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Whois Policy Reform Advances

Michael Geist

The Associated Press reports this week on ICANN developments involving the Whois reform. The Whois database, which displays domain name registrant information including names, addresses, phone numbers, postal and email addresses, has been the subject of years of debate within ICANN as many in the Internet community have expressed concerns about the mandatory disclosure of such personal information. The Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) has successfully pushed for reform, though it is uncertain how the ICANN board will respond.

Interestingly, the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA), which manages the dot-ca domain, this week announced that it has completed its consultation on implementing whois reform in Canada. The CIRA reforms would push Canada far ahead of ICANN, by removing the mandatory public disclosure of the personal information of individual registrants. It would also include a unique system that would allow people to contact a registrant via CIRA without obtaining the registrant's personal information. This is a welcome development (I pushed for whois reform during my six years on the CIRA board) — CIRA says it expects to implement the reforms by the end of this year and the Canadian Internet community should hold the organization to that time frame.

By Michael Geist, Chair of Internet and E-commerce Law. More blog posts from Michael Geist can also be read here.

Related topics: DNS, Domain Names, ICANN, Privacy, Whois

 
   
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