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  3. GNSO -- WHOIS

Included below you will find brief summaries of a number of Internet issues that are being addressed by the ICANN community's bottom-up policy development structure as well as other significant activities of interest. This latest monthly update is provided by ICANN's Policy Staff in response to community requests for periodic summaries of ICANN's policy work. Updates will be distributed each month. Links to additional information are included below and we encourage you to go beyond these brief staff summaries and learn more about the ICANN community's work. Our goal is to maximize transparency and broad community participation in ICANN's policy development activities. We continue to investigate more effective and efficient ways to communicate the relevance, importance and status of ongoing activities to the ICANN community. Comments and suggestions on how we can improve these efforts are most welcome and should be sent to


The ICANN Board is considering a comprehensive set of recommendations to improve the structure and operations of the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO). This is part of ICANN's ongoing commitment to its evolution and improvement, and follows an independent review of the GNSO and extensive public consultation. A working group appointed by ICANN's Board has developed a comprehensive proposal to improve the effectiveness of the GNSO, including its policy activities, structure, operations and communications. The working group completed its work on 3 February 2008 and submitted its report to the Board Governance Committee (BGC) for consideration and action. The BGC forwarded the report to the ICANN Board for public comment and action.

On 15 February 2008, the Board acknowledged receipt of the "GNSO Improvements Report" and indicated that it would like to receive final public comments on the Report to enable it to consider and implement, as appropriate, the Report's recommendations as soon as possible. The Board directed ICANN staff to open a public comment forum on the Report for 30 days, draft a detailed implementation plan in consultation with the GNSO, begin implementation of the non-contentious recommendations, and return to the Board and community for further consideration of the implementation plan.

The BGC's "GNSO Review Working Group" Report reflects its examination of many aspects of the GNSO's functions and processes, including the use of working groups, the overall policy development process (PDP), and the structure of the GNSO Council and its constituencies.

Although many elements of the report seem to have broad support, the proposed stakeholder groups/constituency structures and allocation of seats on the GNSO Council have drawn a significant amount discussion and disagreement, including objections from the Business, Intellectual Property, and Internet Service Providers Constituencies that a more balanced allocation of seats is needed.

Next Steps: Public comment period and subsequent Board action.

More Information:

Staff: Denise Michel, VP Policy Development


As part of the GNSO's formal PDP (policy development process) on domain name tasting, an Initial Report was produced for public comment, outlining the problems caused by domain tasting, possible actions to be taken, and the arguments put forward for and against such actions. Public comments were incorporated into a draft Final Report (posted 8 February 2008) that has been supplied to the GNSO Council for its review and action on the PDP.

Following the launch of the PDP, a small "design group" of the GNSO Council has been working to consider next steps that the Council should consider. The design group drafted a motion that would restrict the applicability of the AGP to a maximum of 50 deletes per registrar per month or 10% of that registrar's net new monthly domain name registrations, whichever is greater.

At its 6 March 2008 meeting, the GNSO Council considered a revised draft GNSO | Domain Name Tasting Motion designed to curb domain tasting. The revised draft motion would prohibit any gTLD operator that has implemented an add grace period from offering a refund for any domain name deleted during the AGP that exceeds 10% of its net new registrations in that month, or fifty domain names, whichever is greater. An exemption may be sought for a particular month, upon the documented showing of extraordinary circumstances, as detailed in the motion. The GNSO Council has instructed staff to seek and collect public comments and constituency impact statements regarding the revised draft motion and incorporate them into a further draft for Council consideration at its scheduled 17 April meeting.

Next Steps: The Public Comment period on the draft motion concludes on 28 March 2008.
More Information:

Staff: Liz Gaster, Senior Policy Counselor


The GNSO Council decided in Los Angeles on 31 October 2007 that a comprehensive, objective and quantifiable understanding of key factual issues regarding WHOIS will benefit future GNSO policy development efforts, and plans to ask ICANN staff to conduct several studies for this purpose. Before defining the details of these studies, the Council has solicited suggestions for specific topics of study on WHOIS from community stakeholders.

Possible areas of study might include a study of certain aspects of gTLD registrants and registrations, a study of certain uses and misuses of WHOIS data, a study of the use of proxy registration services, including privacy services, or a comparative study of gTLD and ccTLD WHOIS.

