2019-06-02

News Review | ICANN GNSO EPDP Phase 2 Battle Over Definitions

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Domain Mondo's weekly internet domain news review (NR 2019-06-02) with analysis and opinion: Features •  1) ICANN GNSO EPDP Phase 2 Battle Over Definitions,  Next EPDP Meeting June 6, 2) a. .AMAZON Update, b. ICANN65 Prep Webinars,  c.ICANN & PTI Tax Returns, d. Public Comments, 3) 351.8 Million Domain Name Registrations?  4) ICYMI: Law Firms' Online Fake Reviews, and more, 5) Most Read.

1) ICANN GNSO EPDP Phase 2 Battle Over Definitions
Next EPDP Meeting Thursday, June 6, at 14:00 UTC (10am EDT), agenda, etc., hereaudiocast / phone (if needed) for observers. May 30th meeting notes and action itemsLinks to the EPDP meetings' recordings and transcripts (when available) are posted on the GNSO calendar. Other EPDP Links: wikipublic mail listGNSO mail list, and worksheets.

EPDP Team members to provide any additional comments on the working definitions draft by COB (close of business) Tuesday, June 4, 2019 (excerpt from the draft):
Some EPDP members have suggested deleting highlighted section above of "request of third parties for access" as inconsistent with GDPR, and in reference to Disclosure, insert "registration" -- "Disclosure refers to provision of non-public registration data to third parties."

Sarah Wyld (RrSG): "Right of Access under GDPR is the data subject's right, not a third party's right .... let's call access what the data subject does when they get their own data, and disclosure is when it's given to a third party" (May 30 meeting chat transcript, emphasis added).

From the EPDP public mail list:

Milton Mueller (NCSG): "I am still having trouble with this:
"The request of third parties for access to full set or subset of non-public gTLD domain name registration data through disclosure policy that is fully compliant with GDPR and developed as a result of the EPDP."
"This definition seems to be straining to get the word "access" into the definition even though the substance of the definition renders the word meaningless. Please do the following experiment. Delete the words "access to full set or subset of" from this definition. This is what you get:
"The request of third parties for non-public gTLD domain name registration data through disclosure policy that is fully compliant with GDPR and developed as a result of the EPDP."
"In other words, the definition works fine without the word access.

"So let's be frank and realistic. We have a solid legal basis for talking about access for data subjects and none for access for third parties. Ergo, there is no reason to include third party requests in the definition of "access" unless we are trying to leverage the definition to lead to a particular policy outcome.

"I respectfully suggest, again, that we stop wasting time trying to impose idiosyncratic and politically motivated definitions on the process, and move straight on to having the policy debate about what kind of disclosure processes and rights third parties are going to get. That, ultimately, is all that matters. The definitional stuff is just spinning our wheels with political spin and positioning." (emphasis added)

Reply from EPDP Chair Janis Karklins: "... we don't need to waste too much time on working
definitions. If after further reflections [EPDP] members will not be able to come to a consensual compromise, I will park the document in the folder - Chair's proposals ..."

UPDATE: Working Definitions draft June 5, 2019 (pdf) The EPDP Team was unable to come to a "consensual compromise" but one of the "action items" from June 6th meeting is "Support Staff to update the working definitions based on input received from the EPDP Team."

2) Other ICANN News
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a. .AMAZONThe Presidents of Peru, Colombia, Ecuador and Bolivia have denounced the ICANN Board decision on .AMAZON, a .BRAND new generic top-level domain (.BRAND new gTLD) applied for by Amazon EU S.à.r.l., a subsidiary of Amazon.com, Inc., formed primarily to dodge taxesPeru’s Martin Vizcarra, Colombia’s Ivan Duque, Ecuador’s Lenin Moreno and Bolivia’s Evo Morales vowed to join forces to protect their countries from what they described as inadequate governance of the internet.

Editor's noteas a follow-up to last week's News Review 2)b. .AMAZON Call To Action, I was advised by ICANN staff on Friday, May 31, 2019, that ICANN is receiving inquiries from several parties regarding the proposed .AMAZON PICs [pdf] (Public Interest Commitments). The .AMAZON PICs have not yet been posted for comment. ICANN is currently working with Amazon.com, Inc., to receive, review and prepare the PICs for publication, which will likely take at least a few more weeks, according to one ICANN staff member, and ICANN expects the PICs to affect all three .AMAZON applications (includes 2 IDNs). Once the PICs are ready for publication, they will be available within each Application's webpage for a 30-day comment period on the new gTLD microsite here:
Meanwhile negative comments on the .AMAZON applications continue pouring in at ICANN here.

b. ICANN65 Prep Week Webinars June 11-17
 ICANN65
ICANN65 Prep Week webinars June 11-17-- register by June 7, 2019 (more info at the link).
Note: the webinars will run in English; however the Policy Team's Policy Update webinar will run in both English and French. Recordings and materials will be posted here. Materials from Policy Team's Policy Update will also be available in French.

