Category: News & Announcements (Page 3 of 4)

ICANN 55 For Registrars

ICANN 55 kicks off officially this weekend.

As usual it will be a very busy week and many of our members will be both in attendance and heavily involved in many of the meeting’s key sessions. I’ve tried to highlight several sessions that might be of interest to registrars. It’s not definitive and one of the wonderful things about ICANN meetings is that you can access more than 90% of the sessions by just turning up.

The full schedule is available here, or via the official meeting mobile app.

Friday is all about the IANA transition

Saturday and Sunday the GNSO council sits all day. Our stakeholder group is represented by:

  • James Bladel, GoDaddy, USA – GNSO Chair
  • Volker Greimann, Key Systems, Germany
  • Jennifer Standiford,, USA

If you are interested in finding out what’s going on with the various GNSO policy development groups, then the GNSO working sessions are a good way to get up to speed.

Monday is the official opening ceremony, which will be the last one presided over by ICANN’s current CEO Fadi Chehadé. There will be quite a varied selection of sessions for people to choose from. We are meeting with Law Enforcement / Public Safety Working Group on Monday afternoon. There is also a number of IANA related sessions, as well as the public forum in the late afternoon

Tuesday the Registrar Stakeholder Group meets all day. You can find details of the meeting here. If you cannot attend in person there will be remote participation throughout the day, though bear in mind that when we move rooms you will need to reconnect to the new room! We’ll have two sessions in other locations:

  • when we meet with the registries
  • our joint meeting with the registries and the ICANN Board

Wednesday has a very full agenda, but the “GNSO Next-Generation gTLD Registration Directory Services PDP Working Group ” meeting is probably of interest to most registrars. It’s all about whois and its possible replacement.

Thursday has several sessions of interest to registrars, including a session with ICANN’s Compliance team, as well as one on the upcoming changes to domain transfer policy (IRTP). Both of these sessions are very important for registrars, so please attend them. There will also be a second public forum.

If you’re attending the ICANN meeting in person I look forward to seeing you there!

Registrar Stakeholder Group Negotiating Team (Registrar NT) Statement Regarding ICANN RAA Negotiations

After nearly 18 months of negotiations with ICANN over a new Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA), formal negotiations have concluded. The posting of a “proposed” 2013 RAA by ICANN for public comment signals that ICANN staff believes that negotiations have concluded and the remaining issues will not be resolved.

The Registrars’ NT disagrees. To be clear, this is NOT the outcome that registrars wanted, and they remain ready and willing to continue negotiations.

Prior to the Toronto ICANN meeting (October 2012), all parties acknowledged that they were very close to agreement on all remaining issues. The process appeared to be reaching a favorable conclusion and when ICANN CEO Fadi Chehadé communicated his desire to have RAA negotiations wrapped up by the end of 2012, registrars felt it was an ambitious timeframe, but one worth pursuing for the benefit of all parties.

When negotiations finally resumed in February 2013 much to the surprise of registrars, the few remaining issues were not the only items under discussion. ICANN staff presented a list of 10 brand new items for inclusion in the agreement, under the pretext of enhancing the “public interest.” Furthermore, these new items came along with an arbitrary deadline and decision to link the 2013 RAA to the new gTLD timeline.

Among these new demands was a Registrant Rights and Responsibilities document (R3), a temporary privacy accreditation program and a requirement that registrars accept and implement recommendations of the WHOIS Expert Working Group, which had yet to be formed and whose work is just beginning.

Although registrars were surprised by these new demands, registrars worked in good faith with ICANN to accommodate its intentions. For example, registrars consulted with their members to fine-tune the R3 document to make it easier to understand and readily translatable in other languages.

Some of the other new items for inclusion transcend the RAA and could affect the entirety of the multi-stakeholder model. For example, ICANN insisted on including a proposed Revocation (or “blow up”) Clause that would have given them the ability to unilaterally terminate all registrar accreditations. After major pushback, ICANN staff relented and in its place proposed giving the ICANN Board the ability to unilaterally amend the RAA. This is identical to what ICANN inserted into the proposed new gTLD registry agreement – a clause met with strong opposition not only from the Registry Stakeholder Group but from the broader ICANN community.

