On 9 October 2023, ICANN will open a 60-day voting period for ICANN-accredited registrars and generic top-level domain (gTLD) registry operators to vote on the proposed 2024 amendments regarding Domain Name System (DNS) Abuse obligations in the Base gTLD Registry Agreement (Base RA) and 2013 Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA).
The opening of the voting period is a significant milestone in this important initiative to enhance efforts to combat DNS Abuse. Over the past several years a variety of constituents, including governments and review teams, have been calling on ICANN and the community to do more to combat DNS Abuse. In response, in late 2022, contracted parties (CPs) proposed to the ICANN organization the idea of developing specific improvements to the 2013 Registrar Accreditation Agreement and Base gTLD Registry Agreement focused on DNS Abuse, which led to the proposed amendments. These proposed amendments are an important building block to mitigating DNS Abuse and position the community well for further policy discussions on what additional steps can be taken to combat DNS Abuse even more effectively.
The proposed amendments are narrowly targeted to address DNS Abuse in a tangible way. The new obligations focus on the targeted outcome of stopping or disrupting the use of gTLD domain names for DNS Abuse. For the purposes of the proposed amendments, DNS Abuse means malware, botnets, phishing, pharming, and spam (when spam serves as a delivery mechanism for the other forms of DNS Abuse). Registrars and registry operators are required to take prompt action to mitigate DNS Abuse; however, registrars and registries have discretion in selecting and implementing the appropriate mitigation actions.
ICANN has held several information sessions with CPs that provided an overview of the amendments, voting processes, and procedures, and allowed for questions. We recently held "A Day of DNS Abuse Discussions" in Da Nang, Vietnam, where we explained the new obligations, answered questions and conducted capacity-development sessions relating to combatting DNS Abuse.
Voting will be carried out using eBallot, a secure, third-party, online voting platform operated by Votenet. For the proposed amendments to be approved, a majority threshold must be met for gTLD registries (over 50 percent), and for ICANN-accredited registrars, an even higher threshold (essentially, 90 percent of all registrars). Not voting or abstaining is the same as voting "No"; therefore, it is essential that all registries and registrars cast their votes. Following the vote, the proposed amendments will be sent to the ICANN Board for consideration.
Please join me in calling on all registrars and registries to cast their votes to approve these proposed amendments and take a significant step toward ensuring a safer name space for all users.
More detailed information on the proposed amendments, voting process and procedures, and key dates is available on the amendments webpage.