ICANN's GAC Releases .XXX Findings

Mar 17, 2011 12:15 PM PST
SAN FRANCISCO — ICANN's Government Advisory Committee on Thursday prepared a statement to ICANN's board on the matter of ICM Registry's .XXX sTLD proposal in advance of tomorrow's vote.

ICANN's board later responded to GAC on the proposal, saying it will consider the dialogue in its vote tomorrow.

Below is the statement of the GAC and the board from this morning’s session:

“The GAC has prepared a statement of advice, and I can read that to the room now, and read it into the record.

“There is no active support of the GAC for the introduction of the .XXX top-level domain.

“While there are members which neither endorse nor oppose the introduction of the .XXX top-level domain, others are emphatically opposed from a public policy perspective to the introduction of a .XXX top-level domain.

“Furthermore, the GAC would like to inform the ICANN board that an introduction of a .XXX top-level domain into the root might lead to steps taken by some governments to prohibit access to this TLD.

"The GAC, therefore, calls the board’s attention to concerns expressed by experts that such steps bear a potential risk or threat to the universal resolvability and stability of the domain name system.

“Moreover, the GAC does not consider the information provided by the board to have answered the GAC concerns as to whether the ICM application meets the sponsorship criteria.

“The GAC further shares concerns expressed by others that with the revised proposed ICANN/ICM Registry agreement, the corporation could be moving towards assuming an ongoing management and oversight role regarding internet content, which could be inconsistent with its technical mandate.

“The GAC looks forward to the board clarifying the basis for its Dec. 10, 2010, decision regarding .XXX.

“The GAC expects that this would include a response to the substantial objections received from the community and reference to ICANN’s role as a public benefit corporation”

Later, ICANN responded with the following:

“These are extracts from the ICANN bylaws which, first of all, explains that governmental advisory committee advice on public policy matters shall be taken into account in the formulation and adoption of policies and we have no doubt that this provision — all those provisions apply.

“And so we get to the next point, which is that in the event that the board is determining to take an action that’s not consistent with GAC advice, that we’re required to inform the GAC and state the reasons why it decided not to.

“And so we’ve done that in this case in relation to the materials of the Oct. 28, and then a board resolution in Cartagena which we’ve referred to previously as triggering the bylaws, which is the one that announced that we intended to take an action that appeared to be inconsistent, and then there was a letter to the gac setting out further details of that.

“And then — and we’ve been doing that really since Cartagena in some ways that we’re required then to meet, et cetera, to try in good faith and in a timely and efficient manner to find a mutually acceptable solution.

“So this discussion today is really a further continuation of that process, as we try and find a mutually acceptable solution.

“We’ve been happy with the process. we’re happy with the — grateful that we’ve received clarification from the GAC, including further materials received today which help us as we try to find this mutually acceptable solution.

“If we then move from here, if we can’t find the acceptable solution, then the board is required to state in its final decision the reasons why advice was not followed without prejudice to other things the gac may wish to do.

“So certainly if we do find ourselves moving inconsistent with GAC advice, we will be responding and addressing the matters raised in the public comment and in the GAC advice as we are required to.

“The next step will be for the board to make its decision and either accept the GAC advice or, if it differs, and anywhere it differs, to comply with the obligation, to explain why in writing.

“This is something that’s on the board’s agenda for tomorrow, and it means then that the board has some hard work to do today and tomorrow to be ready for that vote.”

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