Public comments were sought until 15 February 2008. Approximately 25 suggestions were received. The GNSO Council will consider the suggestions offered and intends to provide additional definition to staff regarding potential data gathering and study requirements. Based on that direction, staff will subsequently provide the Council with rough cost estimates for various components of data gathering and studies. The Council will then decide what data gathering and studies should be pursued. Staff will then perform the resulting data gathering and studies and report the results to the Council.

Next Steps: Council/staff dialogue regarding the costs of various data gathering methodologies.
More Information: <>
Staff: Liz Gaster, Senior Policy Counselor


Consistent with ICANN's obligation to promote and encourage robust competition in the domain name space, the Inter-Registrar Transfer Policy aims to provide a straightforward procedure for domain name holders to transfer their names from one ICANN-accredited registrar to another should they wish to do so. The policy also provides standardized requirements for registrar handling of such transfer requests from domain name holders. The policy is an existing community consensus that was implemented in late 2004 that is now being reviewed by the GNSO. As part of that effort, the Council formed a Transfers Working Group (TWG) to examine and recommend possible areas for improvements in the existing transfer policy. The TWG identified a broad list of over 20 potential areas for clarification and improvement.

In an effort to get improvements on-line as soon as possible, the TWG has engaged in discussions to establish a suitable strategy for considering and resolving potential technical and policy improvements. As a result of those efforts, an initial PDP has been initiated to address a subset of four issues to clarify certain provisions in the existing policy regarding reasons for which a registrar of record may deny a request to transfer a domain name to a new registrar. A short term planning group has been tasked to suggest grouping and sequencing of potential PDPs for the remaining 19 policy issues identified by the TWG. This work is expected to be finalized this month.

Next Steps: ICANN Staff is gathering constituency statements in order to finalize and post an Initial Report as part of the PDP regarding transfer request denials. A report from the short term planning group on other potential PDPs will be finalized this month.
More Information: <>
Staff: Olof Nordling, Manager, Policy Development Coordination


The CCNSO and GNSO Councils each have the capability to fill two seats each on the ICANN Board of Directors. CCNSO seats are identified as Board seat numbers 11 and 12. GNSO seats on the Board are identified as seat numbers 13 and 14.

CCNSO Board Seat 11

The ccNSO's Nomination period has started to fill seat 11 on the ICANN Board. The seat is currently held by Peter Dengate Thrush. Should there be more than one nomination for the seat, a ccNSO election will be held. The nomination period for the seat ends on 18 March 2008.

Next Steps: Await outcome from "call for nominations"
More Information: <>
Staff: Gabriella Schittek, ccNSO Secretariat

GNSO Board Seat 14

Rita Rodin has been elected by the GNSO Council to fill seat 14 on the ICANN Board of Directors. The election closed on 7 March 2008. The GNSO Council will confirm the election results at its meeting scheduled on 27 March 2008, and thereafter ICANN's General Counsel will be informed of the outcome.

Next Steps: GNSO Council will confirm election results on 27 March.
More Information: <>
Staff: Glen De Saint Géry, GNSO Secretariat


IDNC Working Group Pursues The Fast Track:

The joint IDNC Working Group (IDNC WG) was charted by ICANN's Board to develop and report on feasible methods, if any, that would enable the introduction, in a timely manner and in a manner that ensures the continued security and stability of the Internet, of a limited number of non-contentious IDN ccTLDs (internationalised domain name country code top level domains) associated with the ISO 3166-1 two-letter codes, while the overall IDN ccTLD policy is being developed.

On 1 February 2008, the IDNC Working Group posted a "Discussion Draft of the Initial Report" (Report) for public comment and input from the ICANN community. The focus of the consultation was intended to be on the elements of the Report that shape the mechanisms for the selection of an IDN ccTLD, and an IDN ccTLD manager. The mechanisms are to be developed within the parameters of:

  • The overarching requirement to preserve the security and stability of the DNS;
  • Compliance with the IDNA protocols;
  • Input and advice from the technical community with respect to the implementation of IDNs;
  • Current practices for the delegation of ccTLDs, which include the current IANA practices.

The Report also clarified the relationship between the "fast track" process and the IDNccPDP (ccNSO Policy Development Process on IDN ccTLDs), which was launched by the ccNSO on 2 October 2007.

