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ICANN Request to Preserve WHOIS Data Referred to German Appeal Court

LOS ANGELES – 19 July 2018 – The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) was informed yesterday that the Regional Court in Bonn, Germany, has decided to refer to the Higher Regional Court in Cologne, Germany, the injunction proceedings ICANN initiated against EPAG, a Germany-based, ICANN-accredited registrar that is part of the Tucows Group. ICANN filed the injunction proceedings seeking assistance in interpreting the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in order to protect the data collected in WHOIS.

In its initial ruling, the Regional Court determined that it would not issue an injunction against EPAG. ICANN appealed this decision. Upon receipt of the appeal, the Regional Court exercised its option to re-evaluate its decision instead of immediately forwarding the matter to the Higher Regional Court to address the appeal.

In referring the matter to the Higher Regional Court in Cologne, the Regional Court did not change its original determination not to issue an injunction against EPAG. The Regional Court also rejected the alternative claims submitted by EPAG in recent court filings. Notably, the Regional Court issued this second ruling without consideration of the additional court filings submitted earlier this week by ICANN and ICANN’s Intellectual Property Constituency. Those filings will be part of the record to be transferred to the Higher Regional Court for the appeal.

ICANN will continue to pursue this matter as part of its public interest role in coordinating a decentralized global WHOIS for the generic top-level domain system. ICANN awaits further direction from the Higher Regional Court on next steps, which could include referring the matter to the European Court of Justice, issuing a decision based upon the papers already submitted, requesting additional briefings or scheduling a hearing with the parties.

Background:

On 25 May 2018, ICANN filed the injunction proceedings against EPAG. ICANN asked the Court for assistance in interpreting the GDPR in an effort to protect the data collected in WHOIS. ICANN sought a court ruling to ensure the continued collection of all WHOIS data. The intent was to assure that all such data remains available to parties that demonstrate a legitimate purpose to access it, and to seek clarification that under the GDPR, ICANN may continue to require such collection.

ICANN filed the proceedings because EPAG had informed ICANN that as of 25 May 2018, it would no longer collect administrative and technical contact information when it sells new domain name registrations. EPAG believes collection of that particular data would violate the GDPR. ICANN’s contract with EPAG requires that information to be collected.

EPAG is one of over 2,500 registrars and registries that help ICANN maintain the global information resource of the WHOIS system. ICANN is not seeking to have its contracted parties violate the law. Put simply, EPAG’s position spotlights a disagreement with ICANN and others as to how the GDPR should be interpreted.

On 30 May 2018, the Regional Court determined that it would not issue an injunction against EPAG. In rejecting the injunctive relief, the Court ruled that it would not require EPAG to collect the administrative and technical data for new registrations. However, the Court did not indicate in its ruling that collecting such data would be a violation of the GDPR. Rather, the Court said that the collection of the domain name registrant data should suffice in order to safeguard against misuse in connection with the domain name (such as criminal activity, infringement, or security problems).

The Court reasoned that because it is possible for a registrant to provide the same data elements for the registrant as for the administrative and technical contacts, ICANN did not demonstrate that it is necessary to collect additional data elements for those contacts. The Court also noted that a registrant could consent and provide administrative and technical contact data at its discretion.

On 13 June 2018, ICANN appealed the Regional Court’s ruling to the Higher Regional Court of Cologne, Germany, and again asked for an injunction that would require EPAG to reinstate the collection of all WHOIS data required under EPAG’s Registrar Accreditation Agreement with ICANN.

In addition to the court proceedings, ICANN is continuing to pursue ongoing discussions with the European Commission and the European Data Protection Board to gain further clarification of the GDPR as it relates to the integrity of 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.

July 19, 2018   No Comments

How to Get Involved: Launch of the EPDP on the Temporary Specification for gTLD Registration Data

Launched: Expedited Policy Development Process on Temporary Specification for gTLD Registration Data | Get involved! | Mailing List, Transcripts, Audio Streams

LOS ANGELES – 19 July 2018 – Today, the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) Council initiated the Expedited Policy Development Process (EPDP) on the Temporary Specification for gTLD Registration Data. Read the GNSO Chair Heather Forrest’s blog for more details.

