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Launch of the Implementation Advisory Group to Review Existing ICANN Procedure for Handling WHOIS Conflicts with Privacy Law

We are pleased to announce the launch of the Implementation Advisory Group to Review the Existing ICANN Procedure for Handling WHOIS Conflicts with Privacy Law (IAG-WHOIS Conflicts). Sixty-one (61) individuals responded to the Call for Volunteers. IAG-WHOIS Conflicts is an open group convened to serve for a limited duration and scope, focusing exclusively on evaluating the ICANN Procedure for Handling WHOIS Conflicts with Privacy Law and providing recommendations on possible changes to the Procedure to the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO.)

We welcome the following volunteers as members of the newly convened IAG-WHOIS Conflicts:

Tamer Abdallah
Aboyazan Aboyazan
Abdullahi Adhi Gewana
Mona Al Achkar Jabbour
Alyn Andrade
Mark Bayliss
Hela Ben Nejima
Don M. Blumenthal
Gary Campbell
Patrick Charnley
Adrian Cheek
Donna Cunningham
Christian Dawson
Shady El Shafei
Lars-Erik Forsberg
Marianne Georgelin
Allan Ghazi
Ashley Heineman
Raymond Ho
Ismail Hummad
Jordi Iparraguirre
Lazkani Khaled
Tarun Krishnakumar
Taufik Kurniawan
Yuan Lu
Abd Mahmod
Camino Manjon
Steven J. Metalitz
Abdou Mfopa
Don Moody
Manuel Moreno-Torres
Mohamed Mosaad
Basma Nazif
Michele Neylon
Mbabazi Norman
Drew Noyes
Ghislain Nyamfit Ng.
Seun Ojedeji
Chris Pelling
Jonathan Perez
Stephanie Perrin
Elvin Prasad
Adrián Quesada Rodríguez
Mohamed Quriba
Merit Ramses Kamal
Adamantia Rachovitsa
Tariq Rashid
Seth M. Reiss
Mohammed Rezkovic
Carlton Samuels
D. Saravanan
Luc Seufer
Emily Taylor
Bennette Thomas
John WD Thomson
Mbungyuh Tseyah James
Daniel Vidal
Christopher Wilkinson
Ali Yesdel Ibrahim

To track the work of this group, please visit the IAG-WHOIS Conflicts Wiki.

IAG-WHOIS Conflicts Schedule and Operations

The IAG-WHOIS Conflicts is expected to commence its work in January 2015 and produce its recommendations by June 2015.

A kick-off conference call will be scheduled for 7 January.

A schedule of subsequent calls and meetings will be available on the IAG-WHOIS Conflicts Wiki.

IAG-WHOIS Conflicts Mission and Scope

The IAG-WHOIS Conflicts is tasked with providing the GNSO Council suggestions on how to improve the current Procedure. The The IAG's mission and scope will focus on changes to the Procedure and not ICANN's contractual requirements. Any recommendations made by the IAG will be forwarded to the GNSO Council to determine whether implementation of the Procedure ought to be changed.

As part of its deliberations, the IAG should, at a minimum, consider the following issues that were highlighted in the recent Report of Public Comments on this topic. Those issues include:

  • Process: Should the Procedure be revised to allow for invocation prior to contracting?
    • If adopted, how would that alter the contracting process?
    • What parties would be most appropriate to include at this early stage of the Procedure?
  • Trigger: What triggers would be appropriate for invoking the Procedure?
    • Would evidence from a data protection authority that the contract is in conflict with national laws be sufficient to trigger the Procedure? If so, how would ICANN define which data protection authority is an acceptable authority? Would the authority have to be a nationally representative body? Should a regional body's opinion carry the same weight as a national or local authority?
    • Similarly, would an official opinion from a government agency provide enough evidence? If so, which agencies would be most appropriate? Would it have to be an agency tasked with data protection? What about a consumer trust bureau or treasury department that includes consumer protections in its mandate? Or would a foreign ministry provide the best source of information? Which bodies would be considered authoritative enough to provide a creditable opinion?
    • Would evidence of a conflict from ICANN-provided analysis provide sufficient information to invoke the Procedure? What type of evidence should this analysis cite?
    • If the Procedure allowed for a written opinion from a nationally recognized law firm to provide sufficient evidence for a trigger? What types of firms could be considered nationally recognized? Should it be accredited or made to prove its competency? If so, how? What if ICANN receives contradictory opinions from two firms? How is it to determine the more valid argument?
  • Public comment: How should public comments be incorporated into the Procedure?
    • What role should comments have in ICANN's decision-making process?
    • What length of public comment period is appropriate to ensure that the Procedure is completed in a timely fashion?
    • How should comments be analyzed?
    • Should public comments be treated as a safeguard in case a decision is flawed?

The IAG shall invite participation in its discussions from other ICANN Supporting Organizations and Advisory Committees, including the GAC.


ICANN announced a Call for Volunteers for the Implementation Advisory Group to Review Existing ICANN Procedure for Handling WHOIS Conflicts with Privacy Laws on 14 October 2014. The call for volunteers followed a paper published 22 May 2014, which opened a review process to solicit community feedback on the Procedure's effectiveness. Based on the comments received in response to the paper, ICANN convened this IAG in order to explore suggested changes to the Procedure, which would be forwarded to the GNSO Council for its consideration.

Staff contact

Please contact Eleeza Agopian at with any questions.

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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."