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IGF 2020 - Day 4 - OF44 Technical Internet Governance

The following are the outputs of the real-time captioning taken during the virtual Fifteenth Annual Meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), from 2 to 17 November 2020. 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. 

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   >> MANDY CARVER:  Good day, everyone.  My name is Mandy Carver and I'm the Senior Vice‑President for IGO Engagement at ICANN.  Welcome to ICANN's Open Forum at the IGF.  This year's theme is on technical Internet governance and the importance of looking at new ways of understanding and working together to protect what we all know is an important resource in this digital age, the Internet.

This year's theme is to identify a distinction between technical Internet governance and Internet governance.  Internet governance has historically focused on questions of who has access to the Internet and what they do with that access.  Technical Internet governance focuses on how the Internet operates.  Our speakers today in order of appearance are Maarten Botterman, ICANN Chair of the Board.  Goran Marby, ICANN President and CEO.  Merike Kao the Liaison to the ICANN Board, and David Conrad, Senior Vice‑President and Chief Technology Officer at ICANN.

During the session, we will explore with our speakers what is meant by technical Internet governance, the distinction between technical Internet governance and Internet governance, and ICANN's position and role within technical Internet governance.  We will be taking your questions after the speakers are done.  Please make sure that when asking a question to use the Q&A Pod or raise your hand to be recognized by the host and unmuted.  With that, I would like to turn to our first speaker, Maarten Botterman, Chair of the ICANN Board.  Maarten?

   >> MAARTEN BOTTERMAN:  I really want to talk about the future of the Internet.  Before we commence, I would like to take a moment to share with you that an important contributor, not only to the IGF but also to the ICANN Multistakeholder Model, has passed away yesterday, Ms. Marilyn Cade, and we convey our deepest respect and gratitude for her tireless contributions, may she rest in peace.

So, today's Open Forum comes at an opportune time in the evolution of the Internet governance, the Internet is a pervasive complex network of networks, but ICANN along with other technical organizations play a fundamental role in maintaining a stability and security.  ICANN's mission is to preserve and announce operational stability, reliability, security, and global interoperability of the Domain Name System, the DNS.

ICANN coordinates part of the DNS which translates computer host names into IP addresses, the numbers, and so the Internet protocol addressing system used to route Internet traffic.  Some of you know that ICANN helps assign the IP addresses to our partners, the RARs, who then distributes them to Internet service providers.  The ICANN Community made up of members of the technical, business, government, and Civil Society communities, helps support the Domain Name System by defining and helping publicize the rules.  Without ICANN's management of the unifying system known as the Domain Name System or the DNS, we wouldn't have a global and accessible Internet where it's possible to find each other anywhere in the world and without risk of confusion.

For ICANN to be successful, it's necessary for us to understand and identify the major trends and forces that could have an impact on the appropriateness DNS from going forward and we have captured the understanding in our Strategic Plan for 2020 to 2025 both the challenges that arise from a security perspective, the DNS evolution perspective, as well as the global governance perspective.  This document will provide important guidance to our work for the years to come.  Now, you can find it on the ICANN website.  ICANN.org.

We very much recognize that all of these areas will evolve over time and we keep close track of developments that may require adapting our strategic plan going forward as things that you don't expect will come up every time, and at least to reflect on it on an annual basis, community, organization, and boards alike.

Internet governance refers to the shared principles, norms, rules, decision‑making procedures, policies, and standards that governance shaped the Internet on how it's used and for example exchanges at forums such as the one we're participating in now, the Internet Governance Forum have traditionally aimed to identify current challenges across a variety of Internet issues, and exploring potential solutions, taking broadly Internet governance can be viewed as explorations of mechanisms that define how the Internet is used.  When we focus on Internet governance, we see the following.  The global and cross‑border nature of the Internet challenges, the concept of sovereignty and governance by governments or groups of governments.  This is largely why Internet governance has evolved organically through international multistakeholder process.  This process is a way to tackle the challenges inherent in the network of networks that is developed by people for people, across borders, around the world.

ICANN is very much based on and committed to this multistakeholder model.  That is where we are today.  It's transparent, it's the transparency, the inclusion, participation to it, as well as the expertise in it are critical for governing discussions related to a critical element of the Internet.  We very much recognize that no stakeholder can run the Internet alone, and we reflect that recognition both within the ICANN ecosystem and with other stakeholders that go beyond ICANN's mission or besides the ICANN mission.

