VeriSign Global Registry Services (VGRS), the registry business of VeriSign, Inc., will at all times strive to operate as a trusted and neutral third party provider of Registry Services. VGRS recognizes that domain names are the means by which businesses, individuals and consumers gain access to, navigate and otherwise benefit from the global Internet. These benefits cannot be fully realized, however, unless the DNS resources are administered in a fair, efficient and neutral manner that makes them available to all qualified parties in the competitive DNS space. To ensure the provision of neutral Registry Services, VGRS will comply with the following Code of Conduct:
1. VGRS will not show any preference or provide any special consideration to any ICANN-accredited registrar with regard to Registry Services provided for the .net TLD.
2. All registrars accredited by ICANN who are authorized to register domain names in the .net registry shall have equivalent access to Registry Services provided by VGRS.
3. VGRS shall not in any way attempt to warehouse, or register domain names in its own right other than through an ICANN-accredited registrar, except for names designated for operational purposes in compliance with Subsections 3.6.1 and 3.6.2 of the Registry Agreement. VGRS will certify to ICANN every six months that it is abiding by this commitment.
4. Any subsidiary or affiliate of VGRS that operates as an ICANN-accredited registrar shall maintain separate books of account with respect to its registrar operations.
5. VGRS subsidiaries and affiliates engaged in providing Registry Services shall not have access to, and VGRS itself will not use, confidential user data or proprietary information of an ICANN-accredited registrar served by VGRS, received by VGRS in the course of providing Registry Services, except as necessary for registry management and operations.
6. VGRS will take appropriate precautions to prevent the disclosure of confidential user data or proprietary information from any ICANN-accredited registrar, received by VGRS in the course of providing Registry Services, to its affiliates or subsidiaries, except as necessary for registry management and operations.
7. Confidential information about VGRS's Registry Services for the .net TLD will not be shared with employees of any ICANN-accredited registrar, except as necessary for registry management and operations.
8. VGRS will conduct internal neutrality reviews on a regular basis. In addition, VGRS agrees that it will cooperate with an independent third party ("Auditor") performing Annual Independent Neutrality Audits ("AIN Audits"), to be conducted during the fourth quarter of each calendar year. The Auditor will be selected by ICANN, and will be an accounting firm with significant experience in the review of contractual and other legal commitments. All costs of the AIN Audits will be borne by VGRS. The AIN Audit is intended to determine whether VGRS has been in compliance with Section 3.5 of the Registry Agreement, and will utilize such tests and techniques as the auditor deems appropriate to determine that compliance. The terms of reference of the AIN Audit will be established by ICANN, subject to the approval of VGRS (such approval not to be unreasonably withheld), and provided to the Auditor by ICANN. A complete report of the results of each AIN Audit shall be provided by the Auditor to ICANN and VGRS no later than 1 December of each calendar year (and by ICANN to the US Departments of Commerce and Justice promptly thereafter). ICANN shall determine that VGRS is in compliance with Section 3.5 if:
A summary of each AIN Audit report, excluding any information that ICANN and VGRS agree (such agreement not to be unreasonably withheld) is confidential or proprietary, will be posted on the ICANN web site no later than 31 January of the calendar year immediately following the audit.
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