Tag Archives: privacy

ICANN: Call for Volunteers for Implementation Advisory Group to Review Existing ICANN Procedure for Handling WHOIS Conflicts with Privacy Laws

ICANN logoICANN seeks volunteers to serve on an Implementation Advisory Group (IAG) to review and suggest potential changes to the implementation of the ICANN Procedure for Handling WHOIS Conflicts with Privacy Laws (the Procedure.)

What This Team Will Do

The IAG will work with ICANN staff on reviewing the current steps of the Procedure and identifying possible changes to the procedure to facilitate resolution of issues where WHOIS requirements conflict with applicable laws. The IAG is expected to explore whether any of the Procedure’s elements ought to be amended in order to strike this balance. Any recommended changes made will need to be in line with the Procedure’s underlying policy, which was adopted by the GNSO Council in 2005. As a result, recommended changes to the implementation of the procedure, if any, will be shared with the GNSO Council to ensure that these do not conflict with the intent of the original policy recommendations.

How This Team Will Work

Like other ICANN working groups, the Implementation Advisory Group will use transparent, open processes. The meetings of the IAG are expected to take place via conference calls which will be recorded, and the recordings will be available to the public. Initially, it is expected the group will meet once every two weeks, but the IAG will then determine its preferred schedule and methodology. The mailing list for the IAG will be archived publicly. Observers are welcome to join the mailing list to monitor the discussions. These observers will receive emails from the group, but will not be able to post messages or attend meetings. IAG members are expected to submit Statements of Interest (SOI). The group will collaborate using a public workspace.

How To Join

ICANN invites interested parties to join the IAG, which will be open to anyone interested to join. ICANN urges interested community members willing to work on this initiative and with a range of views to join and contribute to the group’s work. As noted above, you can join the IAG either as a member or an observer. Please contact whois-iag-volunteers@icann.org if you wish to join the IAG.


In November 2005, the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) concluded a policy development process (PDP) on WHOIS conflicts with privacy law which recommended that “In order to facilitate reconciliation of any conflicts between local/national mandatory privacy laws or regulations and applicable provisions of the ICANN contract regarding the collection, display and distribution of personal data via the gTLD WHOIS service, ICANN should:

  1. Develop and publicly document a procedure for dealing with the situation in which a registrar or registry can credibly demonstrate that it is legally prevented by local/national privacy laws or regulations from fully complying with applicable provisions of its ICANN contract regarding the collection, display and distribution of personal data via WHOIS.
  2. Create goals for the procedure which include:
    1. Ensuring that ICANN staff is informed of a conflict at the earliest appropriate juncture;
    2. Resolving the conflict, if possible, in a manner conducive to ICANN‘s Mission, applicable Core Values, and the stability and uniformity of the WHOIS system;
    3. Providing a mechanism for the recognition, if appropriate, in circumstances where the conflict cannot be otherwise resolved, of an exception to contractual obligations to those registries/registrars to which the specific conflict applies with regard to collection, display and distribution of personally identifiable data via WHOIS; and
    4. Preserving sufficient flexibility for ICANN staff to respond to particular factual situations as they arise”.

The ICANN Board adopted the recommendations in May 2006 and the final Procedure was made effective in January 2008. Although to date no registrar or registry operator has formally invoked the Procedure, concerns have been expressed both by public authorities as well as registrars and registry operators concerning potential conflicts between WHOIS contractual obligations and local law.

Given that the WHOIS Procedure has not been invoked and yet numerous concerns have arisen from contracted parties and the wider community, ICANN launched a review as part of the Procedure. The review was launched with the publication of a paper for public comment on 22 May 2014. The paper outlined the Procedure’s steps and invited public comments on a series of questions. The body of public comment was analyzed by ICANN staff, and the proposed next step is the formation of an IAG to consider changes to how the Procedure is enacted and used. ICANN staff found common themes among some of the suggestions in the public comments, which may allow for changes to implementation of the Procedure in line with the underlying policy.

On 22 September 2014, the GAC noted [PDF, 55 KB] that the issues around the WHOIS Conflicts with National Law Procedure warrant further time and attention, as they touch on significant public policy matters associated with national laws and the legitimate uses of WHOIS data. The IAG is open to participation and GAC members and other government stakeholders are encouraged to take part in the group to contribute to advancement of the work in this area.

The IAG’s recommendation will then be shared with the GNSO Council to determine the next steps.

