The following are the outputs of the real-time captioning taken during the Fourteenth Annual Meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Berlin, Germany, from 25 to 29 November 2019. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid to understanding the proceedings at the event, but should not be treated as an authoritative record.
>> MODERATOR: Good morning, everybody. We will be starting in a few moments. I have no problem you sitting here if you want to, but given that everybody will be talking will be facing that way. You might want to go to the sides or the back. Or stay here, by all means, if you want to.
So good morning, everybody. Welcome to the ICANN Open Forum. My name is Chris Disspain. I'm a board member of ICANN. It is nice to see familiar faces but also less familiar faces, which is good, because this is about ICANN in the context of the IGF.
The way we will do this is this is as an open discussion, hopefully. You will see there are seats at the table where there are microphones. If you want to speak you can either come and sit here and speak, or we have a roving microphone.
We are going to take a little time at the very beginning of this to hear from some members of the board, briefly. So I'm going to introduce the panel. And then Maarten will say a few opening remarks, then we'll get started.
So from my left, Ron sa Silva, David Conrad, Becky Burr, Maarten Botterman, Lito Ibarra, and Goran Marby.
Maarten, would you like to start us off before I ask the opening question?
>> MAARTEN BOTTERMAN: Thank you very much, Chris. Welcome, everybody.
Today, 50 years after the start of the Internet as we know it, 21 years after the start of ICANN, and three years after the transition of Vienna, which makes ICANN an independent body that is ruled by its stakeholders.
The Internet works, and we have all seen and experienced the benefits of the global Internet that changed the way we communicate, how we disseminate knowledge and how we grow our economies.
We see upcoming exponential changes like Internet of Things, 5G and artificial intelligence will affect how we use this. So this is all moving.
So far, the multistakeholder system has let us make this work together. Our focus as ICANN, as part of making the Internet work is a clear focus on the security and stability of unique identifier system. So with that, we want to continue this multistakeholder way, in that transparency and accountability are key. New challenges come up every day. And we're ready to address them. With that, I would like to draw your attention to the five‑year strategic plan published on the ICANN side and there for 2020 to 2025. We mentioned the main five areas that we're going to focus on, security, development of the DNS system, the global governance development, but also how we can further improve our multistakeholder system to remain functional and effective.
And last but not least, that we continue to afford all of this. That is an excellent basis for the discussion today.
Chris, please. Thanks, Goran.
>> MODERATOR: I will start with a question for the four members of the panel, for Ron, David, Becky, and Lito. I will ask you to talk for no more than three minutes each on what your thoughts you think are the key opportunities and threats for the DNS over the next five years. Maarten mentioned the five years of the strategic plan. Key opportunities, key threats, three minutes.
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>> MODERATOR: Thank you.
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>> BECKY BURR: ‑‑ tied to the need to understand what creative ways we can address abuse without stepping on civil liberties is an important part of the thinking that we all, as members of the Internet community need to do. There are many things that are not within ICANN's remit. But in terms of threat I think we have a threat that the
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>> RON SA SALIVA: Additional top‑level names into the DNS system. As an opportunity in the ecosystem, potential for additional growth, for additional expression of brands, for ideas, you know, for labels in the domain name space that have real commerce value. So that is an opportunity.
Certainly, we talk about the five‑year time line, I see that as, you know, some great activity that could happen. And similarly, talking about the ecosystem. With threat ‑‑ we didn't coordinate ahead of time, but there is a theme here across the table about abuse.
I want to talk about that side, to complement what Becky and Lito said. I think much the consumer side. As more abuse happens on the Internet and DNS is leveraged in some way to either masquerade real legitimate websites with fake websites. You think of fraud under the guys of the Internet and being labeled with the domain system itself. All of those things create a tension, like Becky said, from regulators, from law enforcement agents across the globe. Those regulations can come in, in it a way to help protect consumers and disruptive ways for the way the Internet actually works. That, I see, kind of complementing what Becky and Lito said is certainly in the next five years, a real threat to the ecosystem, if we don't keep in minded importance of protecting users on the Internet.
