Public comment period open December 15, 2016 – January 16, 2017

The usTLD Stakeholder Council (“Council”) and Neustar, Inc. (“Neustar”), the registry operator for the usTLD, is seeking public comment on its recommendation to allow for the implementation of a registry-based wholesale privacy registration service in the .US Top Level Domain. Stakeholders at the 2015 usTLD Stakeholder Town Hall identified the lack of privacy services as a key issue suppressing domain name registration in the .US TLD. In an increasingly competitive landscape, in which many of the competitors to .US allow some type of privacy or proxy service, Neustar and the Council want to increase domain name registrations to ensure a robust, healthy namespace and believe that the implementation of such services will put .US on an equal footing with its closest competitors in both the generic and country code top-level domain namespaces.

Background

Neustar operates registry services for the usTLD pursuant to a contract with the Department of Commerce. Currently, that contract does not allow for the provision of privacy services. When a registrant buys a domain name, registry policy in line with industry standards require registrars to obtain and provide to the registry, the registrant’s contact information, including name, physical address, email address, and phone number. This information is publically available in the WHOIS database, a searchable directory that holds all the contact information for domain name registrants. The WHOIS database is freely searchable by anyone with access to the internet. In these times of increased awareness of the dangers of identity theft and other threats, many registries and registrars offer privacy services to their registrants. A privacy service lists alternative, reliable registrant contact information in WHOIS, while keeping the domain name registered to its beneficial user, the registrant.

The Council is requesting your comments on a plan that will be submitted to the Department of Commerce that will request authority under the contract to allow privacy services to be implemented for .US.

THE .US PRIVACY SERVICE PLAN (PDF)

For more details, please review the full text of the plan.

Questions

The Council is seeking public comments on the following questions:

  • Do you support the implementation of privacy services for .US domain name holders?
  • What issues, if any, will registrars have with implementing privacy services as set forth in the plan?
  • Does the plan adequately address the concerns of law enforcement while preserving the expected level of privacy of registrants who request the service?

Please provide comments on or before January 16, 2017. Comments will be published and provided to the usTLD Stakeholder Council and Secretariat for consideration. Comments or questions may be submitted by emailing stakeholdercouncil@neustar.us.