This ICANN announcement was sourced from:

Neylon “Angry, Frustrated And Unhappy” With ICANN

Michele Neylon is not happy with ICANN. Actually, he’s “angry, frustrated and unhappy”.

The reason is, “ICANN has put us and other European Union based registrars in an utterly ridiculous situation,” Neylon wrote on his Blacknight Solutions blog.

“We are expected to ask ICANN for permission to comply with Irish and EU data privacy law.

“Or put another way, an Irish company is obliged to jump through hoops with a California based corporation in order to be able to operate within Irish law.”

It’s a situation that has been brewing for some time Neylon wrote, with discussions with ICANN happening for the last two years.

His company went from being a domain name reseller to an ICANN-accredited registrar to cut out the middleman. And now a new contract has been published, but as he notes “the new contract has issues if you’re based in the EU.”

“The central tenet of data privacy law is summed up in Article 6(e) of the European Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC which deals with retention of data (emphasis added):
    kept in a form which permits identification of data subjects for no longer than is necessary for the purposes for which the data were collected

“Which under Irish law is Data Protection (Amendment) Act 2003:
    “Article 4 (e). preserved in a form which permits identification of the data subjects for no longer than is required for the purpose for which those data are stored”

“However ICANN explicitly demands that registrars retain the data for way longer.”

Neylon’s problem is that the period of time ICANN want the data to be held is “simply too long”.

To seek some clarification, Neylon reached out to Ireland’s Data Protection Commissioner, and they advised, in short, ‘without any rationale for the data being held for so long they had issues with it’.

The EU also has problems with the requirement. Neylon writes the “European Union, has written to ICANN on several occasions telling them clearly that the 2013 RAA is not compatible with EU law.

“They also made it very clear that they didn’t think it was reasonable to ask every EU based ICANN accredited registrar to jump through hoops to get an exemption to the clauses.”

And then he asks “What did ICANN do about it? Short answer – nothing.”

In his posting, Neylon finds it problematical that ICANN doesn’t understand law.

To read the post in full, see blog.blacknight.com/blow-fuse.html.

ICANN: Status Update from the Expert Working Group on gTLD Directory Services

ICANN logoICANN has embarked on a journey to reinvent today’s WHOIS system. Help the EWG envision a better system by joining the discussion at ICANN‘s Buenos Aires meeting and online.

The Expert Working Group on gTLD Directory Services (EWG) has been working to envision a clean-slate approach to better meet global Internet community needs for domain name registration data with greater privacy, accuracy, and accountability. In its Initial Report [PDF, 1.70 MB] published in June, the EWG recommended a series of principles and proposed a model for the next-generation Registration Directory Service (RDS) to replace today’s WHOIS system.

In advance of the ICANN-48 Meeting in Buenos Aires, the EWG has published a Status Update Report [PDF, 2.26 MB] that provides further insight into the EWG’s analysis and highlights its current thoughts on key issues, after more extensive exploration of open areas and careful consideration of all Community comments received on its Initial Report. As the EWG’s deliberations are on-going, it is hoped that this report will provide insight into the team’s recommendations, answer questions, and stimulate lively Community dialogue in Buenos Aires and online input.

Key issues highlighted in this Status Update Report [PDF, 2.26 MB] include:

  • Identifying the data elements to be freely available on an anonymous basis, and those that might require authenticated, gated access through accreditation for permissible purposes
  • Details on the principles for better privacy or proxy services and a proposal for secured protected credentials for use by at-risk individuals
  • Suggestions to improve data quality through standardization validation, periodic checks, and prevalidated contacts
  • Consideration of jurisdictional and applicable law issues, notably data protection law
  • Suggestions for ensuring harmonized approaches to data protection and security measures, and a framework for binding corporate rules to meet data protection obligations.
  • Exploration of how existing technical protocols could be utilized by the EWG’s recommended implementation model (such as EPP or the RDAP protocol under development by the IETF)
  • Comparison of the current WHOIS system (as improved in the 2013 RAA) to the EWG’s recommended next-generation registration data directory service
  • Description of various implementation models examined by the EWG, including a detailed comparison of pro and cons.

The ideas presented in this Status Update Report are works-in progress, not consensus recommendations, and may be further updated by the EWGin Buenos Aires. The EWG hopes to use Community input and research into specific areas to reach fact-based recommendations to be delivered in its Final Report.

Join the discussion

There are several ways to participate in this journey to envision a better system:

What’s Next?

