Complying with the EU GDPR? Easy, skip ICANN.

So the preparations for the EU GDPR and Registries and Registrars are in full swing.
This week the Geo gTLD Group released a survey to involved parties, and the results will show us where we are at.

But do we need to do this and do we need to get ICANN in the mix?

Let’s go back in time.
In 2015 the Chinese regulator MIIT announced they were going to enforce the rules, created a decade ago. Now, where did we hear this before? Oh wait, the EU Directives, we ignored them as there was no enforcement.

Back in 2015 the RrSG went to the ICANN board and asked about their view when it came to what some called “draconian” regulations. The board listened, and the board said:”they were very aware, but it was an internal country matter, outside of ICANN.”
And that was that.

What was so “draconian”? For Chinese Registrants to register domain names through Chinese Registrars, the Registries had to jump through a ton of regulation hoops.
Get accredited with MIIT. Setup a presence in China. Escrow data to a Chinese Escrow Provider only. Deal with real name verification procedure.
So what did those non-Chinese Registries do? They looked at a huge market; they figured that these Chinese folks would not use Registrars outside China and most likely go for the Chinese gTLDS and .CN. Not a great prospect for the Registries.
Solution? They jumped through the hoops; some even created real name verification support through EPP to make registrations easy.

Every month I receive a newsletter or read a press release where a Registry proudly announces they are China ready and MIIT accredited. It’s like these guys won the Olympics. Granted going through that process is tough and congrats are in order.

The reality is, the real reality is, Registries are complying with the law in China. Awesome, how cool is that?! How about we go one step further and start complying with EU law?!

If we can do it in China, we can do it Europe right?
Want to do business with Chinese Registrants? Jump through the hoops.
Want to do business with EU Registrants? Jump through the hoops and stop discussing if EU law is a factor within ICANN.
The contracted parties are apparently perfectly capable of dealing with the national country law even if they are labeled as “draconian.”

Now the above carries some load of sarcasm. But if push comes to shove, contracted parties will become EU GDPR compliant no matter how many folks in the ICANN community are in denial.
No matter how hard folks in ICANN the community are trying to ignore the EU and keep on thinking this does not affect ICANN.

But cooperation and coordination with ICANN and within ICANN remains key in my opinion, to steer this and the policies in the right direction. This is a multi-stakeholder model for a bunch of good reasons, and everyone has a stake in this for the right reasons and balance.

Theo Geurts

 

Comments on the Proposal for a Specification 13 to the ICANN Registry Agreement to Contractually Reflect Certain Limited Aspects of “.Brand” New gTLDs

It’s been rather busy so not many updates lately.

ICANN 45 Toronto

ICANN 45 Toronto (Photo credit: veni markovski)

One I wanted to share is the one below regarding Registry agreements when it comes to the so-called bTLD’s (no I did not make the one up).

The statement is from the Registrar group, and I am one of the folks who signed it since I support the statement.

The statement can be viewed here: http://forum.icann.org/lists/comments-spec13-06dec13/msg00040.html

The statement in text format below:

 

Comments on the Proposal for a Specification 13

To the ICANN Registry Agreement to Contractually Reflect Certain Limited Aspects of “.Brand” New gTLDs

Date: 30th January 2014
Public Comment URL:!http://www.icann.org/en/news/public-comment/spec13-06dec13-en.htm
The undersigned registrars (“Registrars”), some of whom may also present individual comments, respectfully submit the attached comments on the Proposal for Specification 13 to the ICANN Registry Agreement to Contractually Reflect Certain Limited Aspects of “.Brand” New gTLDs and are available to engage with any questions or comments.
We thank the Brand Registry Group (BRG) for preparing this proposal and look forward to future collaborations with this new organization.
Registrars welcome the concept of a TLD operated by a brand owner for their exclusive use and recognize that these TLDs have distinct needs that may differ from those of general use TLDs. However, we cannot support several sections of the draft proposal as currently written, as we believe it creates the potential for abuse in the new gTLD program. Of particular concern are Section 3 and Section 5 of the Specification.
Regarding Section 3, while we do not object to the proposed language and recognize that it may not be appropriate for some TLDs to be re-delegated by ICANN following a termination of the registry agreement, we propose that the TLD operator should be obligated to take steps to notify affected third parties, such as operating system vendors, browser developers, SSL Certificate Authorities, major ISPs, and other relevant industries or organizations.
Our overall concern with the proposed language in Specification 13 is that if this proposal were adopted as written, it could re-introduce the concerns of equal registrar access and undermine the registry-registrar model for domain names. This could give rise to TLDs where the registry, registrar, and registrant (or a subset of those roles) are the same entity, and the beneficial user of the domain name lies with another party.
For example, a broad interpretation of 5.1(ii) and 5.2 would seem to imply that the TLD could offer a limited license to its trademark to unaffiliated parties, and then permit these licensees to register or use domain names in the TLD. These licensees would behave like registrants but without the rights or responsibilities currently provided for under the RAA and ICANN Consensus Policies. For this problem to be addressed in the current proposal, we recommend the phrase “Trademark Licensee, ” and the entirety of Section 5.2 be struck.

