October 24, 2018

Eye on ICANN 63 - GAC Communiqué

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The 63rd international meeting of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) took place last week, from October 20-25, in Barcelona, Spain.Several members of Winterfeldt IP Group attended ICANN 63.

ICANN63, the final of the three global ICANN meetings held in 2018, was 2018’s Annual General Meeting (AGM), the longest of ICANN’s three rotating meeting styles. The AGM format presented an extremely robust schedule, including numerous working group sessions and traditional Constituency Day, which was held on October 23. In addition, the AGM offered several presentations on high-interest topics and cross-community panels, with a continued focus on WHOIS/GDPR (European data protection regulation) issues.

The GNSO Council (the body that develops global domain name policy) and the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC), the body of over 175 country and territory representatives that advises the ICANN Board,  held meetings throughout the conference. The GAC met extensively during ICANN 63, including attending meetings with the ICANN Board, GNSO, and other stakeholder groups;conducting various working group sessions; and participating in assorted cross-community discussions, often focusing on WHOIS/GDPR and ultimately issuing its ICANN 63 Barcelona Communiqué on Wednesday, October 25, 2018. The GAC issues a Communiqué at the end of each ICANN meeting, drafted by consensus of its members, meaning the absence of any objection. The Communiqué summarizes GAC participation in the larger ICANN multi-stakeholder community, provides administrative updates about the GAC, and—most importantly—includes the GAC’s“advice” to the ICANN Board. While other portions of the Communiqué can offer important insight on governments’ role in the domain name system and their collective attitudes towards ongoing ICANN activities, the ICANN Bylaws compel the ICANN Board to respond to the GAC’s advice.

The ICANN 63 Communiqué contains relatively robust rationales for its new advice,continuing a recent trend in GAC Communiqués that reflects increasing scrutiny of their conclusions. This Communiqué in particular focuses on several longstanding issues, but offers stronger and more elaborate positions on them.Please reach out to us at internet@winterfeldt.law if you are interested in receiving a summary and analysis of the ICANN 63 GAC Communiqué. The full Communiqué may be found here.

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