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ICANN Posts Webinar: SSAD ODP Update on Governmental Accreditation Authorities

13 December 2021

Last week, the ICANN organization (org) held a webinar to provide an update to the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) on the topic of governmental accreditation authorities under the recommended System for Standardized Access/Disclosure (SSAD), which ICANN org is assessing during the Operational Design Phase (ODP).

We focused our presentation on the design elements for the SSAD, including the business process design relevant to the governmental accreditation authorities. Recommendation 2 of the Final Report of the GNSO Expedited Policy Development Process (EPDP) on the Temporary Specification for gTLD Registration Data Phase 2 specifies that governmental accreditation authorities must follow the requirements for accreditation authorities outlined in Recommendation 1, though the designation of a governmental accreditation authority to ICANN org is a determination that individual countries or territories must make. Ultimately, the design of country or territory systems will be up to the respective governments. The overall business process design for the SSAD specifies several important elements:

  1. Each Accreditation Authority (AA), either the central or governmental, will be the primary interface for SSAD users who have been accredited.
  2. Governmental AAs will need to build systems that allow for the accreditation of users, and provide appropriate requestor declarations, as well as ongoing authentication services for accredited users.
  3. To do so, the governmental AA must implement the same interfaces as the Central AA to integrate with the Central Gateway and contracted parties.
  4. Each accredited user will use one interface to make requests for nonpublic registration data.

Implementation of governmental AAs will be up to individual countries and territories. Nonetheless, per the design notes above, the accreditation function will be dependent upon certain capabilities that would be built as part of the SSAD systems. It should be noted that governmental entities and agents can only be accredited through governmental AAs, thus if there is no such appointment by a respective country or territory, the respective government agent would have neither an accreditation method to verify its status as a governmental agent, nor would it have any related benefits such as an automated disclosure, in certain circumstances (as envisioned in Recommendation 9.4 of the EPDP Phase 2 team's final report). Governments or government agents could still submit their disclosure requests directly to ICANN's contracted parties outside of SSAD.

Regarding how countries or territories are recognized to designate a governmental AA to the SSAD, the project team is considering the countries or territories that are members or observers of the United Nations (U.N.) and/or are represented in the GAC. Countries or territories can designate more than one governmental AA. The project team suggested that countries and territories could inform ICANN of their selections or appointments through their ministries of foreign affairs (or equivalent government agencies).

We thank the GAC members who were able to join the webinar for their feedback, and appreciate some of the concerns raised, including the complexity of the project, specifically around Recommendation 2. We appreciate your feedback and want to reiterate that your input into this process is critical to the SSAD ODP success. Your concerns will be considered.

The team proposed this design because it seemed the most efficient way for users to become accredited and submit requests using a single interface, while following the processes outlined in the policy recommendations. Ultimately, the ICANN Board will take all the community feedback into consideration when making its decision regarding the SSAD-related policy recommendations.

It is worth noting, that the proposed design is one possible path forward to provide the ICANN Board with all the necessary information on how the SSAD may work to make an informed decision on the best way forward. The ICANN Board requested this ODP to inform its deliberations, including whether the recommendations are in the best interests of the ICANN community and ICANN.

If you have questions or would like to provide input on the questions outlined above, please send an email to ODP-SSAD@icann.org. All submissions will be publicly archived and are available to view here. Please review the terms and acknowledgment before submitting your comment, available here.

We thank all who were able to join the webinar, and invite those who couldn't make it to listen to the recording.

For more information about the SSAD ODP, visit our page here.


Eleeza Agopian

Eleeza Agopian

Vice President, Strategic Initiatives