[council] Update on WHOIS study group work

Liz Gasster liz.gasster at icann.org
Thu Apr 24 20:11:53 UTC 2008


You may recall that during the 27 March meeting, the GNSO Council decided to:

...form a group of volunteers to:
1. Review and discuss the 'Report on Public Suggestions on Further Studies of WHOIS'
2. Develop a proposed list, if any, of recommended studies for which ICANN staff will be asked to provide cost estimates to the Council
3. Deliver the list of recommendations with supporting rationale not later than 24 April 2008.

Following is an update on the progress made by the group (see list of group participants below).  We have not completed our activities but hope to do so by 22 May, 2008.

 *   The group has met by phone 3 times, on April 8, 15 and 22.  The group has reviewed the summary of suggestions for further study of WHOIS, and the summary of previous WHOIS studies gathered by ICANN staff last fall.  The group agreed it was important not to duplicate work that has been done or work that may be underway.
 *   The group has discussed extensively the merits of proceeding with studies of WHOIS.  Several participants think that more studies of WHOIS would be unlikely to persuade stakeholders to change current views. We discussed whether studies should be commissioned at all, and confirmed that one option could be to decide to recommend to the GNSO Council that no studies of WHOIS be done.  This view was supported by some participants who are skeptical that the outcome of any study would change the views of entrenched parties on WHOIS issues.   Many other participants think certain studies of WHOIS would be very useful and could provide new insights and information.  This group thinks several of the proposed studies are finely targeted and carefully crafted to ask new questions and elicit new insights.  The group does agree that any new studies should be targeted at answering identified policy questions or informing the policy debate in a definable way.
 *   The possible study areas have been divided into seven categories or study question areas. Each member of the group is in the process of submitting their view of the priority level of each study "category".  This tally will be discussed by the group on our next call.  The seven categories are:
1.       How big is the WHOIS misuse problem that may need to be solved?
2.       Is there a non-compliance with data protection laws problem that needs to be solved?
3.       Are there already market-driven solutions available?
4.       Is there demand for market-driven solutions, and are they being used for legitimate or illegitimate purposes?
5.       Do WHOIS data protections lead to abuse and misuse?
6.       Are provisions for providing protected WHOIS data to law enforcement for investigation of crime and abuse effective?
7.       Is WHOIS data accurate?

 *   We expect to look at the specific study ideas in a subsequent analysis.
 *   The group acknowledged and discussed the recommendations for WHOIS studies provided by the GAC in its latest communiqué of 16 April.  These recommendations will be mapped to the proposed suggestions already received and considered as part of our small group recommendation to the GNSO Council.

Our group meets next on 6 May.  Again, we hope to provide a recommendation to the Council by 22 May.

Thanks, Liz Gasster

The following participants are subscribed to the current list:

Jordi Iparraguirre - gTLD Registry C
Ken Stubbs - gTLD Registry C
David Maher - gTLD Registry C
Steve Metalitz  - IPC
Lee Eulgen -IPC
Steve DelBianco - CBUC
Tony Harris - ISP
Tim Ruiz - Registrar
Paul Stahura - Registrar
James Bladel - Registrar
Krista Papac - Registrar
Stéphane Van Gelder - Registrar
Eric Brunner-Williams -Registrar
Norbert Klein - NCUC
Robin Gross - NCUC
Danny Younger
Beau Brendler
Wendy Seltzer - ALAC Liaison on the ICANN Board

ICANN Staff:
Liz Gasster
Denise Michel
Robert Hoggarth
Patrick Jones
Glen de Saint Géry

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