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Policies

Policy recommendations are formed and refined by the ICANN community through its Supporting Organizations (SOs) and influenced by Advisory Committees (ACs) – all comprised of volunteers from countries and territories – in a "bottom-up," open and transparent process. Research the various policies and governing documents on WHOIS.

Affirmation of Commitments and the WHOIS Policy Review

In 2009, ICANN and the US Department of Commerce signed the Affirmation of Commitments (AoC), which contains the following commitment regarding WHOIS:

“9.3.1 ICANN additionally commits to enforcing its existing policy relating to WHOIS, subject to applicable laws. Such existing policy requires that ICANN implement measures to maintain timely, unrestricted and public access to accurate and complete WHOIS information, including registrant, technical, billing, and administrative contact information.”

ICANN also agreed to form a global Review Team to assess specific WHOIS issues every three years:

“… ICANN will organize 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 trust.”

After the first review of the WHOIS policy, ICANN launched a comprehensive effort to improve the effectiveness of the WHOIS policy and its implementation, in line with the WHOIS Review Team's Final Report [PDF, 1.44 MB]. In its acceptance of this Report, the ICANN Board recognized that the policy and management of WHOIS is a strategic priority for ICANN. ICANN also committed to fully enforce existing consensus policy and contractual conditions relating to the collection, access and accuracy gTLD WHOIS data, and increase efforts to communicate, conduct outreach on, and ensure compliance with existing policy and conditions relating to WHOIS, as detailed in an Action Plan.

ICANN is in the midst of implementing the Action Plan, and provides periodic reports to the community regarding its progress. The Implementation Status Report [PDF, 579 KB] contains the latest information on this key initiative for ICANN.

This WHOIS website, originally recommended by the WHOIS Policy Review Team, is just one of the ways that ICANN is implementing the Action Plan and aims to provide easy-to-understand educational materials to those interested in learning more about WHOIS.

Implementation

Implementation provides a comprehensive explanation of WHOIS related policies, practices and procedures. Learn more about ICANN's ongoing Implementation of WHOIS Policy.

Current Issues

There are a number of key issues related to WHOIS that are being researched and discussed. Learn more about the Current Issues related to WHOIS.