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[council] Regarding Agenda Item 6 WHOIS on todays call

Hello All,

To facilitate discussion on the WHOIS task force, I have summarised the
terms of reference and draft recommendations below.  I will let Task Force
members provide any updates during the call.

WHOIS Task Force Terms of Reference

The WHOIS Committee is to conduct an information gathering exercise and
draft a report identifying areas of agreement, 
and highlighting where more work is necessary and the mechanism by which the
identified work is undertaken (Task Force/Working Group). 
Present the draft report to the community for review and comment, then
finalise the report and submit the report to the NC. 

WHOIS Task Force Draft Recommendations

(A) Accuracy of data contained in the WHOIS database

The Task Force believes that the approach of actually enforcing the existing
contractual provisions is the essential first step toward improving  WHOIS
data accuracy in the gTLD environment. 

The Task Force believes that a method of graduated sanctions or enforcements
against parties who breach the requirement to provide accurate information
and to maintain an accurate Whois database,  potentially as a combination of
policy and financial penalties, should be considered, in order to facilitate
the actual enforcement of the current policy with respect to WHOIS data

If enforcement of current contractual provisions  does not lead to an
improvement of WHOIS data accuracy, then more substantial changes to the RAA
itself or the establishment of consensus policies (as necessary) should be

(B) Uniformity of data formats and elements across various TLDs and
registrars, including ccTLDs. 

The present Task Force believes that the use of a uniform data format across
gTLD and ccTLD environments should be evaluated.  

The Task Force believes that WHOIS data elements should be uniform across
all gTLDs.

With regard to uniformity of data elements across gTLDs and ccTLDs:

The Task Force believes that this topic should be the subject of separate
deliberations.  These deliberations should take into account specific
aspects of  the TLD environments, as well as the value of  accountability
and transparency across the domain name system.    Public interest concerns
should be taken into account in an appropriate manner. The  objective should
be to identify the best way to make progress toward the goal of the
uniformity that all  users of the system clearly desire.  

(C)  Better searchability of WHOIS databases.

To facilitate the restoration of full searchability of Whois databases,
ICANN should explore both enforcing the  mandate to  registrars and
registries to provide (or to cooperate in the provision of) such complete
WHOIS search service, and a market-based approach based on bulk access to
WHOIS data.

With respect to the more advanced services, the Task Force does not
recommend any policy changes. The Task Force suggests that ICANN explore how
best to swiftly develop and  implement a plan for cross-registry Whois
services, including through third party services, based on bulk access to
WHOIS data. 

(D) Marketing use of WHOIS data; bulk access provisions.

Based on these results, the Task Force recommends a review of the current
bulk access provisions of the Registrar Accreditation Agreement.  Such
review should explore the option to reduce registrars' discretion in the
design of their respective bulk access agreements, in favor of stronger
privacy protection for registrants,  stronger restrictions on marketing use
of WHOIS data, and facilitation of bulk access for value-added non-marketing
services, as originally contemplated in the RAA.   

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