The 4th ICANN APAC-TWNIC Engagement Forum Concludes Successfully

Caption: TWNIC Chairman and CEO, Kenny Huang, JPNIC Cheif Policy Officer, Akinori Maemura, APNIC President, Paul Wilson.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and the Taiwan Network Information Center (TWNIC), a non-profit organization, jointly organized the 4th ICANN APAC-TWNIC Engagement Forum and the 39th TWNIC IP Open Policy Meeting (OPM), which successfully concluded on May 24th. Various experts and scholars from both domestic and international backgrounds delved into topics such as internet public policy, internet governance, internet security, and youth participation. Through the exchange of perspectives from esteemed international guests and the encouragement of knowledge sharing and exchange, the forum aimed to promote the stable and secure development of Taiwan’s Internet Infrastructure.

The forum held on May 24th continued to explore topics related to domain names, IP addresses, and internet security, focusing on current issues in internet governance and community self-regulation. Key topics discussed included the interoperability of the internet, the Domain Name System (DNS), and the opening of New gTLDs (new generic top-level domains). Through an open policy forum format, participants gained insights into global internet developments and had the opportunity to exchange and share opinions with the international internet community.

Firstly, the highlight of the morning session was the Open Policy Meeting (OPM) on the theme “The Future of Internet.” It was chaired by TWNIC Chairman and CEO, Kenny Huang, and featured Akinori Maemura, the Chief Policy Officer of JPNIC, Paul Wilson, the President of APNIC, and Geoff Huston, the Chief Scientist of APNIC. They reviewed the history of the internet and sparked discussions on the future development of the internet. Akinori Maemura emphasized the need for close coordination and collaboration among network operators as the internet has become an essential infrastructure for everything. With large technology companies increasingly involved in infrastructure operations, the scope of public discussion has expanded significantly.

Paul Wilson began by discussing the 20-year developmental history of internet governance, exploring the principles, norms, and decision-making processes developed by communities for managing and utilizing the internet. With the increasing usage and coverage of the internet, we now have a vast network that encompasses scale, flexibility, adaptability, and resilience on various levels. Therefore, it is essential for us to approach future internet governance, technology, and security with a global perspective.

Caption from left to right: Thomas Kuiper, Director, Taiwan Trademark Association; Edmon Chung, CEO of DotAsia Organization; Valerie Heng, Accounts Senior Manager, Global Domains and Strategy, ICANN; Liu Shin-Hsiang, Chairman of Net-Chinese Co., Ltd.; Online Speaker: Crystal Peterson, Sr. Director, Registry Operations and Account Management, GoDaddy Registry.

Next, the Domain Market Outlook session was hosted by Thomas Kuiper, Director of Taiwan Trademark Association. The discussion involved Edmon Chung, CEO of DotAsia Organization; Valerie Heng, Accounts Senior Manager, Global Domains and Strategy at ICANN; Liu Shin-Hsiang, Chairman of Net-Chinese Co., Ltd.; and Crystal Peterson, Sr. Director, Registry Operations and Account Management at GoDaddy Registry. They explored recent and future industry trends, including the latest developments and expected next steps for the next round of new generic top-level domain (new gTLD) applications. They also discussed the potential role of Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) in the opening process and their importance to the community.

Valerie Heng emphasized that ICANN has been committed to promoting the use of Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) for many years. Regardless of the length of the domain name or the chosen code or string, it will be able to function in all internet-driven applications. As such, they see more opportunities for development in the area of gTLDs. In the future, ICANN will continue to support infrastructure and assist in the development of Internationalized Domain Names, aiming to meet the linguistic needs of global users.

Crystal Peterson participated in the forum remotely, representing GoDaddy Registry, a domain registration management organization. They are primarily responsible for domain registration management services, currently overseeing over 12 million operational domain names. The daily DNS query volume reaches 34 billion, supporting over 40 generic top-level domains (gTLDs) and country code top-level domains (ccTLDs). Crystal emphasized that domain names are the DNA of the internet, and it is essential to pay attention to them every day. In order to sustain the domain name market, it is crucial for us to understand the historical development of domain names, enabling us to thrive in the present and look toward the future.

