News Review | ICANN EPDP Chair Quits After Vote on Final Report Delayed

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Domain Mondo's weekly internet domain news review (NR 2019-02-24) with analysis and opinion: Features • 1) ICANN EPDP Chair Quits After Vote on Final Report Delayed, 2) Other ICANN news: a. Namazi New GDD Sr. VP, b. New gTLD .AMAZON, and more, 3) a. Google's Extortionate Domaining, b. Booking.com Trademark Case, 4) ICYMI: Personal Data, Data Protection, Data Privacy, Access to Data, and more, 5) Most Read.

1) ICANN EPDP Chair Quits After Vote on EPDP Final Report (Phase 1) Delayed 
"For a set of personal and professional reasons, I am writing to resign my post as Chair of the EPDP for Registration Data. I was honored to be selected by the GNSO Council leadership for the post and attempted to live up to the position expectations and requirements at every moment since I began in July. I will stay on for as long as it takes to find a replacement Chair and smoothly transition the responsibilities ..."--resignation email from Kurt Pritz to GNSO Council Chair Keith Drazek, February 21, 2019, after deferral of the GNSO Council vote on the EPDP Final Report (Phase 1) (pdf) until March 4, 2019, as requested by the Business Constituency (BC) and supported by the Intellectual Property Constituency (IPC).
Response from GNSO Council Chair Keith Drazek: Hi Kurt, Thanks for your email, and more importantly for your commitment, sacrifice and service over the last seven months. I will follow up with another email soon, but I wanted to acknowledge receipt of your message and express my gratitude and appreciation on behalf of the GNSO Council. I also appreciate and welcome your willingness to continue as Chair during the transition to Phase 2 and the next Chair. Best regards, Keith.
Prescient email Feb. 20, 2019, below, from EPDP team member Dr. Milton Mueller (NCSG - Georgia Tech), responding to an earlier email from EPDP Chair Kurt Pritz wherein Pritz stated: "I chose not to conflate the number of groups with the voting scheme of the GNSO Council. I think that is the province of the Council, i.e., discussion at the Council level and the voting scheme will come into play there as items with “Strong Support" are considered."
"Sorry Kurt, but that’s not your call. As chair you can designate consensus levels but you do not have the authority to redefine the groups upon which consensus determinations are based. The CSG [Commercial Stakeholder Group] and the NCSG [Non-Commercial Stakeholder Group] both have 6 members on this EPDP team because they are both equivalent stakeholder groups in the chartering process. This was a point of considerable discussion in the formation of the EPDP and the result is not something you can toy with. Doing so leaves you and the whole process subject to legitimacy and bias challenges. The fact that CSG’s 3 constituencies [IPC, BC, ISPCP] insist on independent representation is a choice they have made and can make but it does not change their status as a single SG, a single group for the purposes of consensus determinations. I am sure you don’t want our painstaking work product to be further delayed by procedural and legitimacy challenges, including an independent review process [IRP], but I assure you that is what will happen if you try to disenfranchise an SG by double or triple counting the constituents of another SG." (emphasis and link added)
EPDP Timeline (as of Feb 24, 89 days until the Temporary Specification expires 25 May 2019):
source: icann.org
Analysis & Opinion Editor's note: Kurt Pritz has a long history with ICANN according to his outdated bio on the ICANNwiki, having been appointed as a Vice President of ICANN in 2003. He was heavily involved in ICANN's controversial new gTLDs program as ICANN's Chief Strategy Officer, but suddenly resigned on November 15, 2012, due to an undisclosed conflict of interest. After he left ICANN he became Executive Director of the Domain Name Association, a domain name industry group principally representing the interests of new gTLD registry operators. He resigned from that position in 2015, and thereafter has been involved with various domain name industry firms, including Allegravita, and Architelos (which filed for bankruptcy after being hit with a judgment in a lawsuit brought by registry services provider Afilias), and most recently has been involved with the new gTLD .ART.

