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ICANN to Open Request for Information on Identity Verification Methods

10 June 2021

One of the most critical issues currently facing ICANN and the Internet community is how to centrally handle requests for nonpublic registration data. A potential mechanism – the System for Standardized Access/Disclosure to Non-Public Registration Data (SSAD) – is outlined in policy recommendations adopted by the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) Council last year. Before the ICANN Board makes a decision on the SSAD-related recommendations, it has instructed ICANN organization (org) to conduct an Operational Design Phase (ODP) to help inform its deliberations on whether the recommendations are in the best interests of the ICANN community and ICANN.

In order to determine the feasibility and associated risks, costs, and resources required in the potential implementation of SSAD, ICANN org's SSAD ODP will open a Request for Information (RFI). The purpose of the RFI is to better understand what may be commercially available in the marketplace to deliver some or all of the SSAD, including existing methods for identity verification. The questions in the RFI will be based on the ICANN Board's SSAD ODP Scoping Document and focus on:

  • Methodologies used for identity verification regarding (but not limited to):

    • Legal vs. natural persons
    • Governmental entities
    • Power of Attorney (or local equivalent)
  • Range of costs related to identity and other verification services
  • How identity verification services comply with applicable data protection laws
  • Level of effort for system design, development, and operations

ICANN org is looking for information from experts, organizations, and businesses familiar with the design and operational requirements outlined in the SSAD-related recommendations and encourages submissions from a range of industries and backgrounds. The information obtained through the RFI could shape ICANN org's proposal, the Operational Design Assessment, to the ICANN Board. If the Board adopts the SSAD recommendations, it may lead to a Request for Proposal (RFP) or contracting.

To prepare for the upcoming RFI, interested parties should review the available SSAD ODP resources below. The opening of the RFI will be announced by ICANN org in the coming weeks. Additional information on the specific requirements involved and submission process will be provided at that time.

Questions about the SSAD ODP or upcoming RFI should be emailed to ODP-SSAD@icann.org.

SSAD ODP Resources

About the SSAD ODP

The SSAD is a mechanism proposed to centrally handle requests for nonpublic registration data, outlined in Recommendations 1-18 of the Final Report of the GNSO Expedited Policy Development Process (EPDP) on the Temporary Specification for gTLD Registration Data Phase 2. Due to the resource investment and complexity that would likely be required to implement the SSAD-related policy recommendations in a timely and predictable manner, the ICANN Board has requested an ODP to inform its deliberations, including whether the recommendations are in the best interests of the ICANN community or ICANN.

Conducted by ICANN org, the ODP will assess the potential risks, anticipated costs, resource requirements, timelines, dependencies, interaction with the Global Public Interest Framework that is currently being piloted, and other matters related to implementation of the GNSO Council-approved recommendations. The Board has requested that this ODP be completed within six months from the date of the Board's request, 25 March 2021, if there are no unforeseen legal or other matters that could affect the timeline. When the ODP is completed, ICANN org will deliver the Operational Design Assessment (ODA), the expected output of the ODP, to the ICANN Board and publish it on the SSAD ODP page for transparency. For more information, click here.


Eleeza Agopian

Eleeza Agopian

Vice President, Strategic Initiatives