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ICANN Launches Public Comments on Whois Task Force Report

Read the report: Preliminary Task Force Report on Whois Services (HTML) | PDF [164K]
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ICANN is launching a public comments period on the Preliminary Task Force Report on Whois Services. This report forms part of the GNSO policy development process (PDP) on Whois which seeks to build consensus on policy issues in the generic top level domain (gTLD) space. The public comment period will last from 24th November, 2006 to 15 January, 2007.

After the public comment period, the Whois Task Force will consider the public comments received and prepare a final task force report for submission to the GNSO Council. The Council is expected to deliberate on the final task force report in early 2007, and work to achieve a super-majority vote on a recommendation to the ICANN Board. The GNSO Council will then submit a report to the ICANN Board, and the Board will then carry out its own deliberations and voting.

This report sets out the key findings that have emerged during the work of the Whois Task Force on the following terms of reference:

(3) Determine what data collected should be available for public access in the context of the purpose of Whois. Determine how to access data that is not available for public access. The current elements that must be displayed by a registrar are:

- The name of the Registered Name;

- The names of the primary nameserver and secondary nameserver(s) for the Registered Name;

- The identity of Registrar (which may be provided through Registrar's website);

- The original creation date of the registration;

- The expiration date of the registration;

- The name and postal address of the Registered Name Holder;

- The name, postal address, e-mail address, voice telephone number, and (where available) fax number of the technical contact for the Registered Name; and

- The name, postal address, e-mail address, voice telephone number, and (where available) fax number of the administrative contact for the Registered Name.

(4) Determine how to improve the process for notifying a registrar of inaccurate Whois data, and the process for investigating and correcting inaccurate data. Currently a registrar "shall, upon notification by any person of an inaccuracy in the contact information associated with a Registered Name sponsored by Registrar, take reasonable steps to investigate that claimed inaccuracy. In the event Registrar learns of inaccurate contact information associated with a Registered Name it sponsors, it shall take reasonable steps to correct that inaccuracy."

(The full terms of reference are available here:

Public comments are particularly invited on specific proposals in the report:

  • The Operational Point of Contact (OPoC) proposal – pages 38 to 42
  • The Special Circumstances proposal – pages 43 to 49
  • The five proposals in the discussion on access to data – pages 24 to 27.

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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."