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[council] GAC WHOIS Principles

  • To: "GNSO Council" <council@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Subject: [council] GAC WHOIS Principles
  • From: "Bruce Tonkin" <Bruce.Tonkin@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 29 Mar 2007 21:23:28 +1000
  • Cc: <gnso-dow123@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Sender: owner-council@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Thread-index: Acdx9KyHymhU1DtaTJOc/enfBG0UHw==
  • Thread-topic: GAC WHOIS Principles

Hello All,

The GAC Communiqué is available at:

With respect to WHOIS, the main communiqué stated:

"The GAC adopted a set of Principles Regarding Generic Top Level Domain (gTLD) 
WHOIS Services (Annex A).

The GAC held a joint session with the GNSO Council regarding the recently 
completed WHOIS Task Force Final Report.   The GAC noted that the 
recommendations included in the Report indicate a significant division of views 
regarding the appropriate approach to WHOIS services, and urges the GNSO 
Council to continue its efforts to develop consensus-based proposals.   In this 
regard, having completed the Principles, the GAC is committed to continuing 
consultations on the WHOIS issue, including providing additional advice as 
appropriate, prior to the further consideration of any recommendations by the 

See below .

Bruce Tonkin

Annex A


Presented by the Governmental Advisory Committee
March 28, 2007

1.1 The purpose of this document is to identify a set of general public policy 
issues and to propose principles related to generic top level domain (gTLD) 
WHOIS services, in line with the recommendations of the Tunis Agenda of the 
World Summit on the Information Society in November, 2005.       

1.2 These principles are intended to guide the work within ICANN and to inform 
the ICANN Board of the consensus views of the GAC regarding the range of public 
policy issues associated with WHOIS services. 

Public Policy Aspects of WHOIS Data

2.1 The GAC recognizes that the original function of the gTLD WHOIS service is 
to provide a look up service to Internet users. As the Internet has evolved, 
WHOIS data is now used in support of a number of other legitimate   activities, 

1.      Supporting the security and stability of the Internet by providing 
contact points for network operators and administrators, including ISPs, and 
certified computer incident response teams;

2.      Allowing users to determine the availability of domain names;

3.      Assisting law enforcement authorities in investigations, in enforcing 
national and international laws, including, for example, countering 
terrorism-related criminal offences and in supporting international cooperation 
procedures. In some countries, specialized non governmental entities may be 
involved in this work;

4.      Assisting in combating against abusive uses of ICTs, such as illegal 
and other acts motivated by racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and 
related intolerance, hatred, violence, all forms of child abuse, including 
paedophilia and child pornography, and trafficking in, and exploitation of, 
human beings. 

5.      Facilitating enquiries and subsequent steps to conduct trademark 
clearances and to help counter intellectual property infringement, misuse and 
theft in accordance with applicable national laws and international treaties;

6.      Contributing to user confidence in the Internet as a reliable and 
efficient means of information and communication and as an important tool for 
promoting digital inclusion, e-commerce and other legitimate uses by helping 
users identify persons or entities responsible for content and services online; 

7.      Assisting businesses, other organizations and users in combating fraud, 
complying with relevant laws, and safeguarding the interests of the public.

2.2 The GAC recognizes that there are also legitimate concerns about:

1.      the misuse of WHOIS data, and

2.      conflicts with national laws and regulations, in particular applicable 
privacy and data protection laws.
Principles Applicable to WHOIS Services

3.1 The definition, purpose, and operation of gTLD WHOIS services should 
reflect and respect the different interests and concerns outlined in Section 2 

3.2. gTLD WHOIS services must comply with applicable national laws and 

3.3     gTLD WHOIS services should provide sufficient and accurate data about 
domain name registrations and registrants subject to national safeguards for 
individuals' privacy in a manner that: 

1.      Supports the stability, reliability, security, and global 
interoperability of the Internet, from both a technical and public trust 
perspective; and

2.       Facilitates continuous, timely and world-wide access.

3.4 Ongoing collaboration among all relevant stakeholders who are users of, 
affected by, or responsible for, maintaining WHOIS data and services is 
essential to the effective implementation of these principles.

Recommendations for Action

4.1 Consistent with the above principles, stakeholders should work to improve 
the accuracy of WHOIS data, and in particular, to reduce the incidence of 
deliberately false WHOIS data.

4.2     The ICANN community, working with other stakeholders, should gather 
information on gTLD domain name registrations and registrants and how WHOIS 
data is used and misused. This information should be publicized and used to 
inform future debate on this issue.  

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