Whois Issues Report - Additional Accuracy Issues
11 March 2003
In its Policy Report (PR) dated November 30, 2002, see http://www.dnso.org/dnso/notes/20021130.NCWhoisTF-accuracy-and-bulkaccess.html, the Task Force identified seven issues related to Whois data accuracy that were included in its interim recommendations, but that did not, in its view, reflect a consensus position, and thus merited further study. Subsequent developments have modified the situation with respect to some of these issues. This issue report discusses these topics in the priority order in which they were presented in Section 3.1(V) of the Policy Report.
Subsequent to issuance of the PR, the General Counsel provided guidance to the Task Force regarding the significance and application of the 15-day period in RAA 188.8.131.52. See http://www.dnso.org/clubpublic/nc-whois/Arc00/msg00883.html.
As a result, the Task Force no longer considers it a priority to consider a modification of this provision. However, we continue to believe that it would be beneficial for ICANN and registrars to work out a protocol for collecting data on the timetables that are actually employed by registrars in responding to complaints of false contact data and subsequent steps in the process of ensuring that registrants live up to their contractual obligations in this regard. In particular, the effect of the actual implementation of current policy on good faith registrations subject to accuracy complaints should be monitored, and reported periodically to the Council.
The need for this recommendation appears to have been superseded by the discussion in the Final Report (http://www.dnso.org/dnso/notes/20030219.WhoisTF-accuracy-and-bulkaccess.html) regarding the use of .Registrar Hold. in cases in which accurate or updated contact data has not been received, and subsequent actions taken by the Council.
The Task Force believes that practical aspects of the use of commonly available automated mechanisms to screen out incorrect contact data submitted by registrants at the time of registration or renewal should receive further consideration, with an eye toward possible future development of a specification on this topic pursuant to RAA 3.7.8.
We note that the recommendations contained in the Final Report contemplate the use of such mechanisms in certain circumstances after a claim of inaccuracy has been received. Assuming that the Final Report.s recommendation is implemented, it should provide some data about the availability, reliability, and cost of these mechanisms and the advisability of requiring their use to screen submitted contact data at the time of initial registration, thus preventing violations of the contract rather than simply remedying those discovered later.
This recommendation addresses the efficiency and comprehensiveness of the complaint-driven mechanism for improving the quality of Whois data. The Task Force recommends that further consideration of this recommendation should be focused upon identifying the circumstances in which it would NOT be appropriate to treat a complaint about false contact data for a particular registration as applying to all registrations that contain identical contact data. The goal would be to craft the appropriate exceptions, which appears to be an implementation issue.
This issue has to a great extent been addressed in the recommendations contained in the Final Report, particularly as modified in response to the views of the WHOIS Implementation Committee. The TF believes that any further needed work in this area is covered by the review mechanism set out in the approved Final Report.
This issue overlaps to some degree with issue 3 above, but refers to checking a sample of existing registrations rather than screening data at the time of new registration. The goal is similar: to improve the quality of Whois data to a greater extent than can be expected to be achieved by relying upon a complaint-driven system.
The Task Force believes this recommendation merits further consideration and possible policy action. We note that among other data inputs, the study of this issue may benefit from the experience of the New TLD Evaluation effort, which calls for sampling of the Whois data of the new gTLDs to evaluate the level of accuracy.
The Task Force believes that further examination of this issue could be deferred until after it can better be assessed whether improved enforcement of the existing contractual obligations, along with the incremental improvements contained in the Final Report or that may emerge from items 1-6 above, have made the consideration of such additional contractual enforcement tools unnecessary. This statement is made without prejudice to the general question of whether ICANN.s contracts with registries and registrars would benefit from a wider range of enforcement tools and sanctions than currently exist.
The Task Force notes that most of the items currently identified above for immediate further work (items 3, 4 and 6) present practical and implementation issues and proposals for gathering further information, and thus we believe it would be appropriate for them to be examined by a group that includes significant representation from registrars (and, to the extent they would be directly impacted, registries) as well as other interests. We note that such a group, if constituted, could also address item 1 above if the needed protocol is not implemented by ICANN and the registrars within a specific time frame. If necessary, the results of the group.s work could lead to further policy development processes.
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