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Some Thoughts on the ICANN EWG Recommended Registration Directory Service (RDS)

It has been my distinct pleasure to serve on ICANN's Expert Working Group on gTLD Directory Services (EWG). We put in many long months and what seemed like countless hours of research, discussion, meetings, and deliberations on how to tackle a clean-slate approach to gTLD directory services, popularly known as "WHOIS". In our Final Report, the Expert Working Group (EWG) recommended a Registration Directory Service (RDS) to replace today's WHOIS, providing a next-generation system to better meet the needs of the evolving global Internet with greater accuracy, privacy, and accountability. more»

Building a Better WHOIS for the Individual Registrant

Today, anyone can use WHOIS to identify the organization or person who registered a gTLD domain name, along with their postal address, email address, and telephone number. Publishing this data has long been controversial, creating a system riddled with problems. On one hand, anonymous access to all WHOIS data enables misuse by spammers and criminals and raises concerns about personal privacy. On the other hand, incomplete or false WHOIS data prolongs Internet outages and leaves crime victims with little recourse. more»

What is Metadata, and Why Should I Care?

August 2014 is proving yet again to be an amusing month in the Australian political scene, and in this case the source of the amusement was watching a number of Australian politicians fumble around the topic of digital surveillance and proposed legislation relating to data retention measures. The politicians assured us that the proposed data retention measures were nothing untoward, and all that was being called for was the retention of "metadata" by Australian ISPs for a period of two years. more»

Help ICANN Fix Whois Conflicts With Data Privacy Law

ICANN has opened a comment period in relation to whois conflicts with local law / data privacy law. Of course anytime ICANN, or anyone else, tries to make any changes to whois policy there are issues. Whois is, for a variety of reasons, an emotive subject... under EU law many feel that registration details for domain name registrants need to be handled in a manner that is more compatible with the EU Directives and local law more»

ICANN's Uniform Rapid Suspension: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

With so many new gTLDs moving into their respective general availability periods, and incidents of cybersquatting beginning to appear, many companies are now looking towards the URS (Uniform Rapid Suspension) as a possible solution for quickly remediating abuse. As a reminder, domains that are the subject of a successful URS ruling are suspended for the remainder of the registration term, or can be renewed for an additional year at the current registrar. more»

ICANN Board Approves 'Thick' Whois Requirement for .COM and .NET

The ICANN Board has approved the community recommendation that "the provision of Thick Whois services should become a requirement for all gTLD registries, both existing and future." We have long supported the migration from 'thin' to 'thick' Whois, which will improve both quality and ease of access to Whois data, thereby further facilitating intellectual property enforcement online. The ICANN community has debated the merits of migration from 'thin' to 'thick' Whois for years, as part of the larger Whois Review process. more»

It's Time for Privacy Progress in ICANN

Privacy issues have been important to parts of the ICANN community for many years. I can attest to that fact as a long time veteran of Whois debates as far back as 1998 when I was with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. However, they have started to receive the general ICANN community visibility only relatively recently. These efforts must continue in order to protect rights, to avoid increasing potential conflicts between ICANN rules and applicable laws, and to generally maintain trust in the Internet as a place to be. more»

TPP IP Chapter Leaks Reveal New U.S. Proposed Regulations for Country-Code Domain Names

The leaked Trans Pacific Partnership intellectual property chapter has revealed a number of U.S. proposals including U.S. demands for Internet provider liability that could lead to subscriber termination, content blocking, and ISP monitoring, copyright term extension and anti-counterfeiting provisions. This post discusses Article QQ.C.12 on domain names. more»

Domain Name Registrar Allows Completely Blank WHOIS

In a very casual and low-key footnote over the weekend, ICANN announced it would be further bypassing the Affirmation of Commitments and ignoring the WHOIS Review Team Report. There will be no enhanced validation or verification of WHOIS because unidentified people citing unknown statistics have said it would be too expensive... As a topic which has burned untold hours of community debate and development, the vague minimalist statement dismisses every ounce of work put in by stakeholders. more»

ICANN Opens GNSO Whois Study on Privacy/Proxy Abuse for Comment

ICANN has opened the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) Whois study on privacy/proxy abuse for public comment. Performed by the National Physical Laboratory (NPL), this study is one of many commissioned by the GNSO to examine the current, disparate, and often maligned registration directory service, and aims to measure the hypothesis that "a significant percentage of the domain names used to conduct illegal or harmful Internet activities are registered via privacy and proxy services to obscure the perpetrator's identity." more»