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Vilnius, Lithuania, September 17, 2010 - At the 5th Internet Governance Forum in Vilnius, Lithuania, leaders from government, civil society, and business gathered to discuss the design, development, and operation of city-TLDs. Participants at the City-TLD Governance and Best Practices workshop made the following recommendations:

  • City-TLD proponents should prepare a preliminary definition of public interest TLDs, using resources such as the Paris Understanding.
  • An organization of proponents of public interest city-TLDs be formed.
  • Literature should be prepared to inform mayors of the world of the utility of city-TLDs, and that it be distributed through their best practices organizations.
  • Via petition and other mechanisms, the thoughtful and rapid approval of city-TLDs should be presented to the ICANN.
  • Such petition to the ICANN should note that the operation of city government, the quality of city life, and the sustainability of cities will be improved by the thoughtful issuance and development of city-TLDs.
  • Such petition should also note the unsuitability of the proposed filing fees, technology requirements, and registry/registrar separation for city-TLDs proposed in the Draft Application Guidebook, especially for less developed areas.
  • The petition should note that the acceptance of city-TLDs as a distinct category of TLDs, governed under the existing laws of nation-states; unencumbered by traditional concerns about trademark stress; and governed by responsible entities will free the ICANN to focus on more problematic TLD categories.
  • That nation-states be contacted through the members of the ICANN’s Government Advisory Committee (GAC) and other channels and requested to assemble a list of cities with an existing interest in TLDs.
  • That a list of cities proposing public interest TLDs be submitted to ICANN.
  • That a dedicated unit within ICANN be created to process public interest city-TLD applications.
  • That cities on such a list be processed and approved in an expedited manner.
  • That trademark issues be closely considered. 
  • That the city-TLD advocacy organization create city-to-city processes and communication channels to share best practices.

See City-TLD Governance and Best Practices - Report for the full workshop details and the follow-up page for responses under consideration. (Photo courtesy of Patti Shubitz.)

Learn more about our overall effort from our Wiki Home Page

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New York, May 26, 2010 - On October 3, 2009 the NYC Department of Information Technology & Telecommunications (DoITT) issued a Request for Proposals for “services to obtain, manage, administer, maintain and market the geographic Top Domain name .nyc”.

The New York Chapter of the Internet Society has followed the .nyc TLD acquisition process for several years and on May 8, 2010 hosted a seminar “dot nyc – How are we doing?” The symposium was held at NYU and moderated by Joly MacFie, Secretary of the New York Chapter.

NYC Council Member Gale Brewer delivered the keynote and then took questions. In her opening remarks CM Brewer made several points including the following:

  • There’s a public process at ICANN and there’s a public process, we would like to say, before it goes to ICANN.
  • What we are interested in at the city council is what does the city of New York get out of it. We are desperate for revenue. And we are interested in what public input goes into an ICANN proposal. And certainly we would like to have at the very least a public-private partnership, not just a private.­
  • And the other advantage to doing a public process with a sign off and resolution from the city council is that it makes it a stronger application at ICANN. That makes a huge difference.

After her comments CM Brewer took several questions.

Q. Joly MacFie - ICANN has said that you are going to have to show that you have to show support from the community and this means that you have to have a resolution from the council. Obviously the mayor is the administrator, he’s got to present that to the council.

A. CM Brewer - Absolutely. I think that would be the time to figure out what the city gets out of it. What the public gets out of it.

Q. Joly MacFie - I think before then there should be process. DoITT should say we have a bunch of proposals, they are all very interesting, there are these issues, have a public hearing on those issues, it might be Council Member Garodnick’s Telecommunications committee, and from that make a secondary call for proposals, a second sound of things, before we go ahead.

A. CM Brewer - I would agree, and then you have a second round of criteria. Based on the public input.

Q. Tom Lowenhaupt (Director, Connecting.nyc Inc.) - The ICANN requires a letter of support from the local governing authority. I’ve always thought the city council served that role…

A. CM Brewer - I don’t know the answer to that question. We’ll have to have that researched. This is something that will be extremely controversial if it’s not done with some public input. I think politically, I don’t know about legally, that would count as the city council and the administration. Politically from DoITT’s perspective, this is not something that will affect just the administration. This will have huge impact on business, on nonprofits and everybody in New York. Everyone. So I would assume they would want to have public hearings on it, politically.  It would be crazy to have something go to ICANN without public input. I think they’ll see it that way.

Q. Tom Lowenhaupt - Do you think at this point the Technology Committee is the more appropriate one?

A. CM Brewer - Technology, Small Business, there are a lot of joint hearings at this point, trying to get more participation. At least two committees will have hearings. I will attend all of them. I will write a letter to DoITT after today’s hearing asking for updates and send you all copies, asking for public hearings on whatever committees that need to be part of this. The new commissioner Carol Post comes from the mayor’s office of operations. She’s very open. She understands that it’s very important to get public input. She’s very close to the administration, so she’s not afraid of bucking them.

