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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
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 ReportRegistration Directory Service (RDS) - WHOIS2 Review Draft report4 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
Draft Report & Recommendations Public CommentPublic Comment period for the Review Team's draft report of recommendations4 Sep 2018
Board ActionPublic Comment on Final ReportFinal report and recommendations posted for Public Comment8 Oct 2019
Board Action on RecommendationsBoard takes action on 22 recommendations25 Feb 2020


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."