For review and approval by GNSO Council and SSAC
WHOIS services provide public access to data on registered domain names, which currently includes contact information for Registered Name Holders. The extent of registration data collected at the time of registration of a domain name, and the ways such data can be accessed, are specified in agreements established by ICANN for domain names registered in generic top-level domains (gTLDs). For example, ICANN requires accredited registrars to collect and provide free public access to the name of the registered domain name and its nameservers and registrar, the date the domain was created and when its registration expires, and the contact information for the Registered Name Holder, the technical contact, and the administrative contact.
The GNSO Council is exploring several extensive studies of WHOIS. During its 04 March 2009 meeting in Mexico City, the GNSO Council adopted a resolution asking Policy Staff to pursue cost estimates for six WHOIS study areas recommended by members of the ICANN community and ICANN's Government Advisory Committee. On 7 May 2009, the GSNO Council approved a second resolution requesting that the policy staff, with help from technical staff and GNSO Council members, collect and organize a comprehensive set of requirements for the WHOIS service policy tools. The effort will involve a review of previous GNSO WHOIS policy work and the development of a compendium of past suggested service or technical requirements. The GNSO Council vote reflects increasing community concerns that the current WHOIS service is deficient in a number of ways, including technical areas as noted in recent SSAC reports, such as accessibility and readability of WHOIS contact information in an internationalized domain name ( IDN) environment.
With respect to the display and usage of WHOIS contact information in an IDN environment, on 26 June 2009 the ICANN Board approved the following resolution:
Whereas, ICANN has been working towards the introduction of Internationalized Domain Names (IDN) with the gTLD and ccTLD communities.
Whereas, support for characters from local languages in domain name registration submission and display is an issue that affects many communities across the GNSO, CCNSO, ALAC and GAC.
Whereas, while standard formats are defined for domain labels, no standard format is required for elements of a domain name registration record (Registration Data), such as contact information, host names, sponsoring registrar and domain name status.
Whereas, members of the community with knowledge and expertise in these areas have identified topics of inquiry in the display and usage of internationalized Registration Data, including applications and Internet user experience, data reliability, accuracy and operational issues, and security and standardization issues. See: SAC037 "Display and usage of Internationalized Registration Data" (21 April 2009) < http://www.icann.org/committees/security/sac037.pdf >; SAC033 "Domain Name Registration Records and Directory Services" (22 July 2008) < http://www.icann.org/committees/security/sac033.pdf >; SAC027 "Comment to GNSO regarding WHOIS Studies" (7 February 2008) < http://www.icann.org/committees/security/sac027.pdf >.
Whereas, the Board recognizes that discussion and resolution of these issues would be beneficial to the introduction of Internationalized Domain Names.
Resolved (2009.06.26.__), the Board requests that the GNSO and SSAC, in consultation with staff, convene an Internationalized Registration Data Working Group comprised of individuals with knowledge, expertise, and experience in these areas to study the feasibility and suitability of introducing display specifications to deal with the internationalization of Registration Data.
The Board directs the Internationalized Registration Data Working Group to solicit input from interested constituencies including ccTLD operators and the CCNSO during its discussions to ensure broad community input.
The Board further directs staff to provide a dedicated staff person and additional staff resources as staff determines to facilitate the work of the Internationalized Registration Data Working Group.
2.0 Working Group Identification
The following people have been appointed to participate in the IRD-WG:
- Co-Chairs from the SSAC and GNSO: TBD
- Appointed Liaison(s): TBD
- Advisers to the Working Group: TBD
In addition, the following communication tools have been established to aid the work of the IRD-WG:
- URL of of the IRD-WG Wiki Workspace: TBD
- IRD-WG Email List Subscriptions: TBD
- URL of IRD-WG SOI Repository: TBD
3.0 Mission, Purpose, and Deliverables
3.1 Mission, Focus Area(s), and Scope
The IRD-WG shall study the feasibility and suitability of introducing display specifications to deal with the internationalization of Registration Data. It shall solicit input from interested constituencies including ccTLD operators, the CCNSO, the ASO, ALAC, and the GAC during its discussions to ensure broad community input.
