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ICANN Files Legal Action in Germany to Preserve WHOIS Data

LOS ANGELES – 25 May 2018 – The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) today filed injunction proceedings against EPAG, a Germany-based, ICANN-accredited registrar that is part of the Tucows Group. ICANN has taken this step to ask the court for assistance in interpreting the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in order to protect the data collected in WHOIS. ICANN’s “one-sided filing” in Bonn, Germany, seeks a court ruling to ensure the continued collection of all WHOIS data, so that such data remains available to parties demonstrating legitimate purpose to access it, consistent with the GDPR.

EPAG recently informed ICANN that when it sells new domain name registrations it would no longer collect administrative and technical contact information, as it believes collection of that data would violate the GDPR rules. ICANN requires that information to be collected, via its contract with EPAG which authorizes it to sell generic top-level domain name registrations. ICANN recently adopted a new Temporary Specification regarding how WHOIS data should be collected and which parts may be published, which ICANN believes is consistent with the GDPR.

“We are filing an action in Germany to protect the collection of WHOIS data and to seek further clarification that ICANN may continue to require its collection. It is ICANN’s public interest role to coordinate a decentralized global WHOIS for the generic top-level domain system. ICANN contractually requires the collection of data by over 2,500 registrars and registries who help ICANN maintain that global information resource,” said John Jeffrey, ICANN’s General Counsel and Secretary. “We appreciate that EPAG shared their plans with us when they did, so that we could move quickly to ask the German court for clarity on this important issue. We also appreciate that EPAG has agreed that it will not permanently delete WHOIS data collected, except as consistent with ICANN policy.”

If EPAG’s actions stand, those with legitimate purposes, including security-related purposes, law enforcement, intellectual property rights holders, and other legitimate users of that information may no longer be able to access full WHOIS records.

ICANN does not seek to require its contracted parties to violate the law. EPAG’s position has identified a disagreement with ICANN and others as to how the GDPR should be interpreted. This lawsuit seeks to clarify that difference in interpretation. In its 17 May 2018 adoption of the Temporary Specification for gTLD Registration Data, the ICANN Board noted that the global public interest is served by the implementation of a unified policy governing aspects of gTLD registration data when the GDPR goes into effect.

“The ICANN org is committed to enforcing our contracts to the fullest extent the law allows and preserving the integrity of the WHOIS system,” said ICANN President and CEO Göran Marby.

The Temporary Specification, effective today, still requires gTLD registry operators and registrars to collect all registration data. If you submit a WHOIS query for a registration subject to the GDPR, you will only receive “thin” data in return, which includes technical data sufficient to identify the sponsoring registrar, status of the registration, and creation and expiration dates for each registration, but not personal data. Additionally, you will have access to an anonymized email address or a web form to facilitate email communication with the relevant contact for that registration. If you are a third party with legitimate interests in gaining access to the non-public data held by the gTLD registry operator or registrar, there are still ways for you to access that data. You can look up the sponsoring registrar and contact them, and they are obligated to respond to you in a reasonable time.

If you do not get a response, ICANN’s complaint mechanisms will be available for you to use. If you find individual parties who you believe are not complying with their obligations under this Temporary Specification or their agreements with ICANN, you may contact ICANN’s Contractual Compliance Department to file a complaint.

ICANN appreciates the ongoing discussions with the European Commission, and WP29, together with all of the ICANN stakeholders. However, ICANN has seen steps taken by some of our contracted parties that violate their contractual agreements with ICANN. Thus, ICANN must file this action now to both prevent permanent harm to the public interest and seek clarification of the laws, as they relate to the integrity of the WHOIS services.

About ICANN

ICANN’s mission is to help ensure a stable, secure and unified global Internet. To reach another person on the Internet, you need to type an address – a name or a number – into your computer or other device. That address must be unique so computers know where to find each other. ICANN helps coordinate and support these unique identifiers across the world. ICANN was formed in 1998 as a not-for-profit public-benefit corporation with a community of participants from all over the world.

