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Old 30th March 2006, 11:37 PM
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Interview with Paul Twomey, CEO and President of ICANN

Quote:
Interfax: What does ICANN think of the changes that China has made on its domain system? [Following reports that China is setting up a separate root system, independent of ICANN]

Twomey: The change that China actually made was falsely reported by the press. ICANN is of course quite comfortable with this change. China did not change their top level domains, but they made some changes to their second-level domain name structure, that what goes before .CN [ie. gov.cn].
They are second level domains inside .CN, ICANN does not have any policy role when it comes to the second level of country code top level domains. [China has added two second-level domains ".mil.cn" and ".gov.cn". Both of them are second-level domains.]
This was an error originally reported by the People's Daily, but then they later withdrew the story. It was an error [they reported] that China are moving away from the root servers of ICANN that we administer, but they are not doing this.
China is not the only country to have this [second level domains], Australia has .gov.au ?quite a number of country code top level domains have a second level domain structure.
If you want to ask why they are doing it ask them?my interpretation is that the change that they made is to build up their second-level domain structure like other countries do?but they are doing it in Chinese characters [in Chinese language font sets], which they do firstly with a plug-in to read ASCII characters in the root servers, and have a plug-in that comes back down to ?.CN?.we do not see what they have done is any challenge to their commitment to the single root [originally many believed China was creating a separate root, which would in effect mean a separate Internet].
Interfax: When Interfax talked to CNNIC they told us that, for instance, a website like www.sina.com.cn could be written in Chinese characters, and China is waiting for ICANN approval of this. So as China also plans to develop Chinese language edition domain names not only in the second level but also in the top level as well, what are your thoughts?
Twomey: We presently are moving to the introduction of what are called internationalized domain names (IDN), these are names that appear either not in Roman characters or are in Roman characters with various accents…and marks... ICANN has already established guidelines for the introduction of IDN at the second level.
And ".cn" along with ".jp", ".tw", ".hk", ".kr" have all been working together for the last three or four years to implement a process for implementing characters at the second level. So now for .CN, you can do Chinese characters dot CN [ie. .CN].
Interfax: But it seems China now wants to do Chinese character dot CN with the dot CN in Chinese characters?
Twomey: That's right, this is for the second round of IDN, that we are now starting a process on…examining how to internationalize the top level domain names- in other words after the dot. And we have two groups working on the problem. One is the President Advisory Committee on IDN with international technical experts. They are looking at this issue now, discussing and implementing possible trials the IDN at top level this year. They are trailing all the technical issues that will emerge.
We also have, which just working up now, a key policy group, who are looking at the policy issues related to introducing the new top domain IDN. I expect both of these two group will progress a lot this year.
Interfax: Will ICANN invite experts from other countries to take part in the working groups?
Twomey: All of our working groups require the membership of five regions from around the world. On the President of Advisory Committee, we have people from North America, Europe, China, Africa, Middle east, Japan ?people from all around the world, myself of course, I an Australian. We also have people on that committee not only from the ICANN board, but from Internet Task Force (ITF), from the application layers such as key people from browser developers Microsoft and Mozilla, people from registrars, and also involve people from other technical layers. They help us ?. in many ways to ensure the stability and security of Internet. The Internet contains many layers of protocols, and the domain name system is at the bottom of those layers. If we make a change to the domain name system we have to make sure it is stable for all the layers going up and for the browsers involved.
The stability of the protocol is the our biggest concern [to implement top level IDN]. When the Internet was first built of course it was built in ASCII 40 years ago, and this just was not forseen when that happened, people just thought it would be successful as it is. But now we are having to retro fit, to change it from a system built 40 years ago, so the technical stability is the key factor. There are also key property issues- so how many strings, what sort of strings, and who gets to operate some of them, those type of issues
Interfax: Is language one of those key issues?
Twomey: Yes, language is one of the biggest issues,. You put your finger on it…language is also a complicated issue worldwide. For example, Chinese language also has several different character sets, with different characters being used in Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore. Japan uses character sets derived from Chinese, Koreans sometimes use Chinese characters and sometimes don't, so now all those people need to work together. Then we have the question of Arabic characters- people using Farsi and Urdu [for instance], people in Iran India are using those- so they are going to have to talk to each other So we can resolve the characters issue.
There are already three big areas here for this implementation. One is technical stability, the second is language character certainty- which is a linguistic issue, and the last is the policy about who can apply, and who can operate such types of top level domains.
Interfax: According to the criticism on ICANN's slow progress to launch this kind of DNS, do you have any comment?
Twomey: I understand people want this issue dealt with. We are trying to do it very quickly. The process sounds very simple, but when you have to look at the whole of the Internet, you will have to worry about the stability of the whole …for instance if you live in one part of the world you just want your TLD
We have to ensure the usability, consolidate of the Internet, and therefore, it could very complicated for us. So we are trying as quickly as we can, and we are parallel processing. The stability is a big issue.
Interfax: Can you introduce some more details on the project?
Twomey: The technical testing is likely to start, and we will likely make the announcement very soon. The preparation for the testing is already underway, and the testing trial will probably take place in the third quarter of this year. It will be a testing at the top level domain, the top of the root. We are much closer to the end of [finding] the answers to the problems. The policy process is underway already, and has already started. Our present timetable is we are hoping to have feedback from the group probably by the end of the third quarter, or the beginning of the fourth quarter this year. There will be some explicit policies regulating the IDN top level domain soon. We have the policy process underway that is looking at the whole issue, for new generic top level domains, which is called the policy development process. As a supporting organization, ICANN is expecting the policy development process to come to a conclusion in the end of the third quarter or the early fourth quarter in 2006.