3.2 Objectives and Goals
The following are the goals and objectives for the IRD-WG. First, the IRD-WG shall hold an at least one educational briefing, broadcast on the web (a “webinar”), on the topic of the recently published SSAC document, SAC037, which examines how the use of characters from local scripts affects the Internet user’s experience with respect to domain name registration data submission, usage, and display. The webinar(s) shall include an open discussion of the recommendations in SAC037 and related issues.
Second, staff and members of the IRD-WG shall study related data accessibility and display standards, such as the Universal Postal Union standards for labeling international mail. They will also seek input from ccTLDs that manage data accessibility and display issues today.
Third, the IRD-WG shall solicit volunteer members of the WG to include representatives from the SSAC, the GNSO, the ASO, the ccNSO, the ALAC, and the GAC. Ideally, these would be people who have had practical experience using the WHOIS. Other participants may be representatives from law enforcement, privacy experts, intellectual property and trademark experts, as well as consultants with technical expertise in this area.
Fourth, the IRD-WG shall hold a workshop at the ICANN meeting in Seoul, South Korea, 25-30 October 2009. The workshop would include a small group of people with expertise in the use of WHOIS data that would engage in a discussion of alternatives relating to the issue of data accessibility and display.
Following the workshop, as its deliverable the IRD-WG shall produce a study of the feasibility and suitability of introducing display specifications to deal with the internationalization of Registration Data. This study shall be posted on the ICANN public forum for comment. After the comment period and analysis of comments, the Working Group will present a final study to the GNSO Council and the Security and Stability Advisory Committee.
In its document SAC037, SSAC reiterates its recommendation that the community transition from the existing WHOIS protocol-based services toward a more comprehensive, standard, Internet Directory system. Staff are mindful of this recommendation. The initial set of goals of the IRD-WG are to gain an understanding of, and achieving consensus on, the types, kinds, and encodings of registration data that contracted parties will collect, display and maintain. Achieving these goals is an important precondition to identifying certain requirements for a successor to the WHOIS protocol.
In particular, in its resolution on 04 March 2009, <https://st.icann.org/gnso-council/index.cgi?04_mar_2009_motions>, the GNSO Council decided that the ICANN Staff should conduct research on feasibility and cost estimates for several Whois studies, including the Study 11 hypothesis: The use of non-ASCII character sets in Whois records will detract from data accuracy and readability. (See < http://forum.icann.org/lists/whois-comments-2008/msg00014.html> However, the goal of the IRD-WG as stated above should first be achieved as it may obviate the need for Study 11.
If issues become apparent to the WG that are outside of its scope, the WG Chairs should inform the Board in a timely manner so that appropriate action or remediation can be taken.
3.3 Deliverables and Timeframes
Draft Preliminary Plan for Studying Internationalized Registration Data
04 September 2009
15 September 2009
Develop and Conduct Webinar(s)
04 September 2009
30 September 2009
04 September 2009
15 September 2009
Establish Working Group
04 September 2009
15 October 2009
Workshop at ICANN Meeting in Seoul
28 October 2009
28 October 2009
Initial Study Submitted to GNSO/SSAC Chairs
|01 November 2009|
20 December 2009
Public Comment Period on Initial Study
|01 January 2010|
30 January 2010
Final Study Submitted to GNSO/SSAC Chairs
|01 February 2009|
28 February 2010
4.0 Formation, Staffing, and Organization
4.1 Staffing Criteria
The volunteer members of the IRD-WG include representatives from the SSAC, the GNSO, the ASO, the ccNSO and ccTLD community, the ALAC, and the GAC. Ideally, these would be people who have had practical experience using the WHOIS. Other participants may be representatives from law enforcement, privacy experts, intellectual property and trademark experts, as well as consultants with technical expertise in this area.
4.2 Group Formation, Dependencies, and Dissolution
The IRD-WG is formed at the direction of the ICANN Board. It shall contain representatives from the GNSO, the SSAC, the ASO, the ccNSO, the ALAC, and the GAC. It shall be dissolved upon completion of its task or as directed by the ICANN Board.
4.3 Team Roles, Functions, and Duties
The IRD-WG shall be composed of participants drawn from the GNSO Council, the SSAC, the ccNSO, the ASO, the ALAC, and the GAC. It is recommended that:
- There be a minimum of one representative from each Advisory Committee and Supporting Organization.
- There be members from the community who are not associated with a Supporting Organization or Advisory Committee.
