Afnic Registrar Day is back

Afnic Registrar Day

On January 10, the new edition of Registrar Day was held, organized by AFNIC, the registry of the .FR extension, this event is mainly intended for registrars.

While the event was usually held in December, this new edition, which was both accessible in person and remotely, and which took place after the pandemic period, was held at the beginning of this year, a way to place ourselves “in a new dynamic,” according to Pierre Bonis, AFNIC’s Director General.

The Registrar Day was an opportunity to review the highlights of the year 2022 for the organization, the most notable being the deployment of a new registry system on October 1 and the renewal by the French government of the .FR management concession for a new 5-year period. This renewal is accompanied by the implementation of new commitments such as access to registration data for authorized authorities or a strengthening of the fight against domain abuse.

In terms of figures, it should be noted that in 2022, .FR passed the 4 million mark in volume of domain names, a faster growth than the median rate of 2.0% recorded by the Council of European National Top-Level Domain Registries (CENTR) for the year 2022 at the level of European ccTLDs. It is worth noting that .FR ranks third in terms of volume among the ccTLDs of the European Union, behind .DE (Germany) with some 17 million domains and .NL (Netherlands) with more than 6 million domains, and is tied for 7th place with .AU (Australia) at the global level among the 308 ccTLDs delegated to the root 1  

1 Source Verisign

Image source : Afnic’s website

ICANN75, a dense summit before the ITU plenipotentiary meeting

Barely three months after the ICANN74 summit in The Hague, the one in Kuala Lumpur, 75th edition, has just been held. A second summit in hybrid mode, a mix of face-to-face and remote that claims almost 2000 participants from 112 countries, 60% of which were present on the spot. As if to better exist, two weeks before the particularly important appointment of a new secretary general at the head of the International Telecommunication Union, the technical counterpart of ICANN, ICANN proposed a dense summit. NAMESHIELD looks back over.

The sensitive appointment of a new general secretary at the head of the ITU

During the traditional opening ceremony of the ICANN75 summit, Goran Marby, the current head of the organization said “ICANN must be able to continue its mission for a single Internet“. This remark was referring to concerns about the upcoming appointment of a new general secretary to head the ITU, the UN agency in charge of regulating and planning telecommunications worldwide. After two mandates, the current secretary, the Chinese Houlin Zhao, will indeed give up his place to one of the two candidates in the running to succeed him: Doreen BOGDAN-MARTIN, an American or Rashid ISMAILOV, a Russian. Two candidates and two different visions of governance models as Goran Marby indicates: “One of the candidates wants the transfer of competences from the IETF (the Internet Engineering Task Force develops and promotes Internet standards) and ICANN to the UN“. During another question and answer session with the ICANN Board, the election was again invited in the exchanges since it was question of the increased risks of fragmentation of the DNS and the unique identifiers system if the ICANN missions are entrusted to the States. Later in the week, during a cross session between the ICANN Board and the GAC, the governmental body, the Russian representative of the GAC took advantage of a speech to answer in Russian to Goran Marby’s remarks, explaining that the Russian candidate at the head of the ITU does not want to dismantle the Internet. To better support his remarks he communicated the program of the candidate. Things calmed down at the end of ICANN75 during the traditional public forum, which we can regret that it lasted only one hour, a forum where once again the Russian representative of the GAC took the floor in English indicating that Russia is not against the Internet governance model and that it was necessary to take care to reflect the Russian position with accuracy.

The fragmentation of the ICANN model, a major concern

A sign that Internet fragmentation has become a major concern is that this topic was subject to a dedicated session. An interactive survey among the participants revealed that 53% of them consider that the Internet is already fragmented. The reasons mentioned are, on the one hand, the imbalance observed for access to the Internet from one continent to another, Africa being the least well endowed in this area. Other sources of fragmentation mentioned are the cost of subscriptions, which makes access impossible for the poorest, and the multiplication of laws at the state levels, which in some cases prevent full access to this resource, and in others prevent controlled access.

On the problems of connectivity in the world, Goran Marby emphasized the project “ICANN Ground”, a program under construction that will allow to solicit funds on specific needs. The endowment will come from the auctions of the new generic extensions round of 2012, some 233 million US dollars. Ukraine was the first state helped by ICANN with an emergency aid of 1 million US dollars made available in spring.

Is this good will enough to keep the unique Internet, totem of the organization? Indeed, apart from the political and societal fields, the technical alternatives, the so-called “alternative” roots, notably based on blockchain, have also been mentioned. These add new problems due to the lack of community and inter-community coordination with the DNS players. Name collisions indeed become inevitable.

So, to those who indicate that some actors are tempted to turn away from ICANN because of the length of the processes on the issues to be addressed, the organization answers that it is the price to pay for a community functioning by consensus. And on the subjects in debate, it is necessary to notice that there is no lack of them.

The period of amendments, the failure of the accuracy scoping team

As a sign that things are moving forward, the Registration Data Policy resulting from a revision of the Temporary Specification applied in response to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is entering its final stretch with implementation scheduled for early 2023. This policy will embed measures applied to registries and registrars on the collection, processing and storage of personal data related to domain names.

The Registration Data Access Protocol (RDAP), which is used to publish domain name registration data in the same way as Whois, will be gradually replaced by Whois from next year, with a transitional phase of 18 months, provided that the majority of stakeholders approve the project during a forthcoming consultation. The idea of introducing additional measures in the contracts of the stakeholders to fight against DNS abuse is also gaining ground.

Other topics are still in development, such as the next round of new generic extensions, which we discuss below, and the Standardized System to Access Data (SSAD), which is intended to standardize access to registration data in the case of legitimate requests. A prototype will be developed over a period of 9 months.

But we could also note what has been described as the “failure” of the Accuracy Scoping Team, a working group that was supposed to evaluate the measures on the accuracy of domain name registration data and to identify the possible policy gaps. Indeed, due to the lack of a legal basis to access the data and thus assess the accuracy of the data, their mission could not be carried out. Their work is therefore stopped.  