Interfax: What do you think of the future of IDN? Will it play a significant role in the Internet worldwide?
Twomey: For ICANN, it is a big issue. I actually think the impact is small but important, to Internet users worldwide especially those who do not speak English. The real thing that drives the Internet is content. You can write a lot of content. The usability of the Internet for most users is actually the content. It already possible that domain names at the second level can have IDN, so certainly IDN at the top level will be important, symbolically. It will certainly be important for people who have their keyboards geared up for certain characters. When top level domains have IDN, people will no longer need to have a plug-in process. But I think that there are some people in the world that think IDN in the top level domain, again addressing the issue that English is the dominant language of internet -that's not get to solve that problem. What can solve the problem is local content. It is local content instead of domain names which will address that problem.
Interfax: As China now has the world's second largest population of Internet users, and may eventually become the largest, do you feel ICANN is devoting enough resources to this market? For Instance, do you have an office in China, or plan to have one?
Twomey: We do not have an office in China. We are looking appointing liaison staff in Northeast Asia. But we have quite a number of Chinese speaking staff. The function we perform does need coordination of different countries and we have one of the key members of CNNIC (China National Internet Information Center) on our board. We consider China to be very important for the allocation of resources and also to understand the situation in China. But the functions we perform are global functions, and in that sense, we tried as much as possible to operate in a global manner. That means we have to enable every country of the world with the same functions, because we are not nation-oriented. But we are concerned with the importance of China and the Asia. We are looking at staff in three sub-areas of Asia including east Asia, central Asia, and south Asia. We are actually looking at staff and premises at the moment.
Interfax: How do you see the Internet developing over next 5 ?10 years?
Twomey: I think the Internet will keep growing, we currently have about 1 bln users of the Internet, and I think the number of Internet users is going to at least double. In think we will get to the stage in the next 10 to 15 years, the limitation of our access to the internet will be the limitation of access to the electricity. You should remember there is a large proportion of the world population that is more worried about food and water, than about things like computers. But I do think the Internet industry is going to keep growing?and mobile devices will be especially important to the development of the Internet. I think we will move to an Internet which is more machines talking to machines- not people talking to people.
IPv6 will be there even IPv4 will still be with us then. I think we can find the Internet connection from more mobile devices, much more links to things like cars, and the Internet and RFID be together a lot for tracking of devices, vehicles and transports…people will use the Internet more for tracking……that is going to become much more important. The broadband will be much more common then, and people will use more video and voice and data more interchangeably- they will be more mixed together…on the internet. I think the impact of voice over IP (VoIP) replacing the telephone will only be a part of it? I think we will find voice and video also appearing inside other applications. For instance computer games- we will see hundreds of thousands of people playing a computer game at any one time. They will be able to talk to each other and share information while they are playing those games- I see that sort of thing happening more.
As the technology becomes more ubiquitous, I think we will see ways to improve security, domain name security protocol and other new technologies will be applied. But I think we will still meet great challenges on this issue. All the same expectations of people who want to find ways of making money illegally will continue on the internet, and therefore, I think we will continue to have security challenges.
As concerns ICANN- at ICANN we are dedicated to a 100% interoperable Internet. That becomes the business model for everybody to do what they want to do globally. That is why we think IDNs are so important- so everyone can express themselves in their own characters. Underpinning all this is a universal architecture- one thing we don't want to do is create a Balkanized Internet.
Interfax: What do you think of the Internet censorship situation in China?
Twomey: ICANN is an international organization that dedicates itself to technical issues, our issues do not include Internet content, and therefore content is not our concern. But there does exist some argument on whether governments should concern themselves about content issues - or not.
Our point of view is that we want governments to understand that they need to distinguish the issues- distinguish Internet naming, addressing and routing systems from the issue of the content it carries. That's a separable issue from the fundamental infrastructure question - which is ensuring the routing and addressing system works properly. I make that point very strongly because sometimes governments do not make that distinction.
Interfax: What will ICANN do to make itself more internationalized, for instance many people around the world are under the impression ICANN is an American company?
Twomey: I understand that the rise of this point. The first point is we are not a company. We are an international not-for-profit organization. In Hong Kong or the UK we would be called a Trust, in France we would be called a Foundation. Because it was founded in California the term is Not-For-Profit-Public –Benefit-Corporation, which is a bit undfortunate because many people will look at the word Corporation and think we are a company. So we are an organization- We draw members from countries all around the world. If you look at our website it tells you all the countries that are presently on the board. We do recognize the concern that our organization is based in California. We are doing more internal thinking to say what does that all mean. But we are structured to be an international organization.
But we are dedicated to ensure everything we do in our progress and how we involved continuously to reflect that we are an international organization.
People can decide to understand facts, and facts are that we are internationally organized and we are based in California because of historical reasons, and we are very understanding and appreciate the push of internationalization ?.We are increasingly becoming international, establishing offices in Europe, and we are getting out reach offices and staff around the world. We understand the push and all we can do is to keep evolving. We will keep considering those issues.
http://www.interfax.cn/showfeature.asp?aid=11114