A public workshop was held 11 February in New Delhi to discuss the Report and comments were accepted on the Discussion Draft until 26 February 2008. The GNSO Council discussed and approved its contribution to this part of the process at its 6 March 2008 meeting, and submitted its contribution on 7 March 2008. A copy of that GNSO submission can be found at ICANN Email Archives: [idn-cctld-fast-track].

The work schedule agreed to by the IDNC Working Group is as follows:

  • An Initial Report, which will solidify the topics and their relation to the IDNccPDP (Final Initial Report was due to be released 8 March 2008).
  • An Interim Report, which will contain potential mechanisms (final Interim Report is due 16 May 2008).
  • The Final Report, which will contain the actual recommendations of the IDNC WG (due 13 June 2008)

Next Steps: An IDNC WG meeting and an IDN workshop is scheduled to be held at the ICANN Regional Meeting in Dubai, UAE (1-3 April 2008).
More Information: <>
Staff: Bart Boswinkel, Senior Policy Advisor

CCNSO Focuses On Comprehensive IDNccTLD Policy Development

In parallel to considerations of a "fast track" approach, the ccNSO continues working on a comprehensive long term policy development process for IDNccTLDs. At its meeting on 2 October 2007, the ccNSO Council resolved to call for an Issue Report to examine the need for a Policy Development Process (ccPDP) to consider:

  1. Whether Article IX of the ICANN bylaws applies to IDN ccTLDs associated with the ISO 3166-1 two letter codes, and if it does not then to establish if Article IX should apply.
  2. Whether the ccNSO should launch a PDP to develop the policy for the selection and delegation of IDN ccTLDs associated with the ISO 3166-1 two-letter codes.

The Council requested that, in preparing the Issue Report, the Issue Manager (ICANN Staff, Bart Boswinkel) identify policies, procedures, and/or by-laws that should be reviewed and, as necessary revised, in connection with the development and implementation of any IDN ccTLD policy. The ccNSO Council has asked the Issue Manager to consider, in preparing the Issue Report and in proposing a time line for conducting each stage of the ccPDP, the joint ccNSO GAC Issues Paper, the technical limitations and requirements including the IDNA Guidelines, and any other matters that the Issue Manager considers to be of relevance, which includes the intermediate results and final outcome of the work of the IDNC Working Group ("fast track approach").

Comments on the Issues Paper were requested by 22 February 2008. The GNSO, among others, submitted comments on 23 February 2008. They can be viewed at this link: The Issues Paper will be submitted to the ccNSO Council and will form the basis for the Council's decision on whether or not to initiate the ccPDP.

Next Steps: Comments on ccPDP Issues Paper and are now being evaluated.
More Information: <>
Staff: Bart Boswinkel, Senior Policy Advisor


ICANN is constantly looking for ways to encourage more stakeholder participation. The ccNSO has formed a ccNSO Participation Working Group to identify ways and means to get more ccTLDs involved in ICANN and the ccTLD Regional Organisations.

A survey has been launched by the group to determine why ccTLDs do, or do not, participate in ccNSO meetings and how to improve participation in general. All ccTLD participants are being encouraged to participate in this survey. First draft results of the survey will be presented during the Africa Top Level Domains (AfTLD) meeting in Johannesburg 7-11 April 2008. Final results will be presented during the ICANN Paris meeting.

Next Steps: ccNSO will discuss survey results and next steps at ICANN's Paris meeting
More Information: <>
Staff: Gabriella Schittek, ccNSO Secretariat


As a result of a ccNSO Council workshop held at the ICANN New Delhi meeting, a working group of the Council has been established to propose administrative procedures for the ccNSO.

Council Members on the Working Group include Dotty Sparks De Blanc, Slobodan Markovich and Patricio Poblete.

Next Steps: Working Group will develop procedures for ccNSO consideration
More Information: <>
Staff: Bart Boswinkel, Senior Policy Advisor


During the ccNSO meeting in New Delhi, members of the ccNSO Council decided to begin development of a "ccNSO Work plan" which will be presented to the ccNSO membership for their consideration.