A next series of new generic extensions under the impulse of internationalized extensions

The next series of new generic extensions, still in the framing phase, has been mentioned as a response to fragmentation thanks to internationalized extensions, extensions in native language, which allow, according to the words of Goran Marby, “to bring the Internet closer to its users“.  He hopes that the next series of new generic extensions will be “a real success from the point of view of internationalized extensions because the Internet is too often perceived as a Western instrument“. The ICANN Board also mentioned these internationalized extensions as a response to the accelerated concentration of the market because they can help “raise awareness of the need for a diversified ecosystem“. Internationalized extensions should benefit from a new spotlight with the launch next year of the first Universal Acceptance Day, on February 16. This event is intended to mobilize the technical community to take into account this type of extensions and domain names.

Comments from NAMESHIELD

We could fear that with the proximity of this summit with the previous one, hardly three months have passed since the ICANN74, this summit lacks substance because of the lack of time to progress on the debated subjects. In fact, the third and last annual ICANN meeting is usually held at the end of October. It is necessary to notice that ICANN75 has not lacked substance, either on the subjects that were discussed or on the particularly high number of sessions: 167 and things move forward. As some participants have indicated, we can regret a certain lack of interactivity with, for example, a Public forum shortened to one hour and sometimes a bit simplistic answers like Internationalized gTLDs to mitigate the concentration of our sector. On this subject, we can remind that NAMESHIELD is an independent French provider.

If the year 2022 has seen fragmentation become a central topic of ICANN summits, one may wonder if this extremely dense summit, anticipated compared to previous years, did not seek to be perceived as a marker of the usefulness of the ICANN organization in the face of current challenges, a summit placed just before the decisive election of the new General Secretary of the IUT. To the numerous animated sessions in the arcane of the ICANN now makes place the silence to follow this determining designation for the perpetuity of the organization or as to better hold its breath.

ICANN74 between lessons of the pandemic and awareness of the richness of the Internet

Between ICANN66 in Montreal, Canada and ICANN74 in The Hague, Netherlands, thirty-two months and seven summits will have passed exclusively online. In 2020, the prospect of a return to face-to-face meetings was already being discussed under the heading of ‘hybrid mode’, a mixture of face-to-face and remote meetings. The question remained as to when this could be implemented. A more favorable health context was needed, with all the questions posed by covid variants and its repeated waves, and sufficient guarantees of security for the participants, who generally come from the four corners of the world. The 74th edition, which was held last month in The Hague, was finally chosen to experiment the ‘hybrid mode’.

The return of face-to-face meetings with the lessons learned from the pandemic

A return to face-to-face sessions in The Hague, but nevertheless extremely constrained, due to health security. Pre-registration was compulsory for all sessions, with a limited number of places per session. This meant that some sessions were already fully booked well before the summit. The compulsory pre-registration led participants to pre-register for sessions they were not sure they would attend in order to reserve a place. Each participant also had to be able to prove that their vaccination status was up to date. Tests were provided on site as well as temperature taking. Finally, masks and distancing measures were mandatory, hence the limited number of places per session. The organization also decided that everyone should go through the video conferencing medium, including those present on site, an idea that aimed to ensure that all participants could interact equally. For those connected remotely, it was also noted that, as promised, the organization planned shorter sessions, generally not exceeding one and a half hour and very often even one hour. The conditions were therefore met to guarantee safe conditions for those present and good conditions for those connected remotely.

Two ODP processes running in parallel

The subject of the next series of new generic extensions has been discussed in sessions of various bodies. The project is now in the Operational Design Phase (ODP), which consists of an assessment of the risks, tasks and resources required, and which is to be concluded with an Operational Design Assessment (ODA). A related subject, that of closed generic extensions, has entered a new sequence. The principle of a so-called “Small Team”, which includes representatives of the GAC, the body representing governments, the ALAC, which represents end-users, and the GNSO, the body in charge of generic policies, has been validated in order to discuss this subject and see if a compromise can be found to envisage next steps. In the 2012 round, it was not possible to create such extension models. The question is therefore whether such extension models will be possible in the next round. Regarding the ODA, the GNSO, which estimates its publication on 31 October, has mentioned a possible postponement of six to eight weeks due to another ODA that is also mobilizing many people on the creation of a Standardized Domain Name Registration Data Access System for legitimate purposes. The SSAD ODA with contrasting conclusions, particularly with regard to its number of potential users and its particularly high cost, was delivered on 25 January. Its findings are still being evaluated. The next step on this second subject is the creation of a sort of prototype called “SSAD Light” which could be based on technologies mastered by ICANN teams to limit delays and costs. The latter would help to validate or not the implementation of an SSAD with, in this case, a prior implementation phase.

Accuracy of registration data, an important issue

Among the many issues currently being examined, the accuracy of domain name registration data is an important one for Europeans. Indeed, it is the Regulation on the Protection of Personal Data, the GDPR, which has prompted ICANN to call for the removal of personal data from registration directories and which, in turn, explains the aforementioned SSAD project and the accuracy of data. How can we ensure that masked data is accurate?  In October 2021, a Scoping Team began a mission to evaluate the obligations related to the accuracy of registration data. It planned to verify the effectiveness of the accuracy of the data. Their findings were expected in June, but the measurement of effectiveness has been hampered by the difficulty of obtaining the necessary data, which is stored at the registrars. Transmitting all registration data to ICANN for research purposes requires a legal basis. The Scoping Team is thus put on hold.

This is particularly important because, as EURALO, the European part of the At-Large body representing end-users, has pointed out, Europe is about to adopt the NIS2 Directive. The directive is due to be voted on in the plenary session of the European Parliament in September before being published in the Official Journal and transposed in the 27 European states. EURALO recalled that NIS2 provides for specific obligations notably on domain name registration data, storage, access and verification and therefore interferes with the role of the regulator ICANN. Moreover, if specific measures apply only to European providers, this creates a disparity of obligations between players, not to mention that the transposition of the text could be unequal in the states. Accuracy at the ICANN level can help harmonize future obligations for all players regardless of their location.

The impact of regulations and disasters

At ICANN73, which followed the outbreak of the conflict in Ukraine, ICANN had the good idea of creating a session dedicated to geopolitical, regulatory and legislative aspects. This meeting highlighted the risks of fragmentation of the single Internet model advocated by the organization. This meeting was repeated at this summit and allowed to note that the initiatives of the States are increasingly interfering with ICANN’s role as regulator.