I wanted to add a picture of him.

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Last edited by sarcle; 30th March 2006 at 11:40 PM.. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
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Old 30th March 2006, 11:47 PM
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Re: Interview with Paul Twomey, CEO and President of ICANN

Great find, Sarcle. Sounds like ICANN is hinting towards the technical stability as a first priority. I also read between the lines that ICANN is trying to maintain control of the IDN process together with the only company that has been managing .coms for a long time - Verisign. I see DNAME written all over it.
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Old 30th March 2006, 11:50 PM
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Re: Interview with Paul Twomey, CEO and President of ICANN

Quote:
Originally Posted by Explorer
Great find, Sarcle. Sounds like ICANN is hinting towards the technical stability as a first priority. I also read between the lines that ICANN is trying to maintain control of the IDN process together with the only company that has been managing .coms for a long time - Verisign. I see DNAME written all over it.
Yes, I did feel a little better after reading this interview. There is just no way they are going to give .idn control to the individual countries or what reason would Icann need to even be around.
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Old 30th March 2006, 11:58 PM
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Re: Interview with Paul Twomey, CEO and President of ICANN

As far as I understand, and I might be totally off base, the entity that will be managing that .idn needs to be very sophisticated and tech-savy, with multiple redundant systems and backups. I read an article some time ago that mentioned if Verisign were to fail, all the .coms would have collapsed. The damage of that action, even for a few hours, is hard to imagine. Verisign passed all those tests and earned the right to manage .coms.

Also, if you are a local Russian businessman and your business greatly depends on your website, would you trust local Russian unknown and untested company to manage your .kom or Verisign?
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Old 31st March 2006, 01:13 AM
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Re: Interview with Paul Twomey, CEO and President of ICANN

The more I think about it the more I can't understand how they could make NS Record fair (not that fair is something they're after). But under NS Record latin languages would not get a new .com equivalent, Russia, Bulgaria, Ukraine, and probably several others would have to share the .KOM, the Arabic countries would have to share, China would get one of its own, Japan would have it's own, etc. I don't see other countries going along with this. Sounds like a mess to me. Of course I have no idea about stability issues with DNAME or NS Record.