I have no idea why Pritz wanted to be EPDP Chair, nor why the GNSO Council appointed him in July, 2018, but I think Pritz saw the handwriting on the wall, and had the good judgment to realize he had already had enough of chairing the EPDP, a task for which he seemed ill-suited from the start. Pritz readily admitted he was far out of his depth, and as Chair, he failed to develop and follow a cogent work plan for Phase 1, apparently relying instead, on ICANN support staff who were as ignorant about the intricacies of the GDPR as he was. Last year, wasting weeks trying to "redline" the Temp Spec per Pritz's directions, EPDP team members repeatedly tried to steer the group back to functionality, with Thomas Rickert finally stating the obvious: "We are trying to fix a document (Temp Spec) that can hardly be fixed." 

It is actually painful to go back and read those transcripts from last year's EPDP meetings. Almost every meeting reeks of dysfunction and lack of direction, and many EPDP members knew it at the time, and often expressed their frustrations on the record. But that is all water under the bridge now. The EPDP Phase 2 will deal with difficult "access issues" and unfortunately, Phase 1 failed to fix or adequately address many core issues, such as controllership, upon which access policy decisions may be dependent. Ideally, the EPDP team needs a Chair who is both knowledgeable about the GDPR, as well as experienced in GNSO PDP consensus processes and procedures. Perhaps Co-Chairs, with one who is knowledgeable about GDPR, and the other experienced in GNSO PDP consensus processes and procedures.

More info: EPDP team mail list and wikiGNSO mail list and calendarEPDP Final Report (pdf); EPDP Charter (pdf); Bird & Bird legal memos; EPDP legal mail list; ICANN's controllership legal memo (pdf); last week's News ReviewThere will be no EPDP meetings until after the GNSO Council vote on March 4, 2019.

2) Other ICANN News
graphic "ICANN | Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers"
a. Cyrus Namazi promoted to Senior Vice President of ICANN's Global Domains Division (GDD), succeeding his crony, at Conexant and ICANN, former GDD President Akram Atallah, who resigned last year to become CEO of new gTLDs registry operator Donuts, Inc. The ICANN announcement indicates that Atallah's former title of "GDD President," (given to him by his crony, long-time friend and ICANN CEO, Fadi Chehade, in June, 2013) has been abolished. ICANN didn't disclose whether Namazi is receiving the same extravagant compensation package as Atallah did.

21 Feb 2019 Letter from Achilles Zaluar* to ICANNBoard (pdf)--*Achilles Zaluar is Director, Department of Technological Promotion, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Brazil--excerpt:
"We regret that our invitation to the ICANN CEO and his team to join Brazil and several other Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (ACTO) member states in a video conference on 19 February on the “.Amazon” issue was not accepted. Our common goal is still to find a mutually acceptable solution for the “.Amazon” applications .... despite our best efforts, time seems to have ran out to work on a mutually acceptable solution before ICANN 64 in Kobe. We remain committed to do it in the coming months, with a view to develop a solution that fulfills GAC´s request to the ICANN Board. We therefore kindly request that the ICANN Board postpone a final decision on the .Amazon applications to ICANN 65, with a view to allow the eight Amazon countries and Amazon Inc. to find a mutually acceptable solution ..." 
Letter (pdf) from ICANN CEO Göran Marby to Secretary General PS/ACTO Alexandra Moreira:
See also 13 Feb 2019 Letter from Alexandra Moreira to Göran Marby.

