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WHOIS Task Forces 1 2 3 Minutes

Last Updated:
31 August 2009

WHOIS Task Forces 1 2 3

3 May 2005 - Minutes


GNSO Constituency representatives:
Jordyn Buchanan - Co-Chair

Registrars constituency - Tim Ruiz

Registrars constituency - Ross Rader

Registrars constituency - Tom Keller

Internet Service and Connectivity Providers constituency - Greg Ruth

gTLD Registries constituency - Ken Stubbs

Non Commercial Users Constituency - Kathy Kleiman

Commercial and Business Users Constituency - David Fares
Commercial and Business Users Constituency - Sarah Deutsch

Intellectual Property Interests Constituency - Steve Metalitz

Intellectual Property Interests Constituency - Niklas Lagergren

Non Commercial Users Constituency - Milton Mueller

Non Commercial Users Constituency - Kathy Kleiman

Non Commercial Users Constituency - Frannie Wellings


At-Large Advisory Committee (ALAC) liaisons - Bret Fausett - absent - apologies

At-Large Advisory Committee (ALAC) liaisons - Wendy Seltzer - absent - apologies

ICANN Staff:

Maria Farrell Farrell - ICANN GNSO Policy Officer

GNSO Secretariat - Glen de Saint Géry


Commercial and Business Users constituency - Marilyn Cade - apologies

Internet Service and Connectivity Providers constituency - Tony Harris
gTLD Registries constituency - David Maher - apologies

Registrars constituency - Paul Stahura

Non Commercial Users Constituency - Marc Schneiders

Internet Service and Connectivity Providers constituency - Maggie Mansourkia

MP 3 Recording

Maria Farrell's quick summary after the meeting:

Decisions and Actions

Jordyn Buchanan proposed the following agenda:

1. Review progress on Recommendation 2, next steps moving forward

2. Review of accuracy topic Bruce Tonkin sent to the task force list

3. Tiered access for next week

1. Review progress on Recommendation 2,

- Next steps and moving forward.

Jordyn Buchanan proposed continuing the work on the list so that when there were new terms of reference the task force would be ready to take definitive action. This was not intended to delay the work in any way.


The substance of this work item was not discussed on the call. Work on revised drafts will continue on the Whois mailing list pending the new task force charter/terms of reference.
* Task force members will continue to discuss and revise Recommendation 2 on the Whois mailing list.

2. Review of accuracy topic Bruce Tonkin sent to the task force list

Roll call of Cape Town participants – Ross Rader, Tom Keller, Marilyn Cade, Bruce Tonkin, Kiyoshi Tsuru, Philip Sheppard, Ken Stubbs and Barbara Roseman and Glen de Saint Géry.

Jordyn Buchanan briefly summarised Bruce Tonkin's notes

General themes:

Verification of data at registration

Some members of the ICANN community would like registrars to proactively verify the accuracy of information at the time of registration, registrars felt strongly that it would be difficult and costly.This resulted in the focus moving to contacting the registrant which was difficult because of inaccurate Whois information.

A complaint based approach to address the issues was favoured. A registrar would attempt to contact a registrant if there were a complaint about inaccurate Whois data, if there were no response within 15 days, the name would be put on hold, the registrant would be given another 15 days at the end of which the name would be cancelled.

Intellectual Property infringement

Because there might be some short term or ongoing harm a 15 to 30 day process would not be helpful, and there may be a need for a procedure like notice and take down of the name as in the US DMCA approach. However this was considered outside of the scope of the task force and ICANN.

Ross Rader added that a lot of time was spent talking about the business process itself which was unfortunately not noted. The focuses on the business process was not on what the community did, but rather each stakeholder said what they needed from the process.


2 Review of accuracy topic
Jordyn re-capped Bruce Tonkin’s note on the Capetown discussions as a starting point for the call. The procedure outlined in Bruce’s notes focused on a complaint-initiated process for checking accuracy of Whois information. Bruce’s notes also mentioned the possibility of fast-track procedures - similar to notice and takedown in the US DMCA - but this was seen as outside the scope of the task force and of ICANN.

Jordyn Buchanan proposed that the registrar representatives comment on their company or industry practices on inaccuracy complaints.

Ross Rader said the Tucows process was simple and commented on . com . net and .org.