Due to the complexity of the task at hand and the importance of basing any next-generation RDS on a solid understanding of the benefits and impacts that would likely result, the EWG has not yet completed its recommendations, but intends to do so in early 2014, informed by Community feedback and in-depth analysis of selected areas. The EWG expects to reconvene in March 2014 to derive fact-based recommendations, delivering its final report to the ICANN Board before June 2014.


In December, ICANN announced the creation of an Expert Working Group (EWG) on next-generation gTLD Registration Directory Services, as a first step in fulfilling the ICANN Board’s directive to help redefine the purpose and provision of gTLD registration data. The EWG’s findings are expected to serve as a foundation to help the GNSO create a new global policy for the provision of gTLD registration data.

A significant milestone was reached on 24 June 2013 with the publication of the Expert Working Group on gTLD Directory Services (EWG)’s Initial Report and FAQs, opening a consultation period with the ICANN community. The initial report [PDF, 1.70 MB] enumerated the users, purposes, data elements, recommended principles and features, and proposed model to guide the development of a next generation Registration Directory Service (RDS) to replace WHOIS.

The initial report was accompanied by a questionnaire soliciting community input on complex areas needing further analysis to draft consensus recommendations.  While comments were received on the entire initial report, two topics received the most feedback: the EWG’s recommendation to replace fully anonymous WHOIS with a gated access paradigm, and the suggested Aggregated RDS (ARDS) implementation model.

The EWG’s Status Update Report [PDF, 2.26 MB] aims to highlight the EWG’s current thinking on these and many other key issues, after careful consideration of all comments and feedback received to date.  It also provides a great deal more detail on the analysis that lay behind the Initial Report [PDF, 1.70 MB], as requested by the community.

More Information

The EWG work stems from the Board’s directive to redefine the purpose and provision of gTLD registration data, while balancing data accuracy and access issues with safeguards for protecting data. The EWG considered the important community work done over the last decade by the GNSO, the SSAC, the WHOIS Review Team, the GAC and others.

The EWG’s Initial Report [PDF, 1.70 MB] reflects the EWG’s consensus view of design principles and features needed in a new RDS, along with a proposed Model illustrating how these could be fulfilled in the ICANN domain ecosystem. For more information, please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions prepared by the EWG after its Initial Report.

Initial Report Executive Summary

Initial Report

Consultation Archives

To view the Expert Working Group’s activities, please refer to the EWG wiki.

This ICANN announcement was sourced from:

ICANN Whois Privacy/Proxy Abuse Study Findings Webinar Invitation

ICANN logoYou are invited to participate in a webinar about the recently released Whois Privacy/Proxy Abuse Study, conducted for ICANN by the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) in the United Kingdom. This study has now been published for public comment, and community feedback is being invited in order to assist ICANN with evaluating potential changes to Whois policy and the use of privacy/proxy services.

In order to participate, please RSVP via email to the GNSO Secretariat (gnso.secretariat@gnso.icann.org) to receive the call details.

The study was commissioned by the GNSO to help the ICANN community understand the role that privacy and proxy service abuse plays in obscuring the identities of parties engaged in illegal or harmful activities, including phishing, cybersquatting, hosting child abuse sexual images, advanced fee fraud, and the online sale of counterfeit pharmaceuticals. NPL was engaged to analyze domain names across the top five gTLDs – .biz, .com, .info, .net and .org – to measure whether the percentage of privacy/proxy use among domains engaged in illegal or harmful Internet activities is significantly greater than among domain names used for lawful Internet activities.

NPL’s chief investigator on the study, Dr. Richard Clayton of the University of Cambridge, and ICANN staff will provide a briefing on Tuesday 15 October at 12.00 UTC and 19.00 UTC, summarizing NPL’s findings and conclusions based on the data they collected and analyzed. Amongst other topics, Dr. Clayton will discuss:

  • NPL’s methodology for the study and the hypothesis tested;
  • The different project activities and work packages undertaken for the study;
  • NPL’s statistical analysis of the data sampled for the study, including comparative differences observed by the research team; and
  • NPL’s conclusions based on the results of its analysis.

The two sessions are duplicates, scheduled to accommodate different time zones. Each session, scheduled to run for sixty (60) minutes, will be conducted in English only. The meeting will be run in Adobe Connect with a slide presentation along with a dial-in conference bridge for audio.

Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions at the end of each session. During the course of the webinar, questions may also be submitted using the chat function of Adobe Connect. If you are not able to participate in either of the live sessions, the recording of the session will be made available shortly after the meeting. The policy staff is always available to answer any questions that you email to policy-staff@icann.org.

