ICANN Board Launches New Effort to Tackle gTLD Registration Data Challenges Based on Policy Review Team Report

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Approved resolution also reconfirms full support for Enforcement of WHOIS policy and obligations

It’s clear that we have to take a thorough look at WHOIS from the ground up...

The ICANN Board of Directors has directed the Chief Executive Officer to launch a new effort to re-examine the purpose of collecting, maintaining and providing access to generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD) registration data. The move follows the recommendations of a review team that examined implementation of WHOIS data policy.

WHOIS is a listing of domain registrants and their contact information.

“WHOIS began more than 25 years ago, before there was even a World Wide Web and its purpose was far more technical than it is today,” said Dr. Stephen D. Crocker, ICANN Board Chair. “It’s clear that we have to take a thorough look at WHOIS from the ground up, and that’s what we’re asking the CEO to do - what should WHOIS be and how can we best improve its accuracy?”

The Board tasked the CEO to go beyond the existing WHOIS protocol and start a new initiative focused on directory services. In response CEO Fadi Chehadé will convene an expert working group to help lay the foundation for new policy development work.

The Board resolution also directs the CEO to continue to fully enforce the contractual conditions that relate to the current collection, access and accuracy of gTLD registration data, and increase efforts to communicate and conduct outreach ensuring compliance with existing WHOIS policy and conditions.

“It’s basically a two-track approach,” said Crocker. “In addition to a full examination of WHOIS, the Board wants to make certain that enforcement of existing WHOIS reporting requirements is strengthened in conformance with the Affirmation of Commitments and the recommendations of the WHOIS Review Team.”

The Affirmation of Commitments (AoC) is an agreement signed by ICANN and the U.S. Department of Commerce in 2009 that, among other things, commits ICANN to enforcing existing policies relating to WHOIS.


To read the Board resolution on WHOIS, go here: http://www.icann.org/en/groups/board/documents/resolutions-08nov12-en.htm#1

To read the report of the WHOIS Policy Review Team, go here: http://www.icann.org/en/groups/board/documents/briefing-materials-1-08nov12-en.pdf

About ICANN: ICANN’s mission is to ensure a stable, secure and unified global Internet. To reach another person on the Internet you have to type an address into your computer - a name or a number. That address has to be unique so computers know where to find each other. ICANN coordinates these unique identifiers across the world. Without that coordination we wouldn't have one global Internet. ICANN was formed in 1998. It is a not-for-profit public-benefit corporation with participants from all over the world dedicated to keeping the Internet secure, stable and interoperable. It promotes competition and develops policy on the Internet’s unique identifiers. ICANN doesn’t control content on the Internet. It cannot stop spam and it doesn’t deal with access to the Internet. But through its coordination role of the Internet’s naming system, it does have an important impact on the expansion and evolution of the Internet. For more information please visit: http://www.icann.org.

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