May 25, 2018   No Comments

Register Now: Pre-ICANN62 Policy Webinar – 12 June 2018

The Policy Development Support Team is pleased to announce two webinar sessions to assist with the community’s preparations for the ICANN62 Policy Forum:

Pre-ICANN62 Policy Webinar
Tuesday, 12 June 2018
10:00 and 19:00 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC)

The webinar will run in English with simultaneous Spanish interpretation. The presentation materials will be translated into Spanish, and posted following the Webinar with the recordings of the sessions here.

Please register via this form by 11 June 2018!

In this 90-minute webinar, the Policy Development Support Team will summarize the key policy activities taking place across the ICANN community. The Team will also answer your questions about ongoing community policy and advisory work and discuss what to expect at the ICANN62Policy Forum. To ensure that your questions about policy activities are addressed during the session, the Policy Team invites you to submit your questions through the registration form or by email to policyinfo@icann.org.

To assist with your preparation for this webinar and for ICANN62, the “Pre-ICANN62 Policy Report” and “Generic Names Supporting Organization Policy Briefing: ICANN62 Edition” will be published by Tuesday, 5 June 2018. Please be sure to download and review these materials beforehand for helpful background on policy activities and topics that the Policy Development Support Team will cover during the webinar, such as:

  • The cross-community discussions that will take place at ICANN62:
  • Geographic Names at the Top-Level (Work Track 5)
  • Update from the Registration Directory Service-WHOIS2 Review Team
  • General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Compliance, Access to WHOIS and Accreditation
  • The expected Initial Report from the New generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD) Auction Proceeds Cross Community Working Group
  • Presentation of the Final CCWG-Accountability Work Stream 2 Recommendations
  • The various policy development processes underway in the Country Code Names Supporting Organization (ccNSO), the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) and the Address Supporting Organization (ASO):
    • Retirement of Country Code Top-Level Domains
    • Review of All Rights Protection Mechanisms in All gTLDs
    • Next steps in relation to Registration Directory Services policy work
    • Curative Rights Protections for International Governmental Organizations and International Non-Governmental Organizations
    • New gTLD Subsequent Procedures
    • Regional Internet Registry policy development activities
  • Advisory Committee activities within the At Large Advisory Committee (ALAC), Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC), Root Server System Advisory Committee (RSSAC) and Security & Stability Advisory Committee (SSAC):
    • Organizational Review of the At-Large community: Next steps, implementation, and ALAC sessions during ICANN62
    • GDPR and Key Signing Key (KSK) Rollover discussions
    • At-Large discussion on new gTLDs and Work Tracks 1-5
    • Regional At-Large Organization (RALO) Policy Hot Topics
    • GAC discussions on .amazon, IGO protections and 2-character codes at the second level
    • Board-GAC GDPR consultations
    • RSSAC statement on the distinction between RSSAC and Root-Ops (RSSAC033)
    • SSAC work concerning name collisions
  • Other topics of note:
    • Organizational Review of the ASO
    • ccNSO sessions on disaster and recovery and business continuity, ccNSO members meeting sessions, and Tech Day.
    • GAC onboarding initiatives
    • Report from the RSSAC May 2018 Workshop (RSSAC034)

    To complement this Pre-ICANN62 Policy Webinar, the GNSO Policy Development Support Team will host, with the Council leadership and Policy Development Process (PDP) working group chairs, a GNSO policy-focused webinar on Monday, 18 June 2018 at 21:00 UTC for 90 minutes. This webinar is intended to serve as a replacement for the previously-offered GNSO PDP updates provided during the GNSO weekend sessions and will assist the community in preparing for GNSO policy-related discussions at ICANN62. If you would like to participate in the GNSO Policy Webinar, please register here.

    The Policy Development Support Team looks forward to helping the ICANN community prepare for ICANN62!

