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Work Efforts

The GAC regularly considers a broad range of public policy issues impacting the DNS and other matters regarding the functions of ICANN. This work can result in consensus advice for the ICANN Board or public comment guidance to the ICANN community. This part of the website shares information related to those ongoing topics and activities.

Early Engagement Policy Documents - PDP gTLD Registration Data

Policy Development Process Update 

Next Generation Registration Directory Services to Replace WHOIS

April 2017


Most recently, the Working Group has been identifying key concepts on fundamental questions to assist in finalizing possible requirements on some of the Working Group’s charter questions concerning RDS users/purposes, data elements and privacy, specifically on “thin” data. The Working Group will continue to deliberate on key concepts and possible requirements for other charter questions, including RDS users/purposes, data elements and privacy for “thick” data, as well as gated access and data accuracy for both “thin” and “thick” data. The Working Group has submitted a request for a cross-community session at ICANN59, to share updates with the broader community, and seek feedback on its ongoing work prior to beginning drafting an initial report for the first phase of the PDP, which is expected to begin before ICANN60. WG agreements reached to date can be found here: https://community.icann.org/x/p4xlAw. Further formal and informal input opportunities are expected to occur throughout the WG’s deliberations.


In 2012, in response to the recommendations of the first WHOIS Review Team, the Board adopted a two-prong approach that simultaneously directed ICANN to (1) implement improvements to the current WHOIS system based on the Action Plan that was based on the recommendations of the WHOIS Review Team, and (2) launch a new effort, achieved through the creation of the Expert Working Group (EWG), to focus on the purpose and provision of gTLD directory services, to serve as the foundation of a Board-initiated GNSO policy development process (PDP).

The Expert Working Group's Final Report contains a proposed model and detailed principles to serve as the foundation for a PDP to support the creation of the next generation registration directory services to replace WHOIS. This Final Report contains over 160 pages of complex principles and recommendations to be considered in the GNSO PDP. In order to effectively manage the PDP on such a large scale, an informal group of Board members and GNSO councilors collaborated to develop the framework that was approved by the ICANN Board on 26 April 2015. As a result, the Board reconfirmed its request for a Board-initiated GNSO policy development process to define the purpose of collecting, maintaining and providing access to gTLD registration data, and consider safeguards for protecting data, using the recommendations in the EWG Final Report as an input to, and, if appropriate, as the foundation for a new gTLD policy. The Preliminary Issue Report was posted for public comment on 13 July 2015. The public comment forum closed on 6 September, with 13 submissions received, including input from the GAC. The Final Issue Report was submitted to the GNSO Council on 7 October 2015 and the charter for the PDP WG was adopted during the 17 November 2015 Council meeting, followed by the launch of a call for volunteers for WG participants in early January 2016. The Working Group held its first meeting on 26 January 2016 and is continuing meeting on a weekly basis. The WG’s work plan can be found here: https://community.icann.org/x/oIxlAw. The WG has developed a list of possible requirements which will serve as a basis for further deliberations. This list is in the process of being triaged to facilitate the review and consideration of these possible requirements in conjunction with use cases that have been developed.


Following the adoption of the charter for the PDP Working Group, a call for volunteers has been distributed to form the PDP Working Group, which is open to anyone interested to participate. The WG has reached out to GNSO Stakeholder Groups and Constituencies as well as ICANN Supporting Organizations and Advisory Committees to request early input to help inform the Working Group deliberations (see https://community.icann.org/x/pYxlAw).


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