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Registration Directory Service (RDS) Review (formerly WHOIS Review)

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RDS Review Wiki Workspace Page
Find the latest status updates, recordings of past meetings, and opportunities to participate
Introduction to Reviews
Learn more about Reviews, their purpose and process for conducting and opportunities to participate
RDS Review Meeting Schedule
Find the schedule to observe RDS Review Team Meetings
RDS Fact Sheet
See the progress of the RDS Review Team towards completing the Review
Contact the Review Team
Provide input by sending an email to the RDS Review Team
Implementation Progress
See progress of implementation of Recommendations from past Reviews

Objectives of the RDS Review

According to the Bylaws (Section 4.6(e)), ICANN shall use commercially reasonable efforts to enforce its policies relating to registration directory services and shall work with Supporting Organizations and Advisory Committees to explore structural changes to improve accuracy and access to generic top-level domain registration data, as well as consider safeguards for protecting such data.

The Board shall cause a periodic review to assess the effectiveness of the then current gTLD registry directory service and whether its implementation meets the legitimate needs of law enforcement, promoting consumer trust and safeguarding registrant data (“Directory Service Review”).

The review team for the Directory Service Review (“Directory Service Review Team”) will consider the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (“OECD”) Guidelines on the Protection of Privacy and Transborder Flows of Personal Data as defined by the OECD in 1980 and amended in 2013 and as may be amended from time to time.

The Directory Service Review Team shall assess the extent to which prior Directory Service Review recommendations have been implemented and the extent to which implementation of such recommendations has resulted in the intended effect.

The Directory Service Review shall be conducted no less frequently than every five years, measured from the date the previous Directory Service Review Team was convened, except that the first Directory Service Review to be conducted after [1 October 2016] shall be deemed to be timely if the applicable Directory Service Review Team is convened on or before 31 October 2016.

Review Progress and Milestones

The graphic below illustrates phases and status of each review - a Circle arrow 360 indicates that all activities within a given phase have been completed.  The chart that follows the graphic provides further details of key activities and milestones within each phase – you can view these details by clicking on each of the phases in the graphic.  The table also contains links to relevant documents.

RDS (formerly WHOIS)
PhaseActivityDescriptionStart DateDocuments
Assemble Review TeamCall for VolunteersPublic announcement inviting volunteers to submit application28 Oct 2016
Call for Volunteers ExtensionApplication extended for the Registration Directory Service Review Team6 Dec 2016
Call for Volunteers DeadlineDeadline extension for the Registration Directory Service Review Team11 Jan 2017
Call for Volunteers DeadlineDeadline extension for the Registration Directory Service Review Team22 Feb 2017
Appointment of Board DesigneeBoard appoints a member to the RDS Review Team3 Feb 2017
Review Team AnnouncedSelection of the Registration Directory Service (RDS/WHOIS2-RT) Review Team Members Announced2 Jun 2017
Plan ReviewTerms of ReferenceTerms of Reference and Work Plan submitted to ICANN Board.9 Feb 2018
Conduct ReviewDraft ReportDraft report posted for public comment 4 Sep 2018
Public Comment ExtendedPublic Comment period extended for the Draft Report of Recommendations6 Nov 2018
Final ReportRegistration Directory Service (RDS)-WHOIS2 Review Final Report3 Sep 2019
RDS Final Report Executive SummaryExecutive summary of the RDS Final Report3 Sep 2019
Board ActionPublic comment on Final ReportFinal report and recommendations posted for public comment8 Oct 2019

PhaseActivityDescriptionStart DateDocuments
Assemble Review TeamCall for VolunteersPublic announcement inviting volunteers to submit application1 Jun 2010
Appointment of review team membersAppointment of review team members30 Sep 2010
SO/AC RequirementsSO/AC Requirements for Review Team Volunteers1 Jun 2010
Applications receivedApplications received for WHOIS12 Sep 2010
Call for VolunteersCall for Independent Experts, Law Enforcement Representatives and Global Policy Experts26 Jul 2010
Applications receivedApplications received for WHOIS independent expert30 Sep 2010
Plan ReviewTerms of ReferenceDocument outlining the scope of work adopted by the review team8 Jun 2010
VariousReview team activities and detailed information available on the community wiki20 Oct 2015
Conduct ReviewRFP for external consultantRequest for Proposals for WHOIS Consumer Trust Research10 Jul 2011
Final Report of External ConsultantReport published by UserInsight11 May 2012
Draft ReportDraft report posted for public comment5 Dec 2011
Final ReportFinal report submitted to ICANN Board11 May 2012
Board ActionBoard receipt of the Final ReportBoard action and resolution23 Jun 2012
Public comment on Final ReportFinal report posted for public comment11 May 2012
Board action on review team recommendationsBoard action and resolution8 Nov 2012
Plan ImplementationPlan implementationPlan implementation8 Nov 2012
Implement ImprovementsDetails of implementation and periodic updatesInformation available on the ICANN website31 Dec 2015

Implementation of RDS Recommendations

The table below includes documents relating to the implementation of recommendations from the RDS Review. See the RDS wiki for more information on the implementation of WHOIS recommendations.

Rec #



Implementation Document(s)



More information coming soon.



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."