EURALO had the good idea of completing this panorama with a session on governance and multipartyism in times of emergency. This session consisted mainly of a round-up of At-Large representatives from different continents. The representative from Ukraine logically started the session. In a moving speech about the tragedy in her country, she reminded us that the Internet infrastructure in her country has been heavily impacted. For the Asia-Pacific region, the representative mentioned the volcanic eruption in Tonga in January 2022, which cut the submarine cables and caused a five-week blackout on the islands. She also mentioned the situation in Myanmar where the Internet has been cut off since a coup in February 2021. The representatives of the two American continents spoke of natural and climatic disasters such as Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, which had knocked out telecommunications antennas and the electricity network. For part of the population, electricity and Internet access had been cut off for several months. Finally, the representative of Africa recalled that today at least 60% of Africans do not have access to the Internet.

Our comments

The return to face-to-face meetings was not an easy task for ICANN. While many participants felt that the proposed framework was too restrictive, it seems that the organization worked quite well overall in allowing everyone to attend the sessions fairly. The protection measures also seem to have dissuaded many participants from coming, including the speakers scheduled for the week of exchanges who assumed to participate remotely. Indeed, the figures given by the organization indicate 1817 participants from 101 countries, half of whom attended remotely. A good point for the planet but the limit was the possibility to interact outside the sessions.

On the ongoing policy development and review processes, the sessions during the week of the event reminded us that there are a lot of issues being dealt with in parallel, undoubtedly too many issues. This inevitably makes it difficult to keep track of them and causes delays, such as the two ODPs being conducted simultaneously on SSAD and the next round of new generic extensions. However, the overall feeling is that the topics are moving forward, even if the finish line is often unclear.

The last day provided a break from policy issues as geopolitical and regulatory issues and the impact of disasters reminded us that the governance model and access to the Internet are two particularly fragile critical aspects. While NAMESHIELD offers you solutions to the risks associated with compromised names and malicious registrations, we must also remember that we are not all equal when it comes to accessing the Internet. In addition to stricter legislation, other risks such as armed conflicts or climate change must indeed also be considered.

Image source : ICANN’s website

ICANN73 or the difficult equation of preserving a weakened global model

ICANN73 or the difficult equation of preserving a weakened global model

In recent years, ICANN, the regulator of a “universal resolution” of the Internet for all Internet users, has been confronted with new difficulties that are weakening the body and its model. Its mode of operation has had to be adapted to an unprecedented global pandemic and its model of a global Internet is now being questioned by the growing desire of states to emancipate themselves from it, with the tragic conflict in Ukraine pushing the Urals a little further away from the Rockies. But the difficulties also come from its immediate environment with the rise of alternate roots. It is in this context and following a previous edition marked by tensions around the subjects that make up its topicality and which are struggling to move forward, that the 73rd summit opened with great expectations.

For once, the 73rd ICANN meeting did not kick off on a Monday, the day scheduled for the first working sessions. On Sunday 6 March, ICANN published a communiqué stating that its Board of Directors had decided to allocate an initial sum of US$1 million in financial assistance to support access to the Internet infrastructure in emergency situations in Ukraine. This was a way to launch an edition where the conflict in Ukraine was bound to be on everyone’s mind and in many debates.

The conflict in Ukraine in the background

Indeed, on Monday afternoon the very first plenary session of the summit, that of the GAC, the body representing governments, began with a condemnation of Russia’s actions in Ukraine. Several members of the GAC, including France, took the floor.

Two weeks earlier, Ukraine was hit by the first Russian strikes. Ukraine, through Mykhailo Fedorov, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Digital Transformation, asked ICANN to target Russia’s access to the Internet by revoking specific country code top-level domains operated from Russia, revoking SSL certificates associated with the domain names and shutting down a subset of root servers located in Russia. ICANN responded negatively to this request in a letter from Goran Marby, ICANN’s CEO, to the Minister, reminding that ICANN’s mission is to take steps to ensure that the Internet operates in a global and non-politicised manner. ICANN is a neutral body, Goran Marby repeated at the Public Forum that closed the summit.

Prospects for ongoing policy development processes

During the previous ICANN summit, tensions were palpable in certain bodies, especially the one representing the registries, due to policy development processes that have become longer with additional stages such as the ODP (Operational Design Phase) that now intervene between the return of final recommendations and the Board’s vote on them.

The first subject to be affected by the ODP stage is the Standardised System for Access to domain name Data. This system, known as SSAD, has been under discussion for more than three years as part of a policy development process known as ePDP, of which SSAD is part of phase 2. It is intended to return to a more uniform model of access to domain name registration data for legitimate requests. However, the ODP, which has just been finalised six months later than the initial estimated timetable, has highlighted the difficulty of framing this project. The number of users is in fact estimated at between 25,000 and 3 million to address 100,000 to 12 million requests, values that lead to a particularly wide range of implementation and maintenance costs (from 34 to 134 million US dollars) and consequently to access costs for the future system that are very difficult to evaluate, the idea being to finance the system exclusively with access costs. At ICANN73 , a way out was suggested: Create a pilot project to limit the risks, in other words, envisage a small-scale SSAD before considering the next steps.

It has been noted that regarding phase 1 of the aforementioned ePDP there is now a finish line. It is estimated to be completed by the end of 2022. This phase aims to create a perennial policy to replace a Temporary Specification that addressed the GDPR in the domain name eco-system in 2018.

The other major topic is that of a next series of new generic extensions. Let’s remember that the previous series will celebrate its ten years in 2022. Since then, it has been a policy development process (PDP) that stretched from December 2015 to February 2021 when the body representing generic policies, the GNSO, adopted the final recommendations report. Last September the ICANN Board decided to initiate an ODP process that could last until early next year. This topic has been the subject of much criticism as the finish line seems to be getting further and further away, even though it has been ten years since the last round. Nevertheless, one option was discussed at ICANN73, that of starting the implementation work without delay, a proposal that, while it rather displeased the ICANN CEO, was rather positively received by the ICANN Board, which should however only vote on the recommendations of the final report of the PDP process after the end of the ODP.

Geopolitical, legislative and regulatory aspects – a new feature

Among the novelties of this summit was a plenary session devoted to geopolitical, legislative and regulatory aspects. This session provided an overview of the many initiatives coming from institutions such as the United Nations, the International Telecoms Union, the Council of Europe and the OECD, as well as from States such as Russia with its digital sovereignty law and China with its law on cybersecurity and data security. This session also allowed to clarify perceptions such as ICANN’s position on the European NIS2 directive. Goran Marby indicated that ICANN does not have an official position on this issue.

The return of the GDD/GDS summit?