 

Finally, we would also like to note that there is a mechanism already in place to request and grant an exemption/waiver from the Registry Operator Code of Conduct (Specification 9). Knowing this, we respectfully request that the BRG outline its specific concerns with the existing process, and articulate why it would fail to provide for the needs of their TLD.
Thank you,

 

Luc Seufer, EuroDNS
James Bladel, GoDaddy
Bob Wiegand, Web.com
Jeff Eckhaus, enom / Name.com
Volker Greimann, Key Systems
Theo Geurts, Realtime Register
Chris Pelling, NetEarthOne
Oliver Hope, HostEurope Group
Rob Golding, Astutium Ltd
Benny Samuelsen, Nordreg AB
Michele Neylon, Blacknight Internet Solutions Ltd

 

Registrar Stakeholder Group (RrSG) Comment on GAC Beijing Communiqué

The GAC has been making some waves with their latest communiqué and it looks their main purpose is either to delay the gTLD program, or they just did an extremely poor job.

Anyways the Registrar group released this comment. And it is one I support.

In addition to this, you might want to read Philip S Corwin take on this. It’s a very very long read but also a very very good read.

ICANN at the Inflection Point: Implications and Effects Of the GAC Beijing Communique

Anyways here are the comments from the Registrar group.

 

 

Registrar Stakeholder Group (RrSG) Comment on GAC Beijing Communiqué
The Registrar Stakeholder Group (RrSG) welcomes the opportunity to comment on the
Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) Communiqué from the recently concluded meeting in Beijing. We welcome the ICANN board’s decision to open up the advice to
comment, as the scope and breadth of the advice, merits consideration by the widerICANN Community.
Please note that this comment the views of participating RrSG members, but does not
Necessarily represent the views of any given registrar. Member organizations reserve the
individual right to alternative positions, which may change in the future.
gTLD “Safeguards” and “Categories.”
Section 1(b) and Annex I of the Beijing Communiqué details the GAC advice regarding
new operational requirements (“safeguards”) for all new gTLDs, and more stringent
eligibility restrictions and registry requirements for “Sensitive Strings” and “Regulated
Markets.”
For the reasons enumerated below, the RrSG opposes these measures and urges the ICANN Board to reject the GAC advice proposing “safeguards” and “categories.”

