ICANN Confirms ICANN68, Scheduled For Kuala Lumpur, Will Also Be Virtual Meeting

ICANN announced Thursday the next public meeting, ICANN68 scheduled to be held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in June, will now be held via remote participation only. The move was expected with much of the world still suffering from the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic and little travel taking place, nor expected to for at least several months, and many countries in varying degrees of lockdown.

To prepare for the virtual meeting, as I predicted likely earlier this week, scheduled for 22 to 25 June, the Board has directed the ICANN org to explore additional community feedback and suggestions, in order to develop a meaningful and productive ICANN68 Policy Forum, learning from the experiences of ICANN67 that was originally scheduled for Cancún, Mexico, in March 2020, which was held as ICANN's first entirely remote virtual meeting.

In making their announcement, ICANN note that “with an increasing number of countries issuing stay-at-home, lockdown, or social-distancing orders to its citizens to slow the spread of COVID-19, gatherings and international travel are effectively on pause for the foreseeable future. The health and safety of ICANN's community is a top priority, and as such, convening ICANN68 as an in-person meeting is no longer feasible.”

“Following the success of ICANN67 as a Virtual Community Forum, the ICANN org sought the ICANN community's feedback on how to improve future virtual meetings. In its decision, the Board also directed ICANN org to coordinate with the ICANN community on the best way forward in order to meet the expected outcomes of an ICANN Policy Forum. The community's feedback will be incorporated into the planning and execution of ICANN68.”

In an another announcement on the ICANN blog Wednesday, Ashwin Rangan, SVP Engineering and Chief Information Officer, commented on the currently topical Zoom videoconferencing software that ICANN used for ICANN67 and other communications. In his post, Rangan said that while every software has its “bugs and glitches”, “what’s vitally important in these moments is how the software vendor reacts to receiving such information. In this regard, ICANN applauds Zoom for their efforts.”

It’s likely ICANN will continue to use Zoom. Rangan goes on to say “while we continue to monitor developments, ICANN remains committed to Zoom. We strive to offer the best solutions to our community, and at this time, we are still confident that Zoom fits the bill.”


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