Read ICANN Blogs to stay informed of the latest policymaking activities, regional events, and more.

Enforcing the Temporary Specification

16 July 2018


In May, the ICANN Board adopted the Temporary Specification for gTLD Registration Data, modifying our agreements with registries and registrars to comply with the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Since then, ICANN Contractual Compliance has received a number of questions regarding how we would enforce these new provisions. The purpose of this blog is to describe our approach to enforcing the Temporary Specification, explain how to file complaints about potential violations of the new provisions, and share information on some of the issues we have seen so far.

As noted at the Global Domains Division (GDD) Industry Summit in May and at the ICANN62 Policy Forum in June, ICANN Contractual Compliance is enforcing the requirements of the Temporary Specification as of 25 May 2018, as it does any other ICANN agreement or policy requirement. This is done through the Contractual Compliance function, which employs the same approach and process for all enforcement areas. Details regarding this approach and process can be found here.

All contracted parties are advised to review the Temporary Specification carefully. Many of the requirements apply even if the registry or registrar is not in the European Union and has no registrations from the European Economic Area. Enforcement of the Temporary Specification applies to all ICANN contracted parties. For a high level review of the Temporary Specification, ICANN also published and regularly updates a Frequently Asked Questions document.

One recurring concern we have received is how ICANN Contractual Compliance will obtain non-public registration data that is required to process a complaint. Among the complaints received to date, ICANN Contractual Compliance has received two alleging denial of access to non-public registration data for legitimate purposes. Most of the other complaints received concern the availability of data published in WHOIS. For registrars, some of the registration data issues include:

  • Over-redacting public registration data, e.g.:
    • All contact fields are redacted when only some should be;
    • Missing Administrative/Technical email field and/or value;
    • Missing Registrant Organization/State/Province/Country field and/or value; and
    • Redacting privacy/proxy information
  • Non-compliant redacted fields e.g., missing anonymized email and/or webform to contact Registrant/Admin/Tech contact or using non-compliant values in the field for ex. "00000"
  • Registrar appears to be using registry WHOIS data causing endless loop of referral from registry to registrar data
  • Transfer requests being denied due to non-functional anonymized email address for registrant

Some of the registry issues include:

  • Missing required Registrant/Admin/Tech Email (requirement for registries)
  • Required Registrant/Admin/Tech Email message in legal disclaimer only
  • Not providing full registration data to the Uniform Rapid Suspension System (URS) provider
  • Registry providing thick Bulk Registration Data Access (BRDA) files to ICANN instead of thin data

We have also received a number of questions regarding the process for filing complaints alleging noncompliance with the Temporary Specification. As many have observed, there is not a "Temporary Specification" complaint form. To file a complaint about potential violations of the Temporary Specification or any other part of the agreements, please use the most relevant form published on the ICANN.org compliance page. ICANN Contractual Compliance will process complaints regardless of the form used.

I hope this information is helpful. If you have any other questions or concerns regarding enforcement of the Temporary Specification, please let us know by emailing either the Contractual Compliance department at compliance@icann.org or me at Jamie.hedlund@icann.org.


Jamie Hedlund

Jamie Hedlund

SVP, Contractual Compliance & U.S. Government Engagement