ICANN Announcements

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Leader Named for Expert Working Group on gTLD Directory Services

14 December 2012

13 December 2012... ICANN's President and CEO, Fadi Chehadé, is launching a comprehensive effort to examine and redefine the purpose and provision of gTLD registration data (referred to as "WHOIS"). As part of this strategic initiative, an expert working group will be created to provide a foundation for the ICANN community to create (through the Generic Names Supporting Organization, GNSO) a new global policy for gTLD directory services. Chehadé has tapped a seasoned executive, Jean-Francois Baril, to serve as the group's Lead Facilitator, and invites interested individuals with the requisite experience to indicate their interest in serving as volunteer working group members (more information here).

Baril will serve as a neutral chair of the working group. He has no direct professional involvement in domain name services, and brings extensive business, standard setting and consensus building experience to this role. Baril helped create new global standards as part of RosettaNet, a global forum in which suppliers, customers, and competitors come together to create industry specific standards. He is a leading authority on supply chain and procurement, is the CEO of Connecting Partners SA, has over 30 years of professional experience, and has held executive positions at Nokia Corporation and Compaq, among others.

"Jean-Francois' abilities to bring together stakeholders representing divergent interests to find common ground are unparalleled," said Fadi Chehadé. I am confident that his experience in the standards setting arena makes him the ideal candidate to lead the effort to identify solutions for the difficult WHOIS issues faced by ICANN and the Internet stakeholders."

The report of the community [PDF, 1.44 MB] WHOIS Policy Review Team encouraged ICANN's Board to seek a new approach to WHOIS (gTLD registration data). In addition to launching this new effort, ICANN's Board directed the CEO to fully enforce existing WHOIS policy, increase efforts to communicate, conduct outreach on, and ensure compliance with existing WHOIS policy. The Board provided detailed guidance [PDF, 266 KB] on implementing the objectives and recommendations issued by the Review Team.

The working group is the first step in fulfilling this directive and will focus on redefining the purpose of collecting, maintaining and providing access to gTLD registration data, and will consider safeguards for protecting data, as a foundation for new gTLD policy and contractual negotiations, as appropriate. The output of this working group will feed into a Board initiated GNSO policy development process, and will serve as a starting point to focus the GNSO's future efforts to create a new policy for gTLD registration data.

As explained by Dr. Stephen D. Crocker, ICANN Board Chair, "WHOIS was developed over 25 years ago. It is critical that this comprehensive effort to examine and overhaul WHOIS be successful. The appointment of Jean-Francois Baril, and the launch of the Expert Working Group, affirms ICANN's commitment to dedicating the resources necessary to evolve WHOIS into a tool that more effectively meets the needs of today's Internet."

More information on the Expert Working Group on gTLD Directory Services is available here.