" The process is generic across the TLDs. When a notice of inaccuracy is received through the Whois problem reporting system, email or phone, it is sent to the compliance department team whose job it is to ensure that not only resellers operate within the contracts but also the registrants. They are a reactive group who mostly deal with UDRP issues, phishing, spamming etc. Any issue with a domain usually ends up with them. An issue is examined on face value, an email notice describing the alleged inaccuracy that was put forward to us will be sent out to the registrant contact – technical and billing and administrative – that outlines the penalties for not providing accurate data. The expected response is that the registrant responds with the accurate data and there should be a response within 15 days. If there is no response during that period of time the name is put on ‘registry hold’. This prevents the registrant from using their name till the inaccuracy is corrected or until the name expires. A letter is again sent to the address while the name is on hold and ultimately if there is no response, the name the name is expired.

Responding to questions from Jordyn:

This is not natural expiration but deletion of the name.

When additional information is received, it is not validated. The compliance team is extremely reactive and deals with issues in the following order, accuracy, udrp and transfer issues.

Milton Mueller asked whether in the case of accuracy complaints, do you as a registrar ever have trouble contacting the registrant for billing?

Ross Rader – yes, the model is very disintermediated and there is little information collected about the clients there is the same exposure to inaccuracy issues as anyone else using the Whois data system. There is no credit card number on file for the clients, intermediaries are relied on for that information. Only keep the required information. One thing they were diligent about was tracking bounces when notices were sent out so as to have the best chances of collect money so accuracy was taken quite seriously.

In response to Milton Mueller, Ross did not know how many times Tucows had taken down names because of inaccuracy but could find out.

Milton Mueller, speaking from a constituency perspective, felt that it was not worth addressing accuracy issues until the privacy issues were addressed and wanted to know whether this was a factor in inaccurate data.

Ross Rader agreed with him, "as someone who regularly has bad data in his Whois records and does not want to be called at home because of the 4 million people he serves, I can relate to the privacy concerns."

Kathy Kleiman asked when a registrant submitted revised information, could they ask the Tucows team not to publish that on the website?

Ross Rader responded that Tucows did not provide a privacy product.

Steve Metalitz asked whether ‘registry hold’, had the same meaning as when Bruce Tonkin said ‘the name is on hold and that is removed from the zone file and made inactive ’?

Ross Rader answered yes,

Jordyn Buchanan added that both in EPP and RRP there was technical flag that could be set on a domain name that left it in the registry data base but not in the zone file.

Tim Ruiz commented that Godaddy handled things very similarly. The way the registrant or admin contact was contacted was perhaps different as Godaddy started out with email and if that failed, used the phone or other means but seldom if ever was anything sent to a postal address. According to the RAA if there was no response after 15 days the registrar had the option to delete the name, while Godaddy put the name on hold if there was no response after 10 days. If nothing was heard from the registrant after a reasonable time period, the name would then be deleted.

Steve Metalitz asked whether new data received was checked?

Tim Ruiz responded that the client is told it takes 24 hours to validate the data but in fact if it looks reasonable, addresses the complaint – i.e. if a new phone number was asked for, the phone number is not necessarily checked. If no information comes back, the registrant is informed that they have a chance to respond.

Steve Metalitz asked what would happen if a non-responsive response came through in the first 10 days.

Tim Ruiz responded that he did not know and imagined that the clock would just keep ticking.

In response to a question from Kathy Kleiman on the amount of names deleted for accuracy issues, Tim Ruiz responded that he did not know. He had asked ICANN, when the they do the (WDPRS) Whois Data Problem Report System, to provide specific reports to each registrar so they could analyse their performance individually and compare it with what ICANN was seeing so they could see if it matched up internally and if they could improve. The overall report was not so useful.

Ken Stubbs commented that it was important to look at the magnitude of inaccurate data before any process was set up.

Tim Ruiz went on to say that in Godaddy it was handled in the fraud department that dealt with stolen credit cards, etc. and not through the compliance team.

Jordyn Buchanan asked Maria Farrell to enquire about the numbers and outcomes in ICANN's (WDPRS) Whois Data Problem Report System.

Tom Keller explained that Schlund's, compliance problem was very similar to Tucows and Whatever information came in was dealt with and if there was no new information, the domain name would be put on registrar hold until the domain name had expired and then it would be deleted. They received one or two ICANN reports a month but apart from those they had no outside complaints about the accuracy of the data.

Jordyn Buchanan speaking for and not as the task force chair commented that in relation to the 2.5 million names handled by his company there was not even one accuracy complaint a day. It was a fraction of a hundredth of a percent during any given year.

Jordyn Buchanan felt that the current information matched what Bruce Tonkin has ascertained and asked how registrars' current procedures were not meeting the needs of various constituencies and whether there were any specific suggestions for procedures.