Q. Joly MacFie - It seems like there is some type of process that if we got a proposal together and brought it to the Community Boards to say we like this idea.

­A. CM Brewer - Yes. I think Community Boards would be very interested in a community .nyc because they want to highlight the businesses in the neighborhood. Absolutely.

After Council Member Brewer concluded the Q&A, Eric Brunner-Williams of CORE Internet Council of Registrars, the only vendor to participate in the day’s events, presented details of CORE’s proposal. 

Finally, there was a discussion “What’s it for?” about possible applications – civic, community, commercial, and “outside the box” for a city-TLD. Speakers included Tom Lowenhaupt of Connecting.nyc Inc. (CNI) and Richard Knipel of Wikimedia NYC.

Lowenhaupt spoke of his long involvement with .nyc leading to the creation of Connecting.nyc in 2006. He presented his vision of governance for the TLD based on the model of the city’s cable TV public access channels, and described two recent efforts: The Flushing Community and dotNeighborhoods that point the way toward .nyc operating as a community TLD. After describing the dotNeighborhoods project, he introduced Richard Knipel who described a research project Wikimedia NYC will be undertaking in support of dotNeighborhoods this summer.

For more on the Symposium, including a video and stills, see this Internet Society page.

Learn more about our overall effort from our Wiki Home Page.

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ICANN-Seoul.1.JPG­Seoul, October 27­, 2009 - I awoke with the birdies today and took a run along the Cheonggyecheon, a stream that flows between the Eastgate and the Lotte. It was a delight. Yesterday I was reading in the Korean Times that the mayor of Seoul indicated he was going to run for another term and had promised to stay in office for the full 5 years. He said he wanted to do for the Han, the city’s main river,  what the previous mayor did for the Cheonggyecheon. The writer noted that the previous mayor had ridden that accomplishment to the nation’s presidency.

Seoul is just an amazing physical city. And the people are about 2/3 the width of Americans, i.e., I haven’t seen an obese person yet. My only negative observation is about the quality of the air, nothing you can smell, perhaps it’s smog, but it’s difficult to see the nearby mountains.­

As to ICANN meeting…  It was more doom and gloom for the timely issuance of TLDs. The first post AoC meeting of the GAC and the ALAC brought to mind one of the early ICANN meeting I’d attended remotely in the late 1990’s, in that every possible problem that might arise with the issuance of of additional TLDs was raised, largely by the ALAC. Some constructive thoughts were added by GAC participants but overall those looking for rapid issuance of a gTLD would have come away saddened. But there was much talk of specific categories of TLDs that might warrant rapid processing, city and cultural. However, even there some of the old, seemingly resolved issues, such as user confusion and TLD failure, were raised anew.

Perhaps an aside, but then again maybe the central point, yesterday the Committee for Open Fashion NYC issued a statement that the fashion.nyc domain name “should present a complete and unbiased directory of the city’s fashion industry.” More on this soon.  

And then there was the Gala Event - the food, the museum, and the entertainment were fantastic. One of my favorite remembrances was a calligraphic rendering of “New York” and “NYC” in Korean. You’ll be amused. It will be the subject of a separate post. And making the Gala more gala, we learned that DoITT had extended the deadline for filing the .nyc RFP to December 7.

My view of Seoul as a perfect society was tainted somewhat when I entered the Metro last night to return from the Lotte to the Eastgate: dozens of homeless were setting up their boxes for a good night’s sleep. It was quite open and obviously “overlooked” by the Metro operators. Then again, this might be a more humane way of handling the homeless problem than the way we do it back in New York City. [Post 7:14 AM on the 28th - Seoul.]

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ICANN-Seoul.1.JPG­Seoul, October 26, 2009 - While I’m a bit tired now, at 7:11 PM, I suspect it’s due to the busy day I had rather than to the 13 hour time shift. I awoke at 8 this morning after a decent night’s sleep, so I guess I’m “adjusted.” First thing I needed to do was change hotels. The new one, Eastgate Tower, is closer to the conference hotel - about 1.5 miles - and spanking new. It’s a bit odd though, and I suspect that it’s a hybrid hotel /condo of some sort. 

The walk to the Lotte from Eastgate was quite interesting as it passed through a light industrial / shopping area. Small shops lined the street with different classes of products - several lighting shops, then hardware stores, a slew of tape stores (the sticky kind), then it was the wall paper district… Many of the stores were also making the products they sold, or at least modifying them. Saws and hammers were seek regularly. This contrasted with New York City where little is manufactured and what is is rarely within view of the public.But I didn’t notice any foul odors or obvious signs of pollution.