In order to participate, please RSVP via email to the GNSO Secretariat (gnso.secretariat@gnso.icann.org) to receive the call details. Please indicate which call you would like to join on Tuesday 15 October – at 12.00 UTC or at 19.00 UTC (to convert those times into your local time, see: www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/fixedform.html). We will send you an e-mail reminder before the event with log-in and dial-in details. Please DO NOT RSVP to any other ICANN staff member’s e-mail address.

This ICANN announcement was sourced from:

ICANN: Study on Whois Privacy & Proxy Service Abuse

ICANN logoPurpose (Brief): This study, conducted by the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) in the United Kingdom, analyzes gTLD domain names to measure whether the percentage of privacy/proxy use among domains engaged in illegal or harmful Internet activities is significantly greater than among domain names used for lawful Internet activities. Furthermore, this study compares these privacy/proxy percentages to other methods used to obscure identity – notably, Whois phone numbers that are invalid.

These findings will help the community understand the role that privacy and proxy service abuse plays in obscuring the identities of parties engaged in illegal or harmful activities, including phishing, cybersquatting, hosting child abuse sexual images, advanced fee fraud, online sale of counterfeit pharmaceuticals, and more.

Current Status: This Public Comment solicitation represents an opportunity for the community to consider the study results detailed in this report, provide feedback and request further clarifications. In parallel, ICANN and NPL will conduct Webinars to facilitate feedback by summarizing this study’s purpose, methodology, key findings, and conclusions.

Next Steps: NPL 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 Privacy and Proxy Service Abuse study report. It is expected that this report will inform future GNSO policy development in relation to the Whois system.

Detailed Information
Section I: Description, Explanation, and Purpose:

At the request of the GNSO Council, ICANN engaged the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) in the United Kingdom to test the hypothesis that “A significant percentage of the domain names used to conduct illegal or harmful Internet activities are registered via privacy or proxy services to obscure the perpetrator’s identity.

To provide empirical data of use to Whois policy-making, NPL set out to measure whether the percentage of privacy/proxy use among domains engaged in various kinds of illegal or harmful Internet activities is greater than among domain names used for lawful Internet activities. Additionally, because privacy/proxy policy changes could prompt malicious registrants to elude contact in other ways, NPL also measured other methods used to obscure perpetrator identity – notably, invalid Whois phone numbers.

This study, led by Dr. Richard Clayton of the University of Cambridge, gathered large representative samples of domain names implicated in various illegal or harmful online activities, ranging from unsolicited phishing, typosquatting, and malware distribution to hosting child abuse sexual images, advanced fee fraud (also known as “419 scams”), and online sale of counterfeit pharmaceuticals. Key technical inputs were also provided by Professor Tyler Moore of Southern Methodist University and Dr Nicolas Christin of Carnegie Mellon University.

By examining sampled incidents and Whois data associated with domain names across the top five gTLDs – .biz, .com, .info, .net and .org – this study measured how often privacy or proxy services were abused by perpetrators (alleged and confirmed). Additionally, these results were compared to privacy/proxy use among domains engaged in lawful and harmless activities (e.g., banks and legal pharmacies), chosen to mirror studied illegal/harmful activities. Finally, researchers attempted to call registrants for a subset of these domain names not using privacy or proxy services, to determine whether they could in fact be contacted with only Whois data.

This draft report summarizes project activities, methodology, sampled data and findings, including statistical analysis of differences observed by the research team. These study findings will help the community understand the role that privacy and proxy service abuse plays in obscuring the identities of parties engaged in illegal or harmful Internet activities.

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 study results have been communicated clearly and to solicit feedback on desired clarifications (if any).

Section II: Background:

As part of its effort to develop a comprehensive understanding of the gTLD Whois system, the GNSO Council expressed an interest in conducting an in-depth study of privacy and proxy service abuse among gTLD domain names registrants engaged in illegal or harmful Internet activities. At the GNSO’s request, ICANN issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) in May 2010 describing a study to methodically analyze a representative sample of gTLD domains associated with a variety of illegal or harmful Internet activities. By comparing how often these “bad actors” use privacy/proxy services with overall privacy/proxy use, the GNSO hoped to prove or disprove its hypothesis that a significant percentage of the domain names used to conduct illegal or harmful Internet activities are registered via privacy or proxy services in order to obscure the perpetrator’s identity.

