[bc-gnso] Whois Studies discussion at 1-Apr GNSO Council Meeting

Steve DelBianco sdelbianco at netchoice.org
Wed Mar 31 21:43:47 UTC 2010

Mike & Zahid -- 

You asked for some BC membership views on the Whois studies that will be
discussed at your Council meeting tomorrow (1-Apr).  See below and
attachment.   Hope this helps.

Your agenda shows potential actions on Whois studies:
> 3.4.1 Review and assess cost and feasibility estimates for the studies
> 3.4.2 Decide whether to pursue any of the studies and, if so, which ones
> 3.4.3 Provide input into the FY11 budget process
> 3.5 How should we accomplish the above?
> €    Should we form a drafting team to develop recommendations for
> consideration in our next meeting?
> €    Note that a final budget has to be finished by 17 May and there are
> currently no funds budgeted for Whois Studies

My recommendations:

Let¹s proceed with the Misuse and Registrant Identification studies.

> The Misuse and Registrant ID studies are likely to generate data that would
> affect policy decisions and compliance work.  These 2 studies are not going to
> stop the long-standing disagreements between passionate parties on either
> side, but that¹s not the point of doing studies.   Remember the debate over
> domain tasting?  Fact-based data on the number of deletes with the AGP were
> astounding, and helped us enact a policy change.  The data did not make
> everyone agree on whether domain tasting was harmful.  But facts showed a
> hugely prevalent use of AGP that was outside its original purpose, and that
> moved us to a new consensus policy.
> We¹ll certainly use study data when setting policy and compliance standards,
> especially with so many new TLD operators coming online next year.
> Moreover, the Affirmation of Commitments (9.3.1) requires ICANN to ³organize a
> review of WHOIS policy and its implementation to assess the extent to which
> WHOIS policy is effective and its implementation meets the legitimate needs of
> law enforcement and promotes consumer trust².  The Misuse and Registrant data
> studies will be essential for that review.
> We will also want to have these study results on hand so they can be compared
> with study results after new TLDs are operating for one year, as required by
> the Affirmation of Commitments item 9.3

Let¹s go right to the core issue of Money.  Consider this discussion that
happened during Council meeting in Nairobi:
> Liz Gasster described some study proposals as "expensive" and then Stefane and
> Wolf commented on the costs and budget constraints.
> I intervened to say that the lack of fact-based studies has itself been very
> expensive over several years of time & travel on the part of dozens of
> community members.   Those costs will continue unless/until we have facts at
> hand to make policy decisions.
> Marilyn made a similar point about need for fact-based analysis.
> Bruce Tonkin recommended that Council budget a lump sum for studies, then
> decide how to spend it.  Don't budget each specific study, he said.
> I believe Bruce Tonkin is right.  Council should ask for a budget of $XXX,XXX
> in FY 2011 for a general category of Whois studies.   Since we need a budget
> number now, I¹d say $360,000, to cover the misuse and registrant studies
> ($150K each) plus a 20% contingency.
Next steps: I would ask staff to begin negotiating with the two Œsuperior¹
bidders on detailed workplan for their studies.  Staff should start by
asking bidders to review:
> The 4-Mar-2009 Council resolution on Whois studies, including the original
> rationale for each hypothesis, etc.
> The Affirmation of Commitments, items 9.3 and 9.3.1
> Staff should also show the bidders any Whois-related items in the Draft
> Applicant Guidebook.
> Superior Bidders can then prepare detailed study workplans that policy staff
> can analyze and present to Council later this year.

Note:  The Staff report (page 7) mentions the Whois Accuracy report, and
asks whether ³barriers to accuracy² provide useful insights to policy.
> I would answer, ³Accuracy is something we aspire to; whereas inaccuracy is a
> contract compliance problem.²
> Let¹s set high aspirations to require accurate Whois data for registrants,
> even if we know that lots of data is inaccurate today. After all, registrars
> manage to gather credit card information that¹s sufficiently accurate to
> ensure they get paid.   Let¹s find ways to ensure they apply the same
> diligence in collecting and validating public Whois data.
> (Note: Susan Kawaguchi of Facebook volunteered to draft BC comments on Whois
> Accuracy report.  Those aren¹t due until 15-Apr)

Whois Studies Reports and resources:
> https://st.icann.org/gnso-council/index.cgi?whois_discussion#
> Presentation Slides:
> http://gnso.icann.org/correspondence/whois-studies-presentation-01apr10-en.pdf

Steve DelBianco
Executive Director
http://www.NetChoice.org and http://blog.netchoice.org

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