Interisle Consulting Group's WHOIS Proxy/Privacy Reveal & Relay Feasibility Survey

Comment/Reply Periods (*)Important Information Links
Comment Open:4 June 2012
Comment Close:25 June 2012
Close Time (UTC):23:59 UTCPublic Comment Announcement
Reply Open:26 June 2012To Submit Your Comments (Forum)
Reply Close:16 July 2012View Comments Submitted
Close Time (UTC):23:59 UTCReport of Public Comments
Brief Overview
Originating Organization:GNSO Council – Interisle Consulting's WHOIS Proxy/Privacy Reveal & Relay Feasibility Survey
Categories/Tags:Policy Processes
Purpose (Brief):This survey, conducted by the Interisle Consulting Group in Boston, MA, USA, is intended to help the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) Council determine the feasibility of conducting an extensive analytical study ("full study") into communication Relay and identity Reveal requests sent for gTLD domain names registered using Proxy and Privacy services.
Current Status:This Public Comment solicitation represents an opportunity for the community to consider the survey results detailed in this draft report, ask questions, request clarifications, and share perspectives about the feasibility of conducting a full study into WHOIS Proxy/Privacy Reveal & Relay handling for gTLD domain names. In parallel,ICANN and Interisle will conduct a Webinar to facilitate feedback by summarizing this survey's purpose, methodology, key findings, and conclusions.
Next Steps:Interisle will consider all comments submitted to this Public Comment forum during the comment period, incorporate any needed clarifications, and then publish a final version of this WHOIS Proxy/Privacy Reveal & Relay Survey report. Afterwards, the GNSO Council will use this report as a foundation to determine whether and how to launch a full study into WHOIS Proxy/Privacy Reveal & Relay handling for gTLD domain names.
Staff Contact:Liz
Detailed Information
Section I: Description, Explanation, and Purpose

At the request of the GNSO Council, ICANN engaged the Interisle Consulting Group to conduct an independent third-party WHOIS Privacy and Proxy Relay/Reveal Survey to gather, analyze, and present data that might allow the ICANN community to determine the feasibility of launching a full study and inform the design and conduct of a full study (should one be undertaken).

Specifically, this survey assessed the willingness and ability of request originators, Privacy/Proxy providers, Registrars and other interested parties to participate in and provide data to a full study, identified factors that would promote or inhibit participation in a full study, and offered individuals and organizations who might be willing to participate in a full study an opportunity to identify themselves.

This draft report presents the questions posed by this multi-lingual on-line survey, responses supplied by 168 survey respondents, input obtained through follow-up interviews, and the research team's analysis, conclusions, and recommendations about concerning a possible full study.

The GNSO Council is now seeking community review and feedback on the draft report. The purpose of this Public Comment period is to ensure that survey results have been communicated clearly and to solicit feedback on the goals and nature of a full study of Relay and Reveal requests (if any) that could be feasible, given the findings provided by this survey report. The draft report and supporting appendices can be accessed here:

Section II: Background

As part of a broader effort to develop a comprehensive understanding of the gTLD WHOIS system, the GNSO Council has expressed an interest in conducting an in-depth study ("full study") that would analyze Relay and Reveal requests sent for Privacy and Proxy-registered domain names. At the GNSO's request, ICANN issued an RFP in September 2010 which detailed a full study to explore and analyze a sample of Relay and Reveal requests sent for Privacy/Proxy-registered domain names to document how they are processed and identify factors that may promote or impede timely communication and resolution. The highly diverse and distributed nature of these practices has made it difficult to assess the effectiveness of related policies. The study's stated objective was therefore to help the ICANN community better understand how communication Relay and identity Reveal requests sent for Privacy/Proxy-registered domain names are actually being handled.

To some, such a study might be highly desirable, if not essential. However, RFP responses revealed concerns about how such a study could be carried out or even if it could yield meaningful results. It was not clear what data (if any) could be made available to a study team; which entities could provide that data (and on what basis); what levels of participation would be forthcoming from key groups and other members of the community; or how to design and carry out a study so that it was likely to be successful. ICANNstaff therefore recommended that a survey be conducted first, to determine the feasibility of conducting a full study. The GNSOCouncil authorized a survey to determine whether or not a full study would be feasible, under what conditions or limitations, and how likely it would be to obtain broad participation from Relay and Reveal initiators and responders. Results of this feasibility Survey, conducted independently by Interisle, are the subject of this draft report.

Section III: Document and Resource Links
  1. WHOIS Proxy/Privacy Reveal & Relay Feasibility Survey Draft Report [PDF, 2.12 MB]
  2. WHOIS Proxy/Privacy Reveal & Relay Feasibility Survey Draft Report Appendices [PDF, 1.19 MB]
  3. WHOIS Privacy/Proxy Relay & Reveal Studies RFP [PDF, 81 KB]
  4. Report to the GNSO Council on WHOIS Privacy and Proxy Relay & Reveal studies [PDF, 247 KB]
  5. gTLD WHOIS Privacy and Proxy Relay and Reveal Survey Now Live
Section IV: Additional Information
Additional WHOIS studies are now being conducted at the request of the GNSO Council, as summarized by:


(*) Comments submitted after the posted Close Date/Time are not guaranteed to be considered in any final summary, analysis, reporting, or decision-making that takes place once this period lapses.