After considering RFP responses received from researchers willing to undertake this Privacy/Proxy Abuse study, as well as questions raised by both researchers and reviewers, the GNSO Council decided to fund a somewhat revised study proposed by NPL. Specifically, NPL proposed studying many but not all of the illegal/harmful activities enumerated by the RFP, using samples obtained largely from “live feeds” and authoritative sources. NPL declined to study DoS attacks, DNS poisoning, IP theft, and on-line stalking using incidents submitted by victims, questioning their relevance and/or the ability to gather reliably representative samples.

In April 2011, this revised study was approved by the GNSO Council and awarded to NPL. When initiating this study, the GNSO Council asked that the study report expressly note that this study’s purpose is only to analyze “bad actors”. Notwithstanding the legal or harmless domain names studied here for comparison purposes, many legitimate privacy/proxy customers are unaccounted for within the scope of this study. This study does not attempt to measure privacy/proxy use or Whois accuracy across all gTLDs, as did broader studies such as that performed by NORC at the University of Chicago in 2010.

The findings from this study are intended to provide empirical data needed to understand the role that privacy and proxy service abuse plays in obscuring the identities of parties engaged in illegal or harmful activities. This empirical data will create a baseline for evaluating potential Whois and Privacy/Proxy service policy changes.

Section III: Document and Resource Links: 
Section IV: Additional Information: 

Whois Privacy/Proxy Abuse Study Terms of Reference [PDF, 321 KB]

Whois Privacy/Proxy Abuse Study Staff Report [PDF, 437 KB]

GNSO Council Motion April 2011

NPL Selected to Conduct a gTLD Whois Privacy and Proxy Abuse Study

Additional Whois studies have also been conducted at the request of the GNSO Council, as summarized at: gnso.icann.org/issues/whois/

Comment / Reply Periods (*)
Comment Open Date: 24 September 2013
Comment Close Date: 22 October 2013 – 23:59 UTC
Reply Open Date: 23 October 2013
Reply Close Date: 13 November 2013 – 23:59 UTC
Important Information Links

This ICANN announcement was sourced from:

.CAT Offers Enhanced Privacy For Individual Registrants

The registry for .cat domain names, Fundació puntCAT, has announced that as of 7 January they have implemented privacy changes for individuals that use their .cat domain name for private use for existing and new registrants. The changes mean registrants can choose non-disclosure of Whois data.

The Catalonian registry says the changes in the privacy settings mean they are among the most privacy friendly and registrant oriented of the generic Top Level Domains.

The changes are also in alignment with European and Spanish data protection regulations and are the default setting for new registrants.

Existing registrants can implement the new privacy settings by going to the control panel for their account with their .cat registrar.

ICANN: WHOIS Privacy and Proxy Survey Final Report Published

ICANN logoIn response to requests from the GNSO Council to gather data to inform future WHOIS policy development activities, ICANN has commissioned a series of studies to evaluate different aspects of WHOIS. The WHOIS Privacy and Proxy Relay/Reveal Final Report, prepared by the Interisle Consulting Group in Boston, MA, USA, is the first of these studies to be published by ICANN. The Final Report takes into account public comment received on the Draft Report (See: www.icann.org/en/news/public-comment/whois-pp-survey-04jun12-en.htm), and is available at gnso.icann.org/issues/whois/whois-pp-survey-final-report-22aug12-en.pdf [PDF, 1.23 MB]. The Appendices are available at gnso.icann.org/issues/whois/whois-pp-survey-final-report-appendices-22aug12-en.pdf [PDF, 2.11 MB].

This survey was organized to determine the feasibility of conducting a future in-depth study to examine requests to relay communications to, and to reveal the identity of, customers of proxy and privacy services used in connection with gTLD domain names. The Interisle Consulting Group completed the survey in August 2012. The findings suggest that it may be feasible to tailor a future study to provide aggregated data and basic data collection from privacy and proxy providers. Such a future survey is likely to be well regarded by all stakeholders in the community, as it would provide significantly useful data in understanding how privacy and proxy providers manage relay and reveal requests.

The GNSO Council is expected to evaluate whether to recommend a new future study based upon the findings of the WHOIS Privacy and Proxy Survey Final Report.

For more information on the WHOIS Studies, please see: gnso.icann.org/issues/whois/studies.

