.US registrants are currently barred from using privacy and proxy services. As opposed to using privacy protection services, registrants are asked to provide viable contact information – name, phone number, email address, and mailing address – to be listed in the public WHOIS database. This policy reflects the historic needs of law enforcement, rights holders, and others, for easily accessible and accurate contact information. However, the inability to use privacy and proxy services is a frequent complaint from registrants who desire to use these services to protect their online identity and from some registrars whose registrants may be deterred from choosing .US, due to the inability to choose to keep their contact information private. There is also concern that the inability to use privacy and proxy services may disproportionately affect certain categories of registrants, thereby inadvertently shifting the registrant composition of the usTLD.
As a result, the Stakeholder Council has been discussing whether or not the existing ban on privacy and proxy services remains appropriate for .US. The Council has been considering whether exceptions should be made for certain categories of users and/or specific types of registrations, or whether the ban should be lifted altogether. The Council met on August 17th to discuss the next steps for the policy. Prior to this meeting, the Secretariat drafted a paper to assist the discussion by providing a comprehensive explanation of the privacy and proxy service restriction, exploring the risks and benefits of privacy protection services, outlining the range of P/P service options for registrars, and outlining options that might foster productive growth within the usTLD. (This paper is posted online.)
During the August 17th meeting, after careful analysis and discussion, the Council decided to temporarily defer further action. The Council believed it wise to monitor the activities of the ICANN Privacy/Proxy Accreditation Issues Working Group that is studying similar issues in the gTLD space. The Working Group has published an initial report and is presently studying thousands of public comments that were received during a public comment period. The Secretariat will monitor the activities of the ICANN working group and will regularly update the Council.
On August 17, 2015 the Stakeholder Council met. The Council carefully considered the report on the kids.us domain and unanimously recommended that the requirement be suspended for the life of the .us contract. Please see August 17 minutes and report for further details.
The usTLD Stakeholder Council is seeking comments on its recommendation to continue the suspension of the kids.us namespace through the end of the current .US contract term.
The recommendation follows a report of the Kids.us Education Advisory Committee advising that the restrictive namespace was not built to thrive in today’s Internet landscape and should remain suspended. A temporary suspension of the kids.us namespace has been in effect since 2012, following a dramatic decline in usage of the namespace.
As part of the comment period the Stakeholder Council is also seeking comments on how .US can be leveraged to support America’s next generation.
Further details and background can be found on the comment page and comments can be provided through June 13, 2015 by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
What activities and changes could be undertaken to improve registrant and user experiences with .US? What is the .US “brand,” how is it communicated, and how can it be leveraged to drive adoption? How can .US contribute to preparing America’s next generation to complete in the global digital economy?
Uncovering community-driven responses to these questions and more is key to the future success of .US. As the country code for the United States of America, .US is an online home for the people and communities that make up the United States and the businesses and organizations, at home and abroad, that support them. One of the core missions of the usTLD Stakeholder Council is to contribute to the success of this community. The Council was convened in 2014 to provide a broad user voice in .US policy-making and drive growth and evolution in the namespace.
Having a clear understanding of the diverse needs and interests of current and prospective .US users is a first step to driving positive change. To these ends, the usTLD Stakeholder Council will be hosting the .US Public Stakeholder Town Hall on April 22, from 1pm to 3pm Eastern Time (or 10am to 12pm Pacific), to foster a community conversation around these questions and more.
We want to hear your each of your thoughts and visions for how to evolve.US. There are three topics on the agenda:
- Me, you, and .US: an exploration of the .US brand and how it supports its users, today, and how it should evolve;
- Multi-stakeholderism at the Local Level: a discussion on how .US can continue the conversation, by fostering broad user participation in its policy development; and
- Beyond Kids.us: where we’ll look to how .US and the Stakeholder Council can support and engage America’s youth.
Each of these topics will be discussion-focused. The Town Hall will also feature an extended “open floor” period for participants to raise concerns, recommendations, and questions related to the policy framework for .US, its promotion, or other matters of interest to the .US community.
During the Town Hall, we’ll also be live-tweeting and taking your suggestions through the hashtag #dotUS.
The Town Hall will be held virtually, through Adobe Connect. Participation details will be sent out to all registered participants in advance of the meeting or participants can join the Town Hall by visiting https://neustarus.adobeconnect.com/stakeholder-town-hall at 1pm ET next on Wednesday, April 22.
We hope that you’ll join us and share your thoughts on the future of the .US namespace.
Please send any questions to email@example.com.
