Transparency reporting has became a popular practice amongst companies across various industries as a means to “know and show” respect for human rights, as described in the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. For companies operating online, shedding light on requests received for content takedown, user data, and ancillary data allows public oversight on decisions that directly impact individuals’ rights, thereby creating a more accountable online ecosystem. Moreover, publicizing data about governmental and third-party requests helps inform policy debates, identify systems that are inefficient or subject to abuse, and reduce misuse of executive power or government institutions.

Yet despite transparency reporting becoming a standard practice amongst major platforms and telcos, this practice not been adopted by Internet Infrastructure providers like registries and registrars. In an attempt to change that, a new DNS Transparency Reporting Initiative was launched within the ICANN community at ICANN62 in June 2018. Stakeholders from civil society, academia, registries, registrars, and security services were involved in the initiative. The outcomes were a short guide enumerating internal procedures and best practices for handling requests and a sample template to facilitate tracking and reporting on how requests are handled.

While the CCWP-HR’s focus remains centred upon harmonizing ICANN’s policies and procedures with internationally recognized human rights, we fully support efforts to promote transparency reporting within the ICANN community and embrace the opportunity to provide resources and a forum for discussions related to making the DNS more accountable and rights-respecting.

-Collin Kurre, CCWP-HR Chair