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Registration Directory Service Review (RDS)

Under the Bylaws (Section 4.6(e)), ICANN is committed to a periodic review of the effectiveness of the generic top-level domain (gTLD) registry directory service (RDS) and whether its implementation meets the legitimate needs of law enforcement, promotes consumer trust, and safeguards registrant data.

The ICANN organization (org) has conducted two iterations of the Registration Directory Service (RDS, formerly known as WHOIS) Review and is in the process of implementing RDS-WHOIS2 recommendations the Board approved in February 2020. For more information on RDS-WHOIS2 Review work, see here

The Board took action on 22 September 2022 to defer the Third Review of the Registration Directory Service (RDS3). See the Board resolution here.

Click here to learn more about ICANN Reviews.

Status of RDS-WHOIS2 Recommendations 

15 Board Approved Recommendations (in Whole or in Part): 

Implementation Status
  • Mechanism to monitor legislative/policy developments: 1.1, 1.2
  • Board activities on RDS: 1.3
  • RDS3: 10.2, 12.1
  • Common interface display: 11.2
  • Implementation reporting:  15.1
  • Data collection: LE.1, LE.2
  • Contracts: SG.1
  • Registration data: CC.2
  • Resourcing: CC.3
In Progress
  • Web information/educational materials: 3.1 
  • Outreach: 3.2 
  • Contracts: CC.1
Not Started      N/A

Recommendations pending Board consideration: N/A

2 Recommendations Passed through to Community Groups (in Whole or in Part): Recommendations CC.1, CC.4

4 Rejected Recommendations: Recommendations 4.1, 4.2, 5.1, 10.1

Implementation status of recommendations should be understood as follows:

  • Complete: a recommendation's intent which is considered implemented or addressed and for which implementation documentation is available.
  • In progress: a recommendation for which work has started to address deliverables identified during the implementation design. Implementation design is the preparatory phase for implementation during which a cross-functional project team develops guidelines that include deliverables for implementation, costing out resources, risk assessment, as well as an inventory of existing work etc.
  • Not started: Work has not started due to, for instance, a dependency on another recommendation and/or process.

Quarterly Updates on Specific Reviews Recommendations

Review Progress and Milestones

The graphic below illustrates phases and status of each review - a Circle arrow 360 indicates that all activities within a given phase have been completed.  The chart that follows the graphic provides further details of key activities and milestones within each phase – you can view these details by clicking on each of the phases in the graphic.  The table also contains links to relevant documents.

RDS (formerly WHOIS)
PhaseActivityDescriptionStart DateDocuments
Conduct ReviewCall for VolunteersPublic announcement inviting volunteers to submit application28 Oct 2016
Call for Volunteers ExtensionApplication extended for the Registration Directory Service Review Team6 Dec 2016
Call for Volunteers DeadlineDeadline extension for the Registration Directory Service Review Team11 Jan 2017
Call for Volunteers DeadlineDeadline extension for the Registration Directory Service Review Team22 Feb 2017
Appointment of Board DesigneeBoard appoints a member to the RDS Review Team3 Feb 2017
Review Team AnnouncedSelection of the Registration Directory Service (RDS/WHOIS2-RT) Review Team Members Announced2 Jun 2017
Terms of ReferenceTerms of Reference and Work Plan submitted to ICANN Board.9 Feb 2018
Draft ReportRegistration Directory Service (RDS) - WHOIS2 Review Draft report4 Sep 2018
Draft Report & Recommendations Public CommentPublic Comment period for the Review Team's draft report of recommendations4 Sep 2018
Public Comment ExtendedPublic Comment period extended for the Draft Report of Recommendations6 Nov 2018
Final ReportRegistration Directory Service (RDS)-WHOIS2 Review Final Report3 Sep 2019
RDS Final Report Executive SummaryExecutive Summary of the RDS Final Report3 Sep 2019
Board Action*Public Comment on Final ReportFinal report and recommendations posted for Public Comment8 Oct 2019
Board Action on Final Report and RecommendationsBoard takes action on 22 recommendations25 Feb 2020
Deferral of Third RDS ReviewDeferral of the Third Review of the Registration Directory Service (RDS3)22 Sep 2022
Board Action on Pending RecommendationsBoard takes action on the four pending recommendations21 Dec 2023

For information on the first WHOIS Review, click here: RDS1.  For more information on Registration Data, please visit our Registration Data at ICANN page.

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."