>> MODERATOR: Thank you, Ron. We have one more speaker. Then I will throw it open to everyone in the room to ask questions, to make comments. Not just about what we have heard here, but other things as well. Get ready for that. David, over to you.
>> DAVID CONRAD: Thanks, Chris, nice thing about going last, everybody gives you thinks to talk about. In terms of opportunity, one of the most important opportunities it seems to be heading our way over the next five years is the diverse location of business models associated with top‑level domains. The traditional model of sort of open, generic top‑level domains seems to be saturated across the industry. But there are new business models that have some interesting attributes, you know, tying in blockchains or tying in application development, that sort of thing. So I believe that there are probably a raft of new opportunities that are being driven by these new business models associated with the domain system. And that is just talking top‑level domains. When you look at how the DNS is actually used, the potential of domain.
Based authentication of named entities, also known as DANE. There is improved security and improved infrastructure. Which provides an opportunity for actually improving the use of the DNS. In terms of threats, I have sort of go along with Ron in the sense that my biggest concerns are related to how the ecosystem in which the DNS operates is increasingly targeted as a way of compromising end users and organizations. The recent attacks documented by Cisco Talos, and Crowd Strike and the DNS infrastructure, particularly registries and registrars is potentially worrying because of the potential impact that those attacks can have on the ability to trust the underlying naming system. You know, fundamentally, I think that we need to increase the trust and the DNS ecosystem and the challenges that we're facing with these particular sets of attacks, target the infrastructure as it does risk undermining that trust so that you cannot really rely that the name that you are looking up actually translates into what you are wanting to go to.
With that, I will hand it back to you.
>> MODERATOR: Thank you, David. That's a fair whack of interesting topics of DNS abuse, cybersecurity, service, Government legislating locally rather than globally, rounds, room for growth, diverse education of business models and the ecosystem being used to attack consumers. There are heaps of other things you might want to discuss or talk about. The only thing I want to remind, it is not an ICANN meeting, it is a forum. If we can keep things away from intensely deep ICANN stuff. Which those that are not ICANN geeks don't deal with. So who would like to start with the first comment or question? Sir, there is a microphone there. Tell us who you are, where you are from.
>> AUDIENCE: Thank you very much, my name is Barra K. from the Internet Governance Forum. My question to the panel and the audience is one of the biggest threats in my opinion, which none of the panelists has talked about is ignoring the end user. Maybe we'll call the end user or call them the registrant because these are the people that keep the Internet going. And the more we purport to represent them but at times not really represent the interest on their ground, to me, it is the biggest threat to the DNS ecosystem. So even as we go forward, I'm real keen to understand whether you feel that ‑‑ on the Internet, we talk about the 3R model. We have focused on the registry and registrar. A lot of time there is superficial talk about the registrant. I feel that this is one of the biggest threats we need to address and we're not paying sufficient attention to it.
>> MODERATOR: Can you give us an example of something you think could be done to be focused on registrants? Do you have an example of something.
>> AUDIENCE: Yes. I desire to see probably more evidence‑based research on what exactly end users ‑‑ the kind of Internet that the end users want. Because in all of the sittings I have been within the ICANN ecosystem, it is very clear, very solid, conversations around registries are very clear, very solid. The issue of the end user is still not very clear to me.
>> MODERATOR: Anyone want to respond to that? Don't all rush at once. Maarten.
>> MAARTEN BOTTERMAN: Thank you. ICANN is a bottom‑up organization where end users are represented to. In the full stakeholder system we built together to respect what is coming up through that, through the bottom, for us as a board, it is also very crucial that we listen well to that.
>> MODERATOR: Becky?
