ICANN’s activities are guided by a commitment to openness, transparency, and inclusiveness, ensuring that the Internet remains a global resource accessible to everyone. But what key topics are drawing attention at ICANN at the moment? We shed light on the latest discussions and initiatives from the ICANN world:

Registration Data Request Service (RDRS)


On May 17, 2018, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) took a significant step in addressing the challenges posed by the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). In response to the GDPR’s stringent data protection requirements, the ICANN Board approved the Temporary Specification for gTLD Registration Data (TempSpec). This temporary measure aimed to assist contracted parties in navigating the complexities of GDPR compliance while upholding existing ICANN contractual obligations.

In response to the adoption of the Temporary Specification ICANN Board initiated EPDP divided into two phases, it aimed to decide whether the TempSpec should be confirmed by 25 May 2019 and discuss the System for Standardized Access/Disclosure (SSAD). Following completion, concerns were raised regarding the financial sustainability of the SSAD and there to ICANN Board directed the ICANN organization to design the “WHOIS Disclosure System,” now known as the Registration Data Request Service (RDRS).

ICANN introduced the RDRS in November 2023, aimed at providing a standardized approach for handling requests to access nonpublic registration data associated with generic top-level domains (gTLDs). The RDRS serves as a crucial tool for ICANN-accredited registrars and individuals with legitimate interests in accessing such data, including law enforcement, intellectual property experts, consumer advocates, cybersecurity specialists, and government representatives. 

RDRS will run for up to two years to gather sufficient information for making decisions on the SSAD recommendations. 

ICANN has published the initial report on RDRS usage metrics for November–December 2023. The latest update reveals that since launching there are 4018 requestors, 88 registrars as of the end of April and that covers 57% of domains under management. A total of 1215 requests have been submitted, where IP Holders have been the largest category at 37%. ICANN plans to provide monthly updates on the usage of the pilot system.

The data disclosure system continues to assist trademark holders in accessing domains being misused. By offering a streamlined process for accessing registration data, the RDRS empowers trademark holders to proactively protect their brands in the rapidly evolving digital landscape. 

Registration Data Policy

On 21 February 2024 ICANN org published the Registration Data policy (“the Policy”), which aims to facilitate compliance with GDPR for domain name registries and registrars.  The Policy outlines the criteria for gathering, transferring, publishing, and retaining domain name registration data. It will go into effect on 21 August 2025, with a transition period from 21 August 2024 through 20 August 2025. Registry operators and registrars should use this period to prepare for implementation of the Policy.  

The data remains subject to redaction, as outlined in the Policy, offering registries and registrars increased flexibility in gathering and providing registration data consistently, while ensuring compliance with privacy regulations.

DNS Abuse

After years of collaborative community efforts, ICANN has amended the Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA) and the Base gTLD Registry Agreement (RA) to strengthen measures for combating DNS Abuse. 

Since April 5, 2024, the new obligations are focused on stricter measures for combating compromised websites, including phishing, malware, botnets, pharming, spam and other malicious activities that infringe on trademarks and brand identities. 

With the mandate for registries and registrars to promptly take actions that are reasonably necessary to stop or disrupt the domain name from being used for DNS Abuse, brand owners now can expect a more proactive approach to safeguarding their online presence and reputation.

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New gTLD Program: Next Round and RSP Pre-Evaluation


In 2012 ICANN introduced new gTLDs (Generic Top-Level Domains). After a successful completion of the First round of new gTLDs, work on a Second/Next round has been initiated by forming a working group. The New gTLD Subsequent Procedures PDP Working Group began its work on 22 February 2016.

Over the course of several years, it convened several subgroups and undertook extensive deliberations on the list of topics in its charter. This work included numerous opportunities for input, including Public Comment on its Initial Report, Supplemental Initial Report, Additional Supplemental Initial Report, and Draft Final Report.

The working group submitted its Final Report to the GNSO Council for its consideration on 18 January 2021, with over 300 outputs for 41 topics.

On 16 March 2023, the ICANN Board adopted the majority of the SubPro PDP outputs and began implementation efforts to prepare for launching the Next round of the New gTLD Program.

On July 27, 2023, the ICANN organization presented an implementation plan for the next application round of the New gTLD Program to the ICANN Board of Directors. This comprehensive plan outlines project details such as cost and resource requirements, systems and tools needed, communication strategies, and dependencies.

ICANN’s target on opening the Next Round of new gTLDs is April 2026.

As the journey towards the Next round progresses, ICANN remains actively engaged in ongoing discussions within the Applicant Guidebook (AGB), addressing crucial sections such as the RSP Pre-Evaluation Program, Applicant Support, Objections, String Similarity, and Applicant Change Requests. These discussions carry significant weight for brands aiming to give them wider opportunities and secure their presence in future round of gTLD applications.

Of particular interest to brand owners is the review of String Similarity and Closed Generics Guidelines. Ensuring that their chosen TLDs are distinct and easily recognizable is paramount for brands seeking to stand out in a crowded online space. The discussions surrounding String Similarity will provide valuable insights for brands aiming to secure the right name in the upcoming round.

Despite the complexities involved, the AGB remains on track to complete its work by April or May 2025, providing brand owners with a clear roadmap for navigating the application process and securing their digital assets effectively.

Moreover, discussions are underway regarding important dates related to the application process, including application deadlines, reveal dates, evaluation timelines, and other critical milestones. LEMARIT is closely monitoring these discussions to develop comprehensive plans and strategies for future gTLD applications.

There will be three different programs in the next round. One is Application Support Program. The other one is the gTLD Application program which is the main program where one applies for a string to be delegated in the root. And the third one is the RSP Evaluation which will have two periods- RSP Pre-Evaluation starting in 19 November this year and closing in 20 May 2025. Second period is the RSP Evaluation opening together with the Application window April 2026. The first list of evaluated RSPs will be published on 9 December 2025.

About the The Registry Service Provider (RSP) Pre-Evaluation Program

The RSP Pre-Evaluation Program forms an integral part of ICANN’s gTLD Program: Next Round. It aims to streamline the evaluation process for new gTLD applications by separating the assessment of technical operations from the application for the gTLD label. 

Under this program, RSPs have the chance to undergo evaluation once before the Next Round, enabling them to serve as technical backend providers for TLDs during the subsequent round. 

Meanwhile, the draft RSP Handbook describes the RSP Evaluation Program. It has been open for feedback comment period for 40 days (March 13 to 22 April 2024). The estimated time for publishing the handbook is May 2024. The RSP Pre-Evaluation Application period begins 19 November 2024. 

LEMARIT, a distinguished Registry Service Provider (RSP) serving TLDs from the First Round, is preparing to secure accreditation from ICANN ahead of the Second Round. By successfully navigating the RSP Pre-evaluation program, LEMARIT aims to become an approved RSP in anticipation of future gTLD applications.