I arrived at the ICANN conference at 11:30 and started talking to the trickle that was exiting the New TLD Program Overview session: sad faces all around - more delays - not even proposed submission dates - disbelief - too many loose ends… It seems the Draft Application Guide 3 is hardly worth reading.

But there was hope for .nyc being processed by ICANN within a reasonable time period. This was embodied in the “Airport Scenario,” proposed by Bertrand de La Chapelle, the French GAC representative, ans “Step by Step,” as the folks from CORE are calling the concept of facilitating a path for less controversial TLDs to proceed sooner. The cultural entities and cities are within this “easier to process” group. 

I also sat in on the debate on Registrar-Registry separation. Seemed like a no-brainer: keep the roles separate.

This evening I’m having dinner with representatives from Bangkok who are interested in the BKK TLD (an airport code). More later..

Filed October 26th, 2009 under City-TLDs, City Council, Domain Names, DoITT, ICANN, City Agency

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ICANN-Seoul.1.JPG­Seoul, October 25, 2009 - I woke at 2:11 AM with my body thinking it was morning. First thing I did was to go out to round up some tea bags. A simple Tetley or the like was not available from several stores in the neighborhood. I’ve had a Sulloc Brown Rice Green Tea and am now brewing a Korean One Ginsing Granule Tea. Both had their charm. But change of habit is tough.

Today I’m focusing on the city’s RFP requirement that two proposals, one Open one Closed be submitted.

“The City is considering the options of having .nyc as either an Open TLD or a community-based (“Closed”) TLD. Therefore, we are asking proposers to submit two separate proposals: one (1) proposal for an Open TLD and one (1) proposal for a Closed TLD. An Open TLD permits individuals and entities to obtain a second-level domain (“SLD”) without showing a nexus to the City. A Closed TLD will require individuals and entities to prove a nexus to the City to be eligible to obtain an SLD.”

This poses a conundrum for us as Connecting.nyc Inc.’s basic reason to exist is to advance to concept of a community TLD, and when the RFP states “NOTE: Proposers must submit separate Proposed Approach sections for their Open TLD and Closed TLD proposals” I’m left perplexed. Making it especially difficult for us is the Basis for Contract Award which states “If a contract is awarded, it will be awarded to the responsible technically viable proposer in the competitive range offering the highest amount of revenue to the City.” (We’ve asked the city for clarification on this.)

So early this morning I’m thinking through the options available to us and trying to figure out how I can address them over the next few days here in Seoul. As I see it we have four options:

  • Submit only a Community (Closed) proposal?
  • Submit two identical community proposals labeling one Open and the other Community (Closed)?
  • Submit a Community (Closed) plan that presents those features that will serve the needs of city residents and a modified Open version that incorporates some subset of the community features?
  • Or do we look for a different position from which to accomplish our mission, for example, commenting on the quality of Community plans submitted by the various bidders?

If this is like a typical ICANN meeting, there will be 800 or so clever Internet bureaucrats, engineers, entrepreneurs, government officials, lawyers, and public interest advocates of different shades with which I can discuss these options. [Post 5:57 AM - Seoul.]

That RealTime heading should probably be removed on this post as It’s 27 hours later, but I thought I’d report on the big news from Sunday’s ICANN meetings. I attended two: ALAC and joint GAC/GNSO. (See ICANN Glossary.) ALAC was refreshing as they seem to have been far better organized than in previous years. At the GAC / GNSO meeting there was much talk of problems with the New TLD program by the GAC members. With the GAC’s role having risen with the recent AoC with the U.S. Government, observers came away thinking more of the usual - delay. But several GAC members spoke positively of the Airport Scenario presented by the French: As planes become ready let them take off, no need to wait for everyone (every detail) before the first starts down the runway. With several GAC members chiming in that this seemed an appropriate measure for the less controversial applicants - cities and cultural groups - there was a tad of positive news for .nyc.  

1993-2009.0.JPGNew York, August 28, 2009 - New York City’s voters approved a city charter amendment in 1988 that required publishing a Public Data Directory detailing the city’s “computerized information.”

In 1993 the first, and so far only, edition of the Public Data Directory was published with details of 300 or so databases. In recent weeks we’ve been working with the NYC Open Government Coalition to help make a digital version of the paper Directory available. The thinking is that many of the databases still exist and that this will be a starting point for a more robust detailing of current city databases.

The preponderance of the technology for the conversion was developed by the Transparency Corps, a project of the Sunlight Foundation, and New York City’s civil society catalyst The Open Planning Project.

