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Getting Rid of Whois

The Whois database may disappear… An ICANN committee is considering a sunset proposal at its meeting this week in Los Angeles that would effectively scrap the directory system on privacy grounds. Among those arguments is that a public-by-default Whois listing may run afoul of Canadian and European Union privacy laws.

This is not a new debate but the debate has advanced. An ICANN task force published a report last year listing the widely differing views of intellectual-property lobbyists, Internet service providers, noncommercial users, and so on.

Read full story: CNET News

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Re: Getting Rid of Whois By jeroen  –  Oct 30, 2007 6:45 pm PDT

With the whois for domains (thus not IP space) only containing "DomainsByProxy" and other similar setups and also a lot of bogus information, not even mentioning the fact that a couple of registries don't even allow one to properly add the information even if you wanted to, it probably is a good thing to simply remove it altogether.

Better no information than bogus info.

The only info that would be still handy to have though are:
- contact phone + contact email address of the tech who is responsible (though SOA record would help there)
- date of initial registration
- date of expiry

The rest of the data is generally bogus thus can definitely go. Not that the phone or the email address given there will do any good as generally nobody picks up the phone and the email address simply either is set to discard or simply bounces.

Re: Getting Rid of Whois By The Famous Brett Watson  –  Oct 30, 2007 7:29 pm PDT

Indeed, the SOA record is supposed to have an email address in it already, which pretty much covers the technical point of contact for the domain. Additional information could be provided in TXT or RP records, and it would have a much better chance of being true when supplied voluntarily in this way.

Absolute agreement on the "registration and expiry" data. We also need to know the current registrar so that the legal attack dogs know where to send their subpoenas, among other reasons.

Re: Getting Rid of Whois By Suresh Ramasubramanian  –  Oct 31, 2007 6:53 am PDT

Even interestingly faked whois has patterns in it that turn out to be very useful indeed.

I have a feeling we are not going to see much consensus on this, for the next several ICANN meetings.

This is going to be a spectacularly long "sunset"

Re: Getting Rid of Whois By Simon Waters  –  Oct 31, 2007 2:50 pm PDT

I've never really understood the complaint.

My employers (webhosting) have long registered domains names in their name for clients who want their domain name registered that way. As long as the details get a "responsible person", I don't think anyone cares. Indeed I think it is far more useful that the domain admin contact is a web host contact address. Since someone will react the same day to a report of abuse.

So I don't understand the privacy issue, a private registration will always cost more to operate, people can pay to get such a registration already.

I can understand the opposite view point, that by using privacy services it can make it harder to deal with abuse, but I don't see that as a compelling argument to prohibit anonymous registrations.

So I don't see what is broken here - or am I missing something?

Re: Getting Rid of Whois By Suresh Ramasubramanian  –  Oct 31, 2007 9:23 pm PDT

Suresh Ramasubramanian said:

I have a feeling we are not going to see much consensus on this, for the next several ICANN meetings.

This is going to be a spectacularly long "sunset"

What do you know, my prediction came true. I should probably become an astrologer ..


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