As the Internet continues to develop, the opportunities, challenges, and risks will continue to grow, and we need to address those together.  So with exponential change in the Internet transformation over the past few years, introduction of legislation like the GDPR, the data protection regulation, and technical developments like the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, we must work together to ensure that the Internet continues to develop safely, securely, and in a stable manner so that it continues to be an Internet and we trust enough to use it.

When we look at the future of the Internet, the choice for us is not between globally and the respect of rule of law or national system.  It's both.  They can co‑exist.  To ensure they co‑exist we have to work hard and through innovative processes and approaches in order to reinterpret the fundamental values and norms for the reality of a transnational and connected Internet and help others to understand how the system works.  We can continue ‑‑ so we can continue working to serve the global community in the best possible ways.

Today, we not only need to ensure the Internet continues to grow safely and in a stable manner, we should also cherish it and ensure that it continues to bring the people in the world together.  ICANN is committed to fulfilling its responsibilities to that, and we'll step up when needed.  We're also willing to lend our knowledge and technical expertise where and when needed.  We're all working together to ensure the Internet serves the world to the best possible way.  ICANN is determined to continue to deliver on our mission, recognizing that this is a key part of how the global Internet functions.  With that, Mandy, back to you.

   >> MANDY CARVER:  Thank you, Maarten.  Thank you for that important introduction on ICANN's role and framing of this discussion on governance.

Now I'd like to give the floor to Goran Marby, ICANN's CEO to discuss the concept of technical Internet governance and ICANN's role within it.  Goran?

   >> GORAN MARBY:  Thank you.  Thank you, Mandy, and thank you Maarten.  So, I hope that we will have some time for discussion as well after this, but I'm really sorry that I'm not meeting all of you in Poland, which I was looking forward to.

Anyway, I'm sure that you all agree that the Internet should be a resource available to everyone, and so we can all benefit from it and I hope that you will agree that this is becoming increasingly important that we all work together and build this unique ‑‑ in shaping and building and continuing to shape and build this unique resource.

Every stakeholder, every interested party, whether they come from government, Civil Society, business, academia, or any other group has a stake, has a responsibility, an obligation in the evolution.  This is the key to what I think and we think is important, the multistakeholder model of governance.

But we therefore need to find new ways of understanding and working together to protect what we all know to be this important resource in a digital age.  I mean, historically, technical experts have been trying ‑‑ let's be frank, trying to simplify explanations of how the Internet operates providing high‑level models that aim to help nontechnical individuals to understand the basics of Internet technologies.

However, what we've seen is that this sometimes overly simplistic models will be assumed by non‑technical legislatures and regulators to be how the Internet actually works.  Where it can result in misunderstandings and becomes embedded into laws, regulations, or standards.

The effort with what we call the technical Internet governance, are intended to improve the understanding of the technical underpinnings of the Internet among non‑technical stakeholders within governments, businesses, Civil Society, academia, or anyone else.  So, the intention is to avoid unintended consequences.

That is why we started to distinguish between technical Internet governance and Internet governance, and I know that some of you will not agree because of course it's going to simplify, but the Internet governance has historically focused on who has access to Internet and what they're going to do with it.  The technical Internet governance is how the Internet actually operates involving more than just the technical competence relevant to ICANN and the DNS ecosystem.

It's an effort but all of those that can affect and contribute to making the network more stable, secure, and resilient such that the Internet standards development, organization, network operators, hardware manufacturers, protocol designers, software engineers, and the list could go on.  That is our focus.  The juncture with this distinction is going to be more important than ever.  It's especially important now that many countries are developing new Internet regulations and legislations that aim to tackle the main Internet related issues we face, or as they define to face that cybersecurity, cyber warfare, espionage, protection of personal data, e‑commercial data, localities, et cetera, et cetera.  In the role of a technical Internet governance ICANN's role is to clarify positions itself as a technical nonprofit organization keen to keep legislators and regulators to understand and therefore to be mindful of the way the Internet functions.

Some of you may ask why.  The straightforward answer is to avoid the development of new legislations, regulations, and policy missteps that could negatively impact the technical function of the Internet.  Because these new regulations and/or legislations could have negative impact on the stable, interoperable Internet, one component of being the DNS.

What we're concerned with really are three types of dialogues, discussions taking place in IGO initiatives discussions and decisions in standardization bodies, and regulatory initiatives at the national, regional, or government level because the discussing are taking place are diverse.  ICANN's participation in this conversation has expanded and has to be expanded.  A part of why we're having the session is also to be transparent from ICANN of what we do and when we do it.

It is important to note that not all challenges to a stable, secure, resilient Internet are related to legislation.  Many of the threats from open Internet could come from standardization.  Case in point, 5G and the new IP, proposed standards that we carefully are monitoring and analyzing for potential impact on the ability for people to connect on which they define as the Internet.

