November 4, 2016
A timetable has been published by ICANN with plans to move the final three gTLDs over to the standard thick Whois model by February 2019. The system should be fully operational by August 2017.
The thick Whois database is the database which stores the full Whois record of each domain name including registrant contact data. This contrasts with the thin Whois database which contains only information on domain name creation dates, the sponsoring registrar and name servers.
The three Verisign TLDs are currently stored in thin Whois databases. It has been ICANN’s policy however for approximately three years to have Verisign switch to a thick database.
According to the schedule published by ICANN, Verisign would have to make a thick database available to all registrars by August 2017 both by EPP and in bulk. It would then become obligatory for registrars to make available thick Whois registries from 1 May 2018 with all existing Whois records transferred into the new system by 1 February 2019.
Not all registrars are happy about the proposal. Certain have expressed concern about transferring clients data over to Verisign. Others fear that local data protection laws may prevent them from bulk transferring data overseas. Observers also fear that Verisign may use the expense of setting up and operating the new system as a pretext to increase the price of the .com from its current frozen level.
The new proposal includes a clause which would enable registrars to request an exemption from requirements if they can prove that complying with the new rules would put them in conflict with local legislation. This clause would obviously defeat the purpose of the entire project.
The proposed schedule is open for public comment until 1 December 2016.