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Whois Data Availability Compliance Audit

ICANN commenced a Whois Compliance audit in September 2010. This audit will be continuous as ICANN intends to consistently monitor whether registrars comply with their obligations to provide public access to data on registered names via port 43.

Registrar Accreditation Agreement ("RAA"), section 3.3 states that registrars are required to make the following data available via Whois servers:

  • 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.

Whether registrars comply with their obligations to provide Whois data via port 43 is important. Internet users, including law enforcement agencies, academic researchers, anti-email abuse organizations, intellectual property rights holders, and individuals checking for name availability all use port 43 Whois searches as their primary means for retrieving data associated with domain names.

During the audit period, ICANN monitored an estimated 880 registrars. The compliance team used an automated system developed in-house that attempted to collect a sample of Whois data from each active registrar on a daily basis. ICANN will publish the findings of this audit in its upcoming Public Access to Data on Registered Names (Whois) via Port 43Audit Report, which will be available 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."