The 74th meeting of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN74) was a significant occasion, marking a return to in-person forums following two years of virtual meetings due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was held as a hybrid meeting in The Hague, Netherlands, from 13-16 June 2022. Participants hailed from 101 countries and territories, with more than 900 who attended in person and a further 900 who joined online.
auDA was pleased to participate in person and enjoyed meeting face-to-face with peers and colleagues from around the globe. For some of the auDA team, ICANN74 was an opportunity to reconnect with peers. For others, it was a chance to meet our international counterparts for the first time outside of a video call. Stakeholders warmly welcomed the auDA delegation and our active participation.
The auDA team at ICANN74
As in recent ICANN meetings, key areas of interest included DNS abuse mitigation, global WHOIS services, new generic Top Level Domains, and multi-stakeholder Internet governance.
DNS abuse mitigation is a particular focus for auDA, as a part of our work to ensure the .au remains secure.
At the forum, auDA’s Chief Operating Officer (COO), Bruce Tonkin, was pleased to present on the configuration of the .au Domain Name System Security Extension (DNSSEC), which helps ensure the integrity and authenticity of information on the .au DNS. Australia uses a DNSSEC system whereby auDA and the .au registry operator are both involved in the DNS encryption process but where auDA retains ultimate control. This provides us with flexibility, for example, should we be required to assume control of the registry in an emergency. A similar configuration is used for the root (top level) zone, but this is the first known time the configuration has been used for a large-scale country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD) like .au.
The team attended numerous sessions on the role of registries and registrars in tackling DNS abuse mitigation, including a session of particular interest, where ccTLD managers from Africa, Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean, and North America shared information on their local policies for mitigating domain abuse to help uplift activity across the industry.
auDA is also engaged in the DNS Abuse Institute (DNSAI), through COO, Bruce Tonkin’s role on the DNSAI Advisory Council and the country code Name Supporting Organisation (ccNSO) DNS Abuse Standing Committee.
Furthering global work to combat DNS abuse, during the forum the DNSAI launched its NetBeacon service which allows people to notify registries and registrars of DNS abuse, with an initial focus on generic TLDs (e.g. .com). ICANN registrars also released a tool to assist the public in directing DNS abuse complaints to the web hosting and/or email hosting provider associated with a domain name.
A Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) session on day 1 of ICANN74
Geopolitical, legislative and regulatory developments
ICANN’s government engagement team provided attendees with an interesting update on geopolitical, legislative and regulatory developments that have potential to impact on the domain industry, Internet users and ICANN’s technical mission. The session covered the growing interest of governments and inter-governmental organisations in regulating cyberspace. The ICANN team noted that while new regulations and legislation may not target the DNS directly, there may still be unintended consequences on the Internet's global interoperability.
Cyber regulations are a key focus not only for national governments, but also within bodies such as the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the United Nations more broadly, and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). auDA’s policy team regularly engages with Australian Government officials to provide input and advice on potential impacts of geopolitical, legislative and regulatory developments on registries, as well as the domain industry and the multi-stakeholder governance framework.
The auDA team also attended the cross-community session on setting ICANN’s priorities, organised because of the importance of improved prioritisation in strengthening ICANN’s multi-stakeholder Internet governance processes. The session explored best practice, reflected on recent cross-community coordination efforts and looked ahead to how the community can more effectively use limited time and resources. Jordan Carter, who recently joined auDA as our new Internet Governance and Policy Director, introduced the session.
We were also pleased that auDA’s Specialist Policy Adviser, Annaliese Williams, was appointed as Chair of the ccNSO Internet Governance Liaison Committee (IGLC) during ICANN74. The committee aims to increase the engagement of ccTLD managers in Internet governance processes. We look forward to sharing more of the work of the IGLC.
ICANN meetings are open to all interested stakeholders. You can follow ICANN on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook to stay up to date on upcoming meetings, including ICANN75, which will be held in September 2022. You can catch up on ICANN 74 here: https://74.schedule.icann.org/