>> BECKY BURR: Echoing the multistakeholder model theme, the use of the term end user is confusing. Obviously we're talking about registrants but more often we talk about Internet users when we say end users. I think that there are lots of examples of issues where registrant ‑‑ the interest of registrants are primarily ‑‑ primary pieces of the conversation. The conversation that we're having in ICANN related to access to who is registrant information is obviously an issue that is basically important to registrants as well as the rest of the community. Issues related to choice and expansion of the space are also issues that are important to existing and potential registrants. So I don't think that ‑‑ I think it is an interesting observation that we don't say registrant interests often, but I think we're actually almost always thinking about that in the work that we do.
>> MODERATOR: Thank you, Becky. Do you want ‑‑ anything else you wanted to say? You're done? Okay. Next question or next comment? Anybody else? It will be a short session if no one has anything ‑‑ ah, hah. Go ahead.
>> AUDIENCE: Good day. My name is Miguela A., Russian IGF. Understand Russian [?] I would like to use the term of the proper use of emerging technology. These concerns were widely discussed by some stakeholder groups in different countries and Russia in particular. You know, using the DLH makes a lot of Governments and law enforcement completely revisit the existing cybersecurity ecosystem. Because generally speaking, we are talking about the DNS traffic hi‑jacking. That ruins the enforcement of malicious intent blocking. It has all the corporate standards also have to be revised. So moreover, we're talking about some corporate segments of the Internet. The Internet that belongs to Google or for example, Cloudflare.
There is also fragmentation. Not widely discussed, compared to example state fragmentation, but also very important. Does ICANN have any recommendations or any action plans regarding this issue.
>> MODERATOR: Thank you. I will ask David to at least start us off.
>> DAVID CONRAD: Thank you. Thanks for the question. DOH is a significant topic of interest and discussion in a large number of venues. To be clear, the DOH protocol is simply a way of encrypting the communication from applications or end users to the part of the DNS that does the lookup. The question or the interesting bit really revolves around how you deploy DOH. The models that are currently being implemented by Google, Mozilla, and Microsoft vary.
And in some cases, they actually promote the increased encryption of the communication between the end user and the resolver. Without actually changing the architecture of how the DNS operates. In other cases, the DNS queries from the end user are actually exported out of the local network and the network operator to someone like Google or Cloudflare, what are known as trusted recursive resolvers. That has an interesting impact in the sense that it provides some assurance to the application that the information that it receives hasn't been modified by the intervening network operators, but it does result in bypassing of network controls that might be imposed either by legal mandate or by commercial interests.
These topics about how DOH is being deployed are an ongoing discussion in a number of venues. I know it was a topic of discussion at the recent IETF in Singapore. It continues to be discussed within the context of ICANN. We don't really have an opinion because it is sort of below or above, depending on your point of view, the areas that ICANN organization is actually able to address. However, my team in the Office of The CTO actually wrote a paper very recently, you can find it on the ICANN website, if you can find anything on the ICANN website, that actually talks about DOH and actually talks about encrypting the DNS because of other mechanisms to do the encryption. And tries to address sort of the common points that at least from the ICANN perspective, we believe are important. So I would recommend, you know taking a look at that paper, and engaging in the discussions. Because it is ‑‑ it does, as you say, indicate a sort of a shift, depending on how it is deployed in how the DNS from the end user perspective actually operates. So thanks for the question.
>> MODERATOR: Thank you, David. Gentleman here.
>> AUDIENCE: Thank you. Andrew Campling. 401 Consulting. A public consulting. No coincidence I was sitting here. I was at ITF in Singapore last week. I was going anyway to raise a question about ‑‑ which in my view is a standard or change to DNS which has a real risk of driving a huge amount of centralization in the Internet infrastructure. And at the same time delivers some new ways for tech companies to breach privacy and monetize data of end users, in ways which are very hard for the end users to detect, be aware of, or stop because of the way the protocol is designed. And also the way the protocol is designed causes immense problems to enterprises in terms of cybersecurity efforts. So it is huge disruptive to enterprise networks. And I think part of the problem is the way the standards of ITF evolve typically lack input from policymakers. Driven by technologists largely without the benefit of policymakers being in the room, let alone contributing to the discussion. So things like the ability to filter content. To block child sex abuse material or even malware dissemination, are viewed as hugely contentious topics in ITF, even though I think in other fora those would be viewed as common sense things you would want to use DNS as a control plane for. That would be disputed in ITF.
