I detect a sense that there are ccTLD's who do not want to enter into any Agreement with ICANN. And it gives me also a flavour that there is part of the ccTLD community which doesn't recognise the importance of ICANN in the technical administration of the Internet. I do also recognise that, at least a group of ccTLD's in CENTR, are having positive discussions and interworking with the ICANN Staff to further this, and I do not believe that there should be an explicit decision or Resolution by the ICANN Board in these issues because in the framework of the creation of ICANN there is the establishment of an agreement between ICANN and the ccTLD Registries as well.

Cerf: Thank you. Ken Fockler.

Fockler (Board Director, ICANN): If I could just try and give my answer directly to Peter on that question - that I believe, yes, I was, and I think the Board was aware. And it wasn't a Resolution, but we understood that there were going ahead, and for instances of redelegation we would be seeking an Agreement. That was then, and I think it didn't seem that rosy at the time, maybe looking back expectation that within a short timeframe acceptable Agreements would be arrived at. I think that the request to review that approach in this environment is reasonable.

Sue Leader
Executive Director

© 2001 The Internet Society of New Zealand
Last updated 20 September 2001

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