Joint DNS Security and Stability Analysis Working Group (DSSA-WG)


Version 1.1

Editorial update May 2012



1.0 Background


At their meetings during the ICANN Brussels meeting the At-Large Advisory Committee (ALAC), the Country Code Names Supporting Organization (ccNSO), the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO), the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC), and the Number Resource Organization (NROs) acknowledged the need for a better understanding of the security and stability of the global domain name system (DNS). This is considered of common interest to the participating Supporting Organisations (SOs), Advisory Committees (ACs) and others, should be preferably undertaken in a collaborative effort.


To this end the ALAC, ccNSO, GNSO and NRO agreed to establish a Joint DNS Security and Stability Analysis Working Group (DSSA-WG), in accordance with each own rules and procedures and invite other AC’s to liaise and engage with the DSSA-WG in a manner they consider to be appropriate.


2.0 Objectives, Scope of Activities, and Deliverables


2.1 Objectives and Goals


The objective of the DSSA-WG is to draw upon the collective expertise of the participating SOs and ACs, solicit expert input and advice and report to the respective participating SOs and ACs on:

  1. The actual level, frequency and severity of threats to the DNS;
  2. The current efforts and activities to mitigate these threats to the DNS; and
  3. The gaps (if any) in the current security response to DNS issues.


If considered feasible and appropriate, the DSSA-WG may identify and report on possible additional risk mitigation activities that it believes would assist in closing any gaps identified under item C above.


Each of the participating SOs and ACs has adopted this charter according to its own rules and procedures [1] .


2.2 Scope of Activities


The DSSA-WG should limit its activities to considering issues at the root and top level domains within the framework of ICANN’s coordinating role in managing Internet naming and numbering resources as stated in its Mission in its Bylaws . The DSSA-WG also should take into account and attempt to coordinate with existing, ongoing, and emerging research, studies, and initiatives with respect to the DSSA-WG objectives. Subject to the limitations above, the DSSA-WG should do whatever it deems relevant and necessary to achieve its objectives.


The DSSA-WG shall take a proactive role in fostering participation and input from the relevant communities and expert groups and provide regular feedback and the opportunity to comment to the participating SOs and ACs and the ICANN community in general on its progress.  All DSSA-WG members are encouraged to keep their respective groups updated and to solicit feedback and provide that feedback to the DSSA-WG.


If issues become apparent to the DSSA-WG that are outside of its scope, the DSSA-WG Co-Chairs shall inform the Chairs of the participating SOs and ACs in a timely manner so that appropriate action or remediation can be taken.


2.3 Deliverables and Timeframes


2.3.1 Work Plan


As a first step the DSSA-WG shall establish and adopt a work plan and associated schedule. The Co-Chairs of the DSSA-WG shall inform the Chairs of the participating SOs and ACs accordingly. The Work Plan and schedule should include times and methods for public consultation and reporting to the participating SOs and ACs, including an expected date for submission of a Final Report. The tentative schedule included in Annex A, will be updated accordingly.


2.3.2 Reporting 


The Co-Chairs of the DSSA-WG shall report regularly to the participating SOs and ACs on the progress of the DSSA-WG and at an appropriate time produce a Final Report on its findings with respect to items 2.1 A, B and C above.


2.4 Final Report


Following its submission each of the SOs and ACs shall discuss the Final Report and may adopt the Final Report according to their own rules and procedures. The Chairs of the SOs and ACs shall inform the Co-Chairs of the DSSA-WG accordingly as soon as possible after submission of the report.


3.0 Members, Staffing, and Organization


3.1 Membership


Membership in the DSSA-WG is open to members of the participating ICANN SOs and ACs.  Each of the participating SOs and ACs shall appoint members to the DSSA-WG in accordance with their own rules and procedures. There shall be a minimum of one representative from each participating SO and AC.

Non-participating ICANN AC’s are invited to appoint one or more liaisons according to their own rules and procedures.


The Chairs of the participating SOs and ACs, or their alternates, shall be ex-officio members of the DSSA-WG.


The ALAC, ccNSO, and the GNSO shall each select a Co-Chair for the DSSA-WG.  The Co-Chairs shall have primary leadership responsibilities for the DSSA-WG. The Co-Chairs are encouraged to collaborate with one another and with ICANN staff support personnel in leading the DSSA-WG.


The DSSA-WG shall also approach the technical and security communities, other DNS experts and CERTS to seek their participation in the activities the WG. The Co-Chairs of the DSSA-WG, after consulting  the DSSA-WG members, may invite or appoint members of these groups to the membership of the DSSA-WG.


All DSSA-WG participants are expected to be able to:

-           Demonstrate knowledge or expertise of aspects of the objectives of the DSSA-WG; and

-           Commit to actively participate in the activities of the working group on an ongoing and long-term basis.


Participants and liaisons will be listed on the working group’s webpage.