To maintain an interconnected Internet, we must therefore talk about the technical implications of what exists, especially with a non‑technical stakeholders within government, business, Civil Society, et cetera.

The introduction of the general ‑‑ take GDPR for example, demonstrated the need to early engage with legislators and regulators to help them process the impact of their initiatives.  We will, of course, as a non‑political organization have an opinion about the legislation itself, the impact of the legislation, the purpose of the legislation.  What we want to do is that the legislatures should understand the consequences from a technical perspective of the legislations.

It is important for all of us to be aware of an evolving landscape of the challenges that may present in order to assess the appropriate approach.  New discussions that can affect ICANN and the Internet are occurring in new places that address new challenges in connecting people to the Internet.  This creates a potential for new threats to the function of the interoperable Internet, originating from places we haven't encountered before.

For ICANN that means that we need to broaden our engagement to interact with those that previously have not interacted with us.  This in turn helps decision‑makers of all levels avoid triggering unanticipated consequences.  Focusing on the concept of technical Internet governance, encourages us to look at the current state of affairs from a technical perspective of governing the Internet.  This perspective is called increased attention paid by governments to more aspects of the Internet due to the ever‑increasing importance of Internet, in society, economically, educationally, socially, and soon related.

For me ICANN exists for a very specific purpose.  We're here to provide a service to the world.  It's to continue to do so, we need to evolve our engagement and address the understanding of technical protocols that are a potential challenge to the security, stability, resilience of the Internet, definitely.

At the end of the today the common goal is to ensure that it's singular, unified, interoperable at the next billion Internet users come online, that's why we're here.  At the IGF, why we're actively engaged in stakeholders like you through the processes.  We need to preserve and support continued innovation of this fantastic thing we called the Internet, not the platforms, but the very core that supports the platform's existence.  To do this, we are committed to lending our knowledge and technical expertise to legislators where and when needed to ensure policy choices are made with the full understanding of the possible impact it might have on the Internet core infrastructure.  The positive thing is not ‑‑ ICANN is not aligned in this, but together with our partners in the number’s community with ISOC, with ITF and other ones, we are part of a very strong ecosystem.  With this, we also want to make ICANN's role a little bit clearer, but we will also help and work together with our partners.  We're in this together, all of us.  Thank you very much.

   >> MANDY CARVER:  Thank you, Goran.  A very helpful overview of technical Internet governance.  I'd like now to go to Merike Kao who will update on the activity of the DNS Security Facilitation Initiative Technical Study Group part of ICANN's work in this area.  Merike, the floor is yours.

   >> MERIKE KAO:  Thank you very much, Mandy.  And good day, everyone.  Good morning, good evening wherever you may be around the globe and following this session.

Following on what has been said so far on our perspective of technical Internet governance and alignment with the five‑year ICANN strategic plan, I want to focus on the key initiative that was introduced earlier this year that supports ICANN's position.  This is the DNS Security Facilitation Initiative Technical Study Group.  This Technical Study Group is a CEO‑initiated process and it was introduced in May of this year.

It is charged with providing recommendations to the ICANN CEO on ways to establish and promote best practices, facilitate communications between ecosystem participants, and implement processes to help stakeholders and/or threats to the DNS.

These recommendations will involve discussion and consultation with relevant stakeholders, policy‑related issues are out of scope as this is purely a technical mandate.

This Technical Study Group is made up of a number of invited guests that have cross‑functional expertise.  The expertise is quite varied and it includes handling the emergency response coordination, DNS security and building out architecting and operating large‑scale DNS operations, generic architecture and design, and also, in-depth DNS protocol knowledge.

The group is being supported by members of the ICANN Organization.  This Technical Study Group will explore areas around what ICANN can and should be doing to increase the level of collaboration and engagement the DNS ecosystem stakeholders to improve the security profile of the DNS.  The group aims to have some kind of recommendations by May of 2021, so next year.

The Technical Study Group will structure development of its recommendations around five key questions, and these are as follows:  What are the mechanisms or functions that are currently available that address DNS security, so this relates to what are the best practices and technologies that exist today to help mitigate issues around DNS security issues; can we identify the most critical gaps in the current DNS security landscape?  Who is best suited to fill those gaps?  Then also another question is, what are the risks associated with any of these gaps that may not be well understood, and does the DNS have unique characteristics that attract security problems which other Internet services do not have?  The goal of this Study Group is to look at the cross‑functional aspects of the DNS and create the recommendations to the ICANN CEO to promote best practices, facilitate communication, and implement processes to help all stakeholders mitigate and/or responds to the threats of the DNS ecosystem.

