[At-Large] Issue Report on Thick Whois

Alan Greenberg alan.greenberg at mcgill.ca
Tue Nov 22 01:08:13 UTC 2011

One of the recommendations of the IRTP-B Policy Development Process 
(PDP) was for the GNSO to investigate requiring all gTLD Registries 
to use a "Thick" Whois.

With thick Whois, all of the Whois information related to a 
registration is maintained by the Registry. With "Thin" Whois, the 
only information maintained by the Registry is the current status of 
the registration and identification of who the sponsoring Register 
is; the rest of the information and specifically that related to the 
Registrant is kept by the Registrar, making Whois a widely 
distributed database.

Currently most Registries use thick Whois, and thick Whois is 
required for all gTLDs to be created under the new gTLD program. The 
only Registries that use thin Whois are operated by Verisign, but 
these of course include .com and .net which constitute the majority 
of gTLD registrations.

In response to the IRTP-B recommendation, the GNSO requested and 
Issue Report and a preliminary version is now available and has been 
posted for public comment. Comments on this document will be received 
until 30 December, 2011. See 

The report confirms that the issue is within the scope of ICANN and 
the GNSO and recommends that the GNSO initiate a Policy Development 
Process on the issue.

The primary purpose of this comment period is to ensure that the 
Issue Report does indeed address all of the relevant aspects of the 
issue. However, it will likely also be the only formal opportunity 
for the ALAC to state whether it recommends that a PDP should be 
initiated or not.

I have not yet reviewed the document in sufficient depth to say 
whether I feel that it is complete, but on an initial review, it 
looks fine. My personal belief is that the ALAC should strongly 
support the initiation of a PDP on this issue.

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