Jun 102014


A new model for a database of domain name registration data has just been made public.

The model, called Registration Directory Service (RDS), was built by a group of volunteers – the Expert Working Group on gTLD Directory Services (EWG) – convened by ICANN to carry out bottom-up consensus-driven analysis of the WHOIS and determine whether viable alternatives might exist.

In its final report published June 6, 2014, the EWG recommends that “the RDS should be adopted as a whole. Adopting some but not all of the design principles (…) undermines benefits for the entire ecosystem.”

The final report also states that the model is the result of “an intense 15+ month period of work” during which community volunteers worked to answer one question: is there an alternative to today’s WHOIS to better serve the global Internet community?

On first scan of the 166 page final report, the work of the EWG looks impressive in both its scope and thoroughness. But the way the EWG has arrived at this result is being called into question.

The EWG says that its final report, “including its recommendations and proposed principles for next-generation RDS, reflects a consensus.” But Syracuse University professor Milton Mueller is claiming the EWG did not in fact reach consensus.

On his blog, Mueller writes that the EWG is continuing “a long tradition of failing to find consensus between privacy advocates and business interests.” He claims that Canadian Stephanie Perrin, whom he terms the lone privacy advocate on the EWG, “raised some serious concerns about how the EWG was violating basic data protection norms.”

Mueller says Perrin was then pressured to remove her objections and when she would not, these objections were purposefully left out of the final report.

However, we have been told by sources close to the EWG that Dr Mueller was “misinformed” and that the situation should be addressed in a post to be published on the ICANN Blog later today (June 10th).

  One Response to “Was there dissent on alternative to WHOIS?”

  1. […] report itself has come for some criticism for not reflecting true consensus. ICANN’s Jean-François Baril, Lead Coordinator for the […]