Question for the panel, building on the last one is: Do you agree that policymakers should be involved in the way that Internet standards are set in the future? So they're not just driven by technologists who may have, shall we say, commercial exploitation at the heart of the changes that they're driving?
>> MODERATOR: So on the basis that answering that question does not mean you necessarily agree with the tale of the question, but do you think that policymakers should be more involved in the technical standards of the ITF is a really good question. Ron, go ahead.
>> RON SA SILVA: I think it is a great question. Perhaps a little better characterization of the majority of the participants and the standards develop the much the ITF are, as you say, technologists but perhaps from operators, researchers, equipment suppliers, and they're ‑‑ I don't think trying to somehow, you know, take advantage of commercial opportunities but they're actually pursuing the interest of their employers and the businesses they represent with, you know, the intent of building infrastructure that is valuable and useful for the growth of the Internet. It is definitely an open environment where anybody is allowed to participate and is able to join in and contribute and definitely having different voices and policymakers, in particular, weighing in either through some of the equipment suppliers or researchers or operators or even directly participating in the standards process is definitely an opportunity that is there and should be exercised. Absolutely.
>> MODERATOR: Is there a danger of using the ‑‑ if we're not careful of the gun argument coming in. It is not guns that kill people, it is people. It is not the technology, it is the way the technology is used. David, you want to address that? Then Becky?
>> DAVID CONRAD: Yeah, the challenge you find is the ITF focuses primarily on the specifications of the protocols, designing the shape and weight of a hammer. And the question then becomes how is the subsequent protocol actually used, you know, what do you actually do with the hammer after it is built? In the case of DOH, the deployment model that has been chosen by two of the three major deployers at this stage actually does not change the ability for network operators to control traffic, because if the DOH server is deployed in the network, then the only difference is the communication between the client and the resolver is encrypted.
The same control points that exist now that is in the resolver can continue to be applied. The third deployment model is ‑‑ does change the way control points can be applied. Mozilla has gone out of their way to try to specify a set of policies that people have to agree to in order to become a trusted resolver. But that doesn't change the reality that the information is no longer controllable within the context of the network operator. Should policymakers be involved in the discussions related to deployment? Definitely. It is not clear to me, you know, how policymakers would be able to be sort of usefully involved in the specification of the protocol itself because we're talking, you know, protocol formats, bits, bytes, and requires a certain level of technical knowledge. But the implications of how the protocol is deployed, that is definitely an area that I think would value from additional input across the multistakeholder spectrum.
>> MODERATOR: Becky?
>> BECKY BURR: I was going to echo what David said last.
>> MODERATOR: Excellent. We will move on to something else now, I hope. Anyone else have questions or comments about anything that is going on now? Must be something going on, surely. Not a soul? Wow.
Okay. Well, what I always do ‑‑ ah, hello. Can we get a roving microphone? Thank you, Franco. The lady at the back here. You can put your hand up again, that would be helpful or stand up even, thank you.
>> AUDIENCE: Good morning, this is swat from Algeria (?) with ICANN in 65. I have questions in general in terms of bylaws of ICANN. Does ICANN can change its bylaws at any time it wishes or it's not that easy?
>> MODERATOR: Thank you. Absolutely. I know who to ask that question of. Becky. Oh, Goran, you want to say something?
>> GORAN MARBY: It is not easy. The reason is ‑‑ it is very important that it is not easy. Changing the bylaws is ‑‑ remember, the bylaws comes from the community. The community decided the rules that are set for us. Which means when we go into the process of changing the bylaws, the community has to be involved in that. In the end, in the process, to give you an example of it, the community has what we call a periled community. In the end, the community has to say yes to change the bylaws. It might be seem as complicated. The system is built to make us extremely transparent, really accountable and also predictable. I would say, it is not a bad thing that sometimes things go slowly. That means that you can have more people on board and having opinions about it. It is sometimes problematic, yes.
