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NIS2, ICANN and “Thick” WHOIS: A Mandate to Move Forward

The recent adoption at the end of December of the new EU Directive for a high level of cybersecurity across the Union -- commonly referred to as "NIS2" - paved the way for important updates to the domain name system (DNS). Most significantly, Article 28 of NIS2 and its related recitals resolved any ambiguities about the public interest served by a robust and objectively accurate WHOIS system that permits legitimate access by third parties to data... more

ICANN’s Changing of the Guard – Part 1

On the 21st of December, ICANN announced that Goran Marby had stepped down as ICANN's sixth CEO. As the ICANN Board commences its search for its next CEO, I thought it would be useful to look back at ICANN's selection process for its previous CEOs and how each tended to be driven by the unique challenges confronting ICANN at that time. more

2022 Domain Name Year In Review

I can hardly believe it's that time of year again -- time for our annual top 10 year in review. Having been at this for more than 20 years, you'd think I'd seen it all? But with the domain name industry, things are always in flux, and I could never have predicted some of these items. So without further ado -- here are the top 10 biggest stories from 2022. more

The Continuing WHOIS Disappearing Act

WHOIS is about to become even harder to find. ICANN has recently concluded long-delayed contract negotiations with industry meant to accommodate the technical migration from the WHOIS protocol to the Registration Data Access Protocol (RDAP). Instead of limiting the changes to what's necessary to implement the new technical protocol, the proposals effectively gut WHOIS, making it virtually impossible to find by eliminating web-based WHOIS access... more

Achieving Multi-Stakeholder Progress on DNS Abuse

DNS Abuse and how to address it has been the topic of intense, often conflictual, and rarely conclusive discussions for many years, starting with the very definition of the term and the degree of responsibility bestowed upon DNS operators. In 2018, after several months of intersessional work, the Internet & Jurisdiction Global Conference brought together in Ottawa more than 200 key stakeholders to define a roadmap to address certain jurisdictional challenges on the Internet, including DNS abuse. more

ICANN Policymaking Should Be Even More Transparent

Transparency and accountability are embedded in ICANN's core values. Indeed, ICANN's Bylaws mandate that "ICANN and its constituent bodies shall operate to the maximum extent feasible in an open and transparent manner ...". Public Interest Registry believes that a dedication to transparency is fundamental to the strength and continued effectiveness of ICANN's multistakeholder model. more

ICANN’s Accountability and Transparency – a Retrospective on the IANA Transition

As we passed five years since the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority transition took place, my co-authors and I paused to look back on this pivotal moment; to take stock of what we've learned and to re-examine some of the key events leading up to the transition and how careful planning ensured a successful transfer of IANA responsibilities from the United States Government to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. more

The Ever-Evolving Problem of DNS Abuse

For several years, many within ICANN circles have raised concerns about the escalating nature of domain name system (DNS) abuse. While some strides were made toward a safer DNS, new data - this time from a comprehensive study of DNS abuse by the European Union - demonstrates that abuse remains a frustratingly obstinate problem that requires urgent attention. We've seen some registries and registrars testing innovative industry-led initiatives in an effort to address the issues. more

ICANN, RIPE, and ISP War Crime Complicity Exposure

The recent horrific actions undertaken by Vladimir V. Putin and complicit Russian actors against the sovereign nation of Ukraine and its people are widely regarded as war crimes on a profound scale not seen in Europe since World War II. The costs in lives and property are enormous. It has recently resulted in a condemning UN Resolution. At some point, there will be reckoning for Putin and those who aided and abetted his actions through our domestic and international legal systems. more

ICANN, Ukraine and Leveraging Internet Identifiers

Ukraine's representative to ICANN's Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) has sent a letter to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to remove Russian-administered top level domains (.RU, .SU and .рф) from the DNS root zone. In a separate letter, Ukraine's representative also asked RIPE NCC to withdraw the right to use all IPv4 and IPv6 addresses by all Russian members of the regional IP registry for the European region. more

ICANN SSAD Proposal Poised to Fail?

After years of work on a proposed standardized system of WHOIS data disclosures (referred to as SSAD), and over a year of operational assessment of the proposal by ICANN itself, the ICANN Board seems poised to reject the proposal. And rightly so. The proposed SSAD is entirely watered down, fractured, and affords no oversight powers to ICANN regarding disclosure decisions that would continue to be left to the complete discretion of individual registrars (the very parties ICANN oversees).  more

ICANN’s Accountability Mechanisms – in Name Only?

On December 14, 2021, Dot Hip Hop, LLC (DHH) filed an Urgent Reconsideration Request following ICANN staff inaction (for its over four-month delay) of its Assignment Request for the .hiphop Registry Agreement. Not only did the ICANN Board Accountability Mechanisms Committee (BAMC) decide against considering the Reconsideration Request on an urgent basis, but on its last day of business for 2021, ICANN Org decided to retaliate against DHH for filing the Reconsideration Request in the first place ... more

IRP Panel Sanctions Afilias, Clears the Way for ICANN to Decide .web Disputes

The .web Independent Review Process (IRP) Panel issued a Final Decision six months ago, in May 2021. Immediately thereafter, the claimant, Afilias Domains No. 3 Limited (now a shell entity known as AltaNovo Domains Limited), filed an application seeking reconsideration of the Final Decision under Rule 33 of the arbitration rules. Rule 33 allows for the clarification of an ambiguous ruling and allows the Panel the opportunity to supplement its decision if it inadvertently failed to consider a claim or defense, but specifically does not permit wholesale reconsideration of a final decision. more

Afilias’ Rule Violations Continue to Delay .WEB

As I noted on May 26, the final decision issued on May 20 in the Independent Review Process (IRP) brought by Afilias against the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) rejected Afilias’ petition to nullify the results of the public auction for .WEB, and it further rejected Afilias’ demand to have it be awarded .WEB (at a price substantially lower than the winning bid). Instead, as we urged, the IRP Panel determined that the ICANN Board should move forward with reviewing the objections made about .WEB, and to make a decision on delegation thereafter. more

It’s Time for ICANN to Release a Preliminary Applicant Guidebook

At ICANN's recent virtual meeting, I was fortunate enough to join a panel facilitated by the Brand Registry Group (BRG), an association of organisations promoting the use of brand top-level domains, where we discussed the release of the next round of the generic top-level domain (gTLD) program. The fact that I was participating in a discussion like this is hardly news, as I've been commenting on the policy discussions and debating its role in the digital landscape for years. more