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WHOIS Policy Review Team Final Report

Comment/Reply Periods (*) Important Information Links
Comment Open: 11 May 2012
Comment Close: 10 June 2012
Close Time (UTC): 23:59 Public Comment Announcement
Reply Open: 11 June 2012 To Submit Your Comments (Forum Closed)
Reply Close: 11 July 2012 View Comments Submitted
Close Time (UTC): 23:59 Report of Public Comments
Brief Overview
Originating Organization: WHOIS Policy Review Team (WHOIS RT)

WHOIS Policy

Purpose (Brief): The WHOIS Review Team submitted its Final Report to the Board and public comments are requested to inform subsequent Board consideration and action.
Current Status: Final Report for public comment
Next Steps: Under the Affirmation of Commitments, the Board will take action within six months of receipt of the recommendations (Final Report).
Staff Contact: Alice Jansen Email:
Detailed Information
Section I: Description, Explanation, and Purpose
The WHOIS Policy Review Team, constituted under ICANN's Affirmation of Commitments (AoC) agreement with the U.S. Department of Commerce, submitted its Final Report and Recommendations [PDF, 1.44 MB] to the ICANN Board and this document has been posted for public comment. The recommendations were finalized in light of the feedback received on the Review Team's draft report via the online public comment process and ICANN meetings.
Section II: Background
Over the past 18 months, the WHOIS Policy Review Team engaged in extensive outreach to communities within and outside of ICANN. The Final Report draws from the fact-finding, comments and analysis conducted by a law enforcement questionnaire circulated by the Serious Organized Crime Agency (SOCA) of the UK, a survey of international Internet users conducted by Atlanta-based User Insight, and extensive outreach to all Supporting Organizations, Advisory Committees and constituencies via public comment periods, public forums and individual meetings.
Section III: Document and Resource Links

The WHOIS Policy Review Team Final Report [PDF, 1.44 MB]

Translations of the final report into the 5 UN languages will be published as soon as possible. A redline version comparing the posted draft and final report is available at: [PDF, 2.93 MB].

The WHOIS Review Team provided the following set of appendices to document its work:

Section IV: Additional Information

The community is invited to provide initial input on the final report by 10 June 2012, and replies to comments by 11 July 2012. Please submit your comments to:

Addendum 25 May 2012: The WHOIS Policy Review Team decides to share the FY11 Compliance Activities Report [PDF, 52 KB] provided by ICANN Staff. For explanations and further information, please read the WHOIS Policy Review Team's announcement.

(*) Comments submitted after the posted Close Date/Time are not guaranteed to be considered in any final summary, analysis, reporting, or decision-making that takes place once this period lapses.

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."