Next Steps : Ongoing discussions of work plan within the ccNSO.
More Information: <>
Staff: Gabriella Schittek, ccNSO Secretariat


The term "phishing" has been used to describe criminal and fraudulent attempts by bad actors to acquire sensitive private information (such as usernames, passwords and credit card details) by masquerading as trustworthy entities in an electronic communication. Phishing remains a major problem among ccTLDs and so ccNSO members are being called upon to identify countermeasures that can be undertaken to fight back. A draft survey seeking to identify those types of measures was presented to and approved by the ccNSO Council during its meeting in New Delhi. The survey has been launched and sent to all available email lists. ICANN regional liaisons have also been asked to help distribute the survey. Survey results are expected to be ready for posting by early April 2008.

Next Steps: Survey results will be posted in April 2008
More information: <>
Staff: Gabriella Schittek, ccNSO Secretariat


To improve communications within the community, a new "authoritative" ccNSO email list has been created. Final preparations regarding the list are ongoing. An email will be sent to all ccTLDs, inviting them to subscribe to the new list.

Next Steps: ccTLDs will be invited to subscribe to the list
More Information: <>
Staff: Gabriella Schittek, ccNSO Secretariat


As of 15 March 2008, there are 75 members of the ccNSO. The following ccTLD operators have joined the ccNSO in the last year:

.cn: China

.eg: Egypt

.et: Ethiopia

.fi: Finland

.fj: Fiji

.gy: Guyana

.hk: Hong Kong

.lc: Saint Lucia

.ly: Lybia

.ma: Morocco

.np: Nepal

.rs: Serbia

.sb: Solomon Islands

.se: Sweden

.sg: Singapore

.sk: Slovakia

.za: South Africa

Two more applications, from .ru: Russia and .gd: Grenada are currently pending

Next Steps: .ru and .gd applications are under consideration
More Information: <>


Two proposals for global policies on addressing matters are in preparation within the addressing community by the Address Supporting Organization (ASO). Once adopted within all RIRs (Regional Internet Registries) and subsequently ratified by the ICANN Board, such proposals become global policies governing address allocation from the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) to the RIRs. The developments of such proposals are tracked by ICANN staff with background reports regularly updated on the ICANN web site. The two current proposals are described below.

Autonomous System Numbers (ASNs)

Autonomous System Numbers (ASNs) are addresses used in addition to IP addresses for Internet routing. This new global policy proposal for ASNs would formalize the current procedure for allocation of ASNs and gives a policy basis for the transition from 2-byte (16 bits) to 4-byte (32 bits) ASNs. The final transition step is foreseen for 31 December 2009, after which date the distinction between 2- and 4-byte ASNs will cease and all ASNs will be regarded as of 4-byte length, by appending initial zeroes to those of 2-byte original length. This proposal has been adopted in all RIRs and will be forwarded to the ICANN Board for ratification by the ASO AC, following verification of the RIRs' procedural steps. Status of the proposal can be followed here.

Remaining IPv4 Address Space

With the IANA pool of unallocated IPv4 address blocks becoming depleted, a global policy has been proposed to allocate the remaining address blocks once a given threshold is reached. There were originally two slightly different proposals, but the corresponding authors of the two groups have recently agreed on a common text, essentially proposing that when there are five /8 blocks remaining in the IANA pool, one block will be allocated to each RIR. This proposal was discussed at the APNIC 25 meeting in February 2008, although without reaching consensus, and will be discussed in the next upcoming meetings of the other RIRs. Status of this proposal can be followed at this link: ICANN | Global Policy Proposal for Remaining IPv4 Address Space – Background Report.

Next Steps: (see above)
More Information: <> and <>
Staff: Olof Nordling, Manager Policy Development Coordination


Fast Flux Hosting and DNS Advisory

ICANN staff member Dave Piscitello gave a presentation on the Security and Stability Advisory Committee's (SSAC's) Fast Flux Hosting and DNS Advisory at the ISOI 4 Conference (Internet Secure Operations Task Force) 28-29 February 2008. The presentation was very well received and stimulated a panel discussion about information sharing and public outreach. ICANN's SSAC is seen as providing strong opportunity to reach communities (registry, registrar) that can play an important role in mitigating attacks that exploit DNS.

APWG (Antiphishing Working Group)

ICANN staff is helping to update/revise a work in progress for the APWG entitled, "What to do if your web site is hacked." The document describes preparation and incident response with respect to web site phishing attacks.