The effect of such a clause in the primary agreements between ICANN and its commercial stakeholders would be devastating to the bottom-up, multi-stakeholder model. First, it will effectively mean the end of the GNSO’s PDP, as the Board will become the central arena for all controversial issues, not the community. Second, it creates an imbalance of authority in the ICANN model, with no limits on the scope or frequency of unilateral amendments, and no protections for registrars and more important registrants.

In addition to the new items for inclusion there was a surprise announcement that all new gTLD registries must only use registrars that have signed the 2013 RAA, a transparent effort by ICANN to arbitrarily link the new gTLD program to the outcome of RAA negotiations. This requirement would create separate “classes” or “levels” of registrars, which is unprecedented in the DNS industry. There can and must be only one meaning of “ICANN-Accredited.”

All of the items that have been agreed to over the past 18 months would, by themselves, produce an RAA that is vastly improved over the current 2009 version. If adopted, that RAA would significantly raise performance requirements for every ICANN accredited registrar and bring dramatic improvements to the domain name ecosystem. Nearly all of the Law Enforcement requests that were endorsed by the GAC have been included, as well as the major items that were requested by the GNSO are included in that RAA. That RAA would bring registrant verification. That RAA would bring enhanced compliance tools.

Registrars must emphasize that the key differences between that RAA and the one currently proposed by ICANN are not issues raised by Law Enforcement, GAC or the GNSO but by ICANN staff.

It now moves to the greater ICANN community to review these competing draft RAAs, and registrars look forward to those public discussions. We welcome engagement with all stakeholders on the new 2013 RAA, and what it means for registrars, registrants, and the management of the DNS as a whole.

ICANN 44 Wrap Up by RrSG Chairman, Matt Serlin

The Registrar Stakeholder Group (RrSG) and its members had an incredibly busy and productive week in Prague during ICANN’s latest meeting. The RrSG would like to provide a brief update on a few of the topics and initiatives that members spent time on during our week in Prague.

We would also like to take this opportunity to thank outgoing ICANN CEO Rod Beckstrom for his efforts over the past 3 years and look forward to working with current CEO Akram Atallah and incoming CEO Fadi Chehadé when he joins the organization in October.

Members of the RrSG participated in a wide range of interactions with many different members of the community during the week in Prague and would like to provide a summary on some of those discussions:

GAC Interaction

  • On Sunday, a number of registrars participated in a briefing with the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) regarding the Domain Name Marketplace and the role of registrars in the ecosystem. Alongside ICANN staff and registry operators, the registrars set out to provide GAC members with information regarding a variety of registrar business models, the role resellers play in relation to registrars and the diverse nature of the RrSG members. After a brief presentation, GAC members had an opportunity to ask questions and there was very good interaction between all participants. Of particular interest for GAC members was the role of resellers and ICANN’s interaction and oversight of those parties. Additionally, the introduction of new gTLDs and its implications on the marketplace as it stands today was also a topic of interest. The RrSG appreciated the time provided by the GAC for this interaction and looks forward to further briefings and discussions with the GAC at ICANN meetings in the future.

RAA Update

  • Registrars participated in a number of sessions during the week relating to the current status of the Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA) negotiations with ICANN. Registrars have been actively engaged in these discussions with ICANN staff since November 2011 and significant progress has been made. Prior to the start of the Prague meeting, ICANN posted a draft RAA ( and the RrSG subsequently provided its feedback and commentary to that draft (category/icann-rrsg-meetings/). The RrSG encourages both its members and members of the broader ICANN community to provide feedback regarding the draft RAA as posted by ICANN.
  • The RrSG met directly with representatives from the Law Enforcement community on Monday to provide an update to them and to report to them on the status of the 12 requests they had previously indicated were important to them relative to the RAA. The RrSG has accepted 10 of the 12 proposals mostly unchanged, but believes the remaining two items (as requested) require greater community feedback with registrars cooperatively working with the community and law enforcement in an attempt to resolve those additional requests. The RrSG appreciates the viewpoint and requests of the law enforcement groups and believes what has already been agreed to provides a significant improvement to what is included in the agreement currently. For example, the current registrar proposal regarding whois verification includes a requirement for registrars to verify either an e-mail address or phone/SMS (post-registration). This new requirement is a meaningful step in the ongoing efforts of the community to increase whois accuracy.
  • Alongside ICANN staff, members of the RrSG participated in an update to the community on the status of the RAA negotiations. In addition to highlighting the significant progress made on the law enforcement requests, the session was meant as an opportunity to get community feedback on both whois verification and data retention as those remain issues which registrars feel will not be resolved in these current RAA negotiations. Additionally, the RrSG wanted to bring attention to its own “asks” which include removal of bulk access to whois data, removal of port 43 access for “thick” registries, alignment of consensus policy language with the new gTLD registry agreement and the automatic accreditation in all new gTLDs. Community feedback was very constructive and many participants urged caution relating to both the whois verification and data retention issues.

