Tag Archives: Bruce Tonkin

Burr In, Tonkin Out on ICANN Board

ICANN logoHe’s about to complete his third three-year term on the ICANN board in November, the limit anyone is allowed to serve. So Melbourne IT’s Chief Strategy Officer Bruce Tonkin will be replaced on the board by Becky Burr, Neustar’s Deputy General Counsel and Chief Privacy Officer.

Burr has been elected by registries, and registrars to serve on the Board of Directors. Burr has long been an advocate for private sector leadership and a restrained ICANN, having been involved since its creation, first as the head of NTIA’s Office of International Affairs in 1998, and most recently providing leadership for enhanced accountability as part of ICANN’s transition to a fully independent multi-stakeholder body. She has been a strong proponent for contracted parties throughout ICANN’s history, including as a legal advocate for individual registries, and for the Registrar Stakeholder Group in negotiating the 2013 Registrar Accreditation Agreement. Becky has also been active on behalf of country code top-level domains, serving on the Country Code Name Supporting Organization Council since 2006.

“Very few people have the breadth and depth of experience across the ICANN eco-system that Becky brings to the table,” said Lisa Hook, CEO and President, Neustar. “Becky’s dedication to the ICANN community over the years, her willingness to speak truth to power, and her demonstrated success in bridging differences and building consensus across the ICANN community uniquely qualify her for this role. I have no doubt that Becky will represent all stakeholders with the utmost integrity, transparency and leadership,” she added.

Becky Burr will commence her role on the Board in November 2016, when Bruce Tonkin, who has ably represented ICANN’s Contracted Parties House for the past nine years, steps down.

“I am honored to represent ICANN Registries and Registrars and to serve the entire ICANN community on the ICANN Board,” said Becky Burr, Deputy General Counsel and Chief Privacy Officer, Neustar. “The IANA transition and the important accountability reforms now underway place us at an important constitutional crossroad. I am delighted to have the opportunity to be an advocate on the Board for enthusiastic partnering with the community to finish this important work,” she added.

“Becky will be a valued addition to the ICANN Board,” said Dr. Stephen D. Crocker, ICANN Board Chair. “She has been involved with ICANN for decades, most recently working on efforts to enhance the organization’s accountability and the development of a proposal to transition the stewardship of some key Internet technical functions from the U.S. government to the global Internet community.”

Melbourne IT Plans to Bring HARM to DC by Philip Corwin

Philip Corwin imageMelbourne IT’s involvement with ICANN dates back to 1999, when ICANN awarded it one of the first five registrar licenses to compete with the then-monopoly of Network Solutions Inc. in registering domain names under .com, .net and .org. It remains in the top tier of Internet registrars today, with 4.5 million domains under management. It is also involved with several .brand new gTLD applications, including those of Singapore-based StarHub and the Australian Football League, for which it provided domain strategy and application consulting services while ARI Registry Services(a division of AusRegistry, the .AU ccTLD registry operator) will provide technical backend services.

Last, but certainly not least, Melbourne IT’s Chief Strategy Officer, Bruce Tonkin, who formerly Chaired ICANN’s GNSO Council (the policy arbiter for gTLDs), was elevated to the position of Vice Chair of ICANN’s Board of Directors in June 2011. (We note for the record that Dr. Tonkin recused himself from voting on all matters involving new gTLDs even before MIT’s involvement with the above-referenced .brand applications, and due to potential conflicts does not serve on ICANN’s recently established New gTLD Program Committee.)

All of which adds up to say that we take any policy proposal coming from Melbourne IT very seriously – especially its new suggestions for further strengthening of the rights protection mechanisms (RPMs) for new gTLDs. On August 16th, MIT “released a Community Discussion Paper, entitled ‘Minimizing HARM‘ which outlines a policy alternative whereby organizations with ‘High At-Risk Marks’ should be afforded greater protections at the second level (ie. names to the left of the dot), which ICANN could adopt to boost consumer protection.” (See www.melbourneit.info/news-centre/Releases/Melbourne-IT-Urges-ICANN-to-Consider-Stricter-Protections-to-Minimize-Consumer-and-Business-Harm-in-new-gTLDs for the related press release.) MIT is promoting its HARM proposal fairly aggressively – an open forum will be held to discuss it in Washington, DC on the afternoon of Tuesday, September 18th  which any interested party can attend, although MIT requests that an RSVP be sent to RSVP@melbourneit.com by September 13th; MIT also plans to simultaneously webcast the discussion. And MIT also intends to promote further discussion of the HARM proposal at the upcoming Toronto ICANN meeting scheduled in October.