Hopefully this testing is just a formality for DNAME to be accepted.
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Old 31st March 2006, 01:24 AM
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Re: Interview with Paul Twomey, CEO and President of ICANN

Quote:
Originally Posted by thefabfive
The more I think about it the more I can't understand how they could make NS Record fair (not that fair is something they're after). But under NS Record latin languages would not get a new .com equivalent, Russia, Bulgaria, Ukraine, and probably several others would have to share the .KOM, the Arabic countries would have to share, China would get one of its own, Japan would have it's own, etc. I don't see other countries going along with this. Sounds like a mess to me. Of course I have no idea about stability issues with DNAME or NS Record.

Hopefully this testing is just a formality for DNAME to be accepted.
Yes but that's why there are country codes. Everyone has to share the .com anyways.
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Old 31st March 2006, 01:27 AM
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Re: Interview with Paul Twomey, CEO and President of ICANN

Quote:
Yes but that's why there are country codes. Everyone has to share the .com anyways.
Exactly.

That's also why China maps the .cn to .中国. Why would they expect anything else for .com.
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Old 31st March 2006, 01:28 AM
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Re: Interview with Paul Twomey, CEO and President of ICANN

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Originally Posted by thefabfive
Exactly.

That's also why China maps the .cn to .中国. Why would they expect anything else for .com.
Because they are China.
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Old 31st March 2006, 01:39 AM
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Re: Interview with Paul Twomey, CEO and President of ICANN

>Twomey: ICANN is an international organization that dedicates itself to technical
>issues, our issues do not include Internet content, and therefore content is not our
>concern.

Gee, so the UDRP is just a bad dream, then?

>Also, if you are a local Russian businessman and your business greatly depends on
>your website, would you trust local Russian unknown and untested company to
>manage your .kom or Verisign?

DNAME requires NO management, once the DNAME system is built into the root servers and the appropriate mappings are entered.

Verisign runs the A root server (now actually a different machine not publically available), and the globally spread root servers - who are run by a range of technically capable people - get their data from that. So once the software in those root servers is upgraded to DNAME capable, and Verisign adds the mappings to the secret squirrel root root (which it can ONLY do at the instruction of ICANN), then DNAME is live.
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Old 31st March 2006, 01:42 AM
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Re: Interview with Paul Twomey, CEO and President of ICANN

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drewbert

Verisign runs the A root server (now actually a different machine not publically available), and the globally spread root servers - who are run by a range of technically capable people - get their data from that. So once the software in those root servers is upgraded to DNAME capable, and Verisign adds the mappings to the secret squirrel root root (which it can ONLY do at the instruction of ICANN), then DNAME is live.
So all that's between then and now is politics?

Seems like an awful lot of show for them taking so long to translate the meaning of "commercial" in every language.
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Old 31st March 2006, 01:48 AM
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Re: Interview with Paul Twomey, CEO and President of ICANN

Pretty much.

They have to test the DNAME stuff, but I can't see why that couldn't be tested at a level other than root.

We'll have to make sure Google understands DNAME, or everyone will get penalised for duplicate content, too.
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Old 31st March 2006, 01:49 AM
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Re: Interview with Paul Twomey, CEO and President of ICANN

Well at least Microsoft was quick in implementing their IDN solution... :p
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Old 31st March 2006, 02:50 AM
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Re: Interview with Paul Twomey, CEO and President of ICANN

Quote:
Originally Posted by thefabfive
Well at least Microsoft was quick in implementing their IDN solution... :p
Quick? Some fellow IDNers here have been waiting for 5 years to see IDN support in Microsoft's browser...

Well, at least now, Microsoft is on our side with an Explorer update promised every year, so we won't be stuck with IE6 and IE5 for long.
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Old 31st March 2006, 03:44 AM
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Re: Interview with Paul Twomey, CEO and President of ICANN

Someone book that man on a sarcasm recognition course. :^)

The bizarre thing is Microsoft usually put something out in the market as quickly as possible, no matter how bad it runs, to try to get a lock on the market.
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Old 31st March 2006, 08:54 AM
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Re: Interview with Paul Twomey, CEO and President of ICANN

Didn't I sound dumb :-). That's what happens when you read and post while talking on the phone :-)
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