Having just arrived in Sao Paulo, I had to choose between the meeting on future ICANN meetings in the Very Big Room, or the meeting of the Security & Stability Advisory Committee (SSAC).
I suspect that the debate about future meetings is going to make ICANN look not-so-good — the proposals to make meetings more user-friendly and have fewer last-minute surprises is quite tame, and even so I gather that it is meeting resistance. (I”m not there, so I look forward to being wrong on this.)
But I can tell you that the SSAC makes ICANN look good. This is the kind of work ICANN should be doing — worrying about how to ensure stuff works. The presentations are sober, serious, and professional. They are based on actual data and offered in a spirit of finding the truth, chips fall where they may, and one has no sense of hidden agendas like one almost always does in the ICANN space.
The committee reported on its review of wildcards in the .Travel TLD, on IPv6, and on WHOIS privacy.
I was particularly struck by David M Piscitello‘s presentation on how much personal contact information can be harvested from WHOIS records. His estimate, based on a serious sampling activity, is that in the USA — where there are probably the most data-matching sources available — one out of seven WHOIS records can be recognized, with a high degree of certainty, as providing sufficient information so that “it is possible, using the information collected, to speak with or visit the individual at his or her residence, e.g., make personal contact”. Serious work that ought to inform the WHOIS debate.
Other highlight: Steve Crocker reported that the .museum wildcard is going to be axed. Lyman Chapin said that this was consensual: “it didn’t do what they wanted it to do.”
There was also a lot of good-humored talk about the danger to Interent security and stability posed by Brazilian hospitality — it seems I missed some good drinking last night. Tonight I intend to find out just what a Caipirinha is exactly.
This is only the second ICANN meeting I’ve attended in person; my sense is and was that the real stuff happens behind the scenes, and that attendance takes too long and costs too much. On the other hand, virtual participation used to be a joke. One interesting thing going on here is that more is being done for non-attendees, both by ICANN and by independent initiatives such as the wonderful ICANN Wiki.
The ICANN Wiki folks have a great PR operation going on in their booth: caricatures of attendees. For regulars they use photos submitted online; for other attendees, they snap your picture on the spot, upload to their US-based caricaturist, and the picture is ready the next day. They print it out on a postcard-sized form factor that fits neatly into the ICANN name tag.
Check out the full Gallery.