>> MODERATOR: Did you want to say something? No. Goran covered it. Does that answer your question? Did that answer your question? Yeah? Okay. Good.
>> GORAN MARBY: Can I make a comment about the previous one. I wanted to point out ITF is a different organization than us. ICANN, we have invited Government as a part of the GAC. From the ICANN perspective, it is important to have different parts of the Internet users around the world participating in the ICANN policymaking process including governance. Thank you.
>> MODERATOR: Thanks, Goran. Lori.
>> AUDIENCE: My name is Lori Shulman from the National Trademark Association. I have a suggestion for the Board. We know in the last week, the ICANN community was taken back a little bit in the transfer of dot‑org from the stewardship of ISOC to a private equity firm.
There is a lot of unanswered questions. We know this, we are also aware it puts the board and the community in the middle of some hot debates about what should or shouldn't be happening at the moment with dot‑org.
I have a suggestion for the board when it goes through the analysis whether it is an actual item and what actions should or should not be taken within the parameters of ICANN's remit. My suggestion is not to look at recent history but past history itself and look at the premises behind the bid, why the bid happened, the commitments ISOC made at the time of the bid. There are many of us ‑‑ I now represent interests that form a much broader spectrum today than I did 15 years ago, but I was a member of a nonprofit organization that was recruited to advise on the proper running of a nonprofit organization that might have this large social responsibility to maintain dot‑org. And at the time, it was conveyed to all of us who had an interest in this, that this was about maintaining a public access asset for the good of the public community.
And whatever happens now in terms of what may or may not be possible in terms of the transfer, I think it is very important to look at the premise. Because it is through that, that we may find a remedy or solution or perhaps open a dialogue about what may be a Resolution to a very thorny issue for everybody.
>> MODERATOR: Thanks, Lori. So I know you know ‑‑ I know you know we're not going to obviously get into much detail, all I will ask Maarten or Goran to respond. Thank you for the suggestion and the point you make about the history is an important one. Maarten do you want to say anything?
>> MAARTEN BOTTERMAN: Well, you said it all.
>> GORAN MARBY: We will look into this, I want to point out, we have of course been approached by many people over that as anybody else. We didn't know. A lot of this discussion should be taken to ISOC. They're the decision‑maker about how they deal with it. ISOC, don't forget to talk to ISOC. ICANN has a role in this, but ISOC is the role. Thank you.
>> MODERATOR: Thanks, Goran. You want to come back?
>> AUDIENCE: Goran, your point is well taken but the point goes to the greater mission of the ICANN as being the steward of the DNS. I get your point, this is the ISOC action. The ISOC action is having reverberations across the board.
I agree not only do we talk to ISOC, but this is an issue that supersedes ISOC in many ways.
>> MODERATOR: Thanks, Lori. Do we have anyone else that would like to bring up a topic or has a question? Yes?
>> AUDIENCE: Thank you so much, my name is Lisa Frenier. I have a question that might have been brought up in the first five minutes, but I run a little late. In the session description you say you will talk about the recent initiative to track legislation and regulation especially the legislation that touches upon the functionality of the Internet. I'm really interested to hear more, especially I think analysis of regulation, national and regional and international is really necessary to be able to respond in a correct way.
>> MODERATOR: Thank you very much. Goran, you want to.
>> GORAN MARBY: Thank you. So what we're trying to do here is ‑‑ ICANN is a technical organization and not a political one. We have seen legislative proposals can have an effect on ICANN's community ability to make policies or sometimes even disconnect people from the Internet itself. We see that ‑‑ we see that from what you would call friendly countries as well. Because it is obvious when you come into legislation, sometimes it is hard to ‑‑ even if you have a good will, and you don't understand how the Internet works it could be problematic when you write the legislation.
