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Protecting Registrants Focus of ICANN Workshop | Session discusses ideas on data escrow, revising Registrar Accreditation Agreements

25 June 2007

SAN JUAN , Puerto Rico: Strengthening the protection of registrants and their domain names was the focus of a key workshop at the 29th International Public Meeting of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) in San Juan today.

“In March I said that there must be comprehensive review of major review of our Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA) and the Accreditation process. The results of that review are driving this workshop,” said Dr Paul Twomey, President and CEO of ICANN. “We are going to keep this discussion going, get input from the wider community, and then we will make the changes needed to protect registrants and domain names.”

Some of the topics discussed in the workshop include:

  • The implementation of the registrar data escrow program for generic top-level domains by the end of 2007,
  • Potential amendments to the RAA and a process for implementing changes,
  • Development of registry failover plan, which lays out ICANN response plan if a registry suffers a financial, technical or business failure, or is prevented from operating by outside factors like a natural disaster,
  • Recent work done by ICANN’s Contractual Compliance function.

“When ICANN introduced competition to the domain name market in 1998, there was one registrar. Today there are more than 890 – so it’s obvious that a lot has changed since the first Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA) was introduced in a much smaller and radically different marketplace,” Dr Twomey added. “We also learned valuable lessons from the RegisterFly situation and ICANN is turning those lessons into plans and policies to protect registrants and their domain names.”

One change to the RAA being looked at is introducing graduated enforcement tools. Right now, ICANN’s only tool is to terminate accreditation – a step that has been avoided in the past for anything other than flagrant, repeated failures to cure material breaches of the RAA, because termination is viewed as an extreme remedy, with negative consequences to registrants. A graduated sanctions scheme based on the nature and seriousness of alleged breaches will give ICANN more tools to effectively enforce the agreements.

Another change being examined deals with resellers – businesses that sell domain name registrations on behalf of Registrars, who act as wholesalers. ICANN has no contractual relationship with resellers, and cannot directly address consumer complaints about reseller practices. ICANN is discussing changing the RAA so Registrars have specific responsibilities with regard to their relationships with resellers.

About ICANN:

ICANN is responsible for the global coordination of the Internet's system of unique identifiers like domain names (like .org, .museum and country codes like .uk) and the addresses used in a variety of Internet protocols that help computers reach each other over the Internet. Careful management of these resources is vital to the Internet's operation, so ICANN's global stakeholders meet regularly to develop policies that ensure the Internet's ongoing security and stability. ICANN is an internationally organized, public benefit non-profit company. For more information please visit: www.icann.org.

Media Contacts:

Jason Keenan
Media Adviser, ICANN (USA)
Ph: +1 310 382 4004
E: jason.keenan@icann.org

International: Andrew Robertson
Edelman (London)
Ph: +44 7921 588 770
E: andrew.robertson@edelman.com