Until 2019, ICANN proposed a more operational summit called GDD Summit in addition to the three policy summits. This was abandoned in the context of the global pandemic and has not been mentioned since. The possibility of relaunching this mechanism was put on the table at ICANN73. There could therefore be a fourth annual ICANN meeting as early as the end of this year, with November being mentioned as a possible date. However, between now and then, there will be ICANN74 in June and ICANN75 in September, two events where the hybrid mode, face-to-face and remote, should be in place.

Nameshield Comments

ICANN 73 was undeniably marked by the conflict in Ukraine. A conflict that paradoxically allowed to find a semblance of unity with the outline of solutions as the fact of allowing the Ukrainian registrars to derogate from the ICANN policies through a device called “extraordinary circumstances” and to recall the ICANN to its fundamentals, an apolitical body working for a global Internet. By mapping out the geopolitical, legislative and regulatory contexts, the body also seems to have realised that the world ahead may make it even more difficult to preserve its model of a globalised internet. The feeling after this summit is that more concrete proposals and perspectives have been given on some of the subjects discussed.

For the next round, it is the threat of alternative roots to the DNS that could give an unexpected boost to the current process. These roots that tend to develop could cause collisions between requests if one day identical TLDs cohabit in two environments, a risk that is all the more increased if ICANN marks the step on a future round. Another risk is to be challenged for the allocation of regulatory TLDs when an identical TLD would exist on an alternate root.

Image source: ICANN’s website

ICANN72, between prioritisation needs and fragmentation risks

ICANN72, between prioritisation needs and fragmentation risks

At the end of October, the 72nd ICANN summit was held, devoted to the development of policies that impact the domain name system (DNS) and the global Internet community. As already announced during the past summer, this latest annual meeting was to be held by videoconference in the time zone of Seattle in the United States. “Sleepless” were therefore not in Seattle but rather in Europe.

ICANN72, between prioritisation needs and fragmentation risks

The thorn in the side of the next round of new generic extensions

A month before this summit, ICANN announced the schedule for the Operational Design Phase (ODP) for one of the most anticipated topics by the contracting parties: the organisation of a future round of applications for new generic extensions. The ODP is a new mechanism now linked to the policy development process (PDP). It is similar to a project scoping exercise as it aims to identify the steps, risks, costs and resources to be allocated to implement a project, in this case a new round of generic extensions. The PDP was conducted between 2015 and 2020, with the submission of a final recommendations report to the ICANN Board in March of this year. However, it is not until February 2023, almost two years later, that the Board should consider these recommendations, the time to let the ODP conduct. Indeed, ICANN confirmed before the opening of ICANN72 that this scoping phase should last sixteen months in its entirety, including ten months for the conduct of the ODP, three months upstream to initiate the latter and in particular to constitute the teams that will conduct it and three months downstream to conclude the work. This timetable surprised many of the contracting parties and gave rise to much discontent. These discontents were particularly expressed through the Brand Registry Group that represents and promotes the interests of its members, dotBrand owners. For most members, things are not moving fast enough and the ODP would even be partly useless since some aspects overlap with the work already conducted during the previous PDP. Another aspect pointed out was the cost of the ODP estimated to $9 million, which is not a small amount.

The clouds are gathering as are the processes underway

As the other sessions scheduled during the week-long summit progressed, it was clear that the clouds continued to gather in the weather of ICANN’s policies. For example, the announcement of the launch of an expedited policy development process (ePDP) to review the Uniform Domain-Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP), which allows for the recovery of disputed domain names, caused a great deal of misunderstanding, given that a review of all rights protection mechanisms (RPMs) has already been conducted between 2016 and 2020 and its final recommendations have not yet been examined by the ICANN Board. Now this review to validate the recommendations is scheduled to take place at best in the summer of 2022, by which time the aforementioned ePDP should be finalised. This example illustrated the gap that is being created between the community’s expectations for decisions and ICANN’s decision-making bodies, which seem to be overwhelmed by the policy negotiation processes that are piling up and stretching out over time, risking rendering decisions obsolete if they are made too late. According to some participants, this even affects ICANN’s ability to continue to carry out its mission as set out in its founding documents: To preserve and enhance the operational stability, reliability, security and global interoperability of the Internet.

“Prioritisation”, the word is out

On the first day of the sessions, ICANN CEO Goran Marby defended himself against the idea that the Board was slow to make decisions. He pointed out that the Board had recently examined 228 recommendations from the Competion Consumer Choice & Consumer Trust (CCT), which had just conducted a review to assess the extent to which the expansion of generic TLDs, gTLDs, had promoted competition, consumer confidence and consumer choice. 166 have been approved to date, 44 placed on hold and 18 rejected. Many of these measures are correlated with research and data collection to better understand market trends for new gTLDs.

Goran Marby also justified the delays in decision-making by the large number of ongoing and overlapping issues and by the fact that ICANN sometimes needs additional expertise to make decisions. In response to the criticisms, he also indicated that ICANN is now working on some form of prioritisation, a wish expressed by NAMESHIELD that seems to have been heard. However, Marteen Botterman of the Board nuanced this by specifying that prioritisation is not the Board’s responsibility, as it must ensure that the multi-stakeholder model is respected and must therefore maintain a certain neutrality on the subjects submitted to it.

A risk of fragmentation

From an organisation that has difficulty in making decisions, to its questioning, there is only one step. From the first day of the sessions, Goran Marby, who was particularly involved in the exchanges, spoke of “threats to ICANN”. ICANN is working on a risk management framework for the organisation. He also spoke of the need to talk more closely with governments as the current governance model is being challenged. Indeed, one only has to look at Russia to see that in November 2019, the Russian government introduced new regulations that create a legal framework for centralised state management of the internet within Russia’s borders. Russia has also proposed to hand over the management of the root servers to BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) member states. Proof that the States are going on the offensive in terms of their legislation, recent European directives also have an impact on the governance model, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the forthcoming NIS2 (Network and Information Systems) directive, subjects which were also recalled at the summit. In China, for example, a law strengthening controls on digital services operated in China has just been adopted.

The failure of the ICANN governance model, if confirmed, could lead to a fragmentation of the DNS as we know it today, a fragmentation which takes shape as ICANN becomes bogged down in sterile debates. This summit has highlighted that the community and ICANN leadership have identified this major risk. The challenge for the future is to address it. We will watch the next ICANN summit scheduled in March 2022.