Steve Metalitz mentioned 3 issues:

1. There was some discussion within task force three that there should be some standard contact points in the registrar to report bad data.

2. What was done when a response was received from the registrant? Was there any vetting of the response to see if it responded to the question and if it was accurate?

Tim Ruiz indicated that there was a quick look at the new data, while Ross Rader said that Tucows did not look at it. It was a documented problem that had been going on for a few years that registrants provided new false data, and there should be a policy to address it. Further Steve Metalitz felt that If the volume of complaints were as low as Jordyn Buchanan and Tom Keller had described, then it should not be a great burden for registrars to check the data when it came in.

3. This did not rule out a registrar agreeing to a faster procedure, a fast track procedure, in certain circumstances but the issues of authenticating or validating the new data remained.

Tim Ruiz made the point that being able to contact someone was far more accurate to his company than how accurate the data might look. There was no guarantee that the data identified the individual, but someone could be contacted.

Ross Rader cautioned about rehashing 18 months of discussion and putting too much stock in the number of contact points the registrar should validate for a name. Contactability should be stressed and not the amount of accurate data in the record. If the person was contactable the objective had been achieved. Registrars had a high degree of discretion about what they could do with names, and would always have the right to implement fast-track if needed. Thus spelling out the fast track process was a waste of time. Issues such as ensuring the security and stability and meeting the legal frameworks should be emphasized rather than defining every aspect of the business.

Steve Metalitz pointed to the OECD presentation in Bucharest as documentation on the revalidation problem as well as anecdotal cases.

Ross Rader
felt that the current capability allowed registrars to do a lot of things which they often did not often use thus to create policy to deal with boundary cases was not useful for the task force.

Steve Metalitz
explained his concern about the importance of contact points in situations where people were contactable but were not

being contacted because the registrar had only tried one email or from the point of a registrant, where the email address no longer responded but the phone number was still good.

Jordyn Buchanan proposed pursing two topics:

- whether there should be a standard for which or how many contacts used before deleting or putting a name on hold,

- whether there should be a process for validating responses to requests for updated data.

Ross Rader added the issue of creating a mandatory standardized reporting systems (WDPRS).

Jordyn Buchanan proposed combining Ross Rader's and Steve Metalitz's suggestions to provide a streamlined response to accuracy problems.

Milton Mueller commented that there was a certain quality of unreality about these detailed discussions on accuracy. It made no sense to go further than the task force had on accuracy without addressing the data access privacy considerations.Some people did not want to address the considerations but one of the causes of inaccuracy was that people did not want to put their data out there. So it did not’t make sense to put time, policy and registrar resources into improving accuracy. So people who are most concerned about accuracy d need to accept that fact and work together to deal with the privacy problems. Milton went on to say that once privacy concerns were dealt with the NCUC would be very willing to work with other constituencies to address accuracy issues. Until privacy was treated as a priority he was against any detailed discussions or proposals regarding accuracy.

Jordyn Buchanan in summary:

- reminded the task force that there would be new terms of reference

- accuracy - to focus on developing a standardized procedure for reacting to complaints about data,

- reviewing whether there should be requirements in terms of registrars making attempts to contact a certain number or specific set of contact points available,

- whether upon receiving a response with new whois data there should be a standard way to validate the data before reinserting it into the Whois record.

Ross Rader, Tim Ruiz and Tom Keller outlined their companies’ procedures for responding to complaints of inaccurate Whois data and answered questions. TF members identified areas in which current practices and policies may need revision

Points agreed:

The possibility for an external fast-track procedure – i.e. within the national law context and in cases where harm would be done during the 2 x 15 day accuracy checking process - should not be prevented by TF policy recommendations

Task force members will explore standardized procedures for:

Ø The number and type of registrant contact details used to pursue inaccuracy complaints before a name is put on hold or deleted,

Ø Validating responses to requests for updated data,

Ø Directing all accuracy-related complaints to the ICANN Whois data reporting system.


* Ross Rader and Tim Ruiz to try and find information about the number of deleted names arising from inaccurate Whois information.

* Maria Farrell to provide information on the Whois data reporting process, i.e. numbers of complaints and outcomes.

* Ross Rader and Steve Metalitz to draft language on standardized procedures and circulate to the list.

3. Next week’s topic - tiered access

Tuesday 10 May


* Task force members are encouraged to submit ideas on accuracy to the list to help next week’s discussion.

* Jordyn will review previous Task Force 1 work and forward any relevant information to the list.

Jordyn Buchanan thanked everyone for their participation and the call ended at 16:30