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Access and the Evolution of the WHOIS System

Within the ICANN multistakeholder model, changes to RDDS requirements and procedures occur in the following ways:

  • ICANN's Bylaws require periodic reviews to assess the effectiveness of RDDS and whether its implementation meets the legitimate needs of law enforcement, promoting consumer trust, and safeguarding registrant data. Learn more about Specific Reviews here.
  • Changes to RDDS obligations can be accomplished through the contract amendment clauses in the RAA and in each of the Registry Agreements. For example, amendments to the base gTLD Registry Agreement (RA) and 2013 Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA), which were approved by the ICANN Board on 30 April 2023, specify operational requirements for providing RDDS via RDAP. Learn more about RDAP here.
  • Consensus policies created through recommendations developed by the GNSO, as approved by the Board in accordance with procedures under the ICANN Bylaws, can also change RDDS obligations. Learn more about ICANN Consensus Policies here.

As privacy legislation continues to evolve, ICANN org focuses on implementing policies and building systems to facilitate access to registration data related to gTLDs for legitimate interests, while at the same time complying with the law.

Learn more and find the latest information on Data Protection and Privacy at ICANN here.

Domain Name System
Internationalized Domain Name ,IDN,"IDNs are domain names that include characters used in the local representation of languages that are not written with the twenty-six letters of the basic Latin alphabet ""a-z"". An IDN can contain Latin letters with diacritical marks, as required by many European languages, or may consist of characters from non-Latin scripts such as Arabic or Chinese. Many languages also use other types of digits than the European ""0-9"". The basic Latin alphabet together with the European-Arabic digits are, for the purpose of domain names, termed ""ASCII characters"" (ASCII = American Standard Code for Information Interchange). These are also included in the broader range of ""Unicode characters"" that provides the basis for IDNs. The ""hostname rule"" requires that all domain names of the type under consideration here are stored in the DNS using only the ASCII characters listed above, with the one further addition of the hyphen ""-"". The Unicode form of an IDN therefore requires special encoding before it is entered into the DNS. The following terminology is used when distinguishing between these forms: A domain name consists of a series of ""labels"" (separated by ""dots""). The ASCII form of an IDN label is termed an ""A-label"". All operations defined in the DNS protocol use A-labels exclusively. The Unicode form, which a user expects to be displayed, is termed a ""U-label"". The difference may be illustrated with the Hindi word for ""test"" — परीका — appearing here as a U-label would (in the Devanagari script). A special form of ""ASCII compatible encoding"" (abbreviated ACE) is applied to this to produce the corresponding A-label: xn--11b5bs1di. A domain name that only includes ASCII letters, digits, and hyphens is termed an ""LDH label"". Although the definitions of A-labels and LDH-labels overlap, a name consisting exclusively of LDH labels, such as"""" is not an IDN."