So what we have done, is together with our community, with input from our community all around the world, they are giving us inputs about how legislative proposals can have this affect. And we are establishing a point together with the community that we can then work with the Governments in those cases the Governments are interested as a technical advisor. But we will never take a stand about the policy itself. Because that belongs to other foras like this.
We want to tell ‑‑ I can give you a practical example. We engaged with one country who was writing privacy law. We have no opinion about the privacy law. The way it was written it could disconnect end users from the Internet itself. We didn't think that was a good idea. So we can be a technical advisor to it. We're working on a way also to make this as transparent as possible to get out to our community. I hope that answers your question.
>> MODERATOR: Thank you very much. Anyone else? Behind me. Hello, sir.
>> AUDIENCE: Thank you very much. My name is Abicala, from Nigeria.
I want to go back to the question of the bylaw. I totally agree with the fact that it should not be easy to change the bylaws. I think one thing we need to address is the issue of some communities being more powerful than some communities within ICANN. So we need to try as much as possible to especially when you look at the communities that holds the financial aspect of things, this seems to be much more powerful than some of the other communities. This is why we need to balance things to be able to change if there is a need to change some things. Thank you.
>> MODERATOR: So that's an interesting point. In fact, we have just ‑‑ we have just been through a bylaw change. Not a stupendously communitywide, important bylaw change, but a very small change to a bylaw that affects the CCNSO, the Country Code Named Supporting Organization. To get that done, it was actually necessary to get agreement from all of the other ‑‑ if not all, most of the three other SOs or ACs, so there are built into the new bylaws, the bylaws that came following the transition a raft of protections to ensure that one particular part of the community doesn't run away with things in changing the bylaws.
That's one point. I think that the point about other certain parts of the community at least appearing to be more powerful than others is a valid point outside of the bylaws. It is more of a general point. I would agree with that. Anybody on the panel? Maarten, go ahead.
>> MAARTEN BOTTERMAN: You have said most of it, crucially we built up ICANN together, in a bottom‑up way, in a way we reflect all the interests and make it mandatory that they're all heard and part of the process when decision‑making is taking place. How it plays out, it will never be perfect. We cannot invite 3.5 billion Internet users to directly take part. The system we built up is the best possible system we can see and looking to how to further improve that being aware it will change and we need to change with it.
>> MODERATOR: Thank you. Any other questions? I'm going to ask Goran to make some remarks in a second on the basis that there may be questions after Goran has made his remarks. Let's do that now and see if anyone wants to say anything afterwards. Goran go ahead.
>> GORAN MARBY: Thank you for setting me up. I think this discussion holds something I often think about. Many think the Internet is done. We can move on. It is already there. Everybody has it. But the truth is that if you look at how to get the next billion users of Internet who are primarily will come from rural areas, will not be the elite that already have the Internet today. Who will have other financial opportunities to even have access the ability to use Internet on their own premise, in their own local language, their own script. That is one of the challenges we have.
The other one we talked about increased security issues surrounded DNS and the end users of the world that we see.
This is why I think the involvement in an organization that I am of course talking because I believe so in ICANN. Another part of this ecosystem is going to be even more important going forward because we're not done. We are taking some things for granted because it has been existing for a long time. Now we see a lot of challenges to things. If we forget this basic idea that we believe that Internet is a good thing and by connecting people something magical happens, I think we can be in really, really big troubles.
I will, as I always do ‑‑ I sometimes call Internet or ICANN one of the largest peace projects ever. Because we bring people together from all over the world with different opinions, different ideas and through that we actually come up with consensus policies that shapes how usage of the Internet happens around the world.
I want to invite everybody to continue to come to the ICANN community and IGF and participate in this. Through the meetings, we develop something that needs to be developed. Thank you.
>> MODERATOR: Thanks, Goran. I will ask for one final call for comments or questions. Anyone on the panel want to say anything in closing? Anyone in the audience want to say anything? Yes, sir, again, no problem.
