Friday, March 31, 2006

Friday @ ICANN Wellington 2006

There were 2 events of note taking place today. The first was the ICANN Board Meeting to pass/consider various motions/procedures. This was held in the morning. Items of note from this were that there was no vote on the Triple-X issue. The GAC issued a communique which basically brought up various issues to consider and I assume this will now be researched and re-presented to the Board for a decision at a future meeting. ICANN's 2006-2009 strategic plan was also endorsed by the Board, IDNs (internationalised domain names based on non-Latin character sets) also got a strong mention, paving the way for international domain names in local languages (and more importantly character sets). There are challenges to be faced here though, and various testing procedures will take place before any adoption of IDNs. The Security and Stability Advisory Committee also presented a couple of reports to do with the DDoS and alternate roots and IDNs. Lyman Chapin was also appointed Chairman of the Registry Services Technical Evaluation Panel (and I happened to be the first one to go and congratulate him as he was sitting close to where I was lurking!).

The second event was the Pasifika Day organised by the ever-efficient Don Hollander and his crew. This brought together a whole range of presentations on a whole range of issues from the technical, to the not-so-technical (we even had some emotional family-soap-opera-type-drama-story thrown in for good measure). The long and the short of it all - it was disappointing to note the limited presence of Pacific Islanders at what was supposed to be a Pasifika Day, some presentations ambled on for far too long which resulted in other
presentations being forcibly shortened (in the words of a colleague commenting after my presentation on PICISOC: "that was the fastest presentation I have ever seen - you broke all speed records"), the food was great and the scones with cream and jam were even better, the beer at the after-Bar was cold, all the presenters got a USB Flash Drive courtesy of the organisers and GKP, and all attendees who handed in their survey forms got a USB-powered Coffee Mug warmer courtesy of 2020. All in all, it was not a bad day, but needed more Pacific Islander participation and more control on presentation times. Due thanks to Don, who passionately organised the day, and frowns at the Pacific Islanders who did not attend (or could not be bothered to make the effort) - this was supposed to be your day.

Now I have to go find that USB Flash Drive, and also see how well my coffee gets warmed using USB technology.....

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Thursday @ ICANN Wellington 2006

Well, the Forum has spoken.....I guess I was expecting a bit too much in
terms of what was going to be implemented,
but I guess I always want most things to happen yesterday..........

Most of the declaration is the usual "we will do......" (and whether it
actually happens or not and at what level can and is
debatable). Of the items in focus for the first year are a couple of
interesting ones, including establishing e-mail connectivity
for government agencies and establishing a website to kick off the
e-government process. A regional approach to purchasing
satellite capacity was also highlighted and this must be pushed through,
and is simple commonsense. I trust our friends at PITA
will take the lead on this and push forward (I understand they have
started down this path already). SPAM was highlighted and
the need to setup the necessary legislative framework to counter SPAM
and other internet security issues.

Of most interest to me, however was the call to approach various
international agencies (with a special mention of ICANN) for
regulatory and policy capacity development.

A taskforce will be setup for implementation of key roadmap components
and I look forward to quick and efficient progress on this

To ICANN, the second part of the Public Forum was held this morning,
followed by the Board retreating to consider the various
committee reports. Of note was the "emphatic opposition by some members
of GAC" of the Triple-X domain. The proposal to host
the GAC Secretariat by India was also accepted and the transition from
Europe to India will take place before 30 June 2006.

There was also a report by the Conflict-of-Interest committee. I think
it is important that there be a full declaration of their relationships,
financial or otherwise, in respect to the role and function they perform
within ICANN and how it relates to stakeholders. I look forward
to this being endorsed by all members and implemented - for
transparency's sake, if nothing else.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Wednesday @ ICANN Wellington 2006

Today was the continuation of the Forum Meeting and most of it for all intents and purposes was spent
on mundane fixes to the what was going to be in the outcomes paper. To quote my good friend Dev Nadkarni
from Islands Business magazine "Clauses were continuously refined and redrafted".

The ICANN Public Forum was also running and I spent my time running between this and the Forum meeting.
The presentation for ICANN Marrakesh (Morocco) to be held in June this year was very well received and
this is certainly looking like a good place to visit! Most of the day was on reports from the various groups
and committees within ICANN meeting and reporting back to the Board at the Public Forum.

There was some confusion as to what the final outcome at the Forum meeting was going to be, and there was
even some mention of there being no official endorsement, but I do hope this is not the case and the Digital
Strategy is indeed fully endorsed, and more importantly fully implemented by the countries.

Let's see what happens tommorrow.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Tuesday @ ICANN Wellington 2006

I spent today at the Forum Communications Meeting which is running
concurrent to ICANN.

At ICANN itself today were sessions on ccNSO, GAC, and a bunch of
workshops. The GAC session with the ICANN
Board last evening was so-so, but at least I did not doze off. The China
internet issue was explained by Vint - the gist of
which is that no, China has not created an independent internet with
TLDs. Other issues covered included India taking
over the hosting of the GAC Secretariat and reports by the ICANN and

The Forum meeting kicked off Don Hollander presenting a what happens in
a high-tech Samoa sometime in the future and it was interesting to hear
his vision for the future. The content he covered of course is not limited
to Samoa but would apply globally.