Unlike other GNSO PDP efforts, which are open for anyone to join, the GNSO Council has decided to limit the membership composition of this EPDP. This decision is primarily based on the need to complete the work in a relatively short timeframe and to resource the effort responsibly. As such, GNSO Stakeholder Groups, the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC), the Country Code Supporting Organization (ccNSO), the At-Large Advisory Committee (ALAC), the Security and Stability Advisory Committee (SSAC), and the Root Server System Advisory Committee (RSSAC) have each been invited to appoint up to a set number of members and alternates, as outlined in the EPDP Team Charter [PDF, 523 KB]. In addition, the ICANN Board and ICANN Org have been invited to assign a limited number of liaisons to this effort.

However, that does not mean that members of the ICANN community cannot be involved if they are not appointed members, alternates or liaisons. One can follow the deliberations of the EPDP Team by signing up as a mailing list observer, follow the meetings via real-time audio cast, and check the recordings and transcripts accessible to the public. Furthermore, the Charter dictates that the EPDP Team should make provisions as part of its work plan to provide regular updates to the ICANN community and others interested, for example, through newsletters and webinars. Moreover, the EPDP Team is required to reach out at an early stage to GNSO Stakeholder Groups and Constituencies as well as other ICANN Supporting Organizations and Advisory Committees to request input. Last but not least, everyone will be invited to comment on the EPDP Team Initial Report once it is published for public comment. Per the EPDP procedures, the EPDP Team is expected to carefully consider and analyze all input received through the public comment forum. Further details on how to get involved are included hereunder. The GNSO Council hope that the ICANN community will make use of these opportunities to closely follow the EPDP Team deliberations!

Mailing List Observers

One can become an observer of the EPDP Team mailing list on a read-only basis. Sign up here: https://goo.gl/forms/iZg5JWHOnERsoEMI2. The names of mailing list observers will also be published on the EPDP wiki space.

Conference Call Audio Cast

While participation on EPDP Team conference calls is restricted to appointed members and liaisons only, non-members are able to listen in real-time via an audio cast. The audio cast will begin streaming a few minutes before the start of each conference call:

Check the EPDP Team conference calls on the GNSO Master Calendar.

Recordings, Transcripts & Materials

All EPDP Team conference calls will be recorded and transcribed. Recordings, transcripts as well as any notes and action items will be made available on the GNSO Master Calendar. In addition, all EPDP related materials, including recordings, transcripts, background documents, and team output, can be found on the EPDP wiki space.

Frequently Asked Questions

ICANN Org has gathered questions received on the EPDP and will continue adding questions to the live Frequently Asked Questions document as they are received.

About EPDP

On 17 May 2018, the ICANN Board adopted the proposed Temporary Specification for gTLD Registration Data. This is an interim measure to bring existing WHOIS obligations in line with requirements of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation. This also triggered the GNSO Council to undertake a policy development process to confirm, or not, the Temporary Specification as a Consensus Policy within 12 months of its implementation effective date (25 May 2018). The GNSO Council agreed that an EPDP provides the best opportunity to meet this timing requirement. To determine the proposed path forward, a Drafting Team was formed, consisting of Council leadership and interested Council members. The Drafting Team developed an Initiation Request [PDF, 390 KB] for an EPDP and a proposed EPDP Team Charter. During its meeting on Thursday, 19 July 2018, the GNSO Council passed the motion to initiate the EPDP and to adopt the EPDP Team Charter [PDF, 523 KB].

For further information, please email gnso-secs@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.

July 19, 2018   No Comments

2018 Nominating Committee Update on Candidate Selections

LOS ANGELES – 17 July 2018 – The 2018 Nominating Committee (NomCom) is pleased to announce that the selection of all 2018 open ICANN leadership positions was finalized by the Committee at ICANN62 in Panama City, Panama. The selections for the three ICANN Board positions were decided unanimously. The ICANN organization has sent out communications to the successful candidates and any alternates, as well as to those who made it to the final round but were not selected this year. The NomCom plans to make a public announcement of the successful candidates in August 2018.

The 2018 NomCom would like to thank the Board, Advisory Committees, Supporting Organizations, stakeholder groups, and constituencies for their support with outreach and recruitment, as well as their assistance in outlining requested criteria for the open positions. The NomCom encourages the ICANN community to continue its assistance in recruiting candidates for the 2019 NomCom.

For more information on the 2018 NomCom, including timeline and work phases, please visit https://www.icann.org/nomcom2018.

July 17, 2018   No Comments

Successful Candidates Announced for ICANN63 Fellowship

LOS ANGELES – 16 July 2018 – The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) organization is pleased to announce the 45 individuals from 39 countries that have been selected to participate in the ICANN Fellowship Program at ICANN63 Annual General in Barcelona, Spain, from 20-25 October 2018.

The successful candidates represent all sectors of society including, civil, government, ccTLD operations, academia, business community, technical, security, and end user groups.

The Fellowship Program seeks out individuals who are interested in, or already engaged in, the various aspects of ICANN’s work in policy building, the operation of the Domain Name System, and the security and stability of the global Internet. The goal of the program is to help create a broader and more diverse base of knowledgeable constituents. Priority is given to candidates currently living in underserved and underrepresented communities around the world, representing diversity of gender, sector, region, experience, expertise, and financial need. The ICANN org received a total of 471 applications for the ICANN63 Fellowship Program.

Click this link to see the list of selected candidates and to learn more about the Fellowship Program.

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.

July 16, 2018   No Comments

ICANN Board of Directors Submits Comments Regarding NTIA’s Notice of Inquiry on International Internet Policy Priorities

LOS ANGELES – 13 July 2018 – The Board of Directors of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) submitted comments [PDF, 320 KB] today in response to the United States Department of Commerce National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) Notice of Inquiry (NOI) on International Internet Policy Priorities.

In its comments, ICANN’s Board of Directors highlighted the success of the multistakeholder model and enhancements made to the organization’s accountability mechanisms during the IANA stewardship transition. The comments also pointed to the high customer satisfaction levels delivered by the operator of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions, Public Technical Identifiers (PTI).

For more information about the NTIA’s NOI, please visit https://www.ntia.doc.gov/federal-register-notice/2018/notice-inquiry-international-internet-policy-priorities.

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.

July 13, 2018   No Comments

Root Server System Advisory Committee Review: Final Report Now Available

LOS ANGELES – 10 July 2018 – Today, Interisle Consulting Group, LLC, the independent examiner performing the second Root Server System Advisory Committee (RSSAC) Review, published its final report.

Read the report [PDF, 2.58 MB].

The final report includes an assessment of the RSSAC with eight principal findings and six principal recommendations for improving its operations. The recommendations focus on RSSAC purpose, effectiveness, and accountability.

The final report published today considers comments on the draft final report published on 1 May 2018, input provided during the public webinar on 9 May 2018 and any other feedback Interisle may have received.

Next Steps

The RSSAC Review Work Party (RWP) will prepare a feasibility assessment and initial implementation plan (FAIIP) based on the final report. This will include an analysis of recommendations in the final report for usability and prioritization, provisional budget implications, anticipated resources and the proposed implementation timeline.

Interisle and the RWP respectively will then present the final report and the FAIIP to the ICANN Board’s Organizational Effectiveness Committee (OEC). The OEC will make a recommendation to the Board on next steps.

Background

An independent review of the RSSAC is mandated by ICANN’s Bylaws and is part of ICANN’s commitment to its own evolution and improvement, accountability and transparency. Interisle was selected to perform the review and began its work in September 2017.

The purpose of the RSSAC review, according to the Bylaws, is to determine (i) whether the RSSAC has a continuing purpose in the ICANN structure, (ii) if so, whether any change in structure or operations is desirable to improve its effectiveness and (iii) whether the RSSAC is accountable to its constituencies, stakeholder groups, organizations and other stakeholders. The review also includes an assessment of the implementation state of RSSAC’s prior review [PDF, 234 KB].

Additional Resources

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.