I am happy to announce that the Technical Study Group has completed its first very important milestone with the completion of the Charter and the Project Plan.  And the completion of this work in a timely manner, especially during the challenges that we are facing for the lack of face‑to‑face meetings and the fact that workloads have increased for everybody, because this is a purely volunteer effort for all TSG Members, and it's really greatly appreciated.  I'm just incredibly grateful for the productive conversations we've had so far and promise for more to come.  That's a quick update on this Technical Study Group.  Thank you very much.

   >> MANDY CARVER:  Thank you, Merike.  Now I would like to turn to David Conrad who will cover other aspects of the work that ICANN does in the realm of technical Internet governance and our efforts to foster a trusted, open, secure, single Internet.  David?

   >> DAVID CONRAD:  Yeah.  Thank you, Mandy.  As mentioned, I'm ICANN's Chief Technology Officer, so the technical part of technical Internet governance is obviously a particular interest of mine.  One area in which technical Internet governance comes into play is in new technologies, either real or proposed, and how those technologies may impact the Internet.  Examples would include 5G, New IP, Digital Object Architecture, Block Lists.  There are a number of technologies that are potentially impacting the Internet, but looking at those four specifically, with 5G, one of the areas that we look at is how network slicing can impact the way the Internet runs and how it's being used.  Network slicing can present different Internets depending on what you're paying for, and this can potentially result in ambiguity depending on which segment or which slice of the Internet you're actually looking at.

Does example.com mean the same thing as it would on another slice?

And in New IP, this is a technology being proposed by Walway and Affiliate Future, and proposes a underlying new infrastructure for the Internet which is defined in a top‑down way and this would necessarily create a new Internet, one based on new IP addresses as opposed to the existing IP addresses, despite the fact that you can use the existing IP addresses within New IP, it would still require some sort of translational gateway thereby creating essentially a new Internet.  How that Internet would interact with the existing Internet is an area of concern and interest.

With digital object architecture, also known as DOA, it creates a new naming universe as opposed to the new addressing universe you would see in New IP.  DOA would have a different administrative structure, requiring users to know which naming universe to select and how to select it.

Block Chains is an interesting technology.  It's been explored in many different areas, but its applications in the context of technical Internet governance remains a bit unclear, specifically what problem does Block Chain apply to and how does that technology actually solve that problem?

All of these technologies have pros and cons.  The technical implications of those technologies may not be fully understood by folks who are working on developing legislation or regulation.

Within ICANN, we're not unthinkingly wedded to any particular technology.  Rather, we believe that bottom‑up multistakeholder approach, fully informed by objective and unbiased, data‑driven analyses is more supportive of the innovation and acceptance that we've seen of the Internet over the last decades than top‑down driven mandates.

In terms of top‑down bias‑driven analyses, some examples that I can cite that we're undertaking within the organization, the ICANN organization, are projects such as the DNS Abuse Activity Reporting Project.  Tracks reports of domain names used in phishing and others, and provides that information to the community.  Our goal there has been to provide sort of a consistent reference, a consistent reference of data so that we can see how different policies will impact those four security threats that we see in the Internet.

We have another project called the Identifier Technologies Health Indicators, ITHI, and that is collecting data on metrics that can shed light on how the Internet ‑‑ how the identifier systems are evolving and whether that evolution is healthy or not, similar to DNS Abuse Activity Reporting or DAAR, ITHI goal is to provide longitudinal data so that we can compare over time how different policies are impacting the way the identifier systems are evolving.

A more recent project, the Domain Name Security Threat Identification Collection and Reporting Project was triggered by reports of a surge in COVID‑related domain names registered for malicious purposes.  The DNS sticker was aimed at collecting reports of those domain names specifically those used in phishing and malware distribution verifying as much as we could that the domains were malicious and when we determined that we were, based on a relatively high criteria, we notified the sponsoring registrars for those registrars to investigate and take appropriate actions.

And, finally, not really a project but an engagement approach that we've taken is that at every ICANN meeting, we have an emerging identifier technology session where we aim to bring in speakers that are expert in new technologies, regardless of what they might be, to present those technologies to the ICANN community and take questions during the ICANN meetings.

In that way, we hope to expose the community to these new technologies, and whether or not those technologies will take off is something that we within the org, within the organization aim to not necessarily have an opinion but to provide objective data for the community to include within their policy deliberations.

