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The Expert Working Group on gTLD Directory Services (EWG) was established in February 2013 as a first step in fulfilling the ICANN Board's directive to help redefine the purpose and provision of gTLD registration data, and develop a potential new model to replace today's WHOIS system.  The EWG published its Final Report in June 2014, which responded to these directives and detailed the EWG's recommendations to ICANN's President/CEO and Board of Directors for a next-generation Registration Directory Service (RDS) to replace the current WHOIS system.  The EWG's work served as a foundation to help the ICANN community (through the Generic Names Supporting Organization, GNSO) create a new global policy for gTLD directory services.

The ICANN Board is now considering how to use the EWG’s Final Report as a foundation for Board-requested GNSO Policy Development Processes (PDPs).  This Working Group has been assembled to suggest next steps on the EWG Report and how to best structure the PDPs for success.

 Upon publication of the EWG's Final Report, an informal group of GNSO Councilors and ICANN Board members collaborated to propose a Process Framework for structuring a GNSO Policy Development Process (PDP) to successfully address the issues raised by this Board-initiated PDP. On 26 May, 2015, the ICANN Board adopted that Process Framework and reaffirmed its request for a  Board-initiated PDP to define the purpose of collecting, maintaining and providing access to gTLD registration data, and to consider safeguards for protecting data, using the recommendations in the EWG's Final Report as an input to, and, if appropriate, as the foundation for a new gTLD policy.

In accordance with the PDP Rules, a Preliminary Issue Report was published for public comment on 13 July, 2015. A Final Issue Report, including a summary of public comments received, was published on 7 October, 2015. That Final Issue Report will now be considered by the GNSO, along with a motion to adopt a PDP Working Group Charter to progress this PDP.

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