GNSO Council WHOIS Implementation CommitteeTeleconference on 9 January 2003 - minutes



Registrar - Ken Stubbs
Registrar - Bruce Tonkin
Registrar - Donna McGehee
Registrar - Elana Broitman
Registrar - Rick Wesson
Registrar - Tim Ruiz
Registrar - Vincent Chavanis
Registrar - Margie Milam
Registrar - Steve Miholovich
Task Force member - Steve Metalitz
Task Force co-chair - Tony Harris


The mandate for this working group is defined in the following resolution which was adopted by the DNSO Names Council on December 14, 2002 in Amsterdam Netherlands by a unanimous vote of the Council.

That the Names Council delays acceptance of the policy recommendations in the November 30 WHOIS task force report and allow additional time for consideration by the constituencies until the next Council call on 16 January 2003.

That the Names Council creates an implementation analysis committee, that would look at the cost of implementing the recommendations as they are written and as they may change during the next 30 day period.

That the implementation Cost analysis committee produces a report by 30 January 2003 prior to the Council meeting on February 20 which can be incorporated into the main report.

The structure of the implementation analysis committee would be identical to that of the Transfers implementation analysis committee and would consist of Registries, Registrars and user representation from the WHOIS task force.

Bruce Tonkin introduced the meeting stating that the aim was
- to agree on the process for completing the implementation analysis report by the end of January 2003
- Reference documents
- Comment on the feasibility of each recommendation.

Complete analysis by 30 January 2003.

The GNSO Council will then meet to discuss the final Board report in its meeting in February and the final Board report will be forwarded with the aim to reach ICANN Board 30 days prior to the meeting in Rio de Janeiro.

The implementation report will present the findings on the feasibility of the policy and it will be suitable for inclusion in the Transfers Task Force report which will become the Board report.
If the Board accepts the report, it becomes binding policy.

Timeline for the month:

Week 1. Analysis
Each committee member comment on the technical, legal and business feasibility of the recommendations.
What are the issues in implementation
Propose changes
Comments to the list by next call in one week. (16 Jan. 03). Comments may be in the form of questions.
Task Force members should clarify the intent of the recommendations where questions arise.

Week 2. Draft report and discuss during teleconference (23 Jan. 03)

Week 3. Finalize report.

Elana Broitman suggested task force members explain the intent of some of the comments as the interpretation was not clear in the summary document.
Steve Metalitz suggested that comments should be made at least 24 hours prior to the next call.

Bruce Tonkin commented on section C WHOIS Task Force recommendations on Accuracy related to registrar Obligations

In paragraph 11 : "Registrars must require Registrants to review and validate all WHOIS data upo renewal of a registration.", the word "validate" was discussed.

Rick Wesson said he would post to the list specifics of validation.
Bruce Tonkin said that registrars and resellers have an obligation in the new recommendation to ask the registrant to review and validate all WHOIS data at the time of renewal.
Steve Metalitz clarified that the task force was looking at a process that would increase the accuracy.
Bruce Tonkin confirmed that in general it was not clear to the registrars and the registries how much validation is necessary to implement this recommendation. Registrars and registries should post comments to the list on validation.

In paragraph 12
"When registrations are deleted on the basis of submission of false contact data or non-response to registrar inquiries, the redemption grace period - once implemented - should be applied. However, the redeemed domain name should not be included in the zone file until accurate and verified contact information is available."

Bruce Tonkin said that it was an attempt to cover a loophole that people can not use another process to get the name back again without having to correct the WHOIS data.
Ken Stubbs said that this placed a burden on the registrars to validate the data, as registrars must authenticate the legitimacy of the changes made to the WHOIS file.
Rick Wesson suggested a password to manage the accounts.
Bruce Tonkin said that the key word to define is "verify" and this comes up in other contexts as well.
Ken Stubbs explained what he meant by authenticate the data, information provided to correct the inaccurate data is in fact authenticating that it is correct.

Steve Metalitz pointed to two different situations
- In paragraph 11 where there is inaccurate data but there is no reason to doubt the updated contact information
- In paragraph 12 where there has been a complaint about false data and there should be a system of counter checking.
Rick Wesson suggested writing a glossary as a base to work from.

In paragraph 13,
"When registrars send inquiries to registrants regarding the accuracy of data under clause 3.7.8 of the RRA, they should require not only that registrants respond to inquiries within 15 days but that the response be accompanied by documentary proof of the accuracy of the "corrected" data submitted, and that a response lacking such documentation may be treated as a failure to respond."

Rick Wesson pointed to potential language issues in implementation where the language of the Registrar and the Registrant are different. Also an issue that appears in the Transfers.
Bruce Tonkin said there were two situations to be considered:
- where a field of data is incorrect (such as a street name)
- where nothing is correct and it is clearly fraudulent.
The burden of proof would be if the data is really fraudulent or whether there has been a change in a registrant"s situation.
Bruce went on to mention that the 15 days to respond is already in the contract. The real issue is the accompanying documentary proof of accuracy as there are different standards for different documents in different countries.
Rick Wesson said that registrars have no capacity to determine proof and no way from a global perspective to see if a document is valid.
Elana Broitman added that in fact registrars are being asked to do more than a business accuracy authority does.
Tony Harris, from a task force perspective, said that in fact it touched the entire world population, but only in cases where it is proven that there is an inaccuracy and not every single registration. He provided an example of asking for a telephone bill to prove that the number does belong to the registrant.
Ken Stubbs added that it was not always obvious that the data was inaccurate and difficult to prove. A significant element of uncertainty and expense is being projected in the process and leaves open abuse of the process that questions the data.
Bruce Tonkin asked the registrars to propose implementable ways when data on face value seems fraudulent.
Relating to paragraphs 11, 12, and 13 on accuracy the registrars are asked to suggest appropriate solutions for inaccurate data.

Referring to recommendations on bulk WHOIS Bruce Tonkin asked for comment on the recommendation that registrars modify their bulk WHOIS access agreements to eliminate the use of data for marketing purposes.

Elana Broitman asked whether it would be possible to consider port 43 and bulk access together, to which Bruce Tonkin replied that comments on port 43 should be sent to the WHOIS task force and these could be used in creating an issues report.
He went on to say that implementation raised the issue of port 43 in two ways:
- it bypasses bulk access
- it increases the traffic load on Registrars and Registries.
In his opinion, if the recommendation is accepted, it creates a precedent and that would lead to work on port 43.
Steve Metalitz commented that this opportunity should not be missed, in favour of port 43 discussions, for steps to be taken with bulk access.
To a question from Margie Milam to define "marketing activities" Bruce Tonkin said that the wording was in the existing contract but it had not been defined anywhere.

Steve Metalitz noted that reference to the existing agreement is important and what was trying to be achieved was to partially prohibit what was in the existing contract that had many loopholes. More specific information about what is covered by the term is needed.

Bruce Tonkin thanked the committee members for their participation.
Suggested for next call:

- comments on implementation issues for each of the recommendations
- alternate wording be suggested where existing wording lacks clarity
- text on implementation issues relating to port 43
- those who spoke on the call should commit comments to writing.

Next call: Thursday, January 16 at 20:00 UTC, 15:00 EST, 17:00 Buenos Aires, (7:00 Friday 17 January, Melbourne).
Conference call in details sent individually to each member.

Call ended: 21:00 UTC, 8:00 Friday January 10, 2003 (Melbourne)


Information from:
GNSO Names Council