DENIC Expands Services Becoming Official Provider Of Data Escrow for ICANN-Accredited Registrars

A number of top level domain registries are looking for more business opportunities. Some such as have ventured into providing backend registry services for new gTLDs. Others such as SIDN, the .nl registry has expanded by co-creating a DNS billing service in the Netherlands and taking over an e-identity company with 12 million users.

And DENIC, the .de country code top level domain manager, has also been expanding. Last month they announced it had won the contract with EURid to provide shared use of its global anycast mesh for the .eu and Cyrillic script .ею (xn--e1a4c) TLDs.

This week DENIC had a further announcement. They are extending their business activities to include a back-up storage service for the business data of ICANN-accredited registrars (Registrar Data Escrow). On 15 March a contract was signed with ICANN that included several unprecedented conditions that are different from any previous agreement. Not only do the applicable law and place of jurisdiction terms allow for non-US legislation and venues, as far as the relationship between registrar and data escrow provider is concerned. But for the first time within the ICANN escrow context, full compliance with the applicable European data protection regulations is achieved.

The accreditation by ICANN as a Third-Party Provider for Registrar Data Escrow (TPP RDE) was obtained by DENIC last year. Now the details of the obligatory tripartite agreement between ICANN, DENIC and registrars as the users of the RDE service could be finalised. The contract stands out from other parties’ escrow agreements with ICANN by not being governed exclusively by Californian law but also allowing German law as the applicable legislation for the contractual relationship between a registrar and DENIC as escrow provider – provided ICANN is not affected. Moreover, the registrar and DENIC may define upon contract conclusion if, in case of dispute, they will seek redress in a German court or a Swiss court of arbitration.

During the recent ICANN meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark, the first tripartite agreement was signed by Akram Atallah, President of ICANN’s Global Domains Division (GDD), DENIC COO Andreas Musielak and Marcus Fauré, Managing Director of the German registrar Global Village, on 15 March 2017. Global Village – together with another five registrars – had already used DENIC's Escrow Service in the last few months within the scope of a Friends & Family test scenario. The agreement with ICANN now cleared the way for concluding an official contract.

“Escrow Services is an interesting new business field for us. Providing a back-up service for sensitive data will further enhance our international reputation as a trustworthy partner,” said DENIC COO Andreas Musielak expressing his satisfaction about the latest development.

“Given the legal uncertainty with regard to data transfers to the Unites States, the DENIC Escrow Service is a very attractive option, also and in particular to all registrars based in Europe.”

“In the current tense political climate, protecting the data of European domain holders has become ever more important. I am relieved that, being a contracting partner of DENIC, I will now be able to store the data of my customers in a legally safe place in Europe, without having to entrust them to an enterprise that is competing with my own company,” said Global Village Managing Director Marcus Fauré. “With DENIC, I now have the ideal partner for the technical implementation by my side.”

DENIC’s Board is confident that the ongoing contract negotiations with ICANN for approving DENIC to also provide Registry Data Escrow (RyDE) for the New gTLDs will now come to a close soon, too. New gTLD registry operators are also subject to the obligation to use escrow services.

As a neutral, not-for-profit cooperative, DENIC is neither a registrar nor a gTLD (backend) operator, and thus does not compete with the potential customers of its Escrow Service. 20 years of experience in operating one of the largest TLD zones worldwide (.de) with more than 16 million domains make DENIC one of the leading experts in domain management, at an international level. State-of-the art cryptographic algorithms and multiple redundancies safeguard the secure transmission and storage of all domain registration data. Storage will be exclusively in data centers located in Europe (i.e. in Frankfurt and Amsterdam), in compliance with European data protection regulations. DENIC's certifications according to ISO/IEC 27001:2013 ISMS and ISO 22301:2012 BCM standards are another guarantee for maximum information security and availability.