    About ICANN

    ICANN’s mission is to help ensure a stable, secure and unified global Internet. To reach another person on the Internet, you need to type an address – a name or a number – into your computer or other device. That address must be unique so computers know where to find each other. ICANN helps coordinate and support these unique identifiers across the world. ICANN was formed in 1998 as a not-for-profit public-benefit corporation with a community of participants from all over the world.

    May 23, 2018   No Comments

    Deadline Extension: Request for Proposal for ccNSO Review

    LOS ANGELES – 23 May 2018 – The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has extended its deadline for applicants to respond to its request for proposal for (RFP) for a provider to conduct an independent assessment of the Country Code Names Supporting Organization (ccNSO). The new deadline is Monday 4 June 2018, 16:00 UTC.

    The objective of this RFP is to identify an independent examiner that can conduct a comprehensive assessment of the ccNSO. This includes, but is not limited to assessments of:

    • Whether the ccNSO has a continuing purpose within the ICANN structure;
    • How effectively the ccNSO fulfils its purpose and whether any change in its structure or operations is desirable to improve the ccNSO’s effectiveness; and
    • The extent to which the ccNSO as a whole is accountable to its organizations, committees, constituencies, and stakeholder groups.

    The review is scheduled to take place from August 2018 through July 2019. For a complete overview and timeline for the RFP, please see here [PDF, 107 KB].

    Indications of interest must be emailed to: ccNSOReview-RFP@icann.org. Proposals should be electronically submitted by 4 June 2018, 16:00 UTC using ICANN’s sourcing tool. Access to the sourcing tool may be requested via the same email address as above.

    Background

    According to the ICANN Bylaws, the ccNSO is responsible for:

    • Developing and recommending to the Board global policies relating to country-code top-level domains;
    • Nurturing consensus across the ccNSO’s community, including the name-related activities of ccTLDs;
    • Coordinating with other ICANN Supporting Organizations, committees, and constituencies under ICANN;
    • Nominating individuals to fill Seats 11 and 12 on the Board; and
    • Other responsibilities of the ccNSO as set forth in the Bylaws.

    For more information about the ccNSO, visit the website.

    About ICANN

    ICANN’s mission is to help ensure a stable, secure and unified global Internet. To reach another person on the Internet, you need to type an address – a name or a number – into your computer or other device. That address must be unique so computers know where to find each other. ICANN helps coordinate and support these unique identifiers across the world. ICANN was formed in 1998 as a not-for-profit public-benefit corporation with a community of participants from all over the world.

    May 23, 2018   No Comments

    Deadline Extended: SSAC2 Review Survey for Community Input

    LOS ANGELES – 22 May 2018 – The deadline to take the SSAC2 Survey has been extended until Friday May 25th at 23:59 UTC.

    Analysis Group, the independent examiner conducting the second review of the Security and Stability Advisory Committee (SSAC2), has published a survey for community input. The aim of the survey is to collect input from those who have interacted with SSAC or have suggestions for ways to improve it.

    Take the survey

    The survey will close on Friday May 25th at 23:59 UTC. Following the close of the survey, Analysis Group will evaluate responses received along with input received via interviews and other forums as input to its assessment report. The assessment report is expected to be posted for community consultation in July 2018.

    Background

    A periodic review of the SSAC is mandated by ICANN Bylaws Section 4.4. The purpose of the review is to determine whether the SSAC has a continuing purpose in the ICANN structure and, if so, whether any change in structure or operations is desirable to improve its effectiveness. The review will also determine if the SSAC is accountable to its constituencies, stakeholder groups, organizations, and other stakeholders. Analysis Group was selected to conduct the SSAC2 Review in February 2018.

    As do all Organizational Reviews, the SSAC2 Review is following a two-phased approach, in which the independent examiner first completes its assessment and then makes recommendations to address the findings noted during the assessment. This approach contributes to more useful and relevant recommendations by providing an opportunity for the community and the independent examiner to discuss what works and what needs improvement before the independent examiner develops recommendations to address the observed situations.

