The International Foundation for Online Responsibility, or IFFOR, is responsible for a number of innovative and widely heralded policies that reflect the changing role of domain names and the Internet registry market.

The non-profit organization was created to act as the policy body for the dot-xxx Internet registry following GAC concerns.

Those concerns led to a broad-ranging and multi-year review of what role Internet registries can and should have, and resulted in IFFOR being tasked to find solutions to a wide range of previously untackled issues.

IFFOR's policies now apply to every dot-xxx registrant, and the organization is responsible for ensuring the registry operator, ICM Registry, is compliant with those policies.

The process saw a number of firsts in the Internet registry market:

  • All registrants are verified
  • Trademark holders can place a non-registration block on domains that include their mark
  • Domains can be scanned for malware, spam, phishing and other security issues
  • Website content is labeled in a machine-readable way
  • Audit and compliance reports are provided to ICANN through the registry operator
  • Domains are subject to rules aimed at stopping child abuse images
  • Registrants are required to follow best practices guidelines that apply across the whole registry

These policies have been widely praised, even being held up as an example of forward-thinking registry policy at a US Congressional hearing. Other Internet registries have followed suit and addressed a number of the same issues in similar ways.

IFFOR's approach has proven to be a success, with none of the concerns expressed by the world's governments turning into reality.


IFFOR's make-up

Developing and reviewing the policies, as well as keeping an eye on changes that impact the registry market, is a team of 15 experts.

There are three staff positions, three Board members and nine Policy Council members. The staff is responsible for the daily management of IFFOR's work, keeping track of issues and providing support to the Board and Policy Council.

The Policy Council comprises experts in their fields, including a number of international authorities. Five of the nine council members represent the community of users for dot-xxx domains, one represents the registry operator, and there are three advocates for specific aspects of registry policy: Privacy and Security, Child Protection, and Free Expression.

IFFOR's policies as a template for the future

Nearly all the concerns that the world's governments had with regard to the dot-xxx registry have been raised again by the GAC for new Internet registries (new gTLDs).

The GAC is concerned that the new wave of Internet registries do not have sufficient safeguards to prevent abuse of domain names and have developed precise advice for all new gTLDs, as well as specific sub-groups of applicants.

IFFOR is the only body that has dealt with the same GAC concerns and turned them into pragmatic policies that have in turn satisfied the registry operator, the GAC and ICANN.

Our focus is on finding solutions that work for all parties, solutions that address: policy concerns put forward by governments and business issues raised by registry operators.

To that end, IFFOR is providing its expertise to the broader registry market, using our knowledge and experience, as well as our unique status as an independent policy body focused on the Internet registry market, to provide the best and most pragmatic solutions.

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