This ICANN announcement was sourced from:

Australian Internet Governance Forum To Help Shape Local Internet

An Internet Governance Forum is coming to the Australian capital of Canberra in October with the goal of bringing government, industry and community members together in an open, apolitical forum, to discuss Internet-related policy issues, exchange ideas and best practices, and help shape the future of the internet in Australia.Hot topics for the inaugural auIGF down under include security, the IGF landscape, openness, privacy and access and digital inclusion. The latter is an issue in Australia due to the difficulty in getting remote and regional communities online and engaged, as well as people of lower socio-economic backgrounds along with people with disabilities.There will also be a number of interactive, community-led workshops, investigating specific internet policy issues in greater depth.”The Internet was built with a spirit of openness, collaboration and accessibility”, said Chris Disspain, CEO of .au Domain Administration Ltd (auDA) in a statement. “In establishing the auIGF, we aim to embrace these principles and provide a mechanism to ensure Australians have a prominent and well-informed voice in Internet discussions.”Speakers lined up come from both Australia and New Zealand and include representatives from Facebook, Google and the Australian Privacy Commissioner.The auIGF is coordinated by a number of prominent industry stakeholders, including auDA, the Internet Industry Association (IIA), the Australian Communication Consumer Action Network (ACCAN), the Australian chapter of the Internet Society (ISOC-AU) and the Asia-Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC). It also has the support of the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (DBCDE) and corporate partners including Google, Facebook, AusRegistry and Maddocks.”The collaborative nature, timing and agenda of this forum is strongly supported by the IIA”, said Peter Lee CEO of IIA. “Given the significant focus on issues such as security, privacy and convergence in a digital world, it’s important to facilitate open discussion of those issues with all stakeholders.””Access to the Internet is essential for participation in today’s society across a range of areas including employment, community, education and access to services”, noted ACCAN CEO, Teresa Corbin. “The auIGF will be an excellent opportunity to share experiences and strategies aimed to promote digital inclusion, to ensure that everyone reaps the benefits of a connected society.””Given the importance of the Internet to the Australian economy, forums such as the auIGF are vital in facilitating policy discussions that promote the continued expansion and innovation of the Internet”, added Adrian Kinderis, CEO of AusRegistry. “The open, participatory, multi-stakeholder model has made the Internet a successful driver of social and economic growth and this is set to continue in Australia under the guidance of the auIGF.”The outcomes of the auIGF will help influence domestic policy and decision-making and will be fed into international policy processes including the UN’s World Conference on International Telecommunications and the 2012 IGF in Baku, Azerbaijan.”The IGF format has proven to be influential in global decision-making – both as a reference point and a repository of essential information that should be considered in policy-making processes” said Paul Wilson, Director-General of APNIC. “I invite all stakeholders to show their support for this model, both through the auIGF and other national and regional initiatives that will feed into the global dialogue.”For more information or to register ($50 per person) for the auIGF, check out the website at igf.org.au.

ICANN Selects British National Physical Laboratory For gTLD Whois Privacy and Proxy Abuse Study

ICANN logoThe National Physical Laboratory (NPL) of the United Kingdom has been engaged by ICANN to conduct a study of Whois Privacy and Proxy Abuse the organisation announced.

“Guided by Richard Clayton, NPL has established a collaborative study team of domain specialists from three universities,” ICANN announced on their blog. “Together, this team will examine the extent to which gTLD domain names involved in illegal or harmful Internet activities are registered via Privacy or Proxy services to obscure the perpetrator’s identity. Study results are expected in early 2013.”

“This study is being launched to help the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) and ICANN community better understand how often alleged bad actors obscure their identities using several common methods, including (but not limited to) Privacy/Proxy registration. By examining a variety of illegal or harmful Internet activities, including phishing, malware distribution, money laundering, unlicensed pharmacies, typosquatting, child sexual abuse images, spam, and cybersquatting, NPL will measure the percentage of associated gTLD domain names registered via Privacy or Proxy services, as well as the proportion of those registered with inaccurate or incomplete WHOIS details or stolen identities.

“To determine whether Privacy/Proxy use is significantly greater among domains involved in illegal or harmful activities, NPL will compare alleged bad actor percentages to the 16-20% overall percentage found by ICANN’s 2010 Study on the Prevalence of Domain Names Registered Using Privacy or Proxy Services among the top 5 gTLDs. Beyond placing bad actor percentages into context, this study will not attempt to analyze broader use of Privacy/Proxy services by domains registered for entirely lawful purposes.

“NPL is one of Europe’s leading National Measurement Institutes (NMI). Along with other NMI’s including the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), NPL works with industry and government to develop the latest state-of-the-art measurement techniques for all areas of science and technology.”

This ICANN blog announcement originally appeared here.