The observation that DNS regulation policies are bogged down, particularly at ICANN72, was widely shared by NAMESHIELD well before this summit. In particular, NAMESHIELD had expressed the need to prioritise topics in agreement with the community during the ICANN72 preparatory sessions. NAMESHIELD, which participates in working groups working on recommendations in the context of the periodic reviews conducted by ICANN, also advocated for re-enchanting voluntary work and helping diversify representatives in these working groups, in particular from small structures. Indeed many volunteers are now overwhelmed by the increasing volume of topics to be considered as the processes accumulate and decisions do not follow. New participants are discouraged from taking an interest in these topics by lengthy and cumbersome processes.

Image source : David Mark via Pixabay

Data escrow no longer escapes the concentration of the domain names industry

concentration of the domain names industry

There is a lot of talk about the concentration that is taking place in registries and registrars, two of the key actors in the domain names ecosystem. The two companies that have been in the news the most in the last two years, are Ethos Capital and Clearlake Capital, two private equity firms that have specialised in acquisitions in this sector.

Ethos Capital, founded in 2019, had proposed in November in a 1.135 billion euros deal to acquire Public Interest Registry, the registry in charge of the historical extension .ORG, which then claimed some 10.5 million registrations.  If this deal was not done after a surprise veto from ICANN as part of a provision of the Registry agreement that provides for an approval process for each type of transfer whether it is a change of control or a major subcontracting agreement, Ethos Capital was quickly comforted with the confirmed acquisition on March 31, 2021 of the registry Donuts, which in December 2020, had concluded the acquisition of Afilias, the registry operator of the .INFO and .MOBI gTLDs, among others. Donuts currently claims 270 generic extensions out of a total of 1268, i.e. 21% of them! It recently acquired the .watches extension from the luxury goods manufacturer Richemont.

As for Clearlake Capital Group, this company founded in 2006, acquired Endurance International in a $3 billion deal and recently took a significant stake in The two entities were merged to form a new company called Newfold Digital. Newfold’s portfolio includes registrars such as, Network Solutions,, BuyDomains, BigRock, PublicDomainRegistry and CrazyDomains as well as BlueHost and HostGator, two very important companies in the field of web hosting. The group claims approximately 16.5 million domain names.

Another well-known player, the American registrar GoDaddy, announced in February 2021 that it was raising 800 million dollars to make acquisitions. Since then GoDaddy seems to have gone on the offensive. The world’s largest registrar by volume is currently finalising the acquisition of Minds & Machines, a registry of new generic extensions (27 in all) in a deal worth 120 million dollars. Europe is of course not immune to the concentration phenomenon, even if the deals taking place are not as high as those mentioned above.

Indeed, these are just a few examples of a concentration that seems to be accelerating unstoppably in the domain name sector. Yet another important key players in the domain name management, the escrow operators whose critical mission is to store and safeguard domain name data for registrars and registries, rather like a bank, seemed less exposed to the phenomenon until now. However, if we look at the list of ICANN-designated agents, we recently noticed that one of them, namely Iron Mountain, has disappeared. This is not due to an error but to the fact that this actor has been absorbed by its competitor NCC Group. The deal, made in June, is estimated to be worth 165 million dollars. 

Across the concentrations now taking place in all the key areas necessary for the management of domain names portfolios, questions arise about the range of services on offer, which is constantly shrinking as a few major players take over the market, and also about prices (PIR had obtained from ICANN the lifting of the ceiling on .ORG prices just before Ethos Capital made its takeover offer) and the control of the domain name data, a control that seems difficult with the globalisation of the market. It should be remembered that NAMESHIELD remains an independent French company for which all these issues are at the heart of its concerns.

Image source : Geralt via Pixabay

ICANN71: GAC in the spotlight

ICANN71: GAC in the spotlight
Image source : website

Some 56 sessions were scheduled as part of the 71st ICANN Summit in The Hague. Held once again exclusively by video conference due to the global health situation, no less than a quarter of these sessions were organised by the GAC, the governmental advisory committee that advises ICANN on public policy issues related to ICANN’s responsibilities in the domain name system. The GAC has been very active on all current ICANN policy issues and has clearly made its mark.

The GAC currently has 179 members, representing a majority of the world’s countries. This gives it a good representation on a global scale to speak to a global governance body. The GAC is highly organised and precedes ICANN meetings with preparatory meetings that enable it to gather opinions at local level and then relay them to the governance body. Once again, this summit highlighted the fact that there are really a lot of policy issues going on at ICANN level.

The fight against DNS abuse

The topic of abuse has almost become a chestnut at ICANN summits, as it has been at the center of concerns for almost two years. While registries and registrars are already subject to a battery of obligations on this topic, many stakeholders consider these to be insufficient to really address the issue. The year 2020 has indeed seen an explosion in cybersecurity breaches, particularly as a result of the global pandemic, which has seen even more consumption via the web, particularly due to confinements, and where working methods have had to be reinvented in favour of the remote. It is clear that little has been achieved to date on that issue.

A thorough initiative rich in proposals was formulated by the SSAC (Security and Stability Advisory Committee) which, in its 24 recommendations transmitted to the ICANN Board, put forward the idea of initiating an expedited Policy Development Process (ePDP) with a view to developing an anti-abuse policy. Their report to the Board three months ago has not been acted upon to date. The second and more recent initiative comes from the Registry Stakeholder Group (RySG). It has finalised, with input from the GAC, a framework aimed specifically at botnets, attacks that use forms of Trojan horses to take control of computers to form networks of computers to carry out further attacks. Its principle is to allow voluntary registries to join a scheme that requires them to preemptively block bulk names generated via DGAs (Domain Generation Algorithms), algorithms used to periodically generate large numbers of domain names that can be used as rendezvous points with their command and control servers. The large number of potential rendezvous points makes it difficult for law enforcement to effectively counter botnets, as infected computers will attempt to contact some of these domain names every day to receive updates or commands. The principle here is therefore preventive. In return, the registries would benefit from incentives and would not have to pay the tax collected by ICANN when a domain is created. This initiative is to be welcomed, but it is carried out more directly by the RySG and is therefore not consensual, hence its voluntary nature and therefore its very limited impact.