3.2 Access to and Protection of Confidential Information

Sub-working groups of the DSSA-WG may need to access sensitive or proprietary information in order for the DSSA-WG to do its work.  Thus, measures may need to be established to access and protect confidential or proprietary information.  The following procedures are an exception to the standards for transparency and accountability and only apply in cases where members of the aforementioned sub-working groups of the DSSA-WG need to access and to protect confidential information:

  • In certain cases under this exception, in order to ensure access to and protection of confidential or proprietary information, sub-working groups’ members of the DSSA-WG will be asked to sign a Formal Affirmation of Confidentiality and Non-Disclosure (See Annex B).  In addition, the sub-working groups’ members of the DSSA-WG may be required to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) for a specific project or issue.
  • No formal Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) is required for membership in the DSSA-WG; and
  • A separate email distribution list that is not publicly accessible may be established only to include the sub-working groups’ members who have signed a Non-Disclosure Agreement applicable to that specific project or issue.


3.3 Statements of Interest (SOI)


Members of the DSSA-WG shall provide to the participating SO and AC Secretariats a Statement of Interest according to the rules set forth in the GNSO Council Operating Procedures at: .  SoI’s shall be posted on the DSSA-WG website.


Pending revisions to section 5.3.3 of the GNSO Operating Procedures relating to Statements of Interest, members of the DSSA-WG shall provide the following information in their Statements of Interest:


1. Current vocation, employer and position
2. Type of work performed in #1 above
3. Identify any financial ownership or senior management/leadership interest in that are interested parties in DSSA related topics.
4. Identify any type of commercial or non-commercial interest in DSSA related topics. Are you representing other parties? Describe any arrangements/agreements between you and any other group, constituency or person(s) regarding your nomination/selection as a work team member.
5. As referenced in Section 3.1 above, DSSA-WG members are expected to “ demonstrate knowledge or expertise of aspects of the objectives of the DSSA-WG ”. Please identify any knowledge, expertise or experience you have that would be relevant to the work of the DSSA-WG.
6. Describe any tangible or intangible benefit that you receive from participation in such processes. For example, if you are an academic or NGO and use your position to advance your ability to participate, this should be a part of the statement of interest, just as should employment by an organization that has an interest in DSSA WG outcomes.


3.4 Support staff and Tools


ICANN is expected to provide adequate staff support to the DSSA-WG.


In addition, the following communication tools have been established to aid the work of the DSSA-WG:

  • DSSA-WG Wiki Workspace at
  • DSSA-WG Email List Subscriptions: DSSA WG <> ; and
  • DSSA-WG SOI Repository at:


3.5 Rules of Engagement


The Co-Chairs, in consultation with participating SOs and ACs, are empowered to restrict the participation of someone who seriously disrupts the DSSA-WG. Any such restriction shall be reviewed by the participating SOs and ACs. Generally, the participant should first be warned privately, and then warned publicly before such a restriction is put into place. In extreme circumstances, this requirement may be bypassed. This restriction is subject to the right of appeal as outlined below.


3.6 Working Group Methodology


3.6.1 Standard Methodology for Making Decisions


In considering its work plan and reports the DSSA-WG shall seek to act by consensus. If a minority opposes a consensus position, that minority position shall be incorporated in the related report. The consensus view of the DSSA-WG members and minority views, if any, shall be conveyed to the participating SO’s/AC’s according to the following procedures.


The Co-Chairs shall be responsible for designating each position as having one of the following designations:

  • Full consensus – a position where no minority disagrees;
  • Consensus - a position where a small minority disagrees but most agree;
  • No consensus but strong support for a specific position / recommendation but significant opposition; and
  • Divergence – no strong support for a specific position / recommendation


In the case of consensus, no consensus or divergence, the DSSA-WG Co-Chairs should encourage the submission of minority viewpoint(s).


Based upon the DSSA-WG's needs and/or the Co-Chairs’ direction, DSSA-WG participants may request that their names are not associated explicitly with any view/position.


If a participating SO or AC wishes to deviate from the standard methodology for making decisions or empower the DSSA-WG to use its own decision-making methodology it should be affirmatively stated in the DSSA-WG Charter.


Consensus calls should always make best efforts to involve the entire DSSA-WG. It is the role of the Co-Chairs to designate which level of consensus is reached and announce this designation to the DSSA-WG. Member(s) of the DSSA-WG should be able to challenge the designation of the Co-Chairs as part of the DSSA-WG discussion. However, if disagreement persists, members of the DSSA-WG may use the process described below to challenge the designation.