    Learn more about the SSAC2 Review.

    About SSAC

    The SSAC advises the ICANN community and Board on matters relating to the security and integrity of the Internet’s naming and address allocation systems. This includes operational, administrative, and registration matters. SSAC engages in ongoing threat assessment and risk analysis of the Internet naming and address allocation services to assess where the principal threats to stability and security lie, and advises the ICANN community accordingly.

    Learn more about SSAC.

    About ICANN

    ICANN’s mission is to help ensure a stable, secure, and unified global Internet. To reach another person on the Internet, you need to type an address into your computer or other device – a name or a number. That address must be unique so computers know where to find each other. ICANN helps coordinate and support these unique identifiers across the world. ICANN was formed in 1998 as a not-for-profit public-benefit corporation and a community with participants from all over the world.

    May 22, 2018   No Comments

    Proposed FY19 Operating Plan and Budget for ICANN Board Adoption Published

    LOS ANGELES – 21 May 2018 – Today, the Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) published the proposed FY19 Operating Plan and Budget, and Five-Year Operating Plan update, after the review of public comments.

    In addition, the ICANN organization and Board Finance Committee have approved the Staff Report of Public Comments, which was originally published on 24 April 2018. As indicated in the Staff Report, several changes were approved for incorporation into the proposed documents. The revised documents are posted here, and on the Planning page, with a summary of changes, to ensure visibility and transparency of the final documents sent to the ICANN Board for consideration in its meeting on 30 May 2018.

    The ICANN org will host a webinar on 24 May at 14:00 UTC where community members can ask questions and learn more about the changes made to the budget.

    A recording of the webinar will be posted to the community wiki.

    This year, the Additional Budget Requests were streamlined into the Operating Plan and Budget process. Please see Document 2 [PDF, 621 KB], page 26 to find out what Additional Budget Requests have been approved.

    About ICANN

    ICANN’s mission is to help ensure a stable, secure, and unified global Internet. To reach another person on the Internet, you need to type an address – a name or a number – into your computer or other device. That address must be unique so computers know where to find each other. ICANN helps coordinate and support these unique identifiers across the world. ICANN was formed in 1998 as a not-for-profit public-benefit corporation with a community of participants from all over the world.

    May 21, 2018   No Comments

    ICANN Board Approves Temporary Specification for gTLD Registration Data

    LOS ANGELES – 17 May 2018 – The Board of Directors of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) today approved the proposed “Temporary Specification for gTLD Registration Data.” The full text of the Board’s resolution is available here. The Board took this action to establish temporary requirements for how ICANN and its contracted parties will continue to comply with existing ICANN contractual requirements and with community-developed policies as they relate to WHOIS, while also complying with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

    “The ICANN Board’s approval today of the proposed Temporary Specification for gTLD Registration Data is an important step towards bringing ICANN and its contracted parties into compliance with GDPR,” said Cherine Chalaby, ICANN Board Chair. “While there are elements remaining to be finalized, the adoption of this Temporary Specification sets us on the right path to maintaining WHOIS in the public interest, while complying with GDPR before its 25 May enforcement deadline.”

    The Board spent significant time during its Vancouver Workshop reviewing and discussing the proposed Temporary Specification, clearing most of their planned schedule to allow for more time to consider the most appropriate path forward.

    The ICANN organization has closely worked with stakeholders and the ICANN community to discuss and develop the Temporary Specification, and has maintained an ongoing dialogue with the Article 29 Working Party (WP29) to solicit its feedback and input.

    “The Proposed Interim Compliance Model is the product of significant collaboration between the org and the community,” said Göran Marby, ICANN President and CEO. “With the Temporary Specification now approved by the Board, we can continue working together to identify a permanent solution.”

    The Board’s resolution also initiated a community-led policy development process to consider the development and adoption of a consensus policy based on the issues outlined within the Temporary Specification.

