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Icann to rethink gTLD ownership policy

19 Nov 2012

Icann is planning to re-examine the way it handles the registration and ownership processes for new generic top-level domain (gTLD) domain names.

The corporation said that its board of directors has asked chief executive Fadi Chehadé to form a working group aimed at re-examining the way is issues the "Whois" policy for tracking the ownership and management of domain names.

The system, which keeps both the name and contact information of owners, was developed to maintain a directory of registrants.

"WHOIS began more than 25 years ago, before there was even a worldwide web and its purpose was far more technical than it is today," said Icann chairman Stephen Crocker.

"It is clear that we have to take a thorough look at Whois from the ground up, and that’s what we’re asking [Chehadé]  to do - what should Whois be and how can we best improve its accuracy?”

The company noted that the review does not necessarily mean that the Whois policy will be changed for the new gTLDs. Icann also said that it will be fully maintaining and enforcing the Whois guidelines for current domains.

The review is the latest twist in what has become a bumpy road in Icann's gTLD rollout. Technical difficulties have plagued the application process, forcing the company to take the gTLD registration system offline at various points and delay the application deadlines.

More recently, Icann saw its chief strategy officer step down over what the company termed a "conflict of interest" in overseeing the gTLD rollout. The company has yet to name a replacement.

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Shaun Nichols

Shaun Nichols is the US correspondent for He has been with the company since 2006, originally joining as a news intern at the site's San Francisco offices.

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