In response to Crystal Peterson’s statement, Edmon Chung expressed his enthusiasm for topics related to Chinese domain names and Chinese IDNs. He mentioned that generic top-level domains were introduced around 2015 and subsequently entered a phase of development. In 2019, due to the outbreak of the pandemic, many professionals shifted to remote work, leading to a surge in domain name registrations. Although the growth rate may have slowed down later, the long-term trend still shows steady growth.

David Liu, from the perspective of a domain registration authority in Taiwan, further shared his observations on the Taiwanese domain market. Through surveys conducted continuously for five quarters from December 2021 to March 2023, it was found that in 2021, the proportion of .tw domain names was still as high as 50.03%. However, in 2023, for the first time, it dropped below 50% (49.88%). It was also discovered that the growth of gTLDs approached nearly 40%. Therefore, he predicts that the acceptance of gTLDs among Taiwanese businesses is expected to slowly increase.

The future of the internet will be even larger and will require greater security and privacy protection. Internet technology is no longer in its infancy. To curb domain abuse activities, regional cooperation is crucial. Concurrent with the TWNIC IP Policy Resource Management Meeting, chaired by TWNIC’s Deputy CEO Ding Qiping, discussions were held on topics related to internet content filtering, personal data privacy, and cybersecurity. The focus was on how the regional community can collaborate to address domain abuse issues and establish a secure and reliable online space. Speakers at the meeting included Jamie Gillespie, Senior Internet Security Specialist at APNIC, Maria Cecilia Soria, Head of Regulatory and Case Management at PLDT Privacy Office, Tsai Chih-Hung, Chief Judge of Shilin District Court in Taipei, and Zeng Gengying, Partner at R&I Law Firm. They not only discussed the impact of contemporary emerging internet technologies on freedom of speech and privacy but also invited attendees to contemplate issues related to internet governance, technology, and security resilience.

In recent years, the participation of young people in internet governance has been increasingly emphasized. The future development of the internet depends on their active involvement. To promote youth participation and intergenerational collaboration in internet governance, another highlight of this forum was the theme “Empowering the Next Generation.” Students from the Taiwan Youth Internet Forum and student representatives from countries such as Japan, Malaysia, and South Korea were invited to engage in an exciting dialogue.

The forum was co-hosted by Wei-Ting Hong, a student from the Department of Computer Science and Information Engineering at National Yang-Ming University, and Sheng Peng, a student from the Department of Law at Soochow University. The panel discussion featured participation from Zong-Yi Yu, a speaker from the Taiwan Internet Lecture Series, Stella Teoh, Malaysia Youth IGF Focal Point and Alumni, ISOC Malaysia Chapter, Jaewon Son, a Doctoral Researcher from the Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS) at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Pavel Farhan, a Representative from APRALO, and others. Experts and practitioners from different generations shared their experiences and insights, discussing how to engage young people in internet governance. Through knowledge exchange on relevant topics, the forum aimed to highlight the challenges and opportunities of intergenerational collaboration.

ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) is an international non-profit organization in the field of the internet. It is committed to promoting the stability and security of the internet ecosystem and has key missions that include maintaining the global network, DNS operations, and preventing domain name abuse. As the number of internet users and devices continues to grow, DNS abuse has become a serious concern. To address this, ICANN and TWNIC  jointly organized the 4th ICANN APAC-TWNIC Engagement Forum, which was one of the largest events in TWNIC’s history. This forum provided an excellent opportunity for academic exchange and exploration of future trends in the digital world. The two-day agenda featured both physical and online sessions synchronized with international participation, allowing attendees to gain in-depth understanding and discuss various digital technologies and applications. As a major participant in the global internet ecosystem, TWNIC will continue its efforts to promote the development and application of internet technologies, stay updated on the latest global information, and connect with the international community.

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