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Data Protection and Privacy: Progress Update and Next Steps

11 September 2017
By Akram Atallah and

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In this blog, we want to provide you with an update on our data protection and privacy work as it relates to the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

In late July, we published the first draft of a matrix of user stories related to registrants' data that registries and registrars collect, display, and process, pursuant to ICANN contracts. We thank everyone who contributed to the initial matrix, and provided feedback during the 30-day public review period.

We have now consolidated the information that was collected into a more easily readable format [PDF, 686 KB]. A high-level summary is also included in the document. We encourage you to review the submissions, and the summary.

As a reminder, the intent of this exercise is to inform discussions on the possible effect of the GDPR, on ICANN's contracts with registries, and registrars. The information in the matrix, is intended to explain the multiple uses of the data to the appropriate legal entities, such as the Data Protection Authorities, to help them understand their uses in regards to the registries' and registrars' legal obligations, related to GDPR.

We also want to reiterate, that this effort is not intended to replace existing policies, policy work that is underway, or ICANN's Procedure for Handling WHOIS Conflicts with Privacy Law.

Next Steps

With the data collection stage completed, we will now move on to the following activities:

  • We have engaged a specialist European law firm, Hamilton Advokatbyrå, to assist us with the legal analysis of the data in the matrix. A draft of the initial phase of the analysis from Hamilton, is expected to be ready to be shared for feedback from the community, prior to the ICANN meetings in Abu Dhabi, beginning in October 2017.
  • Engagement Information: During the past few months, we have had several discussions with stakeholders, including data protection authorities (DPAs), to inform them of ICANN's work in this area. We look forward to continuing to engage with the DPA community and other stakeholders, including the ICANN ecosystem, as our work and analysis progress over the coming weeks and months.

We also expect to participate in discussions on GDPR at ICANN60 in Abu Dhabi. The meetings schedule will be posted soon. Please check back regularly for pertinent sessions, and information on remote participation, if you won't be there in person.

We will keep you updated on our progress, and hope that your organization's efforts to comply with GDPR are going well.


Akram Atallah

Former President, Global Domains Division
Theresa Swinehart

Theresa Swinehart

SVP, Global Domains & Strategy