[council] Proposed simplified WHOIS motion for 20 July 2006

Bruce Tonkin Bruce.Tonkin at melbourneit.com.au
Wed Jul 19 08:53:14 UTC 2006

Hello Marilyn,

> The motion below asks some of the Councilors to state what 
> they think the formulation 1 means and why they supported it. 
> I am not inclined to oppose that segment of the motion, but 
> ask, for clarification:  What do we intend, as Council, to do 
> with this new information from Councilors? How will it be 
> used? Is it additional information to inform Council's 
> discussions, or is it to assist the TF in improving clarity 
> of where the Councilors views are?

This is a good question to ask.

The original motion came from a discussion of options that included giving some reasons why Council members voted in a particular way, providing a formal clarification of the original definition, changing the original definition.

There seemed to be support in Marrakech with simply starting with getting individuals to give reasons why they supported formulation 1.

In terms of what we do with that material, in the first instance it would have the same status as minutes of a meeting.   As Avri and others have pointed out, each member of Council is using their individual judgement when voting on a motion.  There will always be a range of reasons why a set of individuals will support a particular motion, and there will always be a range of interpretations of the meaning of a particular motion.  I would be concerned if the range was too great - I would hope that the interpretations were roughly consistent.  What we have discovered is that the range may be too large, and thus the definition needs improving.

So for now lets see what the reasons provided are.  I hope that some of those that supported the motion might collaborate to perhaps reach some agreement on a common view.   If there is some common view that emerges, then we could decide to vote as a Council on a motion that puts forward that view.  This could then be issued as a formal communication to the task force and the general community.

> On a broader note, the interpretation of Formulation 1 that 
> you presented to the joint GAC/Council meeting on Monday that 
> I saw in the PowerPoint later, appears to address some of the 
> concerns of the BC, if indeed, Formulation 1 is inclusive of 
> the needs that we see for public access to the data to 
> support the concerns and needs of ISPs, business users, 
> trademark interests, consumer protection and law enforcement.

I am unclear what you mean by this statement.   Access to what data?

I believed what I presented in the GAC Forum was factual, rather than a unique interpretation.  I did provide this explanation at the Wellington meeting, prior to any votes being taken.   I have since been told that there are a wide range of different interpretations.

The definition agreed by Council stated:
"issues related to the configuration of the records associated with the domain name within a DNS nameserver. "

I clarified that the type of issues that I have heard discussed (e.g Technical, intellectual property, consumer protection, SPAM, fraud etc)  all result from the configuration of a DNS record.   E.g if a DNS record is configured such that a domain name points to a particular Internet location where there is a computer that contains some stolen intellectual property, the link between that domain name and the intellectual property is as a result of configuration of the DNS record. 

I stated that the current definition does not constrain the type of "issues" in any way, other than that they are related to the configuration of the domain name.

I believe June Seo in the Council meeting suggested that it might have been better to state the definition in simpler terms: e.g "issues related to the domain name".

The actions possible to resolve an issue with a domain name include:
- Deletion of DNS records
- Re-configuration of the DNS records
- Suspension (ie removal from the zonefile)

Note a domain name can exist in the registry and have no operational function.  Ie it need not appear in a DNS zone.

Note also that you can dis-associate a domain name with an Internet location.  That may not in itself typically solve a particular intellectual property issue.   The offending material is presumably still located on a computer that is connected to the Internet at that location.  You don't need a domain name to reach a particular location (the IP address is sufficient), and it is also possible that multiple domain names could be configured to be associated with a particular Internet location.

Likewise, if you just deal with a particular computer connected to the Internet with offending content, then the domain name can be re-configured to be associated with the same offending content at a different Internet location.  

To deal with "issues" you typically need to understand the system as a whole.  A single domain name and its associated DNS records is only one small part of the system.   The ICANN mission is related to the domain name component.   Issues with content hosted on computers connected to the Internet are not within the scope of ICANN, but certainly need to be considered by anyone that has an intellectual property, law enforcement or other issue.   

The wider debate is really about what data elements need to be made public to resolve issues.  This is part of : "provide information sufficient to contact a responsible party for a particular gTLD domain name who can resolve, or reliably pass on data to a party who can resolve".  It is for the task force to make a recommendation in this area.     I made no statement on the data elements that would comprise the "information" in the definition.

A group of registrars separately did state in Marrakech:

"We the undersigned registrars wish to confirm that we will continue to collect the data (commonly called WHOIS data) as required by the registrar accreditation agreement (all of which is currently displayed to the general public), and will continue to provide access to such data to law enforcement, intellectual property, ISPs, and others through appropriate processes.  Registrars are open to improve those processes for more efficient access by legitimate users."

That is not a view that I expressed as being a Council view.   This statement does not imply that the data should be made public.   

I hope this helps and doesn't further create confusion.  I am apparently a very confusing person.

Bruce Tonkin

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