.US is the top-level domain for the United States of America. As stakeholders in the .US ccTLD, we all share a vested interest in making sure that .US continues to be a vibrant namespace that reflects the diversity, creativity and success of our people. As the Internet continues to grow and evolve, it’s important that the .US domain does too.
To meet these needs, Neustar and the usTLD Stakeholder Council plan to hold a virtual .US Public Stakeholder Town Hall Meeting. The Town Hall will take place on April 22, from 1 to 3 Eastern, or 10 to noon Pacific and will provide an opportunity for community-led discussion on how to build and grow the .US domain brand to meet the demands of the future.
We hope you’ll take the time to join us for the Town Hall by registering here and take the time to provide input in advance of the meeting by completing our survey.
In addition to an “open floor,” where your thoughts, suggestions and questions can be addressed, we plan to focus on three key topics:
- Me, you & .US: the .US brand and how it can support and engage your community or business;
- Multi-stakeholderism at the local level: public participation in .US policymaking as a window for participating in Internet governance; and
- Beyond kids.us: the next generation of youth engagement and participation in .US.
The meeting will take place virtually, and details will be circulated to all registered participants in advance of the meeting.
The Kids.us Education Advisory Committee was convened in April 2014 to consider the ongoing suspension of the kids.us third-level namespace, as well as to contemplate future initiatives and principles through which Neustar can advance positive and educational experiences for kids within the usTLD more broadly.
The Education Advisory Committee comprised the following experts in online safety, education, and children’s media:
- Tammy Wincup, Chief Operating Officer, EverFi
- Tom Barrett, President, EnCirca
- Stephen Balkam, CEO, Family Online Safety Institute
- Anne Collier, co-director, ConnectSafely.org, and executive director, Net Family News, Inc.
- Heather Dahl, Author, The Cynja
The Education Advisory Committee met six times between June and October 2014. Across these meetings, the committee considered questions, including:
- Should the kids.us namespace be reinstated with its preexisting policy and operational framework?
- What were the experiences of other providers of online educational content, particularly those that sought to operate “walled gardens”?
- What changes in online trends and regulations could affect the kids.us namespace?
The committee ultimately recommended that existing policy framework, as well as the internet climate today, made kids.us unworkable and that the namespace should remain suspended. Additionally, the committee recommended operating principles for future consideration of kid-friendly initiatives in .US. These principles included ensuring cost-effectiveness and accessibility, as well as avoiding competition with existing efforts in the online education space.
The full findings of the committee can be found in the Kids.us Education Advisory Committee Final Report. The minutes for the six meetings of the Education Advisory committee are archived here.
On July 1, Neustar will become one of the first country-code top-level domains to implement the usTLD Rapid Suspension Procedure (“usRS”). Although this new mechanism has been introduced with the new generic top-level domains approved by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, it is not widespread within the ccTLD community.
The usRS will provide intellectual property rights holders a faster, more cost-effective mechanism to resolve clear-cut cases of trademark infringement within the usTLD than the existing .us Dispute Resolution Policy (“usDRP”).
Under the usRS, the complainant must demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that:
- The domain name(s) in question are identical or confusingly similar to one of its trademarks,
- The registrant has no legitimate right or interest in the domain name(s), and
- The domain name(s) were registered or are being used in bad faith.
If the National Arbitration Forum (“NAF”), the usRS Provider, determines that a complaint meets these criteria and adheres to all rules and procedures in the usRS Policy Rules and the NAF usRS Supplemental Rules, the complainant will prevail. As remedy, the domain name(s) will be suspended for the remaining registration term. The complainant may extend the suspension for an additional year at his or her expense. The original domain name holder may appeal a usRS decision in favor of the complainant. Further details on the usRS rules and procedures can be found in the usRS Policy Rules.
The usRS provides a quick and cost-effective alternative to the usDRP. The costs of filing a usRS range from $375, for complaints involving up to 14 domains, to $500. Additional fees will apply for reexaminations or appeals. NAF will issue usRS decisions no later than five calendar days following the submission of a response or the expiry of the fourteen-day response period. For a full breakdown of the usRS fees and timeline see the NAF usRS Supplemental Rules.
Unlike in usDRP proceedings, usTLD domain names cannot be transferred as a result of a usRS complaint. Trademark holders seeking ownership of an infringing domain name in the usTLD should continue to use the usDRP to resolve their disputes.
As of July 1, 2014, the usRS will cover all domains in the usTLD.
For more information, please review the usRS Policy Rules and the NAF usRS Supplemental Rules.
