12 November 2019

In today’s blog post, we address the Registration Data Access Protocol, “RDAP”, recently introduced as an alternative to the current “WHOIS” protocol, and look at what its implementation will mean for the .au namespace.

Why do we need a new Data Access Protocol?

As explained on the ICANN website, ‘RDAP was developed by the technical community in the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), who recognised a need to introduce an eventual replacement for the “WHOIS” service’.

Its implementation is a recommendation from ICANN’s Security and Stability Advisory Committee (SSAC) as a number of advantages have been identified:

Support for internationalisation (such as IDN translation)
Secure access to data (limiting domain name registration data returned in each response)
The ability to provide differentiated access to registration data (ensuring that viewers have a legitimate purpose for accessing information and that this has been approved).

When will RDAP be implemented in .au?

There is substantial technical development that needs to occur across both the registry and registrar functionalities to enable a connection to the RDAP server before this protocol can be accessed in Australia. 

Registries who provide services to ccTLDs like Afilias Australia (.au) have not yet been given a deadline for implementation. For an understanding of how it works for generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs - eg .info) the process is explained on the ICANN website

Information relating to the status of RDAP implementation in .au is available in the auDA 2018-19 Annual Report. The report indicates that as the administrator of and self-regulatory body for the .au namespace, auDA is open to its introduction, but explain that current protocols are working satisfactorily in .au.

“Before adopting its own version of RDAP protocol in Australia, auDA has taken the opportunity provided by ICANN meetings to closely monitor the adoption of RDAP protocol by other gTLDs and ccTLDs. This will help auDA adopt the protocol in a way that is compliant, and balances privacy and accountability.”

RDAP is an example of a revised solution to registrant data privacy, an important topic in the domain name ecosystem. Its planned implementation in .au is a positive step in the delivery of a secure internet for all Australians and we look forward to progress in this space. 

Have a question, some feedback or idea for a future blog post? Email us at blog@afilias.com.au