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ICANN Moves Ahead on SubPro ODP and WHOIS Disclosure System Design Initiatives

14 July 2022
By and

The recent ICANN74 Policy Forum in The Hague, Netherlands, provided an opportunity to discuss the New Generic Top-level Domain (gTLD) Subsequent Procedures (SubPro) Operational Design Phase (ODP) work on the policy recommendations provided through the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) Council's Final Report on the new gTLD Subsequent Procedures Policy Development Process. Thank you to those who joined us virtually and in person.

Community discussions about the SubPro ODP at ICANN74 also touched on the impacts of a new project that ICANN organization (org) has been exploring at the request of the GNSO Council – a paper outlining a design for a system for disclosing WHOIS data.

Since ICANN74, the SubPro ODP team has continued its analysis of the policy recommendations, operational design, and estimates needed to inform the Operational Design Assessment (ODA). The SubPro ODP and the design of the proposed WHOIS Disclosure System are both underway and share ICANN org resources; because of this, the community was asked to consider how to prioritize the projects.

The ICANN Board sought input from the GNSO Council on the prioritization of these projects to be transparent about resource demands and to align expectations. In its letter to Board Chair Maarten Botterman, the GNSO Council highlighted the importance of both projects and keeping the community apprised of progress. Today, the Board responded to the GNSO Council stating that the org is undertaking to complete the work in both of these important policy areas this year.

The WHOIS Disclosure System project follows from the community's work and ICANN org's ODP on the System for Standardized Access/Disclosure to Nonpublic gTLD Registration Data (SSAD). The design paper is in response to a request from a GNSO Council small team that reviewed the SSAD Operational Design Assessment and suggested designing a simpler system to further the consultation between the GNSO Council and the Board on the next steps for the Board's consideration for the SSAD policy recommendations. The GNSO Council requested this consultation with the Board prior to the Board's action on the SSAD policy recommendations.

Because of the demand on several ICANN org resources that are critical to both projects, we have taken a close look at our capacity and planned timeline. Many team members are focused on the SubPro ODP and will not be affected; others will need to divide their time for a period to also work on the WHOIS Disclosure System design paper.

Accordingly, we've created an alternative timeline that considers the maximum potential impacts on completing the SubPro ODP, which targets delivery of the ODA no later than 12 December 2022. We've also added a community status update to the timeline if needed, due to this potential extension. While we're sharing our best estimate of the impact that the WHOIS Disclosure System design paper work could have on the SubPro ODA in the interest of transparency, rest assured that we are simultaneously moving forward on the ODA and actively seeking ways to streamline and minimize the impact as much as possible. In accordance with the Board resolution authorizing the SubPro ODP, we will keep the Board and the community updated on the anticipated timing of the ODA as the work progresses.

I would like to thank those who engaged with ICANN org during Prep Week and ICANN74, and provided valuable input on our SubPro ODP work in progress. As always, more information is available on the SubPro ODP webpage, which includes an updated high-level timeline of ongoing activities. We continue to welcome your feedback and questions at subpro-odp@icann.org.


Eleeza Agopian

Eleeza Agopian

Vice President, Strategic Initiatives
Karen Lentz

Karen Lentz

VP Policy Research & Stakeholder Programs