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On WHOIS Privacy & Proxy Services

There's been a lot of discussion recently about a proposal that states ICANN would place limitations on privacy/proxy services, so I'd like to address some of the concerns raised and what the policy development steps are as we move forward.

On 5 May 2015, the Privacy/Proxy Services Accreditation Issues (PPSAI) Working Group (of the Generic Names Supporting Organization) published its Initial Report, which was made available for public comment here: https://www.icann.org/public-comments/ppsai-initial-2015-05-05-en.

In this Initial Report, the Working Group requested comments on a proposal made by some Working Group members regarding prohibitions on privacy/proxy services for domains actively used for commercial transactions.

I want to be clear that this isn't current ICANN policy, and would only become policy if supported by community consensus, with an affirmative vote first by the GNSO Council and adoption by the ICANN Board. These steps are laid out in the GNSO's Policy Development Process. It's also important to understand that the Working Group's proposal states it is not currently supported by most Working Group members.

Community input – the public comments many of you submitted – will help the Working Group reach consensus on the proposed prohibitions and all its other recommendations for its Final Report.

Public comments form an important, and mandatory, part of the ICANN policy development process. They are also a critical element in ICANN's multistakeholder model and, as is the case with all public comments, we encourage everyone to voice their opinion through this channel.

The public comment for this report closed on 7 July and an ICANN Staff report on all public comments is due on 21 July.

Comments

    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""icann.org"" is not an IDN."