ICA has significant concerns about any reopening of the debate on RPMs for new gTLDs, as the existing ones – the Trademark Clearinghouse (TMC) and Uniform Rapid Suspension (URS) – were only agreed upon after two years of contentious debate within the ICANN community, and ICANN’s Board has since succumbed twice to pressure from the heavily-lobbied Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) and further scaled back certain registrant protections in the URS. Also, while we accept at face value MIT’s contention that the HARM proposal is motivated by a perception among some organizations that they will need to engage in substantial defensive registrations at the 1400 unique new gTLDs which may be added to the root over the next few years, there are many trademark interests which have repeatedly sought any opening to turn the URS into a cheap substitute for the UDRP by lowering the required burden of proof and adding a domain transfer option, while WIPO has been unremittingly hostile to the URS as presently constituted and would prefer an alternative that looks to us like the DNS version of SOPA. We also can’t help but note that that the very same trademark interests who keep pushing for additional protections at new gTLDs are the same ones who have blocked any near-term consideration of UDRP reform — despite the fact that the UDRP is the only major ICANN policy that has never been reviewed, and the mind-boggling fact that ICANN accredits UDRP providers to cancel or transfer domains without any contractual controls or obligations.

Nevertheless, now that the initial launch date of the first new gTLDs has been pushed back to at least the first quarter of 2014, this reopened debate was probably inevitable and perhaps it is best that it be focused on a relatively restrained proposal such as that proffered by MIT. The full details can be found in the Discussion Paper, but the gist of the HARM proposal is:

  • ·         HARM designation would be available to established global trademarks that match the rights holder’s second level domain name, and which are distinctive and do not match dictionary words in any of the six official UN languages.
  • ·         The rights holder must demonstrate that the trademark has been subject to misleading and deceptive online conduct as demonstrated by multiple successful UDRPs, court actions, or similar evidence.
  • ·         A trademark meeting these criteria could, for an additional one-time fee of $1-2,000, receives certain additional protections.

MIT estimates that a few thousand global marks would meet the screening criteria. However, we assume that many trademark interests will use the HARM proposal as a jumping-off point and seek to expand the range of eligible marks and associated protections while reducing the registration cost.

That is why it is critical that consideration of any new RPM proposal such as HARM go through ICANN’s standard Policy Development Process (PDP) with full involvement of the GNSO Council. This goes far beyond mere tweaks or implementation details of existing RPMs, and should only be considered by the Board if there is strong community consensus. And there is plenty of time for such formal review, given that we are at least sixteen months away from the launch of the first new gTLD.

We also have strong concerns in particular about one of the additional proposed protections, which is that a HARM-related domain at issue in a URS be suspended within 48 hours if the registrant has not paid a response fee within that period. That is an extremely short turnaround time, especially given that complainants control the timing of filings and can choose holidays and other periods when registrant responses are more likely to be delayed. ICANN’s Board has already bowed to GAC pressure and shortened the standard URS response time by a week, and we would oppose any further truncation for disputes that only involve allegations of trademark infringement absent strong evidence of ongoing criminal activities such as phishing, malware distribution, or payment system fraud.

Finally, we have pointed out to MIT that the discussion panel listed for the DC event does not contain any identifiable proponents of registrant rights, and they have advised us that additional participants will be added.

ICA intends to attend the DC HARM forum and to remain actively engaged on this and all other proposals for alterations of new gTLD RPMs. Our top priority will be to assure that nothing in HARM does any material harm to the due process rights of registrants at new gTLDs, and that the collective weight of adopted RPMs does not so discourage registrations at new gTLDs that their potential for competition and innovation is substantially undermined.

