Created in the 1980s, Whois began as a service used by Internet operators to identify individuals or entities responsible for the operation of a network resource on the Internet. The Whois service has since evolved into a tool used for many purposes. However, as usage of Whois service evolved, few changes have been made to the protocol that supports the service. As a result, there is growing concern that the protocol would not meet the need of the community.
Beginning in 2002, ICANN’s Security and Stability Advisory Committee (SSAC) published various advisories describing deficiencies related to the WHOIS protocol, service and data schema, most recently SAC 051: SSAC Report on Domain Name WHOIS Terminology and Structure [PDF, 243 KB]. SAC 051 summarizes the previous advisories, and among other things, recommends that the ICANN community evaluate and adopt a replacement protocol.
Recognizing its concerns with the WHOIS protocol deficiencies, on 28 October 2011, the ICANN Board approved a resolution directing staff to produce, in consultation with the community, a roadmap for the coordination of the technical and policy discussions necessary to implement the recommendations outlined in SAC 051.
On 18 February 2012, ICANN published a draft Roadmap to implement SAC 051 for public comment. Most commentators agreed with the approach proposed in the draft roadmap to replace the WHOIS protocol (SSAC recommendations 2 & 3). Given the general consensus on the proposed roadmap, it was deemed not necessary to open a second round of public comment. Instead, this updated Roadmap to implement SAC 051 is being published.
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