The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) on 4 April launched a new audit round aimed at testing and validating Registry Operators' compliance with the terms of the Registry Agreement (RA) and ICANN's temporary and consensus policies. This audit follows the 2021 audit round, which was aimed at reviewing how registrars are fulfilling their contractual obligations related to addressing reports of potentially abusive domains.
On 4 April 2022, ICANN Contractual Compliance sent pre-audit notifications to Registry Operators for the 28 generic top-level domains (gTLDs) selected for the audit. Next, selected Registry Operators will receive a Request for Information (RFI) containing the audit questions. The selection criteria for the in-scope gTLDs includes:
- Registry Operators that have not previously been audited in a standard full-scope RA Audit, and
- gTLDs with at least 100 domains, and
- gTLDs with highest abuse score as reported by publicly available Reputation Blocklists (excluding Spam)
If the criteria above resulted in multiple gTLDs operated by the same Registry Operator, ICANN selected only one gTLD to represent the Registry Operator.
ICANN Contractual Compliance intends to complete the audit before the end of Q3 2022. Following the close of the audit, ICANN will deliver confidential individual audit reports to the Registry Operator of each gTLD, as well as publish a combined overall audit report. Once the combined report is published, planning for the next audit (likely registrar focused) will begin.
The audit program is an integral part of the ICANN Contractual Compliance function. The goal is to ensure that contracted parties, registrars and registries, comply with their agreements and the consensus policies. It is the opportunity and means by which ICANN enhances community transparency through fact-based and measurable reporting while proactively addressing any potential deficiencies. More information on the program's plan, scope, notifications, and the risk mitigation plan are published on ICANN's Contractual Compliance Audit page at: http://www.icann.org/en/resources/compliance/audits.