ICANN Announcements

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Expert Working Group on gTLD Directory Services Launched

14 December 2012

13 December 2012... Fadi Chehadé, ICANN's President and CEO, is announcing the creation of an Expert Working Group on gTLD Directory Services. This first step in fulfilling the ICANN Board's directive to help redefine the purpose and provision of gTLD registration data will provide a foundation to help the ICANN community (through the Generic Names Supporting Organization, GNSO) create a new global policy for gTLD directory services. The working group will be chaired by Jean-Francois Baril, as the group's Lead Facilitator, and interested individuals with the requisite experience are invited to indicate their interest in serving as volunteer working group members (more information below). Board Chair, Steve Crocker, and Director, Chris Disspain, will serve as Board liaisons to the working group.

The objectives of the working group are to 1) define the purpose of collecting and maintaining gTLD registration data, and consider how to safeguard the data, and 2) provide a proposed model for managing gTLD directory services that addresses related data accuracy and access issues, while taking into account safeguards for protecting data. This output will feed into a Board-initiated GNSO policy development process to serve as a foundation for the GNSO's creation of new consensus policy, and requisite contract changes, as appropriate. The working group will be informed by the WHOIS Policy Working Group's report [PDF, 1.44 MB] and previous community input and GNSO work over the last decade, will address key questions set forth by the Security and Stability Advisory Committee (SSAC) in their report, SAC055 1 [PDF, 348 KB], and will take into consideration current and future Internet operations and services. The working group also will address concerns of the parties who provide, collect, maintain, publish or use this data as it relates to ICANN's remit.

ICANN staff will publish an issues report that incorporates the working group's output, which will form the basis of a Board-initiated GNSO PDP. ICANN and its leadership will be focused on facilitation of the expedited policy work to enable the GNSO to recommend a consensus policy that, at a minimum, addresses the purpose of collecting, maintaining and making available gTLD registration data, and related data accuracy and access issues. Such a policy would be contractually binding on ICANN accredited gTLD registrars and gTLD registries upon adoption by the ICANN Board.

Working Group Schedule and Operations

The working group will conduct its activities from January through April 2013 and may be extended, if needed. Work will be conducted primarily online and through conference calls, and two face-to-face meetings are expected. The working group will periodically provide public updates on its progress, and output from the working group is expected to be presented for community discussion online and at the ICANN Beijing meeting in April 2013. ICANN Staff will support the working group.

Working Group Volunteers

Qualified individuals are being identified to participate in the working group. Individuals with the following characteristics are invited to indicate their interest in serving as volunteer working group members by sending an expression of interest and their resume/CV by email to expertworkinggroup@icann.org by 31 December 2012.

Volunteer working group members should: have significant operational knowledge and experience with WHOIS, registrant data, or directory services; be open to new ideas and willing to forge consensus; be able to think strategically and navigate conflicting views; have a record of fostering improvements and delivering results; have a desire to create a new model for gTLD directory services; and be able to volunteer approximately 12-20 hours a month during January – April 2013 to the working group. Individuals who have worked extensively in the areas of registration data collection, access, accuracy, use, privacy, security, law enforcement, and standards and protocols are also encouraged to consider working group membership. As the working group will be a collection of experts, it is not expected to be comprised solely of representatives of current ICANN community interests. Although members may not come directly from ICANN structures, the working group will have a deep understanding of, and concern for, the ICANN communities' interests.The working group's results will feed into the GNSO's bottom-up, policy development process where all community interests will be encouraged to participate in the decision-making efforts.

ICANN will reimburse working group members for travel and other expenses associated with working group activities, per ICANN reimbursement rules.

1 In SAC055, SSAC called for an expert working group to define the purpose of collecting and maintaining gTLD registration data and address questions such as: Why are data collected? What purpose will the data serve? Who collects the data? Where is the data stored and how long is it stored? Where is the data escrowed and how long is it escrowed? Who needs the data and why? Who needs access to logs of access to the data and why?