[ Applause ]
>>SUSAN CRAWFORD: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I have mixed feelings on this day. I have long supported the entry of new gTLDs into the root. It has seemed to me that it’s inappropriate for ICANN to use its monopoly position over giving advice about the existence of new TLDs to create artificial scarcity in TLDs, where there is no natural scarcity, in my view. And that has led to a great deal of pent-up demand for the creation of new TLDs for various reasons, for communities, for new identities, all over the world.
And in particular, it is urgent that we create IDN gTLDs for the many language communities around the world that would prefer to have those. The question presented to the board today is a little strange. What we’re being asked to respond to is whether the recommendations, the policy recommendations from the GNSO are implementable. And then staff will go on, and if we decide they are, theoretically, implementable, will draft the implementation guidelines for the recommendations made by the GNSO council. There is a lot of important effort to go into those implementation details. And I am signing up to these recommendations on the condition that the implementation work will proceed as planned, and that the board and the community will have an opportunity to comment in detail on that implementation work.
In particular, I want to applaud and underline what Wendy Seltzer just said about the morality and public order recommendation, recommendation number 6. Way back when ICANN was formed, that original MOU, which we’re now talking about as the JPA, talked of transitioning the management of the Domain Name System to the private sector. And the idea was to figure out whether the private sector had the capability and resources to assume the important responsibilities related to the technical management of the DNS. So that was the question. And so the creation of ICANN, and the question before all of us, was whether this entity would be a good vessel for allowing the private sector to take the lead in the management of the Domain Name System.
And, in fact, the white paper in 1998 said that while international organizations may provide specific expertise or act as advisers to the new corporation, the U.S. continues to believe, as do most commenters, that neither national governments acting as sovereigns nor intergovernmental organizations acting as representatives of governments should participate in management of Internet names and addresses. Of course, national governments now have, and will continue to have, authority to manage or establish policy for their own ccTLDs. This wasn’t done out of enthusiasm for the free market alone. The idea was also to avoid having sovereigns use the Domain Name System for their own content, control, desires. To avoid having the Domain Name System used as a choke point for content.
Recommendation 6, which is the morality and public order recommendation, represents quite a sea change in this approach, because the recommendation is that strings must not be contrary to generally acceptable legal norms relating to morality and public order that are recognized under international principles of law. That’s the language of the recommendation. Now, if this is broadly implemented, this recommendation would allow for any government to effectively veto a string that made it uncomfortable. Having a government veto strings is not allowing the private sector to lead. It’s allowing sovereigns to censor.
Particularly in the absence of straightforward clear limits on what morality and public order means, people will be unwilling to propose even controversial strings and we’ll end up with a plain vanilla list of TLDs. So I am unhappy about this recommendation. I am willing to vote for it on the strength of the board’s discussion and the staff’s undertakings that the standards for this recommendation will be narrowly stated. And on my expectation that the board and the community will have an opportunity to review and approve, or not, the details of those standards. We do have some global norms of morality and public policy. They are very few. One of them is incitement to violent, lawless action. Nobody wants that around the world.
A second might be incitement to or promotion of discrimination based on race, color, gender, ethnicity, religion, or national origin. And the third might be incitement to or promotion of child pornography or other sexual abuse of children. Otherwise, the question of morality and public order varies dramatically around the world. It’s a diverse, complicated world out there. And it may not be — it should not be possible to state that there is a single standard of morality and public order around the world. So I am asking that staff come back with an express standard that’s constrained to stated norms, like the three I just listed, found and expressly in their national treaties. We need clear lines of adjudication. And I would be content with that kind of implementation.
Another concern of mine is with — with this list of recommendations is recommendation 20 which says, “An application will be rejected if an expert panel determines that there is substantial opposition to it from a significant portion of the community to which the string may be explicitly or implicitly targeted.” It’s quite unclear how it’s all going to work out, whether any generic applicant could ever win over a community, could ever succeed in contention for a string over a community that says it’s a community. And I look forward to many more details on this recommendation as well.
And finally — and I’m sorry to speak at such length but I think it’s an important moment. Finally, I’m not happy with the idea that there will be auctions on strings for which there is more than one applicant. And I note that the GNSO’s own recommendations on this subject don’t mention auctions. And I hope the board will not adopt this approach. My bottom line is I will vote for this set of recommendations, and I hope that the implementation will be sensible. Thank you.
[ Applause ]
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Thank you, Susan.
Full Transcription on ICANN Board Discussion: