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Detailed Status of the GNSO WHOIS PDP

25 March 2007

WHOIS information: http://www.icann.org/announcements/announcement-16mar07.htm

The GNSO is conducting a policy development process (PDP) on WHOIS Services, which has just completed its Task Force phase. Under the GNSO Council-approved PDP, the WHOIS Task Force addressed: the purpose of the WHOIS contacts (e.g. technical contact, admin. contact); the purpose of the collection of data; which data should be available for public access; and how to improve WHOIS data accuracy. The WHOIS Task Force delivered its Final Task Force Report to the GNSO Council on 12 March, 2007.

The Task Force voted in a simple majority (but not the supermajority that the Bylaws state as a goal for policy recommendations) to recommend the OPoC (Operational Point of Control) Proposal in its Final Report. OPoC is supported by the Registries, Registrars, and Non-Commercial Users Constituencies. However, the Registries have concerns about provisions for access to unpublished data and do not support the OPoC proposal on this point. OPoC would allow a single operational contact, eliminating the technical and administrative contact details currently required. The competing proposal, called the "Special Circumstances Proposal," is supported by the Business, Intellectual Property, and ISP Constituencies. The "Special Circumstances Proposal" would allow personal data to be redacted from the public WHOIS only if there was a demonstrable threat to the physical safety of an individual.

The GNSO Council will consider the Task Force recommendations and discuss potential next steps.

To assist the GNSO in its deliberations, and to support the work of the community, the ICANN staff has prepared 'Staff Notes on Potential Implementation Issues.' This document details implementation questions and issues relating to the Task Force policy recommendation and its minority report — the 'Operational Point of Contact' (OPoC) proposal and the 'Special Circumstances' proposal -- and is intended to inform ongoing policy work on these issues in a constructive way.

The GNSO met with the GAC to discuss WHOIS at ICANN’s Lisbon meeting. The GNSO requested GAC input on WHOIS Services and the GAC has prepared draft Principles on WHOIS. The GNSO also will hold public meetings in Lisbon to discuss and receive further input on WHOIS.

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