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It's About Whois Display And Access

The need for an access model for non-public Whois data has been apparent since GDPR became a major issue before the community well over a year ago. Now is the time to address it seriously, and not with half measures. We urgently need a temporary model for access to non-public Whois data for legitimate uses, while the community undertakes longer-term policy development efforts. more

ICANN vs EPAG: ICANN Seeks Appeal Plus Pushes for ECJ Referral

As I predicted ICANN is pursuing its case against EPAG. They're now not only appealing the case to a higher court in Germany but are also trying to get the entire thing referred to the European Court of Justice. In an announcement late last night ICANN made it very clear what their intentions are. While they're pursuing the appeal in the higher court in the German region, which makes sense at some level, it's also very clear that they're not taking "no" for an answer. more

WHOIS Users Facing Serious Challenges Caused by Post-GDPR Fragmentation

On May 25, 2018, the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into effect, meaning that European data protection authorities (DPAs) can begin enforcing the regulation against non-compliant parties. In preparation, the ICANN Board passed a Temporary Specification for gTLD Registration Data - essentially a temporary policy amendment to its registrar and registry contracts to facilitate GDPR compliance while also preserving certain aspects of the WHOIS system of domain name registration data. more

ICANN vs Epag/Tucows: German Court Rules Against ICANN

German courts seem to be pretty fast, so instead of having to wait weeks or months to see how they'd rule, we've already got the answer. The German court in Bonn has ruled that EPAG (Tucows) is not obliged to collect extra contacts beyond the domain name registrant. The decision, naturally, is in German, but there is a translation into English that we can use to understand how the court arrived at this decision. more

ICANN vs EPAG/Tucows: Tucows Releases Statement on What They're Doing and Why

As I noted over the weekend, ICANN has instigated legal action against EPAG, an ICANN accredited registrar based in Germany that is part of the Tucows group. ICANN claims that the case is to "preserve WHOIS data", but Tucows asserts in their statement that the ICANN approach is flawed. It's not a frivolous statement, but one they've backed with fairly detailed rationale - and this is just their public statement and not a formal legal filing. more

GDPR PII Time-Bomb? Kill it With Fire!

Hi! My name is spamfighter. I investigate spam and phish in a post-GDPR dystopia. Recently, I invented Fire, to save you millions of €uros. One day, my Boss suggested I automate some of my processes. I, for one, welcome our Robot Overlords (and a happy boss), but I can be exacting about the tools I use. Perhaps not to the degree of the infamous Van Halen 'no brown M&M's' contractual clause but I have no patience for poorly-designed software, and truly dislike typing when... more

ICANN Files Legal Action Against Domain Registrar for Refusal to Collect WHOIS Data

Germany-based ICANN-accredited registrar EPAG owned by Tucows has informed ICANN that it plans to stop collecting Whois contact information from its customers as it violates the GDPR rules. more

Is It Time for a Data Sharing Clearinghouse for Internet Researchers?

Today's Senate hearing with Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg will start a long discussion on data collection and privacy from Internet companies. Although the spotlight is currently on Facebook, we shouldn't forget that the picture is broader: companies from device manufacturers to ISPs collect network traffic and use it for a variety of purposes. more

Why Are the EU Data Protection Authorities Taking Away Our Fundamental Right to be Safe?

What if we created a rule that gave everyone - good or bad - the right to hide their license plate, where they live, who they are, and just go incognito? What if we made it a right to walk into any building in the world, and simply say "No, thank you" when the security guards asked for one's identification? The criminals would celebrate, and we'd all be utterly alarmed. We would immediately be afraid for our personal safety. more

Holocaust Remembrance Day

Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day. Today we remember that the Nazis rounded up Jews, Roma, political dissidents, and other "undesirables" using the best data and technology of the day and sent them off to concentration camps. We don't normally deal with this type of political reality in ICANN, but now is the time to do so. In 1995, the recently formed European Union passed the EU Data Protection Directive. more

Facebook vs. Domain Names: Lessons from Cambridge Analytica

The current revelations about Cambridge Analytica's use of Facebook data illustrate an important drawback to using a Facebook account as your business' online presence: Facebook knows and sells your customers! Millions of companies - especially small companies and start-ups - rely on a Facebook account for their online presence. On the surface, it seems like a great idea... more

Accreditation & Access Model For Non-Public Whois Data

In the current debate over the balance between privacy and Internet safety and security, one of the unanswered questions is: "How will those responsible for protecting the public interest gain access to the non-public data in the WHOIS databases post General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)?" In an attempt to prevent WHOIS data from going "dark," several community members have been working for the past weeks to create a model that could be used to accredit users and enable access to the non-public WHOIS data. more

ICANN Proposed Interim GDPR Compliance Model Would Kill Operational Transparency of the Internet

ICANN has consistently said its intention in complying with the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is to comply while at the same time maintaining access to the WHOIS domain name registration database "to greatest extent possible." On February 28, ICANN published its proposed model. Strangely, while ICANN acknowledges that some of the critical purposes for WHOIS include consumer protection, investigation of cybercrimes, mitigation of DNS abuse, and intellectual property protection, the model ICANN proposes provides no meaningful pathway to use WHOIS in those ways. more

WHOIS Inaccuracy Could Mean Noncompliance with GDPR

The European Commission recently released technical input on ICANN's proposed GDPR-compliant WHOIS models that underscores the GDPR's "Accuracy" principle - making clear that reasonable steps should be taken to ensure the accuracy of any personal data obtained for WHOIS databases and that ICANN should be sure to incorporate this requirement in whatever model it adopts. Contracted parties concerned with GDPR compliance should take note. more

GDPR - Territorial Scope and the Need to Avoid Absurd and Inconsistent Results

There is an urgent need to clarify the GDPR's territorial scope. Of the many changes the GDPR will usher in this May, the expansion of EU privacy law's territorial scope is one of the most important. The GDPR provides for broad application of its provisions both within the EU and globally. But the fact that the GDPR has a broad territorial scope does not mean that every company, or all data processing activities, are subject to it. more