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ICANN and Contracted Parties Negotiate About Improved DNS Abuse Requirements

18 January 2023

Domain Name System (DNS) abuse has been a challenge for our industry and Internet users for many years. Today, I am pleased to announce an important collaboration between the generic top-level domain Registries and Registrars Stakeholder Groups (RySG and RrSG) and ICANN to help address DNS abuse in a tangible way.

The goal of this shared work is to define improvements to the existing obligations related to DNS abuse in the Registrar Accreditation Agreement and Registry Agreement. This effort is the fulfillment of a concept proposed by the Contracted Parties in a recent exchange of letters between the leadership of the Contracted Parties House and the ICANN organization (org).

ICANN's leadership is committed to the concept of improving the contractual obligations to mitigate DNS abuse. I want to reiterate this commitment to the initiative as a priority and the framework that was agreed to in late 2022.

Negotiations are now underway to make focused improvements to the existing contracts. Together, ICANN org and negotiation teams from the RySG and RrSG are working to define baseline obligations to require registries and registrars to mitigate or disrupt DNS abuse. Once established, these proposed changes should aid ICANN's Contractual Compliance team in its enforcement efforts with registrars or registries who fail to adequately address DNS abuse.

DNS abuse is a complex problem with no single solution. ICANN recently reported that the number of domain names used to perpetrate DNS abuse has declined over the last several years. However, many in the community, including ICANN and the contracted parties, believe more can and should be done.

Defining specific improvements to the existing obligations in the agreements can become an important building block in further mitigating DNS abuse. We believe it aligns with the recommendations made by GNSO Small Team on DNS Abuse. The approach provides for improvements in the near term. It also gives the ICANN community the opportunity to discuss and determine if further obligations are required via a policy development process. The Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) would lead this process in an open, transparent, and multistakeholder manner.

If agreements between ICANN and the negotiating teams from the RrSG and RySG can be reached, the proposed changes will then be published for community review and Public Comment as part of the procedures defined in each of the respective agreements. We aim to share drafts with the community before ICANN77.

We look forward to working with the RySG and RrSG to bring meaningful improvements to DNS abuse obligations for the benefit of all Internet users.


Sally Costerton

Sally Costerton

Sr. Advisor to President & SVP, Global Stakeholder Engagement and Interim President & CEO