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GNSO Consideration of Proposed Changes to WHOIS

Updated information is available at

Public comments are invited via email until 00:00 UTC (17:00 PDT) on 30 October 2007 on the GNSO Council's WHOIS reports and recommendations.

Submit comments to:

View comments at


In March, 2007, a WHOIS Task Force convened by the GNSO Council in June, 2005 completed its final report. The Task Force was asked to address important questions related to WHOIS. Key questions included the purpose of WHOIS service, which information should be available to the public, how to improve WHOIS accuracy and how to deal with conflicts between WHOIS requirements and relevant privacy laws. In the final report, a simple majority of members of the WHOIS Task Force endorsed a proposal called the "Operational Point of Contact" (OPOC).

Under OPOC, every registrant would identify a new operational point of contact and the registrant's postal address, city, and postal code would no longer be displayed. The operational point of contact's name and contact information would be displayed instead, and it would replace the administrative and technical contacts. The final WHOIS Task Force Report of 12 March, 2007 is posted at

Following completion of the Task Force Report and public comment period, on 28 March the GNSO Council issued a resolution creating a WHOIS Working Group to examine three issues and to make recommendations concerning how current policies may be improved to address these issues:

  1. to examine the roles, responsibilities and requirements of the OPOC, and what happens if they are not fulfilled;
  2. to examine how legitimate interests will access unpublished registration data; and
  3. to examine whether publication of registration contact information should be based on the type of registered name holder (legal vs. natural persons) or the registrant's use of a domain name.

The Whois Outcomes Working Group Report was finalized on 20 August, 2007. It is posted at [PDF, 213K]. On 6 September 2007, the GNSO Council approved a resolution which, among other things, establishes a schedule for consideration of the WHOIS Task Force Report and the WHOIS Working Group Report. This schedule includes solicitation of further public comments and culminates in a public Council discussion and vote on 31 October 2007 during the Los Angeles ICANN.

In addition, the resolution calls for ICANN staff to prepare a type of "draft final report" that references the Task Force Report, the Working Group Charter and the Working Group Report and which includes an overall description of the process. The following document, entitled, Staff Overview of Recent GNSO WHOIS Activity [PDF, 77K], has been prepared in response to the Council Resolution. It contains the full text of the GNSO resolution and the schedule for GNSO Council consideration of the reports.

Again, further public comments are invited via email until 00:00 UTC (17:00 PDT) on 30 October 2007 on the GNSO Council's WHOIS reports and recommendations referenced above and summarized in the Staff Overview of Recent GNSO WHOIS Activity [PDF, 77K]. Submit comments to: View comments at

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Internationalized Domain Name ,IDN,"IDNs are domain names that include characters used in the local representation of languages that are not written with the twenty-six letters of the basic Latin alphabet ""a-z"". An IDN can contain Latin letters with diacritical marks, as required by many European languages, or may consist of characters from non-Latin scripts such as Arabic or Chinese. Many languages also use other types of digits than the European ""0-9"". The basic Latin alphabet together with the European-Arabic digits are, for the purpose of domain names, termed ""ASCII characters"" (ASCII = American Standard Code for Information Interchange). These are also included in the broader range of ""Unicode characters"" that provides the basis for IDNs. The ""hostname rule"" requires that all domain names of the type under consideration here are stored in the DNS using only the ASCII characters listed above, with the one further addition of the hyphen ""-"". The Unicode form of an IDN therefore requires special encoding before it is entered into the DNS. The following terminology is used when distinguishing between these forms: A domain name consists of a series of ""labels"" (separated by ""dots""). The ASCII form of an IDN label is termed an ""A-label"". All operations defined in the DNS protocol use A-labels exclusively. The Unicode form, which a user expects to be displayed, is termed a ""U-label"". The difference may be illustrated with the Hindi word for ""test"" — परीका — appearing here as a U-label would (in the Devanagari script). A special form of ""ASCII compatible encoding"" (abbreviated ACE) is applied to this to produce the corresponding A-label: xn--11b5bs1di. A domain name that only includes ASCII letters, digits, and hyphens is termed an ""LDH label"". Although the definitions of A-labels and LDH-labels overlap, a name consisting exclusively of LDH labels, such as"""" is not an IDN."