The reason the DNS abuse issue is so stalled is that it is confronted with other ongoing and upcoming policy development processes and competing interests between bodies, the Intellectual Property Constituency (IPC) for example being very concerned about access to contact data in domain name directories, the RySG about the launch of the next round of new gTLDs that they want to see move forward.

The impact of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on domain name registration data

Recall that to replace the Temporary Specification, which was put in place on 17th of May 2018 just a few days before the GDPR came into effect, an ePDP process was initiated. This process, described as expeditious, seemed to be far from being finalised at this new ICANN summit, even though three years have passed.

Segmented into three phases, phase 1 aims to provide a perennial policy that should frame the management of personal data of domain names to replace the temporary Specification that notably redacted personal data from domain name directories (via the Whois and RDAP protocols). Its drafting is progressing but no date is known for its finalisation and therefore possible implementation. The delay is partly due to the difficulty of transcribing certain recommendations, one of which was in conflict with an existing policy, the Thick Whois Transition Policy, which provides for the systematic transfer of detailed contact data from registrars to registries. Another pitfall is that the policy overlaps with other existing policies, which therefore also require ongoing adaptation.

Phase 2 concerns the establishment of a harmonised system of access to redacted name directory data for “legitimate” interests. This system is now known as the Standardised Data Access System (SDAS). The first hurdle was that the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO), the policy-making body for generic names, had surprisingly approved all of the recommendations in the Final Report, even those that did not achieve consensus. The recommendations to create this system were therefore all transmitted to the ICANN Board, which rather than pronounce and vote on their application decided to first initiate an Operational Design Phase (ODP). Initiated at the end of March by the Board, it should last six months and aims to identify the stages, risks, costs and resources to be allocated, with a consultation of the community once a milestone has been reached. It is therefore a form of project scoping. The publication of a Request for Information is planned for June for a first consultation of the community.

A Phase 2a additional layer of the PDP aims to assess the possibility of unbundling the contact data of publishable legal entities from non-publishable natural persons. Initiated in December 2020, it resulted in five recommendations in an initial report open for comment until 19th of July 2021. The first recommendation, which was much commented on at ICANN71 , finally recommends that nothing should be changed by allowing players who so wish to make this differentiation. This process will continue with a final report of recommendations expected in the second half of the year.

The GAC considers that improvements are needed in both of the above-mentioned topics. In particular, it considers that the system does not go far enough to protect consumers and increase their confidence. It also regrets that the evolution of the system over time has not been framed and fears that the cost, since access is subject to an accreditation system, could be a deterrent, particularly for those involved in the fight against security breaches who need access to registration data. On DNS abuse, the GAC reiterates the need to address this issue. It has already made several proposals at previous summits.

What about the next round?

The next round is still undecided. We just learned that the ICANN Board, which has just received the last inputs on the recommendations for the next round of new gTLDs, has confirmed that it will start an Operational Design Phase (ODP) to estimate the steps, risks and resources necessary to implement these recommendations. Not yet planned, the Board said it had asked ICANN org to prepare a document to frame the ODP in order to draft the resolution that will formalise it. This resolution will set a deadline for completion of the ODP, possibly six months as with the SSAD. 

The GAC, for its part, recalled the issues of specific concern to its members. These include: predictability, voluntary and mandatory registry commitments including how to address DNS abuse, its desire to see support for new applicants better adapted, particularly for less favoured areas, its opposition to closed generic TLDs, the consolidation of its ability to evaluate all applications in order to issue advices and warnings, and its opposition to private auctions to decide between applicants for the same gTLD. It also wishes to support non-profit community applications.

Other issues carried by the GAC are very committed

Other policy development processes are underway, such as the one on Governmental and Non-Governmental Organisation Identifiers (IGOs, INGOs), a process on the rights protection mechanisms, or in the initial phase a PDP on domain transfers and on the launch pad a PDP on IDNs. The GAC did not fail to recall the central issue of accuracy of registration data which is considered insufficiently addressed by the current obligations espacially due to the impact of GDPR. This topic will indeed be central in the perspective of the future NIS2 directives and the Digital Services Act currently being drafted at the European level. The GNSO was challenged by the GAC on the examination of this topic, which has not really started, and apologized for having too many topics in progress. Tensions that the GNSO has sought to alleviate by spending time reviewing its liaison with the GAC to improve it, a decidedly offensive and active GAC.

What About Future Summits?

ICANN summits usually end with a public forum where the public can directly question the Board. As a sign of a (temporary?) improvement of the health state on the covid, the traditional forum was dedicated to the future ICANN summits to know if they should be held in person. From this session it emerged that the answer is not obvious. At issue were the different levels of vaccination and access to vaccines in different countries, the currently restricted conditions of entry to the USA, ICANN72 being held in Seattle and the evolution of the pandemic which remains uncertain. This forum provided an opportunity to comment on a recent survey conducted by ICANN which showed that the majority of those interested in ICANN events considered that face-to-face meetings should be reactivated (54%). At the end of this session, ICANN committed to arbitrate during July. The format of ICANN72 could be hybrid, with limited on-site representation and the continuation of the remote format.

A notable feature of this summit was the large number of ongoing issues and the impression that things are moving forward with difficulty. This has resulted in notable tensions between bodies and discontent expressed, for example, by the group of representatives of geographical extensions, the geoTLDs. If for some, the return to face-to-face meetings seems to be the solution to improve things, through our presence in certain bodies and our participation in working groups, we think that it is rather a problem of visibility due to too many subjects being launched in parallel, some of which overlap with a clear lack of prioritisation. The ODP, the new tool which aims to frame the implementation of a harmonised system of access to registration data and which is now being applied in the next round, may go some way to improving these perceptions. Another aspect to be considered is the diverging interests between bodies. Here, facilitated exchanges can perhaps improve things.

ICANN70: At the crossroads of different policy development processes

Initially scheduled to take place in Cancun, Mexico, like ICANN67 , the recent summit on Internet governance was once again held entirely by videoconference due to the global health situation. The PDPs, the Policy Development Processes, were the main thread of this summit.

ICANN70 was the fourth summit held remotedely

The PDP, Policy Development Process, is the central community mechanism used by the Generic Names Supporting Organization (Gnso), the body responsible for policy developments on generic domain names, to propose new requirements and revise existing rules to update them. Each PDP results in a series of reports that are ultimately forwarded to the ICANN Board of Directors, which decides on the fate of the recommendations they contain. 