So, within the Internet governance world, ICANN is a technical organization, and our focus on technical governance aims to help ensure that the Internet is as secure, stable, and resilient as it can be.

Within the organization, we offer objective, unbiased data to help the community evolve the Internet system of identifiers and we look forward to continuing doing that in the future.  With that, I'll hand it back over to Mandy.

   >> MANDY CARVER:  Thank you, David.  I'd now like to open the session up to the Question and Answer segment of our Open Forum and I ‑‑ we've got folks monitoring the Q&A Pod; and also, we've got some other questions that have come in.  While we're waiting for the queue to set up, can I just ask, Goran or Maarten, would you like to expand how ICANN will contribute its technical expertise to the global Internet policy development?  Is that only going to be within the context of technical Internet governance, or will it also be in other aspects of the Internet governance ecosystem?

   >> MAARTEN BOTTERMAN:  Well, basically, what's important for us to do our work is that our work is all understood, and there our mission is focused on the Domain Name System, on the unique identifier system.  Measures that are taken by others will make a difference in how we can do our work, and this is why this focus is so important.  But Goran can tell much better than I do what we can do about it.  Goran?

   >> GORAN MARBY:  One of the interesting aspects within ICANN and the whole ecosystem is that the world is evolving.  The COVID situation has put a special attention to the Internet as a functioning set of technologies that works together.  And in many of the conversations we have, outside of the ecosystem, we often tend to sort of stand away than to actually explain how it works, and this is the notion that I think that we need to ‑‑ we need to be better at from the whole ecosystem and not only ICANN to really speak to the people who are making the decisions in standardization foras, political foras, in the UN system or local government and really explain that, you know, we don't take a position about the policies itself, but we really want you to understand that if you make a policy like this, it might actually have an effect on our ability to connect to the Internet itself, and we've seen proposals like that.

I mean, we have directly engaged and we do that transparently and talk about it with our community about what we do, but we've seen proposals that can actually disconnect people from the Internet.  When we tell that to legislators, they say that's not our intention.  We understand that.  Many of the proposals that we see is about the ‑‑ or are done for good intention.

So, we don't think this is a hostile in a sense.  And then, of course, the Internet creates many new business models and has been disruptive to many business models, which often has been sort of to the benefit of the consumers.  And, of course, we see that attempts to change those business models to certain technologies.  I'm not talking about the platforms or what happens on top of the Internet.  I'm actually talking about the technology itself.

And David mentioned about network slicing and 5G, for instance, and which is one of those things that we follow carefully because it can actually change the underlying principle of how the Internet actually works but by sort of moving traffic into a mobile Cloud which is probably good for some things.  But on the other hand, it can take away the ability to people outside of the mobile Cloud to connect to people on a fixed network, even from a technical perspective.

So, there are different are ‑‑ there are different foras that we're now engaging in, and I think that it's important for our community and other communities that we're transparent with what we do and therefore we have this conversation.  I hope ‑‑ and another point is that as David again mentioned, I'm quoting by David today, we're also trying to more and more create tools and processes for things so we can be a bit more transparent and less ad hoc.

I mean, the tools the DAAR and sticker and health indicators are open and publicly available for everybody so they can actually have a look on what we do and how we do it and contribute to it.  Merike's, the TSG, the Technical Study Group that we're doing also shows the uniqueness of this ecosystem because we defined a problem that increased ‑‑ that increased threats to the DNS systems around the world from a technical perspective.  ICANN is not the controller of those DNS Systems.  We are peers.  We are working together with all the top‑level domain operators because when we delegate, it's top‑level domain operators that are responsible.  We're trying to form together with them as peers, as colleagues to have a better information system so if someone ‑‑ if in one system in one world gets attacked, we can use that knowledge to prevent other attacks, so it's really about building something that we're shaping things together and that's really the way we believe in the Internet.  It shouldn't be a centralized system, it shouldn't be something that someone takes control of, that's multistakeholder model.  Also, technology‑wise, making sure the ones independent which has worked so well, actually make sure that we can take on the knowledge that we have about threats to the DNS as well.  So, it's like a Swedish motor sport with a lot of different things.  The important thing is actually working together.

   >> MANDY CARVER:  Thank you, Goran.  I see we have a number of questions now in the Q&A pod.  I'm going to turn to my colleague, Luna, to read them out and we'll get answers for you.

   >> LUNA MADI:  Thank you, Mandy.  The first question is from Mark.  As ICANN reaffirms the position as technical and data driven, will it close in on contracted parties known to be bad actors for many security‑related studies and hold them accountable for their actions?