This article by Philip Corwin of the Internet Commerce Association was sourced with permission from:

Australian New gTLD Conference Coming In November

With the introduction of new generic Top Level Domains becoming a reality, a conference has been scheduled in Sydney, Australia, this coming November.The New TLD Summit: Asia Pac 2012 will be held at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre from 19 to 21 November and is being organised by Brand Huddle, whose Director-Sales and Marketing is Andrew Pink, someone who has been intimately involved with the new TLD program for many years now.The conference aims to give those from a brand and legal background direct access to domain industry experts and digital thought leaders, ensuring that they have the knowledge and capability to navigate these new online environments for successful business outcomes.Pink says those attending the conference will gain knowledge and an insight into the new rights protection mechanisms and dispute resolution processes and how to navigate brands through the new digital landscape. Other issues that will be covered are the impact they will have on search, how to identify the right TLD environments to invest in and what to do with existing domain name portfolios.”In-house legal counsel, IP & trade mark firms, brand and digital strategists, marketing and digital agencies and those responsible for new gTLDs are all encouraged to attend,” Pink said.Speakers lined up to date include:

  • Chris Disspain, auDA CEO and ICANN Board Member
  • Bruce Tonkin, CSO Melbourne IT and ICANN Vice Chair
  • Richard Foxworthy, Head of strategy and lead for the Dot Yellow Pages TLD application
  • Tim Johnson, CEO Dot Kiwi
  • Stuart Sheridan, Director Bullseye
  • Zoe Warne, Co-Founder August
  • Neil Brown, QC and Dispute panellist
  • Jurgen Bebber, Principal Griffith Hack.

There is an early bird registration that ends on 7th September. For more information, and early bird registration info, go to www.newtldsummit.com.

Steve Crocker Elected ICANN Chair

Dr Steve Crocker was unanimously elected chair of the ICANN board Friday at the board meeting that traditionally concludes each week-long meeting here in Singapore.Bruce Tonkin, continuing an Antipodean influence, was elected vice chair unanimously, while Chriss Disspain, CEO of auDA, the Australian domain name policy and regulatory body, replaced Peter Dengate Thrush. As Peter Dengate Thrush noted, Disspain continues the “silver-haired Antipodean lawyers” on the board.The meeting saw Dengate Thrush and Rita Rodin Johnston leave the board, having served their two three-year terms, both receiving glowing tributes from fellow board members and standing ovations from those in attendance at the meeting.Also elected to the board was Canadian Bill Graham.Crocker has been involved in the Internet since its inception. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, while he was a graduate student at UCLA, he was part of the team that developed the protocols for the Arpanet and laid the foundation for today’s Internet. He organized the Network Working Group, which was the forerunner of the modern Internet Engineering Task Force and initiated the Request for Comment (RFC) series of notes through which protocol designs are documented and shared. For this work, Crocker was awarded the 2002 IEEE Internet Award. Crocker also holds an honorary doctorate in mathematics from the University of San Martin de Porres in Lima, Perú.Crocker’s experience includes research management at DARPA, USC/ISI and The Aerospace Corporation, vice president of Trusted Information Systems, and co-founder of CyberCash, Inc. and Longitude Systems, Inc. His prior public service includes serving as the first area director for security in the the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), the Internet Architecture Board (IAB), the IETF Administrative Support Activity Oversight Committee (IAOC), service on the Board of the Internet Society and the Board of The Studio Theatre in Washington, DC.Crocker earned his B.A. in mathematics and Ph.D. in computer science at UCLA, and he studied artificial intelligence at MIT.Steve Crocker was selected by the 2008 Nominating Committee to serve as a Board Member. He has been Chair of ICANN’s Security and Stability Advisory Committee (SSAC) since its inception in 2002, and he served as SSAC’s non-voting Liaison to the ICANN Board until being selected by the Nominating Committee. His current term runs from the end of the 2008 annual meeting through the conclusion of the 2011 annual meeting.Crocker is CEO and co-founder of Shinkuro, Inc., a start-up company focused on dynamic sharing of information across the Internet and on the deployment of improved security protocols on the Internet.Dr Crocker’s biographical information is courtesy of the ICANN website.