Latest news of the domain name industry

Recent Posts

Euro registrars miffed about ICANN privacy delays

Kevin Murphy, February 21, 2014, 15:03:38 (UTC), Domain Registrars

Registrars based in the European Union are becoming increasingly disgruntled by what they see as ICANN dragging its feet over registrant privacy rules.

Some are even refusing to sign the 2013 Registrar Accreditation Agreement until they receive formal assurances that ICANN won’t force them to break their local privacy laws.

The 2013 RAA, which is required if a registrar wants to sell new gTLD domains, requires registrars to keep hold of registrant data for two years after their registrations expire.

Several European authorities have said that this would be illegal under EU privacy directives, and ICANN has agreed to allow registrars in the EU to opt out of the relevant provisions.

Today, Luxembourgish registrar EuroDNS said it asked for a waiver of the data retention clauses on December 2, but has not heard back from ICANN over two months later.

The company had provided ICANN with the written legal opinion of Luxembourg’s Data Protection Agency

In a snippy letter (pdf) to ICANN, EuroDNS CEO Lutz Berneke wrote:

Although we understand that your legal department is solely composed of lawyers educated in US laws, a mere translation of the written guidance supporting our request should confirm our claim and allow ICANN to make its preliminary determination.

EuroDNS has actually signed the 2013 RAA, but says it will not abide by the provisions it has been told would be illegal locally.

Elsewhere in Europe, Ireland’s Blacknight Solutions, said two weeks ago that it had requested its waiver September 17 and had not yet received a pass from ICANN.

“Why is it my problem that ICANN doesn’t understand EU law? Why should our business be impacted negatively due to ICANN’s inability to listen?” CEO Michele Neylon blogged. “[W]hile this entire farce plays out we are unable to offer new top level domains to our clients.”

But while Blacknight is still on the old 2009 RAA, other European registrars seem to have signed the 2013 version some time ago, and are already selling quite a lot of new gTLD domains.

Germany’s United-Domains, for example, appears to be the third-largest new gTLD registrar, if name server records are anything to go by, with the UK’s 123-Reg also in the top ten.

ICANN is currently operating a public comment period on the waiver request of OVH, a French registrar, which ICANN says it is “prepared to grant”.

That comment period is not scheduled to end until February 27, however, so it seems registrars agitated about foot-dragging have a while to wait yet before they get what they want.

Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Comments (4)

  1. Me says:

    European registrars are loosing an amazon.river of money. As always….

  2. Me says:

    Only to say:
    Is not yet time to WAKE UP, european registrars?!?

  3. Andrew says:

    Does it only become illegal AFTER you have kept the data for two years? By which time there will be a RA 2015?

    Also I note Nominet has recently signed the 2013 RA:

    http://www.internic.net/registrars/registrar-1708.html

    • Michele says:

      No
      The retention clause kicks in for any domain after it has been transferred away or deleted.
      So if you keep the data for longer than you require it then you’re in breach of the law. By our reckoning we *could* justify holding on to the data for 90 days maximum, but I know that the German DPA would consider that to be too long

Add Your Comment