ICANN posts its first preliminary determination on a data retention waiver.
ICANN published today the first preliminary determination on a registrar’s request to change the data retention requirements in the 2013 Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA).
The 2013 RAA requires registrars to keep certain information about their customers even after the customer takes its business elsewhere or lets a domain name expire. Some registrars balked at this requirement, arguing it would violate their countries’ data retention laws.
ICANN decided to allow registrars to petition to change the data retention requirements if they believed they violated local law.
The preliminary determination published today is in response to one such request by French domain name registrar OVH SAS. OVH submitted a determination by a French law firm that the contract terms would violate law, and requested that the standard two year retention requirement be reduced to one. Its unclear to me if it is French law or EU law that is at issue, or perhaps both.
The preliminary determination is now posted for 30 days for public comment. Should OVH be granted the waiver, then other registrars in the same jurisdiction (France or potentially the EU) could easily obtain the same waiver.
This may seem like mundane policy, but it has a direct effect on the launch of new top level domain names. Registrars can’t offer any new TLDs until they sign the 2013 RAA. Some, which I understand are mostly in Europe, are waiting for waivers before doing so. We’re not talking about the biggest names here, but it’s certainly reducing the sales distribution of new TLDs as they roll out to market.
It’s also a rather unique situation, as domain name registrars in different jurisdictions will have different contracts with ICANN.