    The Temporary Specification, which reflects ICANN’s Proposed Interim Compliance Model [PDF, 922 KB], aims to ensure the continued availability of the WHOIS system to the greatest extent possible while maintaining the security and stability of the Internet’s system of unique identifiers, as outlined in its mission and bylaws. Preserving the WHOIS system is critical to the stability and security of the Internet, which allows for the easy identification and mitigation of bad actors, cybercriminals, intellectual property infringement, and other malicious activity online.

    The Temporary Specification provides a single, unified interim model that ensures a common framework for registration data directory services. It allows registrars and registries, also referred to as ICANN’s contracted parties, to continue with the robust collection of registration data from both natural and legal persons, as well as technical information, in connection with a domain name registration. The Temporary Specification only replaces certain provisions in the Registry Agreements and Registrar Accreditation Agreements, as well as policies. All other current obligations remain in force.

    ICANN’s contracted parties would be required to apply the model outlined in the Temporary Specification when processing personal data linked to the European Economic Area (EEA). If impracticable for a contracted party to limit their application of the requirements strictly to the EEA, they may apply the requirements to registrations on a global basis.

    To ensure compliance with the GDPR, access to personal data will be restricted to layered/tiered access, where only users with a legitimate purpose can request access to non-public data through registrars and registry operators. Until a unified access model is in place, registries and registrars will have to determine which requests are permissible under the law. Alternatively, users may contact either the registrant or listed administrative and technical contacts through an anonymized email or web form available via the registered name’s registrar. Registrants may opt to have their full contact information made publicly available.

    This Temporary Specification has been adopted under the procedure for Temporary Policies outlined in the Registry Agreement and Registrar Accreditation Agreement. Fifteen Board members voted to approve its adoption, representing a unanimous approval among Board members present and meeting the contractual requirement for the Board passing a temporary specification. The Board must reaffirm its temporary adoption every 90 days, and may continue to do so for no more than one year.

    The ICANN Board, in its resolution adopting the Temporary Specification, has also deferred formal action on certain pieces of advice the Government Advisory Committee (GAC) provided in its San Juan Communiqué. This decision was made at the GAC’s request, which was detailed in a letter [PDF, 525 KB] to the Board. The Board will consider if any further action is needed after additional discussion with the GAC.

    For more information and to follow the latest updates, please visit the dedicated Data Protection/Privacy issues page.

    About ICANN

    ICANN’s mission is to help ensure a stable, secure and unified global Internet. To reach another person on the Internet, you need to type an address – a name or a number – into your computer or other device. That address must be unique so computers know where to find each other. ICANN helps coordinate and support these unique identifiers across the world. ICANN was formed in 1998 as a not-for-profit public-benefit corporation with a community of participants from all over the world.

    May 17, 2018   No Comments

    NextGen@ICANN Application Round for ICANN63 Is Now Open

    NextGen@ICANN Application Round for ICANN63 Is Now Open

    LOS ANGELES – 15 May 2018 – Today, The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) launched the application round for those interested in participating at the ICANN63 meeting in Barcelona through the NextGen@ICANN Program. This Meeting will take place from 20–26 October 2018. The application round will remain open until 22 June 2018. Successful candidates will be announced on the ICANN website on 30 July 2018. For more information, click here.

    About ICANN

    ICANN’s mission is to help ensure a stable, secure, and unified global Internet. To reach another person on the Internet, you need to type an address – a name or a number – into your computer or other device. That address must be unique so computers know where to find each other. ICANN helps coordinate and support these unique identifiers across the world. ICANN was formed in 1998 as a not-for-profit public-benefit corporation with a community of participants from all over the world.

    May 15, 2018   No Comments

    ICANN and PTI Publish U.S. Tax Returns for FY17

    LOS ANGELES – 15 May 2018 – Today, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and Public Technical Identifiers (PTI) published their U.S. tax returns (Form 990) for the fiscal year ending 30 June 2017. This is the first time that the recently created PTI has been required to file Form 990.

