[CCWG-ACCT] Limited mission, censorship, and capacity building (was Re: Deck for Meeting #75 Mission Statement discussion)

Andrew Sullivan ajs at anvilwalrusden.com
Fri Jan 8 12:33:39 UTC 2016

(cc:s trimmed, since I don't think I have permission to post to all
those places and anyway I don't know why it'd be relevant.)

On Fri, Jan 08, 2016 at 10:16:03AM +0100, Dr Eberhard W Lisse wrote:
> As the chair of the TechWg I am really wondering what we are talking about here.

We are talking about the different _kinds_ of "capacity building", and
comparing and contrasting with content censorship, because of a remark
someone (I forget who) made up-thread.  The point is to understand the
consequence of a limited mission and to understand whether the text we
have before us conforms with our intuitions about what the mission
actually is.  (I normally hate arguments from intuitions, but that's
what we're doing here so we might as well know it.)
> So outreach would also be content censorship, perhaps?

I don't think that is even suggested by anything I wrote, but
apparently I was not plain enough.  Let me try to be clearer:
> Smaller TLDs (cc and g) need all the help they can get, and it most
> definitively is within mission.

Well, first, is _any_ help within mission?  Should ICANN (for
instance) help small TLDs develop human resources policy?  Should
ICANN help small TLDs understand office leasing requirements?  How
about tax rules in the TLD's jurisdiction?  Should ICANN give direct
funding to small TLDs that are in financial trouble?  Or every (small?
define "small"?) TLD?  At the very least, I think reasonable people
could disagree about any of those cases.  Perhaps you could say where
you'd draw the line.

But second, it seems self-evident to me (and not contrary to the text
we have) that building technical capacity to perform the technical
function of a TLD registry is indeed good to do, and something that
ICANN can contribute to "ensure the stable and secure operation of the
Internet's unique identifier systems as described below."  I think the
board's comments suggest they worry that the (elided) description in
the CCWG draft 3 is too restrictive and wouldn't allow the sort of
capacity building that (you and I agree) is currently correctly done
as (say) part of Tech Day.  What do you think the draft 3 mission text
entails?  Do you think the board is right to be worried?

I shoudl say that this works for controls on delegations as well.  For
instance, the ICANN policy that restricts registration of (say)
red-cross.TLD or [a-z][a-z].TLD is in fact an imposition of rules from
one zone (the root zone) into another delegated zone (the TLD).  The
operator of TLD is not ICANN, and it makes its own policies, yet ICANN
imposes some of those policies as a condition of delegating TLD.  One
might argue that one wishes history had gone differently, but this is
the regime we have and it appears to be one we can mostly live with.
What would be overreach, however, is for ICANN to try to impose such
restrictions all the way down the tree.  Indeed, we already have lots
of things that are not consistent with ICANN policies for the DNS, but
that are used regularly in other parts of the DNS.  IDNs that do not
use IDNA are quite common in lots of places.  Domain names with spaces
in them are used for DNS-based service discovery.  "Underscore labels"
(a label starting with _) are used as the technical mechanism to
identify SRV records and for various anti-spam measures like DKIM and
DMARC.  These sorts of policies should not be heritable, and I think
we want mission text that makes this clear.  I believe the board's
suggestion would be a step backwards in this area (as I indicated

Best regards,


Andrew Sullivan
ajs at anvilwalrusden.com

More information about the Accountability-Cross-Community mailing list