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What’s Going Down, Down Under (Want the Low Down?)

As I’ve been getting ready to catch my plane for ICANN 35 (Sydney), I can’t help but thinking that there are a lot of things going down these days that will dramatically affect makeup of the Internet for years to come. Next year at this time, the root could be a very, very different place. A few of the items that will be getting deconstructed, discussed, debated Down Under are outlined below.

However, before we talk ‘hot topics’ I want to mention that, as with ICANN 34 (Mexico City), a few of us from Dyn Inc. will be heading to ICANN with a video camera in tow to be the eyes, ears and mouths of people that can’t make it. If you have a question about what is going on with these hot topics (or really anything else going on in Sydney), shoot me an email at and we’ll see if we can get it answered. And, if you will be there next week, grab me in the hall – I’d love to help get your take out on these issues. Like last time, we’ll be working with CircleID to make all the videos easily accessible.

Expiration/Renewal of JPA
The biggest potential change to governance of the Internet is the expiration/renewal of the Joint Project Agreement. This agreement, which creates the relationship between the Unite States Government (specifically the Department of Commerce and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration), IANA (with ICANN as its institutional home), and Verisign, structures the ‘whos’, ‘hows’, ‘whens’ of root DNS zone file production. It is not hyperbole to state that the entirety of the existing Internet governance structure relies on this agreement. Those 13 DNS servers at the center of it all gain trust as a result of authority this structure invests in the Regional Internet Registries, who dole out IP address space.
Two of the questions I’ll be asking on this topic: Will the JPA just be renewed, no questions asked? Will any of its particulars change? Want me to add something – just drop a comment below this blog entry.

DNSSEC, Root Signing
PIR and Afilias are now publishing .org as a signed TLD along with over a half a dozen TLDs. Internet wide adoption of the protocol is now not a question of ‘if’, but ‘when’. Even with all this ‘mo’, some still say that the root will never be signed because it brings out of the shadows the issue of whether the United States Government should be holding the keys (these people say that we will instead rely on DLV and (I)TAR (the I which stands for ‘interim’)). Thankfully (as someone who has been laboring on the technical side of this), since we know this can be done technically, the remaining work on this front is of a largely policy nature.
Two of the questions I’ll be asking on this topic: Just who exactly is going to get to hold the DNSSEC keys? Who will be doing the DNSSEC root signing? Want me to add something – just drop a comment below this blog entry.

New Top Level Domains (nTLDs)
The buzz is becoming a roar. New TLDs are coming and their proponents can almost taste the launch of ‘.food’ (or ‘.eco’ or ‘.nyc’). We’re on the third draft of the guidebook and ICANN 35 is the third meeting where the application process is going to be an issue of central importance. Applications for many TLDs have been announced and more companies are starting to take it seriously. However, the Intellectual Property constituency folks have a lot to say about what the world of nTLDs will look like (and the word on the street is that more than a few people don’t like what they are hearing – so get ready for some debate).
Two of the questions I’ll be asking on this topic: Is the global trademark regime proposed in the IRT Final Report a good idea? When will the first nTLD sell/allocate its first domain? Want me to add something – just drop a comment below this blog entry.

The incoming head at ICANN is going to have a profound, long term impact on the organization and the Internet. While it is unlikely that a new CEO could, if they wanted to, pull back ICANN from the nTLD brink, they will have a BIG roll in whether we see 1 or 1000 nTLDs and whether they sell/allocate their first domain in ten months or ten years. The new CEO’s relations with NTIA and DoC will also affect how independent ICANN becomes/remains. The rumors are flying now, but it sounds like we will know who it is next week.

Two of the questions I’ll be asking on this topic: Does the new CEO have the respect of the global Internet community s/he will need to succeed? What do their past positions/experiences mean for the future of the Internet? Want me to add something – just drop a comment below this blog entry.

As is evidenced by the above, these are interesting days for the Internet. Join me in being an active, interested participant in its continued development. If we don’t speak up now, then we can’t complain later.

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