Re: [soac-mapo] On "universal resolvability" and useful questions that emerged yesterday
- To: Bertrand de La Chapelle <bdelachapelle@xxxxxxxxx>
- Subject: Re: [soac-mapo] On "universal resolvability" and useful questions that emerged yesterday
- From: Antony Van Couvering <avc@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Tue, 31 Aug 2010 07:24:42 -0700
Thank you for this resume and overview. It is very helpful.
At the heart of your argument is an interesting paradox. Shall we set up rules
to block certain strings in order to preserve universal availability? If a
string is blocked, it is available to no-one at all, and hence is the opposite
of universally available. If it is blocked only partially, for example by
certain governments, then it is not universally available, but it is
nonetheless far more available than if it had never seen the light of day at
What are your thoughts then on .XXX, which exists to be blocked?
On Aug 31, 2010, at 4:56 AM, Bertrand de La Chapelle wrote:
> Dear all,
> Following Milton's request, I'm trying here to reformulate more clearly what
> I said at the end of the discussion yesterday regarding universal
> resolvability. This is an attempt to reframe the issue we are facing to make
> it more addressable. I am not speaking on behalf of the whole GAC here, as
> this has not been discussed in that level of detail yet.
> 1) It is true that there is no absolute universal resolvability today at the
> Top Level. However, among the 270 TLDs or so, blocking of a whole TLD is an
> extremely rare case and only done (from what I've heard) by a very limited
> number of countries. Hence, we can consider that there is a general situation
> of universal resolvability, with some rare exceptions. (universal
> resolvability here is not understood in the pure technical sense of the term
> but more as "universal availability"). This has clearly been a positive
> situation for the Internet as a whole.
> 2) However, the desirable opening up of the domain name space is likely to
> introduce more cases where the string may not be considered universally
> objectionable (by whatever criteria or process), but nonetheless would be
> sufficiently "sensitive" in some countries for them to decide to block it.
> This is what the GAC alludes to (in its gTLD principles) when it says that
> TLDs should respect sensitivities regarding terms of national, cultural,
> geographic or religious significance.
> 3) To handle such sensitive cases, there are two extreme approaches : either
> making no limitations whatsoever at the root level and potentially reducing
> significantly the universal accessibility because many countries would block
> many TLDs; or at the other extreme, giving a de facto veto right to every
> individual government on what gets into the root. Both approaches seem
> inappropriate, or at least, unlikely to gather consensus in the group.
> 4) In other terms, the expansion of the TLD space means that there will be
> some strings that will be in the root and blocked at the Top Level in some
> countries. This is regrettable but probably unavoidable.
> 5) As we finalize the new gTLD program, I believe there is a legitimate
> common and public interest objective of having/keeping as much universal
> resolvability/availability as possible and as little blocking of whole TLDs
> at the national level as possible. Therefore, we should probably not speak of
> a "principle of universal resolvability" but of an "objective of universal
> availability, with limited exceptions".
> 6) Such national exceptions should, building on the mechanisms of the UDHR or
> the Treaty of Paris (often used as reference to MaPO provisions), be made by
> law and be based upon national norms of morality and public order (here MaPO
> norms are at the national level and this is OK). Moreover, with respect to
> the traditional principle of proportionality, any blocking should ideally be
> conducted at the lowest granular level possible, which means that blocking of
> a whole TLD should remain an extreme and exceptional measure.
> 7) Therefore, I believe the challenge we are trying to address is to find
> ways, at the global level, to handle such cases in the most predictable and
> objective manner, so that objections can be formulated, evaluated, and
> ultimately measured with respect to the global public interest (ie : the
> benefits of a new TLD outweigh the inconvenients).
> I hope this clarifies what I tried to convey yesterday.
> Finally, I would like to highlight some very interesting questions that came
> up in the good discussion yesterday evening and could structure part of our
> future interactions :
> - how early in the overall process should MaPO/public interest/sensitivity
> objections be handled ?
> - are we talking "string only" or is the applicant also a relevant element ?
> - would a panel (however it is formed) provide "expert advice" or amount to
> full "outsourcing" (Frank) ? in other terms, how binding would the
> recommendations of such a panel be ?
> - does the Board have to make an explicit decision for every TLD (even if
> it's a mere endorsement of the result of the process, like in the IDN ccTLD
> FT) or does the final decision rest with the staff determination or the
> different panels ?
> - how much flexibility and direct responsibility would/should the Board have
> in the final decision, in particular in the case of sensitive strings ?
> - would it be useful to explore a mechanism of supermajority for the Board to
> refuse a TLD and/or to overrule a negative recommendation by the panel or
> objections by some governments ?
> Looking forward to further discussions on the list and conference calls.
> Bertrand de La Chapelle
> Délégué Spécial pour la Société de l'Information / Special Envoy for the
> Information Society
> Ministère des Affaires Etrangères et Européennes/ French Ministry of Foreign
> and European Affairs
> Tel : +33 (0)6 11 88 33 32
> "Le plus beau métier des hommes, c'est d'unir les hommes" Antoine de Saint
> ("there is no greater mission for humans than uniting humans")