The multi-step conversion process first scanned the Directory’s 156 pages into digital images. Next, these now digitized “pages” were read by an OCR program (Optical Character Recognition) which converted the digital images into computer readable characters. We’re now on the third step which requires two human inputs: 1.) copy the OCR text and paste it into the appropriate data fields, and 2.) with OCR delivering only 99% accuracy (e.g., it doesn’t do well differentiating a g and a q), after pasting you’ve got to compare if it accurately represents what was in the printed Directory, making any necessary corrections. The correct interpretation is not always obvious so each page is served and interpreted several times with a Levenshtein algorithm deciding on the correct version. The Transparency Corps has added a modicum of pleasure by incorporating a game-like scoring feature.

Visit the site and help make some of the conversions, each takes about 5 minutes. With the small commitment of time, this is an excellent example of an appropriate wiki task. 25% of the tasks were completed as of September 7, 91% on November 1.

When you’re done, go to our Internet of Things page and help imagine ways we might collaborate to wring more benefits out of the city’s databases and other ‘things.’ 

Learn more about .nyc on our wiki pages. ­­­

Filed August 28th, 2009 under Volunteers, COPIC, City Agency

­RFI.JPGNew York City, April 27, 2009 - The city’s Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT) has issued a Request for Information (RFI) in preparation for the acquisition of the .nyc TLD (like .com and .org but just for New York City). We applaud this outreach effort and request that all members of Connecting.nyc’s community join us in assembling a comprehensive body of information to assist the city with this important policy development effort.

Over the next weeks we will gather and organize information that might aide the city’s decision making process. (Due date May 27th.) With our public interest perspective, decade-long involvement with .nyc, and the collaboration of our community, we expect that our submission will assist the city in better understanding the multitude of ways .nyc can help create a more prosperous and livable city.

We will augment our submission by including information presented on a collaborative wiki we’ve created, see RFI Workspace. The Workspace links to the abundance of information on Connecting.nyc Inc.’s wiki, and enables our community to help create an imaginative and innovative assemblage of ideas for the city’s consideration. We are particularly interested in ways the TLD might facilitate security and privacy. As well, we’d like to hear how .nyc can help connect New York City’s civic, social, and business communities using networking tools.

Going forward, we expect DoITT to review the various RFI submissions and, in collaboration with city agencies, business & civic organizations, and residents, to develop a road map leading to .nyc’s acquisition, development, operation, and oversight. (Image elements courtesy Google Maps.)

Learn more about our RFI Collaboration

Link to Connecting.nyc Inc.’s wiki pages.

New York, January 28­, 2009 - ­Look for us. We’re coming to your neighborhood.  My experience at the Town Hall meeting sponsored by Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer was very positive and a success for Connectingnyc.org.  Borough President Stringer is very interested in how our technology firms are working to define and solve some of the problems in our neighborhoods.  He told me to email him because he works for us.  And we in turn look forward to working with this great city, NYC.

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

Filed January 29th, 2009 under social network, GIS, Governance, City Agency

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Friday, October 17, 2008

Time: 10:00 AM Location:

Heari­ng Room - 250 Broadway, 14th Floor Chair:Gale A. Brewer

Brief: Res 1495 - By Council Members Brewer, Comrie, Jackson, James, Liu, Palma, Seabrook and White Jr.

Resolution supporting the local efforts to acquire the .nyc Top Level Domain and urging The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers to approve the City’s application in order to meet the needs of city residents via the Internet. ­

See testimony by Connecting.nyc Inc., a partial transcript, and other hearing information ­­. (Commons photo courtesy of srokas)­. 

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

­community-board.JPGSeptember 27, 2008, New York - In June, as part of our Civics Project, we reached out to city employees requesting that they suggest domain names that might be set aside to help city government better perform its multitude of tasks.

This fall we are setting aside an important layer of names to aide the city’s vital civic sector. Variously identified as community, civic, block, resident, neighborhood, youth, and senior associations, groups, or organizations, they connect residents with one another to address local needs, and they connect to government when necessary.

Over the past weeks we’ve communicated with the city’s 59 community boards and the borough presidents asking for their help identifying this civic sector and the names of neighborhoods, parks, monuments, principle streets, squares, historic sites or other geographic areas, parades, and events with the intention of setting aside matching .nyc domain names. Our Civic Names page links to these civic resources by community district.

Many of the civic sector organizations already have domain names, some of them good ones - i.e, short, descriptive, and memorable, and we do not expect them to switch to .nyc names. What we want to accomplish most immediately is to set aside appropriate domain names so that, should a civic organization or resource need a reflective .nyc name,  it will be available to them. 

Beyond these name set-asides, our Civics Project seeks to help those without an existing web presence establish  appropriate spaces within the .nyc Top Level Domain. In 2009 we will facilitate mentoring and other relationships to assist the civic sector in these areas. Updated October 5, 2008. (Commons photo courtesy of Jebb.)

Learn about and contribute to The Campaign for .nyc on our wiki pages.

Filed September 27th, 2008 under social network, Domain Names, Civics, Education, City Agency
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