   >> GORAN MARBY:  I can answer that.  One of the uniqueness’s of the system and one of the reasons that I believe in what I do is because that is a very good question, and I hope that you can engage in the ICANN Community to answer that question.

The form much how ICANN works, which is really, really important to me is that I don't set policies.  The ICANN Board doesn't set policies.  It's come from a multistakeholder model, which I actually say has been extremely effective in shaping the Internet users around the world for many years.  From the outside sometimes it looks devious and a lot of conversations, but it's really something, you know, it's really something that I think is working well.

So, the way we want to manage those things is really coming out of policies from the ‑‑ from central and multistakeholder model and that's where it should belong.  What we're talking about here is the ‑‑ and being transparent is the work that ICANN is doing when it comes to doing what we believe and when it comes to protecting the ability for people to connect to the Internet.  Thank you very much for a good question, and I recommend you to please participate in the ICANN Community and we can help you if you need to get contacts into there.

   >> LUNA MADI:  Thank you.  We have another question.  It is encouraging to see ICANN engaging more broadly in public policy discussions.  Comments in educating legislators as to the function of the DNS is critical to the development of sensible rules and regular laces.  Assuming that implementation of GDPR is positioned at number one, what do you envision is the second biggest challenge to ICANN from a legislative perspective?  Who would like to answer this?

   >> GORAN MARBY:  I guess it's me again.  So, I don't want to pose the privacy regulations around the world as a problem for ICANN because that would be, first of all, that would be wrong and the other thing is that, you know, ICANN shouldn't take a position if privacy legislation is right or wrong.  The reason I'm talking about GDPR is because it has an effect on our operations.  It has ‑‑ it's probably the first legislation that has a giant effect on the ICANN Community's ability to make policies, sort of puts it into the box.  We can only do certain policies because we have legislation.  We often talk about it as the European GDPR but there are different privacy regulations not only in Europe, but in California, and we have them in other places and we see more and more of them because there is a bigger interest in ‑‑ there is a bigger interest in privacy‑related matters on the Internet now than ever before, I think.

So just one of the strongest regimes in this is if we get to understand how that works, you know, we are ‑‑ we have country, domain all over the world and if we get that it's probably high probability we get it right in other places.

But the point is here that, so I just want to put that into so we don't make something a problem that we shouldn't make a problem.  Our problem with it is that it's a new law, there are a lot of uncertainties in the law, how to interpret the law, and I think the community has done a fantastic job, I think, when it comes to our policy work, it's actually quite amazing, and now to get the final answers about GDPR, it's in the hands of the legislature, the European Union, and especially the European Commission for take the next steps.  ICANN has reached the point of doing stuff.

So, what are the next big challenges?  We're engaged with our own community governance around the world to better understand the technical impact of the legislation, so we've seen ‑‑ we have interacted with some governments around the world about legislation which is transparent and also open, but I actually think that the other avenue now is in what I call standardization.  And some of the things that David talked about is actually doesn't come out of legislations, but it comes out of proposals for standardizations.

It might not come as a surprise to anyone that I believe it's really important that standardizations for Internet stays within the multistakeholder model, stays within the ecosystem, stays within the ITF.  We have seen attempts to move that out of this setting, move it into other venues, which I don't think is a good thing.  New IP and things of 5G are examples of that and I think that is one of the challenges for us and to make sure that we can, when people ‑‑ regardless of the infrastructure, mobile, WiFi, fixed, whatever you call it, they all go into one interoperable Internet and that's one of the reasons we have this setting today.

   >> LUNA MADI:  Thank you.  Anyone else from the panel would like to input?  No.

We have another question from Peter.  Is the influence of the gap on ICANN changing and if yes, how?

   >> MAARTEN BOTTERMAN:  Peter, thanks for the question.  For those less familiar with ICANN, it's the Government Advisory Committee and more than 170 governments around the world signed up to contribute to our processes advisory committee.  Its role has changed, it's not changing yet but it's for us a very important body and we take the advice very seriously, and it's very appreciated.  So, I do think that over time you see that the GAC has truly contributed to our understanding of what the government's interest is from a perspective and that's relevant for us, so we're extremely grateful, but, no, the rule isn't changing as it is.  I hope that helps.

   >> LUNA MADI:  These are the questions in the Q&A pod so far.  Mandy?

