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Comments to the ICANN GNSO on the Privacy & Proxy Services Accreditation Issues WG Initial Report

  • To: comments-ppsai-initial-05may15@xxxxxxxxx, policy-staff@xxxxxxxxx
  • Subject: Comments to the ICANN GNSO on the Privacy & Proxy Services Accreditation Issues WG Initial Report
  • From: Javier Pallero <javier@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 7 Jul 2015 17:07:44 -0300

Dear ICANN / Generic Names Supporting Organization,

My name is Javier Pallero, Policy Analyst at digital rights organization

I am submitting comments to the ICANN Generic Names Supporting Organization
on the Privacy & Proxy Services Accreditation Issues Policy Development
Process Working Group Initial Report on behalf of my organization. You can
find them attached to this email and also transcribed here.

Best regards,

*---Javier Pallero*

Policy Analyst
Access | accessnow.org

Fingerprint 0503 FBA1 10B2 B83C 61FC FE3B 4E7E EBDD EBFD 028A


Comments to the ICANN Generic Names Supporting Organization on the Privacy
& Proxy Services Accreditation Issues Policy Development Process Working
Group Initial Report

July 7, 2015

Dear members of the Generic Names Supporting Organization,

We wish to express our concern over the Initial Report on the Privacy &
Proxy Services Accreditation Issues Policy Development Process, which
includes recommendations for the accreditation of Privacy and Proxy Service
Providers (PPSPs). The report noted that some members of the Privacy &
Proxy Services Accreditation Issues Working Group supported a
recommendation that would force PPSPs to disclose their customer’s personal
information without legal due process.

Access is an international organisation which defends and extends the
digital rights of users at risk around the world. By combining innovative
policy, user engagement, and direct technical support, we fight for open
and secure communications for all. We believe that a secure internet is
critical to defending and extending the digital rights of users around the
world, especially the right to privacy, association, and freedom
expression. Our Technology Arm supports human rights defenders and
organizations via a Digital Security Helpline, participates in the
development of secure communications tools, and helps inform the broader
human rights and digital security community through our research and

The implementation of some of the policies described in the report would
result in harmful consequences for user privacy. ICANN manages resources
that users all around the world rely on for the exercise of their rights.
Below, we summarize the concerns so that the GNSO Council, the ICANN Board,
and all stakeholders involved in this policy development process will
consider taking actions to ensure the respect of basic human rights such as
the right to privacy.

● Human rights, due process, and user data disclosure​: In order to comply
with human rights standards [1], any rules forcing PPSPs to disclose or
publish user 1 data upon request must comport with legal due process and
require a court order or a subpoena for its execution whether the requestor
is a private party or a law enforcement authority [2]. Mechanisms for user
data disclosure that do not comply with due process or which put excessive
burdens [3] on PPSPs endanger freedom of expression by exposing users at
risk – such as activists, members of ethnical, religious or sexual
minorities, journalists and others – and human rights groups that protect
those users.

● Policies must consider the universal scope of human rights​: The most
protective approach towards user privacy must be adopted in the case of any
gaps between between domestic legislation and international human rights

● Impact on ICANN policies on companies seeking to protect human rights​:
As private companies, PPSPs also have a duty to comply with human rights
standards, including the protection of privacy and due process. ICANN -
itself a private entity - should avoid the imposition of excessive burdens
that may discourage PPSPs lawful activities.

● Ensuring civil society groups and activists can continue using PPSPs​:
PPSPs can be crucial to actors working to help protect human rights
defenders and groups that work with digital users at risk. Any policy
development work in this area - including discussions of restrictions on
“commercial” usage of PPSPs - must be carefully undertaken in order to
ensure there is no negative impact on the lawful usage of such services by
civil society organisations, public interest groups, individual activists,
and whistleblowers.

● Intermediary Liability Limitation: Even in the cases where the
registration of PPSPs was imperative, the policies set in place by ICANN
should provide the necessary safeguards to allow them to conduct legal
business and to limit their responsibility for the acts of their users
beyond their control as Internet intermediaries.

In addition to the remarks in this brief, we support the concerns raised by
the Online Abuse Prevention Initiative in an open letter that is being
addressed to the ICANN [4]

Contact Information:

Javier Pallero
Policy Analyst

Raman Jit Singh Chima
Policy Director

[1] Like the International Principles on the Application of Human Rights to
Communications Surveillance and its Implementation Guide, among others. See
https://en.necessaryandproportionate.org/ and
roportionate respectively.

[2] Pages 12 and 13 of the report, numbers 18 and 19: [...] the WG agreed
that none of its recommendations should be read as being intended to alter
[...] the prevailing practice among P/P service providers to review
requests manually or to facilitate direct resolution of an issue between a
Requester and a P/P service customer. It also notes that disclosure of at
least some contact details of the customer may in some cases be required in
order to facilitate such direct resolution. / The WG has developed an
illustrative draft Disclosure Framework that would apply to Disclosure
requests made to P/P service providers by intellectual property (i.e.
trademark and copyright) owners. The proposal as drafted includes
requirements concerning the nature and type of information to be provided
by a Requester, non-exhaustive grounds for refusal of a request, and the
possibility of neutral dispute resolution/appeal in the event of a dispute

[3] Some of the proposed rules on relaying third party requests put
excessive logistical and economic pressure on PPSPs. See page 11 on the
report, numbers 16 and 17.

[4] The letter can be found here

Attachment: AccesscommentstotheICANNPrivacyProxyServicesAccreditationIssuesPolicyDevelopmentProcessWorkingGroupInitialReportJuly2015.pdf
Description: Adobe PDF document

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