Info-tech

Coronavirus impact: First remote public meeting to be held by ICANN due to coronavirus concerns

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on February 21, 2020 Published on February 21, 2020

Representative image   -  REUTERS

ICANN attracts thousands of attendees from more than 150 countries which also include countries which have reported confirmed cases of COVID-19

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the organisation that oversees domain names and numbers for sites on Wednesday announced its decision to hold its ICANN67 Public Meeting online.

The organsiation released a public statement announcing that the meeting which was to be held in Cancún, Mexico from March 7-12 will now be held online with remote participation only citing coronavirus now dubbed as COVID-19 related concerns.

“The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) today announced that its ICANN67 Public Meeting, which was to be held in Cancún, Mexico, will now be held via remote participation-only. This decision was made as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, considered a public health emergency of international concern by the World Health Organization,” ICANN said in a public statement.

The meeting attracts thousands of attendees from more than 150 countries which also include countries which have reported confirmed cases of COVID-19.

“Each ICANN Public Meeting attracts thousands of attendees from more than 150 countries. With cases in at least 26 of those countries, there is the potential of bringing the virus to Cancún and into the ICANN meeting site. If this were to happen, there could be accidental exposure of the virus to attendees, staff, and others who come in contact with an infected individual,” it said.

"This is a decision that the ICANN Board has been considering since the outbreak was first announced and it is one that we haven't taken lightly," said Maarten Botterman, ICANN Board Chair. "We know that changing this meeting to remote participation-only will have an impact on and cause disruption to our community; however, this decision is about people. Protecting the health and safety of the ICANN community is our top priority."

ICANN will soon be uploading a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section on its website to address the concerns of attendees.

The organization is also reviewing its other upcoming meetings such as the GDD Summit in Paris and the ICANN68 Meeting in Malaysia. Though no decisions have been made and these are proceeding as planned.

This is not the first major event to be affected by the COIVD-19 outbreak. Earlier this month GSMA, the organisers of the world’s largest mobile industry exhibition Mobile Wolrd Congress 2020 had called off the event after more than 30 exhibitors and sponsors had pulled out of the event due to the outbreak.

The India Fintech Festival (IFF 2020) organized by the Government of Maharashtra, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) and the Fintech Convergence Council on Thursday announced that it will be postponing the event for a “more suitable time” due to coronavirus woes. The event was scheduled to be held on March 4 and 5, 2020.

Recently, the International Trademark Association (INTA) also announced that it would be moving its April meeting planned for Singapore to a location in the United States.

Published on February 21, 2020
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