DNSSEC Broadband Router Testing

When Sweden and other ccTLDs began more extensive deployment of the Domain Name System Security Extension (DNSSEC), several broadband routers were discovered to fail when they received DNS response messages containing DNSSEC resource records and other DNSSEC related protocol parameters. Study of these routers revealed that many have embedded DNS servers. The DNSSEC deployment community and SSAC are collaborating to create a testing program for broadband routers to gauge the ability of these devices to correctly process DNS messages that contain DNSSEC resource records. This will be conducted in a similar fashion to the way SSAC performed the AAAA records for the root level of the DNS (See ICANN | Testing Firewalls for IPv6 and EDNS0 Support (SAC016), ICANN | Testing Recursive Name Servers for IPv6 and EDNS0 Support (SAC017) and (SAC018). A set of web pages is being developed by ICANN staff to provide a series of tests that Internet users can use to determine if their router succeeds or fails when DNNSEC is present in DNS response messages. The test suite is considered complete and the web pages will be ready shortly.

Next Steps: (see above)
More Information: <>
Staff: Dave Piscitello, Senior Security Technologist


At the ICANN New Delhi meeting, one of the focuses of the At-Large community was relationship building, which resulted in increased interaction between the ALAC and the GNSO and ccNSO Councils. Similar gatherings are expected to be held at the ICANN Paris meeting. At-Large representatives also met in Delhi with key Registry Constituency leaders – a meeting which is the first, but will not be the last, between these groups. Discussion focused on areas of the Registrar Accreditation Agreement of mutual concern.

A number of other interactions between members of the At-Large community and other constituencies and communities which began in New Delhi are continuing bilaterally and have great promise for intra-community cooperation going forward, from the Business Constituency to the GAC. The result of all these positive developments is an increasingly engaged At-Large community.

The leaders of the Regional At-Large Organisations (RALOs) further developed their working relationships with the ALAC in New Delhi, and also continued their collective work on a far ranging program which involves not only their respective communities but also various parts of the ICANN staff across a range of outreach, communications enhancement, and policy input enhancement initiatives.

The Asia-Australia-Pacific RALO (APRALO) held its first General Assembly in New Delhi, as well as a signing ceremony recognising the formation of the RALO last year (the ceremony was delayed due to the change in regional meeting venue to Los Angeles from Asia for the 2007 ICANN annual meeting).


A new, greatly improved community website/portal will soon go live at Conversion of the existing site at is currently underway and expected to complete in the second week of March. More than just a website, will be a collaborative work platform for the whole community and set a new standard in online services for an ICANN stakeholder community. Look for more details in our April Policy Update.

Next Steps: (see above)
More Information: <>
Staff: Nick Ashton-Hart, Director for At-Large


In the last month, ICANN's Policy Department has welcomed three new members. The position of At-Large Coordination Officer was filled by Matthias Langenegger, who is based in Switzerland. Matthias' responsibilities as a Secretariat to the At-Large community roughly correspond to those of Glen de St. Gery for the GNSO. Matthias recently graduated from the Graduate Institute of International Relations at the University of Geneva and holds an MA in international relations. He lives in Geneva.

Penelope Wrenn Walz has joined ICANN's Policy Staff as our new Policy Communications Director. Penelope will be writing, editing and publishing summaries, updates, informational materials, and web content that helps educate and inform stakeholders about ICANN's policy development activities. She also will be providing support and management of our policy-related communications efforts across supporting organizations and advisory committees. Penelope comes to ICANN from General Dynamics, where she served as a Communications Director leading a strategic communications team that supported the largest law enforcement air force in the world. Prior to joining General Dynamics, Penelope developed and managed a global communications program for an organization of aerospace engineers from 28 countries and 32 space agencies, including the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the multi-national European Space Agency (ESA). She is based in Virginia.

Rob Hoggarth has joined the ICANN staff as a Senior Policy Director. He will be responsible for managing a number of cross-functional initiatives, including the improvements of the supporting organizations and advisory committees. He joins ICANN after a distinguished career in technology and communications policy and law, including serving as a Senior Vice President with NTT, Nippon Telegraph and Telecom, in the United States. Rob is splitting his time between Maryland and the ICANN Marina Del Rey office.

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."