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Toronto, Canada, October 22, 2012 - The recently concluded ICANN meeting in Toronto provided several opportunities to advance the development of the .nyc TLD. Connecting.nyc Inc.’s Tom Lowenhaupt attended the meeting and reports that three CnI initiatives might have a positive impact on the New York and other city TLDs.

  • A project is afoot to engage with Internet Society chapters in 17 cities that have applied for TLDs - Aub Dhabi, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Brussels, Budapest, Doha, Helsinki, London, Madrid, Melbourne, New York City, Paris, Rome, Stockholm, Taipei, and Tokyo - with two goals in mind. The first is to provide public engagement assistance and policy guidance to the applicant cities. The second is to provide a platform for the 17 cities to share best practices. Additionally, it is hoped that Internet Society chapter membership might expand.  

  • On Sunday, October 14, 2012, ICANN’s new president, Fadi Chehade, addressed the At-Large Advisory Committee and stated that its efforts to engage individual internet users in the ICANN governance process is enabled ICANN to be more than a trade association. On Tuesday, October 16, we presented to the At-Large Outreach Subcommittee a path to engage individual internet users from the TLD applicant cities in the ICANN’s governance processes. Our proposal focused on the 39 cities (17 with ISOC chapters, 21 without) that have applied for city TLDs. With a combined population of about 175,000,000, we advocated fora campaign to engage individual internet users in these cities through the development of the “AtLarge.city” domains, for example, AtLarge.AbuDhabi, AtLarge.paris, AtLarge.nyc, … These domains provide an opportunity to create common channels for engagement in the ICANN processes. Our proposal was well received and we have begun working with the Outreach Subcommittee. Note: there may be some cross pollination with this and the previously mentioned Internet Society endeavor. 

  • Finally, Connecting.nyc Inc. applied to be a formal part of the ICANN’s At-Large Structure. Our expectation is that with its approval, we will formalize the role we’ve played with ICANN for the past 6 years, providing a channel to facilitate New Yorkers’ engagement with the ICANN’s processes. See At-Large for developments.

Beyond our initiatives, it was a typical ICANN extravaganza: more than 100 meetings spread out over 10 days (see schedule here). The meeting was “officially” summarized in this 15 minute video with ICANN Chair Steve Crocker and President Fadi Chehade. One of the more interesting developments was the MyICANN.org site with a well designed filter. ICANN’s next meeting is in April in Beijing.

Learn more about The Campaign for .nyc on our wiki pages.

Filed October 22nd, 2012 under Internet Society, At Large, City-TLDs, ICANN

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Jackson Hts., NY, October 3, 2012 - We’ve scheduled a first discussion about an effective governance model for the .nyc TLD for Thursday, from 10 to 11 AM. While the city’s signing a contractor agreement to operate and market the TLD has limited the city’s oversight options, there are a number of open issues, e.g., the name set-asides for civic and government domain names. As well, over the life of the TLD, changing circumstances will best be addressed with broad public input.

Following up on earlier statements about engaging the public in developing plans for the .nyc TLD, the city announced some initial steps for public engagement steps in its Digital Roadmap,

“…the City of New York will establish a community advisory board and convene public listening sessions to encourage meaningful input into the development of the .nyc strategy.” 

Our initial thoughts on the proper structure for the community advisory board (CAB) were presented in a recent wiki post, which said about CAB membership:

“Reflecting the multistakeholder model, CAB members should be selected by government (the city council and mayor), business, and civil society.”

Some have suggested that the Multistakeholder model is flawed, placing it outside the scope of democracy’s evolution. The following is adopted from writings of Parminder Jeet Singh of ITforChange, and describes the stages of that evolution.

  • Version 1.0 was when elected officials assumed full authority to legislate and execute, once they were elected, without any reliance on any auxiliary democratic processes of public consultations. Ministries were steeped in deep secrecy and considerable aloofness from the public.
  • Version 2.0 begun when elected officials started to employ some processes of democracy beyond elections, like undertaking public consultation on various legislative proposals, stakeholder consultations with those directly affected by any governmental measure, forming ad hoc or standing committees with civil society and outside expert participation, instituting right to information legislation  etc….. However, at this stage, public participation was still largely ad hoc, mostly on the terms of the government, and largely not institutionalized.
  • Version 3.0 of democracy … is about strong institutionalization of means and processes of participation (outside of elections) in an ongoing manner, whereby the agenda of such participation can be set with a greatly curtailed influence of the government, if any, the processes are largely out of control of governments… It is independently institutionalized, funded, legitimized, etc. However, there is never a doubt that actual policy making authority remains with representative democratic bodies… There has always to be sufficiently clear difference between institutions of participation, while they have to made as strong and inclusive as possible,  and those of legislation and execution.

Thursday’s discussion will begin a search for an appropriate model for New York’s TLD. [Sorry if you missed the discussion. See this wiki post to see the follow up.] (Commons graphic courtesy of avistadecerdo.)

Learn more about The Campaign for .nyc on our wiki pages.

Filed October 2nd, 2012 under Domain Name, City-TLDs, Civics, Governance

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Jackson Hts., NY, October 1, 2012 - This past June the city of New York applied to ICANN for the right to develop the .nyc Top Level Domain. Its application requested the right to issue millions of .nyc domain names that will guide residents, visitors, and businesses to our city’s resources. With 38 other cities having applied for their TLDs, how well New York weaves its domain names into its digital infrastructure might will determine our city’s fate in the upcoming competition between global cities.

But the city’s application for the .nyc TLD was submitted without drawing upon our city’s innovative digital culture: its entrepreneurs, universities, technologists, and financial sector. Not did the city assess how these domain names will affect digital activists, or its civic, community, and cultural life prior to its submission.

With a professed goal of being a state-of-the-art digital city and global hub of digital development, it’s vital that the city carefully plan for .nyc’s arrival. Policy decisions on who gets what name, under what conditions, for how long, and for how much will determine the effectiveness of the New York City’s digital infrastructure. Ideally it would initiate planning processes that are inclusive, participatory, with lateral sharing in online and face-to-face venues.

We’ve created a Community Advisory Board wiki page to follow this important development. Comments are most welcomed. (Commons photo courtesy of avistadecerdo.)

Learn more about The Campaign for .nyc on our wiki pages.

Filed October 1st, 2012 under Uncategorized

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