   >> MANDY CARVER:  Thank you, Luna.  I'd like to go back to our panelists at this point ‑‑

   >> GORAN MARBY:  Could you make because I forgot to mention one small thing.  One of the reasons we're also engaging with this is because it's easy to sometimes think that sometimes it looks good, I mean, it feels good but it actually could be not good.  One example is that we've seen a proposal over the last couple of months that the UN System should ‑‑ should ‑‑ should name the DNS as a critical infrastructure, which on the surface looks like what a great idea.  You know, but in all governments all around the world stand up and say the DNS is very important.  First of all, they've already done that because in the GAC, they all came together about the transition, so the governments around the world have actually already recognized the importance of the DNS but also recognized ICANN's role in that and the ICANN multistakeholder model in it.  So sometimes seem like good suggestions sometimes have drawbacks because we believe that the DNS belongs in the ecosystem where we belong.  We don't think that the UN ‑‑ and we have very good relationships with the UN and we have good relationships with the different parts of the UN System so it's not about the UN itself.  We just don't believe that it should be part of their official competence because it becomes of the part of the UN competence that could have other ramifications where they have Member States that may not be so positive of the multistakeholder model.  So just to give you the ‑‑ it's sometimes on the surface looks very interesting and good, but if you actually open the hood, you will see it's much more problematic.  I'm sorry.

   >> MANDY CARVER:  Thank you, Goran.  I do have a question I'd like to put to Merike.  Can you tell us a little bit more about the domain security facilitation initiative?  Who are the members of the Technical Study Group and how is this going to feed into ICANN's role within technical Internet governance?

   >> MERIKE KAO:  Absolutely.  Thank you for the question, Mandy.  Yeah.  It has become very clear to ICANN, and I think a lot of other stakeholders that DNS stability and security involves a collaboration amongst a lot of different players.

So, for example, there might be routing hijacks instantiated because the net goal is to impact the DNS stability and trustworthiness, and so as this Technical Study Group was instantiated. It was very clear we needed a cross‑functional multi‑community participation, and therefore the participation absolutely needed to include members that have routing expertise, members that have had expertise for well over a decade in the handling of various types of network‑related incidents, be it routing related, DNS related, or anything else because usually there is a lot of interplay between all of these issues.

And so, the main task and focus is to take a look at what are the campaigns that have been instantiated in the last decade, how are they growing, what are the ‑‑ I call them root causes, but that's not really accurate because that just assigns blame to someone or some entity.  But really looking at what are the factors that contribute to having these attacks be successful, and then looking at what kind of collaboration can ICANN facilitate amongst various different entities that it is already collaborating with to really make sure that there is a much more coordinated way to tackle and make the DNS and the overall network infrastructure much more resilient globally.  So, I hope that answers the question.

   >> MANDY CARVER:  Thank you, Merike.  Luna, I see we have some other questions.

   >> LUNA MADI:  Yes.  We have from Annriette, what role do you see for technical Internet governance in the UN SG digital cooperation roadmap, or to put it differently how active should technical governance processes and institutions in this new digital cooperation process?

   >> GORAN MARBY:  Who would you like to answer that one?

   >> MANDY CARVER:  Goran, would you like to take this on or Maarten, do you have comments?

   >> GORAN MARBY:  First of all, we welcome all the cooperation we have with the UN System.  And we will submit when there are proposals like the proposal right now that the UN System should have a competence about the DNS, we will tell what we think about that and explain that and reach out to different stakeholders and other ones in the world.

But it's important that we don't ‑‑ because sometimes it's a very good example of how this works is that we believe that some of those conversations will be ‑‑ it should belong to the multistakeholder model in the different part where we're from together with the ITF, together with ISOC, together with the IARs and other ones in this ecosystem and that's where if we believe that that conversation should be happening, and so we will always be there to defend that.  But we will not ‑‑ it's not like we always participate in the discussion because we often then give credibility to the discussion and ICANN was in the room; and therefore, we agree, and so we have a balance, and we actually do believe that we have to defend the multistakeholder model.  That's not something ‑‑ I mean most governments around the world believe in multistakeholder model as well.  So, we end up doing, yeah, please move the discussion to GAC or please move the discussion into ICANN and let us engage in it because even if it sounds good on the surface, giving governments general competence over this we don't believe that's beneficial for the Internet itself.  That's our belief.  So, we will engage in particular proposals that come up but not engaging in that cooperation as total because we think that that discussion belongs in a multistakeholder model, especially with you know, if it doesn't belong to ICANN, it should belong.

And the other one, like the country code operators who have their own policy‑making process, they are often involved in this because many of the proposals might affect them.  And there we're just there to help and support if they want.

   >> LUNA MADI:  Thank you, Goran.  We have another question.  If New IP in whatever form it takes is to involve a new addressing or naming system and/or hierarchy.  Do you think ICANN can be the system where it's created or should ICANN stick to the current responsibilities and ‑‑ I'm sorry, and its current responsibilities, should ICANN's mission evolve as the Internet evolves?

