The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is responsible for the coordination of the global domain name system (DNS). It operates on a multi-stakeholder model, convening regular meetings with stakeholders across the globe to further its work supporting the operation of a global Internet.
The 73rd meeting of ICANN was held from 7-10 March 2022.
Given recent world events, it was no surprise that threats to the global nature of the Internet gained significant attention at ICANN73. Commentators and the ICANN community largely supported ICANN’s earlier position to not support the Ukrainian government’s request to remove .ru and other top-level domains associated with Russia from the DNS root zone and; for DNS root servers in Moscow and St Petersburg to be shut down.
Commentators and the ICANN community agreed that taking action to switch off parts of the DNS would erode trust in the multi-stakeholder model and the policies that sustain interoperability of the global Internet and noted that action to remove .ru from the DNS could move the world closer to a “splinternet”. That is, a situation where we no longer have one global Internet, rather several splintered networks that do not connect to one another.
auDA is committed to the multi-stakeholder approach for Internet governance and an important part of our purpose is to champion an open, free, secure and global Internet as reflected in ICANN’s response to the Ukrainian government.
Other topics of interest to the auDA community discussed at ICANN73 included:
The global public interest
The issue of what is the public interest generated great discussion. Under its bylaws, ICANN must ensure its processes and decisions consider the global public interest. However, there is no universally agreed definition of the public interest. The ICANN community agreed to develop a framework to help guide ICANN’s policy and decision-making. We will continue to monitor this work and provide input as appropriate.
DNS abuse is generally defined as phishing, pharming, botnets, malware and spam that relates to these issues (but not general spam). At ICANN73, the community also discussed the distinction between two types of DNS abuse and different mitigation strategies appropriate for each:
- Domain names registered for malicious use
- Domain names compromised by a third party that are being used maliciously without the registrant’s knowledge.
The community will continue to explore strategies to mitigate abuse in both malicious registrations and compromised domain names. auDA’s Chief Operating Officer Bruce Tonkin provides regular input into DNS abuse mitigation through his role as a member of the DNS Abuse Institute's Advisory Council.
Geopolitical, legislative and regulatory developments
Also of interest were the growing number of regulatory and legislative proposals globally that may impact on ICANN’s technical mission and create a complex environment for domain industry stakeholders, registrants and Internet users.
ICANN’s government engagement team provided a community update on United Nations processes that may impact on ICANN and other recent developments, such as the European Commission’s proposal for a new European DNS resolver. auDA's policy team provides input to Australian Government officials on the potential impacts of these issues to industry and the multi-stakeholder governance model, to help inform Australian positions.
If you, like the team at auDA, are interested in Internet governance, please note that ICANN meetings are open to all interested stakeholders. You can follow ICANN on Twitter, Linked In or Facebook to stay up to date on upcoming meetings. ICANN meetings are also recorded. You can catch up on ICANN73 here: https://73.schedule.icann.org/ .