ICANN64 Kobe

Approval of the CCWG-Acc WS2 Recommendations — and subsequent enaction of ICANN’s Human Rights Core Value — is taking longer than expected. Nonetheless, progress toward operationalizing the Core Value has advanced significantly in recent months. Here are some highlights from ICANN64, held 10-14 March in Kobe, Japan:

  • Preliminary outcomes of the trial HRIA for the Subsequent Procedures (“Sub Pros”) PDP shared with working group members during their F2F meetings. Many of the observations fed into substantive policy discussions and were well received by members. — Link to Sub Pros Trial HRIA
  • PDP HRIA model presented and discussed during the CCWP-HR working session. Participants made suggestions on the rights of indigenous and disabled peoples, inclusion of additional international resolutions / principles, and addition of an “Explainer” tab including normative criteria for evaluation. — CCWP-HR ICANN64 transcript and presentation
  • GAC Human Rights International Law Working Group presented results from a member survey on options for GAC implementation of the Core Value. One of these options provided for the participation of the GAC in HRIAs or similar procedural steps established for PDPs. — GAC HRIL session video (starts at 58:30)
  • ICANN Org has completed its HRIA and will share results in the coming weeks.

Next steps for operationalizing the Human Rights Core Value include finalizing the Sub Pros Trial HRIA, making the suggested revisions to the HRIA model, and determining the next PDP for trial. This ongoing work and a couple new project ideas coming out of Kobe will be the subject of the next CCWP-HR meeting in late April.

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March 2019

Implementation at the Speed of ICANN

The ICANN Board held an Open Session on WS2 implementation during its most recent meeting on 27 January 2019. The basic goals of the session were to clarify when the Board will make a decision on approving the package of recommendations, on what basis, and how the community will be consulted.

As a reminder, only one of the 112 recommendations put forth in the CCWG-Acc WS2 Final Report pertained to human rights. This was the recommendation that the board adopt the proposed Framework of Interpretation, thereby effecting ICANN’s dormant Human Rights Bylaw.

The WS2 recommendations were sent to the ICANN Board for approval on 8 November 2018. In theory, the Board should make their decision within 6 months. That timeline doesn’t seem to be binding, however, and there are a few things that need to happen first:

  • A small Implementation Team of WS2 Co-Chairs / Rapporteurs will be assembled to assist and provide advice as needed;
  • The Board will convene an internal “Caucus Group” to follow WS2 Implementation and report back on progress; and
  • ICANN Org will produce an Implementation Assessment Report to help Board consider report and feasibility of adopting recommendations as a package.

This Implementation Assessment Report will only provide high-level information on timing, costs, and dependencies to help set expectations. Any tradeoffs that may be needed with other policies, programs, or services will have to be consulted with the ICANN Community, though it’s not yet clear how or when that will happen. Until then, resources for WS2 Implementation have only been allocated as a contingency in ICANN’s draft budget for 2020.

Find more information about CCWG-Acc and WS2 here, and subscribe to our mailing list to receive updates on developments.

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February 2019

DNS Transparency Reporting

Transparency reporting has became a popular practice amongst companies across various industries as a means to “know and show” respect for human rights, as described in the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. For companies operating online, shedding light on requests received for content takedown, user data, and ancillary data allows public oversight on decisions that directly impact individuals’ rights, thereby creating a more accountable online ecosystem. Moreover, publicizing data about governmental and third-party requests helps inform policy debates, identify systems that are inefficient or subject to abuse, and reduce misuse of executive power or government institutions.

Yet despite transparency reporting becoming a standard practice amongst major platforms and telcos, this practice not been adopted by Internet Infrastructure providers like registries and registrars. In an attempt to change that, a new DNS Transparency Reporting Initiative was launched within the ICANN community at ICANN62 in June 2018. Stakeholders from civil society, academia, registries, registrars, and security services were involved in the initiative. The outcomes were a short guide enumerating internal procedures and best practices for handling requests and a sample template to facilitate tracking and reporting on how requests are handled.

While the CCWP-HR’s focus remains centred upon harmonizing ICANN’s policies and procedures with internationally recognized human rights, we fully support efforts to promote transparency reporting within the ICANN community and embrace the opportunity to provide resources and a forum for discussions related to making the DNS more accountable and rights-respecting.


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December 2018