>> AUDIENCE: The question I ask is because we know Africa has the poorest connectivity when it comes to Internet. I know ICANN does not have a direct relationship with connectivity, but ICANN has a role to play. When it comes to presence of ICANN in Africa, I think it is also the poorest, so I think it is something we need to look at because there is an indirect role that ICANN has to play to help with connectivity in Africa. Thank you.
>> MODERATOR: Goran.
>> GORAN MARBY: Yeah. As you know, my friend, since I joined ICANN, we have had three ICANN meetings in Africa, two in Madagascar, one in South Africa. I think we are there. You are right. The realization that has come the last four or five years, while the Internet is still young we need to find new corporation methods. Yes, we have nothing to do with access. ICANN as organization doesn't have business ID or business access. One reason we joined ITU‑D is because we realize we will work together in new ways to connect the next billion users be in Africa, South America and Asia. I think the Internet penetration in Africa is 25% or something. Which is double from three or four years ago. Still, it is only the elite, only the cities, not the rural areas.
We are engaging with the ISOC chapters, for instance.
We are engaging with ITU‑D, engaging with interested Governments to talk about and see what we can do to be part of the system. I think everybody realizes the old sort of economical way of doing things will not benefit the next billion users. We are a part of it. We don't have the solution to all of it. But we try to figure out a way to incorporate also in Africa.
Here it is important. It is not like we're coming with a prefixed solution. We don't know the answers to all the questions. That is why engagement with the chapters at large in our own chapters in or own structures in Africa is increasingly important. We have to learn. The local scripts is one example with the language panels we have for instance, in Africa. I can talk at length of any board member, anyone can talk at length about this, because this is something that we want to spend more time on. This is something that we think is so important because it is the reason for ICANN existing.
We want to connect people.
>> MODERATOR: Go ahead.
>> AUDIENCE: One thing you have not done that I would like ICANN to do is recruit more staff from Africa.
>> GORAN MARBY: Create more staff from Africa. Thank you, ICANN organization is a small organization. We have people in 35 countries around the world, also in Africa, as you know. There is a long list of ‑‑ there is a long list of countries and regions that wants us to put more people there. It sort of misses the point, actually. Because ICANN is not about ICANN stuff, it is about the community that works there, we serve that community. We are working in African community, as you well know, to try to bring more people into that community. Because the work in ICANN is done by the community not ICANN org. We're there to facilitate it. The active environment participation with ICANN in Africa is something we are trying to increase as well. We have the outreach, the next gen program and one of the reasons we had three meetings in Africa over the last couple of years, to create more community members active in Africa.
>> MODERATOR: David?
>> DAVID CONRAD: With that said, and I agree, obviously, with my boss, but I will say as an advertisement, we are trying to recruit a technical engagement specialist in Africa. So check on ICANN's job board.
>> MODERATOR: Thanks, David. Maarten?
>> MAARTEN BOTTERMAN: Just to express to the person, we hear you, we think about Africa also on the board. And we're very aware of the huge interest for benefitting from this and considering what that means. So in that way, we do take it very seriously. We are very happy with two new African board members that we believe will play a major role in the way forward and also deeper understanding of the issues.
>> DAVID CONRAD: I won't say anything against my boss, but we have three board members, one is now collegiate.
>> AUDIENCE: Thank you. I want to react with the promotion of ICANN in Africa. It is helping us access in Africa. It is a problem that can be solved locally. I think there are two main policy dimensions for this issue. The first one is the deploying the infrastructure. The second one is bringing online users. It is true that the infrastructure is a key driver for the Internet access. And also using ‑‑ bringing users online. [?] you can think in Africa to promote the partnership between public and private sector which for me very important issue today.
We don't rely only on the public sector. Also, we can deploy IXP to bring down the cost which is a problem today in Africa. We can also encourage the deployment of [?] to make the Internet sustainable. We not to bring users online. We have applications for users to use Internet to make, for example, online services and to think about multilingualism. We have many that can't use the Internet because of the language.
It is a local problem that you have to solve locally.