July 10, 2018   No Comments

Initial Report on the New gTLD Subsequent Procedures Policy Development Process (Overarching Issues & Work Tracks 1-4)

Open Date: 03 July 2018 Close Date: 05 September 2018
Originating Organization: GNSO
Categories/Tags: Policy Development
Brief Overview: This public comment proceeding seeks to obtain input on the Initial Report of the New gTLD Subsequent Procedures Policy Development Process Working Group, which is chartered to evaluate what changes or additions need to be made to existing new gTLD policy recommendations. The document includes materials from the full Working Group and four sub-teams within the Working Group, Work Tracks 1-4. Work Track 5, focused on Geographic Names and the Top-Level, will produce a separate Initial Report.
Link: https://www.icann.org/public-comments/gtld-subsequent-procedures-initial-2018-07-03-en

July 3, 2018   No Comments

Expressions of Interest Sought for Chair of GNSO EPDP on the Temporary Specification for gTLD Registration Data

LOS ANGELES – 2 July 2018 – The Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) is looking for expressions of interest to chair its Expedited Policy Development Process (EPDP) team on the Temporary Specification for gTLD Registration Data. The EPDP team is being formed following the adoption of the Temporary Specification by the ICANN Board, which went into effect on 25 May 2018. The EPDP team is required to complete its work before the expiration of the Temporary Specification on 24 May 2019.

The GNSO Council is looking to appoint a neutral Chair to the EPDP team. While the EPDP Chair may be a member of a group already represented on the EPDP team, the EPDP Chair shall not act in a manner which favors such group. With such an important issue under consideration, significant responsibility comes with the role to ensure the success of deliberations.

The EPDP team is expected to have weekly calls, although it may be necessary to hold multiple calls per week. Additionally, the EPDP team may have multiple face-to-face meetings in order to meet the required milestones of the EPDP. An illustrative timeline has been included in Annex B; the bulk of the EPDP team work is expected to take place between now and February 2019.

There will be no compensation associated with the role of the EPDP Team Chair; however, travel associated with any face-to-face meetings may be supported.

To express interest in this role, please submit an Expression of Interest that answers the following questions:

  • What is your interest in this position?
  • What particular skills and attributes do you have that will assist you in chairing the EPDP?
  • What is your knowledge of the Temporary Specification for gTLD Registration Data and associated requirements particularly as it relates to the EPDP?
  • What is your experience in and knowledge of the GNSO Policy Development Process and domain name registration process as it relates to ICANN?
  • Are you able to commit the time required and necessary work needed to chair the EPDP?
  • Conflict of Interest Statement – do you have any affiliation with or involvement in any organization or entity with any financial or non-financial interest in the subject matter of this EPDP?
  • Please also include:

Expressions of Interest are to be submitted to EOI-EPDPTeam-Chair@icann.org by 13 July 2018 at 14:00 UTC.

Application materials will be reviewed by the Council leadership and/or a designated committee and will not be shared publicly. Names of applicants, including the recommended candidate, will be shared with the GNSO Council for its consideration. The Council leadership and/or designated committee is expected to provide its recommendation to the GNSO Council in time for the GNSO Council meeting scheduled for 19 July 2018. The EPDP team is expected to convene for its first meeting shortly thereafter and is expected to be asked to appoint two vice-chairs to support the EPDP Team Chair.

Additional questions and inquiries can be sent to EOI-EPDPTeam-Chair@icann.org.

For more information on the Temporary Specification, please see https://www.icann.org/resources/pages/gtld-registration-data-specs-en. Additional information about the EPDP is located in Annex-A1 of the ICANN Bylaws https://www.icann.org/resources/pages/governance/bylaws-en/#annexA1 and the EPDP Manual https://gnso.icann.org/en/council/annex-4-epdp-manual-30jan18-en.pdf.

ANNEX A – CHAIR RESPONSIBILITIES AND EXPECTATIONS

As outlined in the GNSO Working Group Guidelines (WGG), the purpose of a Chair is to call meetings, preside over working group deliberations, manage the process so that all participants have the opportunity to contribute, and report the results of the Working Group to the Chartering Organization. These tasks require a dedicated time commitment as each week calls have to be prepared, the agenda concretized, and relevant material has to be reviewed. The Chair shall be neutral. While the Chair may be a member of any group which also has representation on the EPDP Team, the Chair shall not act in a manner which favors such group. The Chair shall not be a member of the PDP Team for purposes of consensus calls.

In addition, it is required – that interested candidates have considerable experience in Chairing working groups, and direct experience with at least one GNSO Policy Development Process throughout its lifecycle would be an advantage. Familiarity with the functioning of a Working Group is important to understand the various leadership skills that are necessary to employ during a WG’s lifecycle. For example, a chair has to ensure that debates are conducted in an open and transparent matter and that all interests are equally represented within the Group’s discussions. During the later stages of a WG when recommendations are drafted, a Chair will benefit from understanding the viewpoints of various members to ensure that an acceptable and effective outcome – ideally in form of consensus – can be achieved.

