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Enforcing the Temporary Specification

Enforcing temp spec 750x425 16jul18 en

In May, the ICANN Board adopted the Temporary Specification for gTLD Registration Data, modifying our agreements with registries and registrars to comply with the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Since then, ICANN Contractual Compliance has received a number of questions regarding how we would enforce these new provisions. The purpose of this blog is to describe our approach to enforcing the Temporary Specification, explain how to file complaints about potential violations of the new provisions, and share information on some of the issues we have seen so far.

As noted at the Global Domains Division (GDD) Industry Summit in May and at the ICANN62 Policy Forum in June, ICANN Contractual Compliance is enforcing the requirements of the Temporary Specification as of 25 May 2018, as it does any other ICANN agreement or policy requirement. This is done through the Contractual Compliance function, which employs the same approach and process for all enforcement areas. Details regarding this approach and process can be found here.

All contracted parties are advised to review the Temporary Specification carefully. Many of the requirements apply even if the registry or registrar is not in the European Union and has no registrations from the European Economic Area. Enforcement of the Temporary Specification applies to all ICANN contracted parties. For a high level review of the Temporary Specification, ICANN also published and regularly updates a Frequently Asked Questions document.

One recurring concern we have received is how ICANN Contractual Compliance will obtain non-public registration data that is required to process a complaint. Among the complaints received to date, ICANN Contractual Compliance has received two alleging denial of access to non-public registration data for legitimate purposes. Most of the other complaints received concern the availability of data published in WHOIS. For registrars, some of the registration data issues include:

  • Over-redacting public registration data, e.g.:
    • All contact fields are redacted when only some should be;
    • Missing Administrative/Technical email field and/or value;
    • Missing Registrant Organization/State/Province/Country field and/or value; and
    • Redacting privacy/proxy information
  • Non-compliant redacted fields e.g., missing anonymized email and/or webform to contact Registrant/Admin/Tech contact or using non-compliant values in the field for ex. "00000"
  • Registrar appears to be using registry WHOIS data causing endless loop of referral from registry to registrar data
  • Transfer requests being denied due to non-functional anonymized email address for registrant

Some of the registry issues include:

  • Missing required Registrant/Admin/Tech Email (requirement for registries)
  • Required Registrant/Admin/Tech Email message in legal disclaimer only
  • Not providing full registration data to the Uniform Rapid Suspension System (URS) provider
  • Registry providing thick Bulk Registration Data Access (BRDA) files to ICANN instead of thin data

We have also received a number of questions regarding the process for filing complaints alleging noncompliance with the Temporary Specification. As many have observed, there is not a "Temporary Specification" complaint form. To file a complaint about potential violations of the Temporary Specification or any other part of the agreements, please use the most relevant form published on the compliance page. ICANN Contractual Compliance will process complaints regardless of the form used.

I hope this information is helpful. If you have any other questions or concerns regarding enforcement of the Temporary Specification, please let us know by emailing either the Contractual Compliance department at or me at


    Domain Name System
    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."