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[nc-whois] a question

Dear Paul,

Before we get started on the tabulation and assessment of the WHOIS survey 
data, I have a question to ask.

The Revised VeriSign .com Registry Agreement: Appendix W states:

"Registry Operator agrees that one of the early goals of the Improvements is 
to design and develop a Universal Whois Service that will allow public access 
and effective use of Whois across all Registries and all TLDs."

It also states:

"Registry Operator further agrees that if it successfully designs and 
develops the Universal Whois Service it will (a) make the Application Program 
Interfaces necessary to produce software which can efficiently deploy and use 
the Universal Whois Service available to applications developers on an open, 
non-proprietary, standards-based and royalty-free basis."

It is my understanding that "applications developers" are not bound by ICANN 
consensus policies.  Once a centralized Universal Whois service is developed, 
any marketing group that develops its own software applications could utilize 
this Universal Whois to target a worldwide client base with commercial 

If we seek to protect the rights of those who value privacy, a consensus 
policy which defines the parameters of this Universal WHOIS must be developed 
prior to the commencement of research and development of the Universal Whois 
Service currently scheduled to be inaugurated no later than December 31, 2001 
(as we must be reasonably fair to VeriSign which after all is committing its 
own funds to this project).

I believe that we are fast approaching the point where a full Working Group 
will be required.  This Universal WHOIS will affect the daily lives of 
millions of worldwide domain name holders, and several domain name policy 
issues are at stake.  The membership of this committee, even with the benefit 
of preliminary data from Survey participants, cannot lay claim to 
"consensus".  We are too small a group, and there is no mechanism in place 
that allows for outreach to impacted parties in a structured participatory 
environment.  The issues are too large, and the stakes too high to continue 
limiting discussion to only the members of this committee.

Only a widely publicized Working Group can offer the range of commentary and 
dialogue that is required to meet this challenge.   The outreach being 
conducted by VeriSign is not sufficient for this purpose.   

At what point will you deem it proper to convene a Working Group as an 
adjunct to your committee efforts?

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