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Will ICANN change WHOIS?

ICANN's WHOIS policy has been updated from time to time through contract changes and policy development activities that originate through a bottom-up, transparent process involving all necessary constituencies and stakeholders in the Internet Community.

ICANN policy begins its development in the applicable Supporting Organizations and Advisory Committees, such as the GNSO for changes affecting generic domain names . The recognition that a policy is needed may arise from anywhere in the Internet community, the international ICANN Supporting Organizations and Committees (such as the Regional Internet Registries (through the ASO), the GNSO, the ALAC or the GAC), or the Country Code Managers (ccTLDs). ICANN is in the midst of evolving the WHOIS policy for generic domain names in response to the recommendations made by the WHOIS Policy Review Team formed under the Affirmation of Commitments. These future improvements include initiating a series of GNSO policy development processes (PDP) to evaluate the policy implications of privacy and proxy services, issues related to the translation or transliteration of WHOIS data, and whether to require all registries to offer "thick" or full WHOIS contact data. In addition, the ICANN Board has convened a group of experts(EWG) to evaluate whether WHOIS should be replaced by an entirely new model of registration data directory services. The EWG work, once it concludes, is expected to be evaluated through a separate GNSO policy development process.