ICANN’s Annual General Meeting will be held this year in Abu Dhabi, from Saturday 28 October to Friday 3 November 2017. Since this is an AGM, various leadership changes for the Board, GAC and constituency groups will be formalized at the meeting, including in particular the retirement, after nine years on the Board, of its Chair, Steve Crocker. There will be a formal reception to thank Steve for his service on the Tuesday evening, but we can expect various less formal tributes to Steve during the course of the week, including at the opening ceremony and in the public forum sessions.
The meeting has a busy schedule, as ever, with each of the three big GNSO policy development processes (PDPs) having been allocated approximately 6 hours for their work. This will include a kickoff meeting for the new Subsequent Procedures work track 5, dealing with geographic names at the top level.
One of the geographic name failures of the first round - that of the .AMAZON Brand TLD applications - will also be in the spotlight, following the finding by an Independent Review Process panel in July that the Board acted in breach of its Articles, Bylaws and the Applicant Guidebook. This is important for current and future Brand TLD applicants. Many companies use brands which also have a geographic connotation; some may not even be aware of that fact, but could still run into problems if the ICANN Board allows the GAC a de facto veto. It is also an important issue for the wider community. The Board’s future handling of this will be seen as a key test of ICANN’s post-IANA Transition Accountability regime.
Elsewhere, data privacy and the impact of the GDPR on registry and registrar WHOIS obligations remains a key concern for the community, and there are also a number of sessions touching on the topic of DNS abuse.
We'll be reporting back on the outcomes of the meeting soon.