(1) The “safeguards” described in 6,7 and 8 (Annex I, p. 10) represent a fundamental change to the New gTLD program. The program was intended for Generic top-level domains, but the “safeguard” effectively converts the listed applications to Sponsored top-level domains (sTLDs). This is counter to the
original purpose and goals of the New gTLD program.
(2) Many (if not all) of the proposed “safeguards” were considered extensively during the development and implementation of the New gTLD program, as well
as negotiations that resulted in the Draft 2013 Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA), and several PDP efforts. These proposals were rejected by the ICANN Community due to questions regarding their effectiveness, and their far-reaching
impact on access and use of domain name registrations. The operational impact of implementing the suggested changes would be far reaching and would fundamentally change the relationship between registries, registrars and registrants. We feel that many of the GAC’s concerns are addressed via the
2013 RAA, which is based in no little part on input from the GAC.
(3) Similarly, the concept of gTLD “categories” and category-specific requirements
was extensively discussed and rejected during the deliberations that led to the
Applicant Guidebook, under the terms of which applicants developed their
business plans and submitted their TLD applications(4) Many of the strings identified in Annex I were not included in the “Early
Warnings” published in late 2012, which would have provided applicants an
opportunity to better understand and perhaps address these concerns.
(5) Many of the strings identified in Annex I represent generic terms. While they
may be considered “sensitive” or “regulated” in a single or few jurisdictions, it
is not appropriate to limit or restrict their use in other jurisdictions. Registries
and Registrars are currently, and will continue to be, obligated to comply
with appropriate local law and regulations.
(6) Many of the strings identified in Annex I represent generic terms that may be
considered a profession in some contexts, but not in others. For example,
.vet could mean “veterinarian”, or “veteran.” There are numerous examples
of these types of multiple meanings, and no compelling reason to justify use
of the narrowest possible interpretation.
(7) Many, if not all, of the proposed “safeguards” are related to the content of
websites (or other services) associated with a domain name registration.
This is outside the scope of ICANN’s remit as the organization charged with
the management of the DNS.
(8) Some applicants have indicated that they will employ specific criteria in how
they run their registry if awarded. This voluntary choice of registry policy is
more appropriate than a top-down decision by ICANN at this late stage in the
process

 

Other comments
Additionally, the GAC has noted that it needs more time to consider applications
identified in Section 1(c)(i), and has asked ICANN to place these applications “on hold.”
pending the outcome of Initial Evaluation, until the GAC meets again in Durban (JUL
2013). We would note that this (and any further) delay has the potential for significant
adverse impact on the affected applicants and that the GAC must issue its advice promptly. If the GAC is unable to do so at or before the Durban meeting, we recommend that ICANN allows these applications to proceed.

Conclusions
Governments play an important role in the multi-stakeholder model of Internet
Governance, but the implications of the GAC Beijing Communiqué represents a
fundamental re-write of the New gTLD Program by a single stakeholder at the very end
of a multi-year process.
The mandatory adoption of new “safeguards” and “categories” would have an adverse
impact on the industry, particularly for investors and innovators in the commercial
sector. Non-commercial users would also be affected, as the adoption of “safeguards.” and “categories” could represent prior restraint and significantly impact access and
expression on the Internet. Also, we note that there is nothing particularly novel about
the proposals in Annex I, as they are familiar topics and ideas to veterans of the New
gTLD process. Finally, these changes represent sweeping and fundamental
changes at a this very late phase of the program. We urge the ICANN Board to
reject the GAC advice regarding “safeguards” and “categories.”

First post and all that.

China's FIRST McDonald's

China’s FIRST McDonald’s

Domain names, the fuel of the internet. I like short and brandable domain names. They are easy to remember and that is actually the purpose of a domain name right ? We have domain names so we don’t have to type in IP addresses like 212.45.84.25.

And TG.NU is short and brandable and unique, residing in a ccTLD space that currently have over 250.000 registrations and very soon 1 million for sure.

Updates will follow shortly as i intend to use this domain name for my personal and business use.

 

.NU is the Internet country code top-level domain (ccTLD) assigned to the island state of Niue. It was one of the first ccTLDs to be marketed to the Internet at large as an alternative to the gTLDs .com, .net, and .org. Playing on the phonetic similarity between nu and new, it was promoted as a “new” TLD in which there was an abundance of good domain names available.
The IUSN Foundation (formerly ‘Internet Users Society – Niue’) administers the TLD in order to provide a number of local services for Niue itself. IUSN funds Internet Niue[2] which provides the island’s internet connection; complimentary PCs and internet connectivity for all residents; and in 2003 established free use WiFi hotspots at various locations throughout the country, claiming to be the “first WiFi nation”.

The .nu domain is particularly popular in Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands and Belgium, as nu is the word for “now” in Swedish, Danish and Dutch – an example of a domain hack. Partially owing to restrictive domain rules for the ccTLD assigned to Sweden, .se, .nu was used for creative marketing of websites such as www.tv.nu.

At september 2 2012, the Swedish Registry will take over the technical infrastructure for .NU and with renewed marketing effort the Swedish Registry will enlarge the user base for .NU.
The prices will be lower, transfers and domain name ownership changes are free of charge. Premium domain names willbe a thing of the past and no longer cost between 250-500 USD a year. TG.NU is currently considered by the current Registry as a premium domain name.