Groups back out of Nairobi meeting over security concerns; will test limits of remote participation systems.
Domain name registrar Go Daddy, registry Neustar, and the Intellectual Property Constituency have all informed ICANN that they will not be attending the upcoming meeting in Nairobi due to security concerns.
Security has been a major concern for the meeting, but was escalated last week after it became known that a suicide bomb attack was planned against the facility where the meeting will be held (although not against the meeting itself).
In a letter to ICANN, Neustar SVP of Gerald J. Kovach of External Affairs wrote:
We had planned to attend the Nairobi meeting, but the latest security update has unfortunately forced us to reconsider. With several key policy issues still unresolved, this wasnot an easy decision for us to make. I am disappointed Neustar had to choose between the safety of its employees and on-site participation in the meeting.
A letter from GoDaddy notes that fewer and fewer people are planning to make the trip, and that it wants ICANN to reconsider postponing the meeting.
The Intellectual Property Constituency was one of the first to raise security concerns, and it is moving forward with plans to hold a separate meeting in New York City. Go Daddy suggested that perhaps a remote participation meeting could be centered in New York.
Fortunately, ICANN has made great progress over recent years enabling remote participation. But it’s not the same as being there.
On the positive side, if a remote pow-wow is held in NYC, it would enable more U.S. domainers to get to know the ICANN process and players.