   >> DAVID CONRAD:  I'll take this one.  So, as I mentioned in my remarks, we're not unthinkingly wedded to any particular technology.  The Internet system of identifiers has evolved over time and will continue to evolve.  However, as I'm sure you're aware, ICANN's mission is extremely restrictive and what it is that we are within the org able to work on, look at, develop, is tightly constrained.

If the community decides that the naming, addressing, identifying hierarchies associated with New IP is something that ICANN should engage in, then you know, we would look at doing that.  At this point, our role with regards to New IP is just trying to provide information to the community so that they actually understand the implications of the technology as proposed, what those proposals actually are, and how things might actually evolve in the future.

   >> MAARTEN BOTTERMAN:  If there is anything, I would add to that is please look at the strategic plan that we very clearly explain that we recognize that the addressing system will evolve over time and we follow that and not to protect all technology, but to see what serves the public interest best.  So fully agree with David here.

   >> GORAN MARBY:  May I also add on the specific point about New IP.  David's team wrote an excellent paper about New IP by the way, and one of the things that we find there is it seems like it's sort of built into the management of the protocol to be very closely related to governance.  So, it might be, you know, even if the ICANN Community, if it the ecosystem decided that it's interesting for us, it seems to be that's not the intention of the protocol.

But with that said, there are a lot of questions about the proposal as you can see, but it's a really good document and just it's for free and you can download it from our website.

   >> LUNA MADI:  Thank you.  No more questions in the pod at this point.

   >> MANDY CARVER:  All right.  Luna, I know there was.

   >> DAVID CONRAD:  Just got another question.

   >> MANDY CARVER:  Oh ‑‑

   >> LUNA MADI:  I'm sorry.  Yep.  So yes, we did.  So, this question is, does this New IP naming system take into account related things such as location identifiers, Blockchain addresses, microaddresses?  David?

   >> DAVID CONRAD:  So, one of the challenges that we've had in the developing the paper on New IP that Goran referenced was to try to figure out exactly what New IP was, what the technology implied, and that it's not standardized in a typical way.  There aren't RFCs associated with New IP.

As far as we were able to tell, the New IP addressing structure was intended to be very general and allow for different types of addresses.  I don't recall there being any specific definition of micro‑addresses or the use of Blockchain addresses of any nature.  And it doesn't really get into the naming system.  I think there is sort of an implicit assumption that, you know, some form of DNS would continue to be used to translate New IP or names into New IP addresses, but all of that was or is sort of supposition.

Again, New IP seems to be more of a list of issues that people identified within existing IP technologies and some ideas on how potentially to address those issues as oppose the to a fully thought out and implementable technology, at least from my perspective.

   >> MANDY CARVER:  Thank you, David.  We don't have any other open questions in the pod.  I'm mindful we have 5 minutes left.  However, we did get a request from a participant if some of the written questions and answers because there have been several that we handled through typing, whether any of those could be read out.  I'm a little concerned that we're running out of time, and so we'll look for a way to post that information, but I'd like to turn back to our panelists to see if there are any final comments.  Maarten?

   >> MAARTEN BOTTERMAN:  Thanks, Mandy.  Thanks all for being with us in this session.  For ICANN it's very important, and also to be exposed to those outside of ICANN because we may well touch upon your world of the Internet, and it will be relevant, and your opinion is relevant to us.  So, participation is key, and we continue to reach out and see how we can work with others to make all of these happen together.  The Internet has shown to be a very important means in our world to keep on going and to be able to continue to communicate, and the addressing system is key in that as well.  So, we're committed, and thanks for being there with us, and thanks all for your contributions here on the panel as well.

   >> MANDY CARVER:  Thank you.  Thank you, Maarten.  One last question is asking about the ICANN office in Geneva.  All of our offices are currently closed during due to COVID‑19.  That doesn't mean that our engagement and presence has changed in any way.  Just like the rest of the world, that engagement is taking place online, so we have to go through an internal process and determining when it is safe and appropriate based on local conditions, and in fact, the advice coming from governments about when certain kinds of meetings will be possible again, and we also have our own internal process for determining when it is appropriate for staff to be physically attending meetings.  But that is what we're doing right now.  We are still actively engaged in Geneva and IGO processes.

I'd like to thank our panelists, and I would like to thank all of our attendees.  This has been a very interesting and useful session.  Thank you very much.

   >> MERIKE KAO:  Thank you, everyone.

 

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