If you have any questions about the usRS please contact Stephanie Duchesneau at firstname.lastname@example.org or NAF at email@example.com.
On February 28, 2014, the United States Department of Commerce awarded Neustar a contract to continue managing .US, the United States Country-Code Top Level Domain (“usTLD”).
In its plan to manage the usTLD, Neustar proposed to create a stakeholder council (“usTLD Stakeholder Council”) to ensure that the usTLD remains a trusted space for all Americans and to facilitate stakeholder input into usTLD policies. Proposed responsibilities of the usTLD Stakeholder Council include recommending policies and improvements, ensuring that the needs registrants are reflected, enhancing the user experience and utility, and discussing emerging DNS issues.
Neustar looks forward to broadening stakeholder participation in policy development for the usTLD. We are eager to work with stakeholders including registrants, civil society, business owners, law enforcement, and more to ensure that the management of the usTLD continues to evolve and reflect the needs of the usTLD community.
In this spirit, Neustar has issued a call for Expressions of Interest (“EoI”) for prospective participants in the usTLD Stakeholder Council. Concurrently, Neustar has issued a Notice of Inquiry (“NOI”), seeking community input regarding the usTLD Stakeholder Council’s proposed composition, guiding principles and policies, operating procedures, and deliverables. Responses to both the call for EoIs and the NOI should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. All EoIs and responses to the NOI are due by July 10, 2014.
Please direct any questions regarding the usTLD Stakeholder Council to Stephanie Duchesneau at email@example.com or at (202) 533-2623.
In Feb this year Neustar was awarded the contract to manage the usTLD by the department of Commerce. As per the new contract some changes were made to the implementation rules for the usTLD Dispute Resolution Policy or the usTLD Nexus Dispute Policy. The changes relate to the transition from paper to electronic file handling and add an affirmative duty to Registrars to reply to the dispute providers request for a lock on domain names that are the subject of a pending a complaint.
Please review the usTLD Overview of Changes 2014 for a summary of the changes.
On February 28, 2014, Neustar was awarded a contract to manage the .usTLD by the Department of Commerce.
Public Law 107-317, the Dot Kids Implementation and Efficiency Act of 2002 (Dot Kids Act), requires that the administrator of the .us country code top level domain establish a kids.us domain to serve as a haven for material that promotes positive experiences for children and families using the Internet, provides a safe on-line environment for children, and helps to prevent children from being exposed to harmful material on the Internet. The law envisioned a closed-off, walled garden, in which children could surf in a safe environment. The Act included content restrictions to make the space appropriate for children and included a prohibition on linking outside of the kids.us space.
On June 27, 2012, the National Telecommunications and Information Agency suspended the kids.us domain effective July 27, 2012. At the time, there were only six active websites which were visited monthly by very few individual users. Additionally, all of the websites had far more robust websites in other TLDs. The Agency found that the kids.us domain was not meeting the intended needs for which it had been created by the Congress.
As the past Administrator of kids.us, Neustar has the technical expertise and experience to administer the kids.us domain. Technical, legal and policy documents such as the kids.us Administrator-Registrar Agreement v.2.0, the Content Management Service Terms and Conditions Agreement, and the Kids. US content policy: guidelines and restrictions could be easily modified and used in the revival of a kids.us domain.
Neustar believes that it is in the public interest to not only examine the revival of the kids.us domain, but also to explore a variety of other creative approaches utilizing the usTLD space to better serve children and families.
Neustar is an ardent believer in the need to educate children about digital literacy and STEM fields, but we are not education experts ourselves.
Accordingly, we seek to form a special Education Committee and wish to employ a multistakeholder process to examine the best ways not only to look at the Dot Kids Act and the possible revival of the kids.us domain as established by the law, but also to examine the best ways to promote the goals of the Act. The Internet has undergone massive changes over the last decade which could not have been foreseen at the time the Dot Kids Act was written. We seek to explore what, if any, actions could be taken by Neustar to better educate and protect children in today’s online environment in conjunction with our responsibilities as the Administrator of the usTLD.
Neustar seeks a diverse and experienced group of individuals interested in volunteering to serve on the Education committee. Experts will be chosen from those that express interest to this solicitation as well as from other outreach activities. The selection process is expected to begin immediately and the first meeting of the Education Committee is expected to take place in May, 2014.
Expressions of interest from individuals should be sent to Terri.Claffey@neustar.biz, along with the individual’s C.V. and other material explaining the contribution the party hopes to make to the Education Committee.