>> MODERATOR: Thank you very much. On the subject of other languages, multilingualism, there are a number of sessions on this IGF on universal acceptance, which is a major part of getting not just new GTLDs in ASCII, but CCTLD, GTLDs in other scripts, readable. So it I encourage everyone to go along to those and help to bring about universal acceptance.
Are there any last questions or comments before we close? Well, if there aren't ‑‑ I just ‑‑ oh, there is another hand. Sir, you did have your hand up.
>> AUDIENCE: My name is Abraham Blockart from Germany. I would like to recap the issue we had a couple of minutes ago about the PIR sale. We had an ISOC meeting, German chapter meeting on Sunday, and of course, we also talked about this issue although of course the German chapter is not involved. It is ISOC generally. But I would like to ask the ICANN board if this is perhaps ‑‑ of course, as you said, it is not an ICANN issue. It is an ISOC issue, but still we have been ‑‑ I have been thinking that the reason for this sale might have been that the ISOC board might consider the age of permanent domain growth to be open.
And that is why they decided to do that. Now, my question to ICANN would be: Do you share that idea? That perhaps the times of permanent growth of domain registrations might be over?
Because ultimately, I think, even ICANN finances are basically based on the number of domains or the number of GTLDs, obviously. What is your view to the future? Your vision, how will the domain industry be like in 10 years from now?
>> MODERATOR: Thank you for what is an exceptionally good question. Goran, your light is on. I assume that means you would like to start.
>> GORAN MARBY: Seems like to me. The interesting thing with the suggestion is on the other side, there is someone who is investor who seems to think the opposite. I always think that the market is better to exponentially say what they believe, because one of them is right, and one of them is wrong. I don't think anyone is right or wrong. It is hard for us to answer that question. It seems like everyone believes in this industry.
Remember, ICANN, in that sense, we're not part of the industry. We provide service to the world through mainframe system. So we don't ‑‑ I give a hint. We have released our five‑year strategic and operating plan where we go through, for instance, our funding and all of that. You can find a lot of information there. Again, I would say that the discussion about PIR, yes, ICANN is involved in it, in that sense. We have a role in it. But the real discussion belongs to ISOC and its chapters, I think. And I encourage you to have a conversation there.
>> MODERATOR: Thanks, Goran.
>> RON SA SILVA: To speak about the health of the DNS or ecosystem, we strongly believe that it is mature and very well-functioning and operating and very stable. That is reflected in the five‑year operating and financial plan. We looked at different possibilities of growth, whether sort of a range of what the growth might look like over the next five years, from overall industry perspective and took sort of a conservative view. That is still growth. What may be is if you look historically which is the comments at the beginning about, you know, we had significant growth associated with the last round. What is not reflected in our five‑year financial and operating plan is will we see something similar with the next round? We don't know. There is a lot of uncertainty about how large the next round is and what the impact will be. Certainly there will be an impact. There is a growth opportunity there. If you are specifically thinking about one level domain and the growth within that, you know, there are a lot of folks that are experts in the running a registry and perhaps would argue whether that particular top‑level is saturated or whether it just needs more marketing or more effort and promotion in order to get additional registrations in it.
So over all, the industry is very healthy and robust. That particular situation, you know, there is probably opinions all over the map on what the growth opportunities are. Perhaps that's what motivated this proposed transaction as well.
>> MODERATOR: Thanks, Ron. Thank you.
So we will wrap it up. Can you please join me in thanking the panel.
And thank you all for coming. And thank you for the questions and for participating. Thanks very much, everyone.
>> MAARTEN BOTTERMAN: Thank you for moderating, Chris.
>> MODERATOR: There is an announcement.
>> ICANN has a third session, universal acceptance was mentioned. We have a session on the multilingual Internet and universal acceptance on Thursday at 11:05 to 12:35 so please come along to that. Secondly, ICANN, along with ISOC and another various members of the technical community are hosting a reception this evening at 6:30. So if you haven't got your name down for the reception and you would like to come to the reception, visit the ISOC booth or ICANN booth just out there and register yourself. Thank you.