Faux Factory Art Exhibit Governance guidelines for the dotNeighborhoods are in the development phase. Here we review the scope of governance: requirements, influences, and from an operational perspective.

City Requirements

Locally, New York City’s (draft) license agreement and application for a neighborhood domain name require that the lead organization for a neighborhood domain name:

  • be registered as a not-for-profit, public benefit corporation, or local development corporation, and
  • located within the neighborhood for which a .nyc domain is sought.

These criteria were established by the Mayors Office of Tech + Innovation, in consultation with the Department of Law and the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications. Looking forward, the dotNeighborhoods might also be subject to other local governance interventions. For example, while the City Planning Commission hasn’t addressed the city’s digital needs, the city charter (Chapter 8) empowers the Commission to:

“be responsible for the conduct of planning relating to the orderly growth, improvement and future development of the city, including adequate and appropriate resources for the housing, business, industry, transportation, distribution, recreation, culture, comfort, convenience, health and welfare of its population.”

The City Council, with the ultimate authority to make decisions about .nyc and dotNeighborhood activities, has also taken a hands-off approach.

Early in .nyc’s development there existed a limited opportunity for public engagement with .nyc’s governance through a .NYC Community Advisory Board. However, its operation ceased on December 31, 2014 when the Advisory Board was abolished. At the time the administration indicated that a new public engagement process would be forthcoming.

External Influences

While not part of the city’s licensing agreement, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the organization which authorized the city to operate the .nyc TLD, retains a strong influence of the .nyc TLD and dotNeighborhoods. Most fundamentally, the city has been authorized to operate the TLD for a 10 year period with an extension requiring ICANN’s approval.

ICANN requires that TLDs operate as public interest resources, and recommends operators follow a multistakeholder governance model. There are three elements of the multistakeholder process, with the first requiring full involvement of all stakeholders. Broadly speaking stakeholder refers to an individual, group, or organization that has a direct or indirect interest or stake in the TLDs development. At ICANN the stakeholders are deemed to be business, government, civic society, the technical community, and academia.

Integral to the successful operation of multistakeholder governance are consensus-based decision-making, and operating in an open, transparent and accountable manner.

Governance of the dotNeighborhoods

The licensing requirements for dotNeighborhoods would lead one to imagine that operators of neighborhood domain names are expected to engage with the local residents, and perhaps, businesses. For example, the application states:

EVERY APPLICANT MUST SUBMIT AN AFFIDAVIT OF SUPPORT FROM AT LEAST TEN (10) BUSINESSES OR ORGANIZATIONS BASED WITHIN THE LOCAL COMMUNITY AND/OR AT LEAST TWENTY-FIVE (25) INDIVIDUALS LOCATED WITHIN THE LOCAL COMMUNITY, DEMONSTRATING THE APPLICANT’S COMMITMENT TO THE PUBLIC INTEREST OF THE NEIGHBORHOOD SERVED BY THE DOMAIN NAME.

Additionally, the licensee must follow several governing documents: Acceptable Use Policy, Nexus Policy; Nexus Dispute Resolution Policy; Proxy Registration Policy; as well as the Nexus Enforcement Rules. (See section 4. City and ICANN Policies on the draft license agreement.)

 
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