RrSG Tuesday Meeting

  • The RrSG met all day Tuesday to have interactions with a variety of ICANN staff and other groups within the community including the ICANN Board. Among the topics discussed were the RAA, the introduction of new gTLD’s and its implications on registrars, ICANN compliance efforts and updates on a variety of policy developments currently underway. Registrars also interacted with members of the ICANN Registrar Relations team to discuss a wide variety of operational topics that are of keen interest to members.
  • The Executive Committee of the RrSG met with the ICANN Board Tuesday afternoon for a very good interaction. One of the main focus areas of this discussion was the status of the RAA and the view of the RrSG that we have worked hard to address the vast majority of law enforcement requests and we are hopeful to wrap up these negotiations as quickly as possible and move outstanding issues through the policy development process with the broader community. The topic of organizational readiness regarding rollout of the new gTLD program was an additional topic the RrSG members brought up with the Board and how registrars will be impacted once new gTLDs start to enter the marketplace. We also discussed current pressures on the ICANN model from outside influences and how those influences were being monitored by the board.
  • Additionally, the RrSG discussed its ongoing efforts to reach out to existing members to encourage increased participation and have a broader representation to the community on a variety of topics. The RrSG Executive Committee was extremely pleased to have several new members join and participate in Tuesday’s meeting and we look forward to continuing to look for ways to encourage participation further in future meetings.

The RrSG would like to thank all of our members who were able to join us in person in Prague as well as those members who participated remotely.

Additionally, we would like to thank our local hosts (cz nic), ICANN meeting staff, Hilton Prague staff and all of the technical and operational support which allowed us to have a very successful meeting.

We look forward to seeing our members and members of the community at ICANN’s next meeting in Toronto later this year.


Click for presentations, photos and other documents from ICANN 44 and previous meetings

RAA Statement

The Registrar Stakeholder Group (RrSG) would like to provide this statement regarding the current status of RAA negotiations and the update posted on the ICANN website on June 4, 2012.

The RrSG and its representatives on the Negotiating Team (NT) have been actively involved in discussions with ICANN staff and is pleased to see substantive progress reported to the community in advance of the upcoming ICANN meeting in Prague.

Among the issues that have been agreed to include improved registrar response and availability to law enforcement, registrar abuse point of contact, publication of registrar information, establishment of an ICANN accreditation for privacy/proxy service as well as many other important issues which have been identified both by law enforcement and the greater community.

As ICANN points out in the documents recently released, several issues remain outstanding including:

  • Whois verification/validation
  • Data retention
  • Future RAA amendments process
  • Registrar obligations to support certain technologies which today are optional
  • Port 43 whois access for thick registries

The RrSG fully agrees that several of the open items require input and discussion from the broader community as they contemplate significant changes to the domain name ecosystem as it exists today, and will impact the expansion of the Internet to new users and new regions of the world. We believe the upcoming meeting in Prague will provide an excellent venue for initiating these discussions and the RrSG looks forward to participating in those conversations.

Attached to this statement is the RrSG’s specific comments and/or proposed language to many of the issues which remain open at this time.

We would like to thank ICANN staff for their ongoing participation in this effort and the RrSG looks forward to continued discussions as we move toward completion of a new RAA.

Accompanying documents:

ICANN 43 Wrap Up by RrSG Chairman, Graham Chynoweth

It has been an eventful week for Registrars here at ICANN 43 in Costa Rica. The Registrar Stakeholder Group (RrSG) has worked to lead community understanding on important issues, held a face-to-face meeting with members of law enforcement, vigorously participated in community work, and, of course, gathered as a group to hear from ICANN staff and engage with the ICANN Board and other constituent ICANN groups.