c. IDNs: Letter from ICANN GDD Cyrus Namazi to Wang Wei et al. 15 Feb 2019, re: Root Zone LGR Generation Panels, excerpt:
".... The CJK GPs correctly note that visual similarity of strings causing confusability should be resolved by String Similarity Panels during TLD string evaluation, String Confusion Objection and String Contention Mechanisms ... an important part of the Procedure and helps ensure that the RZ-LGR satisfies the “Contextual Safety Principle” which asks to minimize the risk of malicious use of IDN labels. As well noted in your communication, the visually similar strings, which are not deemed identical, will continue to be evaluated by the String Similarity Review processes. Due to the independent nature of the working of the IP [Integration Panel], as stipulated by the Procedure, ICANN org suggests that the CJK GPs continue discussions with the IP in order to find a mutually agreeable solution based on the Procedure. ICANN org will organize a face to face meeting of the GPs and IP at the ICANN64 meeting in Kobe, Japan to continue to support this dialogue."
d. ICANN Notice of Breach to Registrar (pdf), excerpt:

e. 13 February 2019 Letter to ICANN (pdf), excerpt below, and ICANN response (pdf).
"... despite several attempts of communication with the reseller and registrar neither parties are responding to my requests. I act for Mr Khan as his IT consultant. I am unable to access the domain so I cannot prevent it from expiring and I cannot access my account or update nameservers or WHOIS information. This is causing me to suffer an immense loss of business. Please, can you get involved and somehow shake these rogue traders up so that they comply and cooperate?" (emphasis added)
f. Public Comments Close 5 Mar 2019 23:59 UTC on First Consultation on a 2-Year Planning Process | ICANN.org.

g. Technical Study Group (TSG) Advances Draft Model--icann.org: The Technical Study Group on Access to Non-Public Registration Data is developing a detailed draft of the Technical Model for Non-Public Registration Data. "... In the coming weeks, the team members, working together with ICANN org representatives, will further develop the draft Technical Model in order to share it with the community before heading to Kobe. During our face-to-face meeting, we also discussed how to present our work outside of the ICANN community, including to the European Commission. When we finish our work on the Technical Model after Kobe, we will send our report to ICANN President and CEO Göran Marby. We look forward to sharing these discussions with you in more detail at ICANN64 and invite you to a community engagement session we are planning ..."

3) Names, Domains & Trademarks
graphic "Names, Domains & Trademarks" ©2017 DomainMondo.com
a. Google Does Domaining Like Big Time Extortion | i-programmer.info: "Google Domains has the rights to the .dev Top Level Domain and intends to make as much money from it as possible - $11,500 just for early access to the scramble to register the most desirable names." 

b. Trademark case of Booking.com v. USPTO (pdf) embed below,  decided Feb 4, 2019 (45 days for Petition for En Banc Rehearing). See also Unprotectable Generic Trademarks + Top-Level Domains = Protectable Trademarks--jdsupra.com, and Fourth Circuit Confirms Booking.com is Protectable But Company Must Pay the USPTO’s Fees on Appeal--jdsupra.com.

4) ICYMI Internet Domain News 
graphic "ICYMI Internet Domain News" ©2017 DomainMondo.com
Personal Data, Data Protection, Data Privacy, Access to Data:
  • OpenSRS’ Tiered Access Directory: a look at the numbers--opensrs.com: "We have received more than 2100 data access requests since our Tiered Access system started last May, and of these requests ... 65% of all requests came on behalf of a single requestor; only 21% of these requests resulted in the provision of data, as the majority did not provide sufficient legitimate purpose, nor did the requestor respond to our request for more information. Perhaps surprisingly, 70% of data access requests are not fulfilled because the requestor did not respond to Tucows’ requests for additional information ..."
  • Patients, health data experts accuse Facebook of exposing personal info--thehill.com.
  • Access  to Data: What’s the Emergency? Keeping International Requests for Law Enforcement Access Secure and Safe for Internet Users--eff.org.

Copyright Law Versus Internet Culture--eff.org.

India: Not just porn, Indian users say telecoms are blocking access to many websites. Most of the complaints have come from Indians using Jio connections, followed by Airtel--scroll.in. See also India Proposes Chinese-Style Internet Censorship--NYTimes.com.

Press freedom organisations urge Nigeria to keep internet on during election period--ifex.org

5) Most Read this past week on DomainMondo.com: 
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