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ICANN and the Data Quality Act: Part IV

This is the fourth part of a multi-part series reported by ICANNfocus. This part focuses on the Information Correction Process. Read previous parts: Part I, Part II, Part III.

The Data Quality Act provides affected persons the right "to seek and obtain correction of information maintained and disseminated by the agency that does not comply" with the Data Quality Act and implementing guidelines.

As was explained in Part I of this series, ICANN is subject to the Data Quality Act [PDF] under the provisions of the OMB and Department of Commerce/NTIA guidelines covering "sponsored information.1" Information that is disseminated by ICANN pursuant to their Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) or contract with the Department of Commerce or which, under those agreements, ICANN requires other parties to maintain and/or disseminate, is subject to the information quality standards, correction procedures and other requirements of the Act.

The Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) provides detailed instructions on how to request correction of information not meeting their Data Quality guidelines. NTIA is the operating unit of the Department of Commerce that is responsible for ICANN.

The following are the two key requirements for a party seeking to file a Request for Correction of information disseminated by ICANN:

  1. Affected Person. The first requirement when filing a Request for Correction is that it be submitted by an "affected person." The term "affected person" is defined by NTIA as meaning "an individual or entity that uses, benefits from, or is harmed by the disseminated information at issue."
  2. Burden of Proof. The burden of proof is on the party requesting the correction to demonstrate "both the necessity and type of correction sought."

The process for filing a Request for Correction is as follows:
  1. The request must be made in writing and addressed to: Chief Information Officer, National Telecommunications and Information Administration, 1401 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Room 4888, Washington, DC 20230 or by e-mail to cio@ntia.doc.gov.
  2. The request must cover information subject to the NTIA's Data Quality guidelines. As has been noted, information disseminated by ICANN pursuant to their MOU or contract with the Department of Commerce is subject to the guidelines. OMB's government-wide data quality guidelines [PDF] provides important detail defining the term "information." NTIA will not consider the correcting of information when that correction "would serve no useful purpose." Errant weather forecasts are used as an example of information for which correction serves no useful purpose. Frivolous or repetitive requests for correction also will not be honored.
  3. Information correction requests must, at a minimum, include:

    1. The requestor's name, address, and telephone number or e-mail address.
    2. A statement that the information correction request is being submitted under Section 515 of Public Law 106-554.
    3. A detailed and accurate citation and/or description of the specific information disseminated for which correction is being sought.
    4. An explanation of how the requestor is an "affected person."
    5. A specific statement "of how the information at issue fails to comply with applicable guidelines and why the requestor believes that the information is not correct."

NTIA's information quality guidelines [PDF] provide additional detail on the information correction process and requirements.

If a request a "proper," i.e., it meets the requirements set forth above, NTIA will make a preliminary determination as to whether the request is "valid." If valid, NTIA will further investigate and determine whether a corrective action should be taken. NTIA will communicate their initial decision to the requestor within 60 days of receipt of the request. In event of a denial, the requestor may appeal the initial decision. NTIA's guidelines provide additional information about their decision-making and appellate processes.

If you have any questions regarding a potential request for correction of ICANN-disseminated information, please contact the CRE at levinson@theCRE.com.

For more information, please go to ICANNfocus.org.

By Bruce Levinson, SVP, Regulatory Intervention - Center for Regulatory Effectiveness
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