If any participant(s) in the DSSA-WG disagree with the designation given to a position by the Co-Chairs or any other consensus call, they may follow these steps sequentially:

  1. Send email to the Co-Chairs, copying the DSSA-WG email list explaining why the decision is believed to be in error.
  2. If the Co-Chairs still disagree with the complainants, the Co-Chairs shall forward the appeal to the SO and AC liaison(s). The Co-Chairs must explain their reasoning in the response to the complainants and in the submission to the liaison. If the SO and AC liaison(s) supports the Co-Chairs’ position, the liaison(s) shall provide their response to the complainants. The liaison(s) must explain their reasoning in the response. If the SO and AC liaison(s) disagree(s)with the Co-Chairs, the liaison(s) shall forward the appeal to the participating SO and ACs.  Should the complainants disagree with the liaison(s) support of the Co-Chairs’ determination, the complainants may appeal to the Chairs of the SO or AC or their designated representatives. If the SO or AC agrees with the complainants’ position, the SO or AC should recommend remedial action to the Co-Chairs.
  3. In the event of any appeal, the SO or AC liaison(s) shall attach a statement of the appeal to the DSSA-WG report. This statement should include all of the documentation from all steps in the appeals process and should include a statement from the participating SOs and ACs. [2]


3.6.2 Appeal Process


Any DSSA-WG member that believes that his/her contributions are being systematically ignored or discounted or wants to appeal a decision of the DSSA-WG or the participating SO or AC should first discuss the circumstances with the DSSA-WG Co-Chairs. In the event that the matter cannot be resolved satisfactorily, the DSSA-WG member should request an opportunity to discuss the situation with the Chairs of the SOs or ACs or their designated representatives.


In addition, if any member of the DSSA-WG is of the opinion that someone is not performing their role according to the criteria outlined in section 4.1 of this document, the same appeals process may be invoked.


4. Omission In or Unreasonable Impact of Charter


In the event this charter does not provide guidance and/or the impact of the charter is unreasonable for conducting the business of the DSSA-WG, the Co-Chairs of the DSSA-WG shall decide if they think charter needs to be modified.


In the event it is decided that the charter needs to be modified to address the omission or unreasonable impact, the Co-Chairs may propose to modify the charter. A modification shall only be effective after adoption of the adjusted charter by the participating SOs and ACs in accordance with their own rules and procedures.


5. Closure and Working Group Self-Assessment


The DSSA-WG shall be dissolved upon receipt of the notofication of the Chairs of the SOs and ACs as foreseen in section 2.4 above or as directed jointly by the participating SOs and ACs.


6.0 Charter Document History


This section records key changes to the DSSA-WG Charter that take place after the adoption of the Charter.



Annex A Schedule


Milestone Event

Start Date

End Date


Draft DSSA-WG Charter




Invite and Establish Working Group Co-Chairs and Members



Working Group Members & Co-Chairs

Adopt a Work Plan and Time Schedule



Work Plan and Time Schedule

Produce Draft Report



Draft Report

Public Comment Period on Draft Report



Public Comment

Final Report Submitted to SOs and ACs



Final Report



Joint DNS Security and Stability Analysis Working Group (DSSA-
Affirmation of Confidentiality and Non-Disclosure

I, _____________________________ , a member of the ICANN Joint DNS Security and Stability Analysis Working Group (DSSA-WG), affirm my intention to conform to the following:

  1. As a member of the DSSA-WG, I may be provided certain technical data or information that is commercially valuable and not generally known in its industry of principal use (collectively referred to as “Proprietary Information”) pursuant to the DSSA-WG’s performance of its tasks.   I will use reasonable care to hold in confidence and not disclose any Proprietary Information disclosed to me.  Written information provided to me as a member of the DSSA-WG shall be considered Proprietary Information only if such information is clearly marked with an appropriate stamp or legend as Proprietary Information.   Non-written information shall be considered Proprietary Information only if the discloser of such information informs the DSSA-WG at the time of disclosure that the information being disclosed is of a proprietary nature.
  2. I shall have no obligation of confidentiality with respect to information disclosed to me if:
    1. such information is, at the time of disclosure, in the public domain or such information thereafter becomes a part of the public domain without a breach of this Affirmation; or
    2. such information is known to the DSSA-WG at the time it is disclosed to me; or
    3. such information has independently developed by the DSSA-WG; or
    4. such information is received by the DSSA-WG from a third party who had a lawful right to disclose such information to it; or
    5. such information is allowed to be disclosed with the written approval of the disclosing party.
  3. I understand that I may be requested to sign a non-disclosure agreement in order to access information to perform a study, research, or other DSSA-WG tasks.  I understand that if I decline to sign any such agreement, I will also be declining participation in the task requiring the execution of the non-disclosure agreement .
  4. My obligations under this Affirmation shall expire one (1) year after I am no longer a member of the DSSA-WG

Signature of DSSA-WG member:__________________________

Name of DSSA-WG member: _____________________________

Date: __________________________                   Place: __________________________

Editorial update version 1.1.


The word “draft” has been removed from “draft version”

The version number has been updated ( from 1.0 – 1.1) 

The dates of adoption/endorsement of the charter by the participating SO/AC’s have been included

The URL’s of wikispace, dssa WG email address and URL of SOI’s has been included.


[1] Staff note:

The ALAC endorsed the charter at its meeting on 7 December 2010

The ccNSO adopted the charter at its meeting on 8 December 2010

The GNSO approved the charter at its meeting on 8 December 2010

The NRO adopted the charter at its meeting on 21 December 2010

[2] It should be noted that ICANN also has other conflict resolution mechanisms available that could be considered in case any of the parties are dissatisfied with the outcome of this process.