- The WG shall elect Co-Chairs from the GNSO and SSAC:
- The Co-Chairs shall have primary leadership responsibilities for the WG.
- The Co-Chairs are encouraged to collaborate with one another and with Staff support personnel in leading the WG.
4.4 Statements of Interest (SOI)
Members of the IRD-WG shall provide to the GNSO Secretariat a Statement of Interest setting forth all business and other affiliations that relate in any way to the business and other affiliations of ICANN. Acknowledgement of receipt of Statement of Interest is a general precondition for members to participate in the WG.
Members of the IRD-WG shall disclose any changes to the Statement of Interest as soon as practicable. Such changes shall be recorded in the minutes of the meeting at which members advise of such change.
Members of the IRD-WG shall provide the following information in their Statements of Interest:
- Current vocation, employer and position
- Type of work performed in #1 above
- Identify any financial ownership or senior management/leadership interest in registries, registrars or other firms that are interested parties in ICANN policy or any entity with which ICANN has a transaction, contract, or other arrangement.
- Identify any type of commercial or non-commercial interest in ICANN GNSO policy development processes and outcomes. Are you representing other parties? Describe any arrangements/agreements between you and any other group, constituency or person(s) regarding your nomination/selection as a work team member.
- Identify any type of commercial or non-commercial interest in internationalized data registration or issues relating to the work of the IRD-WG.
- The Board requested that WG members have specific “knowledge, expertise, and experience in these areas”. Please identify any knowledge, expertise or experience you have that would be relevant to this work.
- Describe any tangible or intangible benefit that you receive from participation in such processes. For example, if you are an academic or NGO and use your position to advance your ability to participate, this should be a part of the statement of interest, just as should employment by a contracted party, or a business relationship with a non- contracted party who has an interest in policy outcomes.
In the event this charter does not provide guidance and/or the impact of the charter is unreasonable for conducting the business of the WG the chair(s) of the WG will decide how the charter should be modified.
5.0 Rules of Engagement
5.1 Decision Making Methodologies
The IRD-WG shall function on the basis of “rough consensus” meaning that all points of view shall be discussed until the Co-Chairs can ascertain that the point of view is understood and has been covered. Anyone with a minority view shall be invited to include a discussion in the submission of any WG deliverables and should documented as an appendix in these deliverables. The minority view should include the names and affiliations of those contributing to that part of the report.
The Co-Chairs shall be responsible for designating each position as having one of the following designations:
- Unanimous consensus position
- Rough consensus position where no more than 1/3 disagrees and at least 2/3 agree
- Strong support (at least a simple majority), but significant opposition (more than 1/3)
- No majority position
In all cases, the Co-Chairs shall include the names and affiliations of those in support of each position and for participants representing a group shall indicate if their support represents the consensus view of their group. If any participants in the WG disagree with the designation given to a position by the Chairs or any other rough consensus call, they can follow these steps sequentially:
- Send email to the Co-Chairs, copying the IRD-WG explaining why the decision is believed to be in error.
- If the Co-Chairs still disagree, forward the appeal to the IRD-WG appointed Liaison(s). The Co-Chairs must explain their reasoning in the response. If the Liaison(s) support the Chairs’ position, forward the appeal to the Chartering Organizations (COs). The COs must explain their reasoning in the response.
- If the COs support the Co-Chairs and Liaison positions, attach a statement of the appeal to the board report. This statement should include all of the documentation from all steps in the appeals process and should include a statement from the COs.
The Co-Chairs in consultation with the Vice-Chair may restrict the participation of someone who seriously disrupts the WG. Any such restriction may be appealed to the COs. Generally, the participant should first be warned privately, and then warned publicly, before such a restriction is put into place; in extreme circumstances these steps may be bypassed.
5.3 Record Keeping
The IRD-WG shall have an archived mailing list. The mailing list shall be open for reading by the community. All WG meetings shall be recorded and all recordings shall be available to the public. A SocialText Wiki shall be provided for WG usage. If the guidelines for WG processes change during the course of the WG, the WG may continue to work under the guidelines active at the time it was (re)chartered or use the new guidelines.
5.4 Public Comments
The IRD-WG will consider public comments and other input as appropriate, in its reasonable discretion. However, the IRD-WG is not obliged to include such comments or other input, including comments submitted by or input from any one individual or organization.