    ICANN and PTI filed Form 990 for the fiscal year ending 30 June 2017 with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on 14 May 2018, in compliance with the extended due date of 15 May 2018. Form 990 is the U.S. return for organizations exempt from income taxes under section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code.

    The publication of ICANN’s and PTI’s financial information is part of an ongoing commitment to accountability and transparency. The community is invited to review ICANN’s and PTI’s tax returns and to make comments or ask questions. Please contact us at: controller@icann.org.

    About ICANN

    ICANN’s mission is to help ensure a stable, secure, and unified global Internet. To reach another person on the Internet, you need to type an address – a name or a number – into your computer or other device. That address must be unique so computers know where to find each other. ICANN helps coordinate and support these unique identifiers across the world. ICANN was formed in 1998 as a not-for-profit public-benefit corporation with a community of participants from all over the world.

    May 15, 2018   No Comments

    ICANN Announces DENIC eG as New ICANN-Designated Agent to Support Registrar Data Escrow Services

    LOS ANGELES – 15 May 2018 – The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) today announced it has entered into an agreement with DENIC eG as an ICANN-designated agent to support Registrar Data Escrow (RDE) services on the ICANN organization’s behalf. DENIC eG is a not-for-profit cooperative headquartered in Frankfurt, Germany and is the operator of the ccTLD .DE.

    ICANN org selected DENIC through a competitive Request for Proposal initiated in August 2017, following requests from the registrar community to expand the RDE program, in part to meet regional challenges such as the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation.

    Background

    The Registrar Data Escrow program is intended to protect registrants in the event of registrar failure or termination of a Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA). Ensuring the successful transfer of a domain name sponsorship aligns with the ICANN org’s objective to support a healthy, stable, and resilient unique identifier ecosystem and is consistent with its Mission and Bylaws (Section 1.1) that states, “ICANN coordinates the allocation and assignment of names in the root zone of the Domain Name System (DNS) and coordinates the development and implementation of policies concerning the registration of second-level domain names in generic top-level domains (gTLDs).”

    The 2013 Registrar Accreditation Agreement requires registrars to deposit a copy of gTLD registration data with either the ICANN org or with an ICANN-approved RDE agent at its own expense. Since 2007, Iron Mountain has acted as the sole ICANN-designated RDE agent, which has accepted and processed the registrar escrow deposits on behalf of ICANN org. DENIC eG is the second ICANN-designated RDE agent available to registrars. Registrars may also utilize Third Party Providers approved by both ICANN and the registrar; for more information on the Registrar Data Escrow Program and other Third Party Providers see: https://www.icann.org/resources/pages/registrar-data-escrow-2015-12-01-en.

    May 15, 2018   No Comments

    Webinar on Proposed Temporary Specification for gTLD Registration Data Scheduled

    LOS ANGELES – 14 May 2018 – The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) invites the community to participate in a webinar on the proposed Temporary Specification for gTLD Registration Data, to be held from 09:15-10:30 Pacific Daylight Time (16:15-17:30 UTC) on 15 May 2018. View the proposed Temporary Specification here [PDF, 153 KB].

    Remote Participation Information

    https://participate.icann.org/webinar/
    Participant Code: 2819028087

    URL to additional access numbers: https://www.myrcplus.com/cnums.asp?bwebid=8369444&ppc=2819028087&num=1-605-475-5604

    About ICANN

    ICANN’s mission is to help ensure a stable, secure and unified global Internet. To reach another person on the Internet, you need to type an address – a name or a number – into your computer or other device. That address must be unique so computers know where to find each other. ICANN helps coordinate and support these unique identifiers across the world. ICANN was formed in 1998 as a not-for-profit public-benefit corporation with a community of participants from all over the world.

    May 14, 2018   No Comments