October 31, 2007

ICANN: Deja vu day

Filed under: law — wseltzer @ 1:35 pm

ICANN’s GNSO council is hosting its open meeting this morning. On the agenda, several items that should have a familiar ring to ICANNwatchers.

The possible creation of a dispute resolution process for the names and acronyms of Intergovernmental Organizations, an issue considered and rejected in 2003. The Council (thankfully) chose not to request a Policy Development Process.

WHOIS. History: The WHOIS Task force, by supermajority, recommended that those registering domain names be permitted to designate and display an Operational Point of Contact rather than listing their own contact details. The Working Group commissioned after this report did not resolve anything.

Now, it’s time for the Council to vote. Council’s draft motions.

Motion 1: Approve OPOC as modified, 7 yes, 17 no. fails. The PDP is over. Long live the privacy-sapping WHOIS stalemate. Ross Rader, Registrar rep from Tucows, puts it best: “I do not think we have done the community any favors as a result of this discussion.”

The negotiation-forcing sunset proposal failed on a close vote: 10 yes, 13 no. It would have called for the elimination of WHOIS requirements from contracts in a year if consensus were not reached in the interim.

Instead, the Council called for — wait for it — more study. Don’t hold your breath.

It’s clearly time to go outside ICANN for help on the privacy front. I would like to see someone offer a _true_ privacy-preserving registration service — one that does not merely offer up the domain registrant’s personal information upon request. Any takers?


  1. At this point in time, why would any “rational” American waste any time on ICANN, which was
    only set up by The Clintons to help Ira Magaziner and Vinton Cerf to build their resumes ?

    Vinton Cerf has used ICANN as a stepping stone from Bernie Ebber’s Worldcom to Eric Schmidt’s
    Google. Eric Schmidt developed the orginal Berkley UNIX Sockets, and used those as stepping
    stones to Sun (where he did not really work on Java) and Novell.

    ICANN is now a small $50,000,000 line-item on Verisign’s budget. ICANN could close up and
    nothing would happen to the Internet. Verisign will of course keep ICANN to run fools in
    circles, as they protect the .COM cash-cow. Those days are numbered. Microsoft has installed
    all of the replacement technology in Windows Vista, well in advance of THE Clinton’s
    and Magaziner’s return to the Whitehouse. Bill Gates departs from Microsoft when THE
    Clintons return, he is smart, very smart.

    Vinton Cerf may try to get Google to absorb Verisign and ICANN to protect their search
    engine name space. That is part of their (job) security, (cash-flow) stability, etc.

    At this point in time, why would any “rational” American waste any time on ICANN ?

    Comment by Captain ZOOM — October 31, 2007 @ 10:09 pm

  2. One user came up with this:


    I don’t know what their tolerance level is, though. :D

    Comment by Dave Zan — November 1, 2007 @ 2:34 am

  3. ICANN tackles the whois question and decides to do ….. nothing…

    Following from the ICANN meeting today in which they took up the issue of the whois privacy debate, they outcome is unsurprisingly, motion 2.  Motion 2 is basically the do-nothing option.  It says that there is no consensus and more study is …

    Trackback by Development on a Shoestring — November 1, 2007 @ 4:11 am

  4. [...] Wendy Seltzer: Now, it’s time for the Council to vote. Council’s draft motions. [...]

    Pingback by DNS Choice Blog » Blog Archive » ICANN tackles the whois question and decides to do ….. nothing — November 1, 2007 @ 4:12 am

  5. WHOIS privacy is a curious issue to me.

    I suppose I always thought about it like a telephone listing; if you wanted it private you could pay to do so. In that respect, just having the option is unusual when compared to other public registrations. I mean, what if I invented a sex machine and thought I might be embarrassed or invented a weapon and did not want to be publicly tied to the deaths that may result? As far as I know, there’s no $8 checkbox I can click to keep those patent registrations private.

    On the other hand, there are some pretty good reasons to have domain name contact information available to the public. Thousands of domain name registrants lose their domain name each year, simply because their email address is broken or unaccessible. So when registrars replace the contact information of an expiring domain name registrant with their own (as is the current wide-spread practice), they prevent anyone from contacting the registrant to express concern or interest in the domain name. This is currently costing registrants millions of dollars per year, as the proceeds for selling those domain names is now claimed by the registrar.

    It’s an interesting proposition, but I’d have to say I understand the reluctance in making WHOIS essentially an industry-only tool. There’s just something about the idea of an anonymous worldwide registration that seems inappropriate, but maybe that’s just me.

    Comment by ASN5 — November 12, 2007 @ 8:57 am

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