More specifically, members of the RrSG: (i) updated the community on the status of its negotiations with ICANN staff on amendments to the Registrar Accreditation Agreement; (ii) organized a workshop on varying approaches to online information verification; (iii) directly engaged with law enforcement representatives to better understand their needs and explore their proposals relating to information verification, and (iv) held a productive group meeting where we received a variety of reports from staff and the community and engaged in vigorous discussion on several topics.

I – Update on RAA

At ICANN 42 in November, the Board directed staff to negotiate with registrars the policy requests of the community, some of which could be enshrined in the Registrar Accreditation Agreement.

The requests of law enforcement were given the high priority and were the immediate focus of ICANN staff and Registrars. Over the course of five in-person meetings and dozens of phone calls, Registrars and ICANN staff exchanged numerous proposed language drafts. Additionally, Registrars have worked directly with members of the Government Advisory Committee and law enforcement representatives to ensure that their requests were fully clarified. This has increased the effectiveness of the work and reduced the time necessary for the parties to the contract to complete the negotiations. The intense schedule of negotiations has been collaborative, in good faith, though sometimes both vigorous and contentious.

This has produced significant, material progress. However, at times, complicating issues have slowed progress, including the implications of proposals on data privacy laws, varying jurisdictions, freedom of speech and the digital divide.

Additionally, Registrars are aware that many community members have significant concerns about some of the proposals. It was this recognition that led us to organize the information verification workshop on Monday. At the workshop, the community was able to learn about how information verification works inside and outside the DNS space, learn about what implications it could have on all the members of the Internet ecosystem, and contribute practical ideas toward results.

As we return to this work, we repeat that registrars are interested in a rapid conclusion without sacrificing the quality of the end product. Further, we look to build on the success of the community’s collaboration on identity validation and other issues of mutual interest.

II – Information Verification Panel

In collaboration with ICANN staff and members of the Governmental Advisory Committee and law enforcement, Registrars organized a panel on monday that focused on how information is verified in various situations in the DNS and non-DNS contexts. Information relating to the workshop, including the presentations, can be found here

One important outcome of the panel was to reveal the level of complexity involved with the issue of verification, the many models in which information is verified, and the significant and material ways in which verification can impact individuals using the DNS. Additionally, the law enforcement representative on the panel presented an interesting information verification model that introduced a scoring system for verification of WHOIS information, but did not proscribe actual verification methodologies. Lastly, the session highlighted the significant community interest in information verification, as partially expressed in comments to the issues report staff prepared on RAA Amendments, and desire of community members to have input into the design of verification requirements.

III – Direct Engagement with Law Enforcement

Registrars had a productive meeting with law enforcement representatives on Monday. Important outcomes of the meeting were greater Registrar understanding of the problems that law enforcement are trying to solve with their various requests for changes to the RAA and discussion of challenges relating to some of the methods that law enforcement representatives suggested for how WHOIS information could be verified. It is the hope that continued direct dialogue between Registrars and law enforcement will lead to a faster resolution to the RAA negotiations and to a make what will be an on-going relationship between Registrars and law enforcement more productive and collaborate.

IV – Constructive Stakeholder Group Meeting

With more than thirty registrars represented in the room and several joining by telephone, the RrSG completed a very successful meeting on Tuesday. In addition to getting updates from ICANN compliance and policy staff, the group engaged with the ICANN board, members of the Registry Stakeholder Group Non-Commercial Stakeholders’ Group, and discussed policy issues up for vote in the Generic Name Supporting Organization and RrSG group operations. More specifically, some of the issues discussed were:
– the updates to the Inter Registrar Transfer Policy that will come into effect in June of 2012
– ICANN compliance staff efforts, with a special focus on (i) the low number of law enforcement complaints (3) out of all complaints (16,000) over between October 2011 and February 2012 (ii) increasing the priority that ICANN staff give to complaints by law enforcement
– Impressing upon the ICANN Board the appreciation by the RrSG that negotiations on the RAA need to conclude as rapidly as possible but that the RrSG was concerned that quality should be more important than any deadline and that it felt more community input on solutions relating to information verification and collection issues may be necessary. – an update to the RrSG bylaws to bring them into conformity with the current needs of the group from an operational perspective.

Click for presentations, photos and other documents from ICANN 43 and previous meetings

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