c. ICANN and PTI publish U.S. Tax Returns for Fiscal Year ending 30 June 2018.

d. Open Public Comment Periods Closing in June
 Open Comment Periods closing in June, 2019, at 23:59 UTC on the respective dates below:

3) Names, Domains & Trademarks: .COM & ccTLDs Grow in Q1, gTLDs 'Dying on the Vine'
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351.8 Million Domain Name Registrations?  VeriSign, Inc. (NASDAQ: VRSN), announced (pdf), that the first quarter of 2019 closed with 351.8 million domain name registrations across all top-level domains (TLDs), an increase of 3.1 million domain name registrations, or +0.9%, compared to the fourth quarter of 2018 [see footnotes 1, 2, 3], and total domain name registrations have grown by 18.0 million, or +5.4%, year over year.

Editor's note: the biggest problem with Verisign's report is that it includes domain names in the .TK ccTLD. .TK is a free ccTLD that provides free domain names to individuals and businesses. Revenue is generated by monetizing expired domain names. Domain names no longer in use by the registrant or expired are taken back by the registry and the residual traffic is sold to advertising networks. As such, there are no deleted .TK domain names. At the end of the first quarter of 2019, there were 22.5 million .TK domain names counted in the total numbers published by Verisign, skewing the total for ccTLDs and overall total for all TLDs (top-level domains). The real number of total registrations is therefore likely not more than 330 million, 135 million ccTLDs, and 195 million gTLDs of which 141 million are .COM registrations. Therefore .COM has 72% gTLD marketshare and 43% marketshare among all TLDs (ccTLDs + gTLDs).
  • Top 10 Largest TLDs by Number of Reported Domain Names Q1 2019 (graphic opens in new window).
  • Excluding .TK, ccTLD domain name registrations increased 1.4 million in the first quarter of 2019, or +1.1%, compared to the fourth quarter of 2018. ccTLDs, excluding .tk, increased by 7.8 million domain name registrations, or +6.2%, year over year.
  • Total domain name registrations in new gTLDs were 23.0 million at the end of the first quarter of 2019, a decrease of 0.8 million domain name registrations, or -3.4%, compared to the fourth quarter of 2018. Year over year, registrations in new gTLDs increased by 2.8 million, or +13.8% (March 2018 - March 2019).
  • .COM: as of March 31, 2019, the .COM domain name base totaled 141.0 million domain name registrations, an increase of 2.0 million, or +1.4% compared to the fourth quarter of 2018. Year over year, .COM increased registrations by 7.1 million or +5.3%. 
  • .NETas of March 31, 2019, the .NET domain name base totaled 13.8 million domain name registrations, a decrease of  0.2 million, or -1.4% compared to the fourth quarter of 2018. Year over year, .NET decreased registrations by 0.6 million or -4.2%. .NET registrations have been declining continuously since 2016.
  • Background Data: As of Dec. 31, 2018, the .COM domain name base totaled approximately 139.0 million domain name registrations, while the .NET domain name base totaled approximately 14.0 million domain name registrations. As of Mar. 31, 2018, the .COM domain name base totaled approximately 133.9 million domain name registrations, while the .NET domain name base totaled approximately 14.4 million domain name registrations.
Verisign's first quarter 2019 Domain Name Industry Brief, as well as previous reports, can be obtained at Verisign.com/DNIB. Editor's notecompare this Verisign Q1 2019 report with Q1/2019  CENTRstats Global TLD Report (download here; interactive version here), discussed at News Review 2) a. Dying Domains - CENTRstats.

4) ICYMI Internet Domain News 
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Law Firms' Online Fake Reviews: online reviews have become a critical marketing tool for law firms.  An ABA article advised law firms to be on the lookout for the “serious problem” of fake reviews, noting the New York State Attorney General has gone after companies that provided businesses with fake reviews. The Federal Trade Commission also frowns on deceptive online reviews. Law firms likewise could be liable for fake reviews.

A Tale of Two Internets--Today, there are two predominant flavors of internet on the menu–the U.S. offering dominated by its major tech companies, and the top-down, state-controlled version being spread in earnest by China. In many countries in Africa, communications infrastructure is still being built out, so assistance from Chinese companies is accepted with open arms.

China: President Xi Invites World To Join China In Building New Internet--zerohedge.com.

How the FTC Can Make Facebook Better--Fines Aren’t Enough--eff.org.

EU: Poland has challenged the EU's copyright directive in the EU Court of Justice (CJEU) on grounds it threatens freedom of speech on the internet.

The world will be freer, safer by smashing firewalls of closed societies (opinion)--thehill.com.

Internet Freedom in Central Asia beset by ‘technical’ difficulties. governments in the region routinely censor online speech for short-term political goals. Could Uzbekistan reverse the trend?--tol.org.

5) Most Read this past week on DomainMondo.com: 
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-- John Poole, Editor  Domain Mondo 

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