In short, the EPDP Team Chair is expected to:

  1. Attend all WG meetings to assure continuity and familiarity with the subject matter and the on-going discussions;
  2. Prepare meetings by reading all circulated materials;
  3. Be familiar with the subject matter, including but not limited to GDPR and trademark law, and actively encourage participation during the calls
  4. Be active on the WG mailing list and invite WG participants to share their viewpoints;
  5. Drive forward the WG and assure that discussions remain on point;
  6. Work actively towards achieving policy recommendations that ideally receive full consensus;
  7. Ensure that particular outreach efforts are made when community reviews are done of the group’s output;
  8. Underscore the importance of achieving overall representational balance on any sub-teams that are formed;
  9. Encourage and, where necessary, enforce the ICANN Standards of Behavior.
  10. Co-ordinate with ICANN staff and assure that the WG is supported as effectively as possible
  11. Conduct consistent timely reporting to the GNSO Council on the progress of the ePDP.

Finally, as also pointed out the in GNSO Working Group Guidelines, ‘appointing a co-chair(s) or vice-chair(s) may facilitate the work of the Chair by ensuring continuity in case of absence, sharing of workload, and allowing the Chair to become engaged in a particular debate.’ As a result, similar tasks and skills are expected from vice chairs, although the overall workload may be reduced as a result of being able to share this with the chair.

ANNEX B – ILLUSTRATIVE EPDP TIMELINE

Draft EPDP Timeline

July 2, 2018   No Comments

Proposal for Generation Panel for Myanmar Script Label Generation Ruleset for the Root Zone

LOS ANGELES – 28 June 2018 –The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) today announced the formation of the Generation Panel to develop root zone Label Generation Rules (LGR) for the Myanmar script.

Following the Call for Generation Panels to Develop Root Zone Label Generation Rules, the Myanmar script community has submitted to ICANN the Proposal for Generation Panel for Myanmar Script Label Generation Ruleset for the Root Zone [PDF, 97 KB]. The ICANN organization reviewed the proposal, including panel composition and scope, to ensure that requirements set forth in the LGR Procedure [PDF, 771 KB], and in particular the criteria set forth in the Call for Generation Panels to Develop Root Zone Label Generation Rules, are fulfilled.

“On behalf of ICANN we are grateful to the Myanmar script community for volunteering to develop the Myanmar script LGR proposal for the root zone,” said Sarmad Hussain, Director of IDN Programs at ICANN.

With composition and work plan approved, the Myanmar script Generation Panel will start its work on the label generation rules. According to the LGR Procedure, the starting point of any Generation Panel’s work is the Maximal Starting Repertoire (MSR), with its third version (MSR-3 [PDF, 1.10 MB]) released on 28 March 2018. The full specification of Generation Panel’s tasks can be found in the LGR Procedure, in particular, Section B.3. Variant Rule Generation Procedure.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to reiterate our appreciation for the efforts of many communities towards developing their root zone LGR proposals,” added Hussain. “We still have more work to do including organizing script panels for Hebrew, Thaana, and Tibetan. I encourage interested parties to lend their skills in support of this effort.”

There are currently LGR efforts underway by Chinese, Greek, Japanese, Korean, Latin, Neo-Brahmi, and Sinhala script-using communities. In addition, the Arabic, Armenian, Cyrillic, Ethiopic, Georgian, Khmer, Lao, and Thai script communities have finalized their root zone LGR proposals, many of which have been integrated in the second edition of the Root Zone LGR.

Learn more about how you can increase representation for your language by visiting the Call for Generation Panels to Develop Root Zone Label Generation Rules.

For further information about the IDN Program at ICANN, please visit www.icann.org/idn. To start a new Generation Panel or to get involved in an existing one, please email at IDNProgram@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.

June 28, 2018   No Comments

ICANN62 Panama City GAC Communiqué

PANAMA CITY – 28 June 2018 – Today, the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) meeting at ICANN62 issued its Panama City Communiqué.

It is available for review here.

June 28, 2018   No Comments