I&JPN Executive Director addresses ICANN Government Advisory Committee on the topic of DNS Abuse at ICANN 76

Published on
April 3, 2023

On March 14, 2023, I&JPN Executive Director Bertrand de La Chapelle made a presentation to ICANN’s Government Advisory Committee on the topic of DNS Abuse. The topic of DNS Abuse has gathered significant attention both within ICANN and at a regulatory level around the world. 

DNS Abuse and how to address it has been the topic of intense, often conflictual, and rarely conclusive discussions for many years, starting with the very definition of the term and the degree of responsibility bestowed upon DNS operators. 

In this context, I&JPN presented the work of its multistakeholder Domains & Jurisdiction Contact Group that has been addressing this topic, in a voluntary manner, over the last six years. The presentation was structured around 5 key pillars.

  • DNS Abuse
  • How the DNS functions, and what acting at the level of the DNS means
  • General Workflow to address abuse
  • Operational Initiatives
  • Website Content Abuse

On DNS Abuse, Mr. de La Chapelle reiterated that the DNS is a blunt tool to address specific abuses as it does not allow for a targeted intervention, affects the entire domain name and its associated services while the underlying website still remains accessible via the IP address. The presentation reframed the issue from the definition of DNS abuse to “when is it appropriate to act at the level of the DNS to address abuses”.

In this context, it is important to note that definitions have been very helpful regarding delineating what should be remediated at the level of the DNS and what was out-of-scope. Currently, ICANN and DNS Registries and Registrars are engaged in a contractual negotiation to hardcode DNS abuse definitions, abuse as defined by the multistakeholder Domains & Jurisdiction Contact Group, and create a baseline of responsibilities for the Operators.

In addition, the presentation also provided an understanding of how the DNS functions, its limitations with addressing abuses and the limited tools for action that are at the disposal of DNS Operators. The work of the Contact Group towards the development of the general workflow developed by the Contact Group that is structured around specific measures for the Identification and Evaluation of DNS abuse, choice(s) of action and recourse for registrants was also presented.

Finally, the presentation was useful to bring to the attention of the broader DNS community that the work of the multistakeholder Contact Group was the basis for numerous initiatives within the DNS ecosystem. This spanned from the Group’s definition of DNS abuse becoming the industry standard to the development of NetBeacon, an abuse reporting interface developed on the basis of the Operational Mechanism developed in 2018.  

Finally, while progress on DNS abuse was being accelerated within the community based on I&JPN’s work, Mr. de La Chapelle pointed to the problem with online website content abuses that is currently not being addressed in a multistakeholder manner anywhere. 

ICANN’s mandate prevents it from ever addressing this issue but at the same time there is increasing regulatory pressure from around the globe to address this topic. In the absence of ICANN, there is an institutional vacuum to address this issue, and I&JPN’s community has turned to the Secretariat to lead the charge on addressing this thorny issue in a responsible and collective manner. It is important to note here that website content abuses are independent from user generated content abuse that may be posted on online platforms which have their own rules for moderating content.

I&JPN’s presentation was very well received by the Government Advisory Committees with many Government Representatives highlighting both the timely nature of the intervention and the substantive framing of the issues.

You can find a copy of the presentation to the GAC here.

In addition, the following resources provide additional information on the work of the Contact Group and its policy outcomes:

  • Access the Domains & Jurisdiction Operational Approaches here
  • Download the DNS Level Action to Address Abuses Toolkit here
  • Read the blog on Achieving Multi-Stakeholder Progress on DNS Abuse here