News on the PDP of the new generic extensions

It is with this mechanism that ICANN launched a program of new generic extensions that led to 1930 applications in Spring 2012 and 1233 delegated extensions by the end of 2020. The opportunity to consider a new round of applications was materialized by a PDP initiated by Gnso in late 2015. Five years later, this process to review and improve the Gnso recommendations for the 2012 cycle has entered its final stretch. It is now up to the ICANN Board to decide on the recommendations of the working groups that worked on this PDP. The Board of Directors should launch a last phase of consultations of the community before pronouncing on the continuation of their works. The community was expecting an announcement at this summit or perhaps even a timetable to mark out the next steps until the next round of applications, but we have to admit that hopes have been dashed. Indeed, no announcements were made, even though we know that the prospect of a future round of applications is now approaching fast. Regarding the content of the recommendations this time, the elements discussed mainly during ICANN70 were about a pre-evaluation of the future registries, the improvement of the predictability to evaluate the future applications and the ways to improve the applicants’ support.

The PDP: A solution to the impasse over malicious use of the DNS?

Another topic, related to the implementation of the PDP mentioned above, is the malicious uses of the DNS, a topic commonly referred to as DNS abuse.

ICANN’s monitoring of malicious practices in generic names covers some 205 million domain names, of which barely 11% are from the cycle of extensions created since 2012. The observation made through their analyses shows that around one million domains concentrate these infringements, that is to say 0.5% of them. Another notable fact is that the new generic extensions are more used for malicious practices than the historical generic extensions like .COM, .NET, .ORG, .BIZ and .INFO. In fact, ICANN indicated that in February 2021, 35% of security breaches came from names created in the new generic extensions against 65% in the historical extensions, a ratio that even rose to 40% in November 2020. ICANN also said that 90% of malicious practices in the new extensions were concentrated in 23 extensions. As for the most common types of attacks, spamming is involved at 85%, phishing at 8.4%, botnets (malicious programs that operate remotely) at 3.9% and malware at 2.7%. The new generic extensions concentrate more spamming and phishing practices. Although DNS abuse has been a central topic of discussion between the bodies representing the stakeholders of the Internet community for five summits now, positions still diverge on the measures to be taken to curb these harmful practices. Here again, the expectations of the community at this summit were high.

The GAC, the body that represents governments, has already supported the idea of a dedicated PDP on this topic. It advocates for a holistic approach that addresses all extensions, existing and future. GAC highlighted the work of the SSAC, the Security and Stability Advisory Committee, which advises the community and the ICANN Board on issues related to the security and integrity of the Internet’s naming and addressing systems. Indeed, it published an advisory prior to ICANN70 urging the Board before launching the next round of new gTLDs to commission a study of the causes, responses and best practices for mitigating domain name abuse proliferating in the new gTLDs in the 2012 round. To their credit, they also made a series of recommendations to the ICANN Board, ranging from the systematic presence of security experts in all future contract negotiations to an ePDP (expeditive Policy Development Process).  As for Gnso, it is continuing consultations for the moment without ruling out the use of a PDP.

And the ePDP phase 1 and 2 on access to registration data

Another topic, another PDP process, the ePDP in connection with the GDPR for access to domain name registration data. Initiated in 2018, it was intended to replace a Temporary Specification that involved redacting personal data from freely available registration data of generic names. Phase 1 of the ePDP, not finalized at this time, is intended to replace the Temporary Specification with a future-proof provision. Phase 2 aims to create a standardized data access system for legitimate applications commonly referred to as SSAD. This phase has now reached the end of the roadmap, as it is now in the hands of the ICANN Board of Directors after the Gnso has approved all the provisions formulated by the working groups that have worked on this subject, even those that did not reach consensus. The Gnso assumed this position under the pretext that it was necessary to take its responsibilities and that the recommendations were a whole, a breach of the process of creating new policies that normally wants to be consensual and that led the ALAC (At-Large Advisory Committee) that represents the end users to express concerns, the IPC (Intellectual Property Constituency) that represents the interests of the intellectual property community even going so far as to ask not to continue with the review of the recommendations. The ICANN Board has simply launched an Operational Design Phase to consider the operability of the future system and intends to take a position on the recommendations at a later stage.

A new PDP on domain name transfer policies

Another PDP process was officially launched at ICANN70 to revise the rules for domain name transfers: transfers between registrars and transfers between two registrants. The latter aims to simplify, secure and make name transfers more efficient. A vast project that could extend over several years…

Concerns about the concentration of the sector

Indicative of the concerns of the Internet community, the public forum this year was marked by many questions around the concentration that is accelerating among the players of domain names. The latest is Ethos Capital, a private equity firm founded in 2019, which after buying the operator of .ORG, PIR, has just taken over Donuts, which manages no less than 242 new generic extensions and had recently acquired Afilias, which is among other things manager of the extension .INFO. The community has expressed concerns about these new players whose expectations are not necessarily in line with one of ICANN’s totems, which is to defend competition, trust and consumer choice. ICANN, for its part, does not see a problem in this phenomenon, which has become a trend, because these mergers trigger very closely supervised procedures for analyzing and approving the changes that are brought about. 

ICANN70 has highlighted the fact that ICANN is looking at a number of potentially high-impact topics in domain name management, most of which are about to be materialized into new policies that Nameshield will implement for its customers. Beyond this framework, Nameshield, an independent French player, has already implemented solutions that provide answers to the problems that some of these policies must address. Do not hesitate to reach your consultant with your needs so that we can study together the solutions that we can already bring.

The historical operator of the .UK Nominet in troubled waters

The historical operator of the .UK Nominet in troubled waters
credit image: www_slon_pics

This Monday, March 22nd, at 5:15 pm CET, Nominet, the historical registry in charge of the extension of the United Kingdom, the .UK, announced that the motion aiming to dismiss five members of its board of directors, including the current CEO Russel Haworth and Chair Mark Wood, was approved by 52,74% of the members who expressed themselves in this consultation.

According to its statutes, when a motion is supported by a majority of its members, Nominet must organize a consultation of all its members. Thus, this Monday, March 22, an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) was convened to rule on the motion carried under the banner pushed by Simon Blackler, CEO of the hosting company Krystal, who asked to organize a vote to remove five members of the Nominet board. Among those targeted by the motion were the CEO Russel Haworth and the Chair Mark Wood. A motion with serious consequences for the organization.

