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TOR is the abbreviation for Terms of Reference, which generally refers to a drafted set of questions to serve as the basis for the internal or independent review of an organization within ICANN or a new feature to be released by ICANN.

Examples of TORs

The following are several of ICANN's past TORs.

TOR for the Independent Review of the Nominating Committee

The Terms of Reference for Independent Review of the Nominating Committee were approved by ICANN based on a draft posted on 12 December 2006 and the ensuing public comments. This TOR functions as a basis for the independent review of its Nominating Committee, suggesting general as well as specific questions to be addressed by the Review. The questions are generally illustrative, not exhaustive or definitive. It is not meant to limit the review, but rather to ensure that the review addresses the reasons for its creation, that is, to decide whether or not NomCom has a continuing purpose in the ICANN structure, and, if so, whether any changes in the structure or operation would improve its effectiveness.[1]

TOR for the Independent Review of ICANN's Accountability and Transparency

ICANN issued Terms of Reference for Independent Review of ICANN’s Accountability and Transparency in March 2007, under which it engaged the One World Trust (OWT) to review ICANN’s standards of transparency, participation, evaluation and complaint handling for all parts of the organization, including the Board, staff, Supporting Organizations and Advisory Committees.[2]

TOR for the Review of the Security and Stability Advisory Committee

ICANN issued a TOR for the review of the Security and Stability Advisory Committee (SSAC) in August 2008. The purpose of the TOR was to revise the operation and structure of the SSAC. The review was completed by an independent organization, and then considered by the ICANN Board; passing the results of the review required a two-thirds vote by the Board Members.[3]

TOR for New gTLDs

The Terms of Reference for New gTLDs was released in December 2005. Such topics included whether or not new gTLDs were necessary, the selection criteria for new gTLDs, and allocation methods for new gTLDs.[4]

Root Scaling Study TOR

The Root Scaling Study Terms of Reference were released by ICANN in May 2009, requesting that the Root Server System Advisory Committee (RSSAC), the Security and Stability Advisory Committee (SSAC), and the ICANN staff review the potential impact of IPv6 addresses, IDN top level names, other new TLDs on root zone stability.[5]


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