This was followed by the start of the meeting deliberations which
essentially meant adopting the agenda and discussing agenda

An overview of the Pacific Islands Digital Strategy (DS) was provided by
John Budden (Forum Secretariat) where he highlighted
the key aspects of the DS. The DS itself is far-ranging in content and I
hope (as I have stated many times before) that it is adopted
in its entirety and a serious attempt is made by the Pacific Islands to
adopt and implement it.

After this there was a brief overview from 2 papers being presented
covering Mobile Phone roaming agreements in the Pacific and
an overview of policy and regulation matters.

The CROP ICT Working Group presented reports on their activities and I
presented on behalf of the Pacific Islands Chapter, Internet
Society. My punchline was the call for a Pacific ICT Day to be observed
across the region to promote the use of ICT. This would be
an important step in creating awareness and could be regarded as an
implementation of a key part of the DS.

Internet Governance issues were discussed next and my impression was
that most of the delegates had very real interest in what was
being presented judging by the body language. Perhaps some of the
matters presented were a bit too over-the-top for some and it is
likely the audience was not entirely correct but at least the issues
have been put forward to them and in the future they can perhaps
refer to the papers presented as a reference document.

Country status reports were presented next and from my observation, the
theme here was de-regulation of the telecommunications
industry. I was surprised by the number of countries which have
introduced competition in their regulatory space and was most
pleased to hear of some of the initiatives by the smaller countries. I
do hope the bigger countries embark on this process in its
entirety very soon - if the smaller countries can do it, why not the
larger ones? I think what it requires is concerted effort to do whatever
it takes. Of course deregulation should be phased in and done in a
sustainable manner.

Next came the DS road map and what needs doing for the DS development

Fiji also presented a proposal to become a regional hub for
telecommunications, leveraging on their access to the Southern Cross Cable
system. It will be interesting to see how this one plays out.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Monday @ ICANN Wellington 2006

Well, we made it to Wellington OK yesterday afternoon. A fine day
greeted us in, which I am told is unusual.
We were also able to attend the ICANN Bar last night, which was a good
place to interact with other delegates.

I was also quite impressed with the efficiency of the registration
process at the conference. I guess experience can build efficiency!

This morning saw the welcome ceremony with Vint Cerf, Paul Twomey and 2
Ministers from the NZ Govt - Hon. Cunliffe (IT) and Hon. Laban.
There were some interesting comments in Cunliffe's address, primary
amongst which was an emphatical endorsement of ICANN and its role in
the internet. He also highlighted the need for SPAM control legislation
and increasing and improving internet usage and access in NZ. I do hope
his enthusiasm and goodwill extends to the Forum Communications meeting
later this week as well, and he attempts to impress the views and
comments he put forth during his address to the Forum attendees.

There was a session with Lynn St Amour, ISOC CEO later in the morning
which turned out to be a good session as well. A lot of things were
covered, including a committment from Lynn to support local chapter
activities and inter-regional chapter initiatives. We also discussed the
ISOC plays in the internet and what we can do to educate (particularly)
Government officials on the workings of the internet. Hopefully we can
work on the issues discussed and move towards improving the relationship
with ISOC HQ and Chapters.

The afternoon was spent at ALAC including sitting in on their Committee
Meeting. It appears the biggest issue at hand here is how to get the
ICANN Board to listen to ALAC. There seems to be a lot of frustration on
the actual purpose (and dare I say relevance) in the overall scheme
of things at ICANN.

There were also GAC sessions today which were closed sessions (something
I don't see the point of - what is so secretive that is being discussed?
I think it is closed for the sake of being a closed session and hanging
on to old school government bureacracy rather than any other completely
reason). There was also a NSO session and the biggest news here is the
recent Canadian action in putting forth their negative views on the
current state of affairs at ICANN - they have also stopped their
voluntary contributions to the ICANN machinery).

Late this afternoon is an open session between the ICANN Board and GAC
which could be interesting. Let's see what happens there.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

A Plethora of Meetings........

I am off to New Zealand this weekend to attend ICANN Wellington and what is amounting to a plethora of meetings to attend.....I am hoping to be able to blog my attendance daily, but looking at all that I have to attend, this is looking a bit unlikely.......but let's see how often I can post.

So far, on the meetings to attend list are ICANN itself, APRALO, ISOC, Forum ICT Ministerial Meeting, Pasifika Day, and a host of side meetings with various people and organisations.......and to make it worse most of them are concurrent with another!

At the Forum meeting, we are looking forward to the Digital Strategy being endorsed, and only can hope that this endorsement is not for the sake of endorsing something - I hope countries actually make a real effort to implement and promote the recommendations.

More next week from Wellington.............

Friday, March 17, 2006

A New Home.......

We have had some issues with the PICISOC website which meant I couldn't blog for a while :(

So I decided that it was time to find a more "permanent" home for Singh-a-Blog, so here we are at be told there are issues with this home as well, but more related to hosting platform issues which are being fixed :)

So a new home, and hopefully better access speeds and plus it will reduce the bandwidth being used on PICISOC which helps!