At the roots, decisions and actions that have displeased

At 17:15 CET the results of the consultation were announced. 740 members of the registry operator tipped the balance toward this motion, leading to the immediate departure of the board members.

At the roots of the protests was a growing dissatisfaction among some members that crystallized around decisions and communications of the dismissed Board that could give the impression that the registry operator was increasingly turning away from its original foundation as a non-profit organization with public interest commitments to an overly commercial orientation.

Among these decisions, commercial efforts to diversify the activity of Nominet financed by the increase of the prices of the .UK and the reduction of the charitable contributions. Another thorn pointed out by those opposed are the salary increases for members of the board of directors while the operating profits of the organization have fallen over the same period. But without a doubt, the spark that set off the whole campaign came from the brutal closure of Nominet’s online members’ forum at the last annual meeting when CEO Haworth used, in his words, “the wrong tone”.

The management in place had presented a roadmap in the form of a mea culpa a few days before the vote. It consisted of seven major commitments: a freeze on the price of the .UK extension, a freeze on board members’ salaries until the end of 2022, a £20 million investment plan in the operator’s infrastructure, a public interest program focused on young people’s digital problems with £4 million dedicated within three months, the implementation of a new exchange tool for its members, the launch of a Registry Advisory Council (RAC) of elected members who will be able to give their opinion on the policies conducted and greater transparency on the organization’s finances. However, this has not been enough.

What consequences for the operator

Nominet is a major player in the Internet address ecosystem. Their market share of 8.07% of all web addresses in country codes testifies to this. Nominet claims 17,568,576 registered addresses in its extension, which places it in fourth place after .CN, .TK and .DE. The difficult situation faced by the operator is anything but insignificant.

Today, Nominet finds itself with an interim board with an interim chairman, one of the remaining non-executive directors and no CEO. Six unseated board members have chosen not to resign and stated that they will “work on a change of strategic direction”. Nevertheless, they could be blamed for their participation in the decisions taken over the past several years that have led to this situation. A difficult situation for the organization. The former management suggested that this motion could destabilize the organization permanently and perhaps even lead to a split in its activities.

For now, two statements indicate the direction Nominet is likely to take. The first comes from interim president Rob Binns, who sent an email to Nominet members late Monday, shortly after the results were made public:

“I am writing to inform you that the EGM motion passed,” he said before promising that the board had “heard the clear message from the membership and that Nominet will change.”

“The board’s immediate priority is stability, starting with Nominet’s governance and leadership while continuing with the seven-point plan and beginning to address the issues raised over the past few weeks.”

The coming weeks will be crucial for the future of the organization. It will be necessary to renew the vacant positions at the head of the organization and to find the levers to ease the internal and external tensions and worries. It is legitimate to question whether the roadmap left by the former management is the right one, especially since Publicbenefit.UK had other proposals and also had the ambition to push a second motion that was not validated, which consisted in appointing two interim directors – the former chairman of the BBC Trust, Sir Michael, and industry veteran Alex Pawlik, director of RIPE, a historical regional IP address registry. From the perspective of replacing vacancies these people may come forward and when you look closely the proposals from Publicbenefit.UK are not far from the above. Let’s hope that reason will prevail in a compromise. There is no doubt that this is the best thing we can wish for this historical central player in the ecosystem of Internet addresses whose missions and stability are central to the DNS as a whole.

ICANN67 – COVID19 : 0-1

ICANN67 - COVID19 : 0-1
Image source: geralt via Pixabay

The 67th annual ICANN Summit, a summit dedicated to Internet naming regulations, was to be held in Cancún, Mexico, from 7th to 12th March. Often referred to by the acronym ICANN67, it is finally another acronym COVID19 that designates the now famous coronavirus that forced ICANN to reconsider all the logistics of this major event.

Since 1999, ICANN has organised three annual meetings devoted to the regulations applicable to Internet naming and a fourth devoted to more operational aspects, often referred to as the GDD Summit (Global Domain Division Summit). These meetings are an opportunity for participants from some 150 countries to discuss live the hot topics related to the Domain Name System (DNS).

For the past few weeks, however, world attention has focused on a completely different subject: the ongoing spread of the coronavirus, which according to the latest figures available has contaminated some 75,465 people in mainland China and caused the death of 2,236 people since its emergence in December in Wuhan, capital of Hubei province. While South Korea also now has more than 150 confirmed cases, the list of countries with confirmed cases keeps growing. More than 30 countries are now in this situation.

Quite logically, in recent weeks, behind the scenes of the ICANN organization, coronavirus has been rising as a major concern for the players in the domain name industry. More and more potential participants were talking about the fact that they would prefer not to travel for this event, which is important to them, while others were asking whether it was appropriate to hold this event in such a context. Recent cancellations of similar events have indeed echoed their concerns. Earlier this month, the GSMA, the organizers of the world’s largest mobile industry exhibition, Mobile World Congress 2020, effectively cancelled the event after more than 30 exhibitors and sponsors withdrew due to the outbreak. The Fintech Festival of India (IFF 2020) organised by the government of Maharashtra, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) and the Fintech Convergence Council also similarly announced this week that it would postpone the event to a “more appropriate time” due to coronavirus-related issues. The event was scheduled to take place on 4-5 March 2020.

At the 19 February session of the ICANN Board, which was extended by one hour, ICANN finally decided :

« Resolved (2020.02.19.01), by virtue of the public health emergency of international concern posed by COVID-19, the daily evolving developments, and the high global risk still identified, the Board directs the ICANN President and CEO, or his designees, to take all necessary actions to not hold ICANN67 as an in-person meeting in Cancún, Mexico.

Resolved (2020.02.19.02), as the Board has determined to not proceed to Cancun, Mexico for ICANN67, the Board directs the ICANN President and CEO to move ICANN67 to ICANN’s first fully remote public meeting. »

The ICANN Board communiqué confirms that the summit, which is usually held in person, will for the first time be entirely managed remotely with means still to be clarified.

If the holding of such event in a remote mode is unprecedented, it should be noted that in the past ICANN has already changed the organization of its meetings for similar reasons. Indeed in June 2016, for example, ICANN decided to move ICANN56 from Panama City to Helsinki in Finland because of the Zika virus. The only difference is that their decision could have been anticipated earlier.

This is why ICANN has already taken up the subject for the holding of the following events : the GDD Summit planned in Paris in May and then the ICANN68 planned in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia in June.