[ALAC] [At-Large] Issue Report on Thick Whois

Holly Raiche h.raiche at internode.on.net
Mon Nov 28 21:04:39 UTC 2011

Hi Alan and Christian

The first requirement for ANY whois database is accuracy and completeness.  The most recent survey showed that only 8% of entries were complete and correct and less than 50% of the entries actually enabled the researcher to find a living person.  So before anything else, ICANN should do something about the vast majority of incomplete/inaccurate entries.

Next, what the Whois review team is looking at is to recognise the existence of privacy servers, have some criteria around them and then accredit them and ensure that, when necessary law enforcement agencies can have legitimate access (there are many issues within that sentence, but that's the direction they were going).  No need for proxy servers because - at law - the registrar is the agent - and arguably therefore responsible for meeting all of the RAA requirements.  

Finally - the advantage of thick whois is that the local laws/protections etc apply.  Before that, however, another of the Whois review team findings was that, in way too many cases, it is very hard if not impossible for the uninitiated to even find it.  So one suggestion was that ICANN just provide a portal that can at least get a person to the database.  The next issue then is whether the data is held centrally or locally (thick or thin) - and there are arguments for both.

My suggestion - press the Whois review team for their recommendations and respond accordingly.


On 29/11/2011, at 3:07 AM, Alan Greenberg wrote:

> Thanks. Regarding proxy registrations, some people read the current 
> contracts as not allowing them, but that is moot at this point, since 
> they have been going on for a long time now and ICANN has never tried 
> to stop them. Certainly for .net and .com, it is far too late to put 
> the genie back in the bottle. So no change from thin to thick whois 
> is going to alter the current situation. Or at least, that is how I read it.
> Alan
> At 28/11/2011 05:35 AM, Christian de Larrinaga wrote:
>> Alan
>> I'm pro thick whois but only where policy locally can support proxy 
>> registration services on proviso there are processes to deal with 
>> specific cases of abuse (technical, administrative, 
>> ownership).  This  needs to be local so that local jurisdictions can 
>> establish their own flavour of policies and provide registrants and 
>> users with choice and information.
>> Imposing a one size fits all global policy on all localities tends 
>> to lead to technical suspensions of domains due to registration 
>> inaccuracies (deliberate or not) rather than for the underlying 
>> problem behaviour. This has the capacity to increase instabilities 
>> in the DNS.  Choice for users and registrants depends largely on 
>> maintaining an Internet environment where local policies have room 
>> to effectively exist and be available to users globally.
>> Many domain owners have legitimate reasons to need privacy. This 
>> need for privacy where it exists should not be used a rationale by 
>> Registry or Registrar operators to control (own) as a trade secret 
>> the information in their registries. It should in my view be there 
>> to support registrants within an environment of local safeguards for users.
>> A PDP should re-address the importance of the local dimensions for 
>> Internet Policy development and management in my view. In other 
>> words be bottom up not simply in developing a policy but most 
>> importantly in its day to day management.
>> Christian
>> On 22 Nov 2011, at 01:08, Alan Greenberg wrote:
>>> One of the recommendations of the IRTP-B Policy Development Process
>>> (PDP) was for the GNSO to investigate requiring all gTLD Registries
>>> to use a "Thick" Whois.
>>> With thick Whois, all of the Whois information related to a
>>> registration is maintained by the Registry. With "Thin" Whois, the
>>> only information maintained by the Registry is the current status of
>>> the registration and identification of who the sponsoring Register
>>> is; the rest of the information and specifically that related to the
>>> Registrant is kept by the Registrar, making Whois a widely
>>> distributed database.
>>> Currently most Registries use thick Whois, and thick Whois is
>>> required for all gTLDs to be created under the new gTLD program. The
>>> only Registries that use thin Whois are operated by Verisign, but
>>> these of course include .com and .net which constitute the majority
>>> of gTLD registrations.
>>> In response to the IRTP-B recommendation, the GNSO requested and
>>> Issue Report and a preliminary version is now available and has been
>>> posted for public comment. Comments on this document will be received
>>> until 30 December, 2011. See
>> http://www.icann.org/en/public-comment/thick-whois-preliminary-report-21nov11-en.htm.
>>> The report confirms that the issue is within the scope of ICANN and
>>> the GNSO and recommends that the GNSO initiate a Policy Development
>>> Process on the issue.
>>> The primary purpose of this comment period is to ensure that the
>>> Issue Report does indeed address all of the relevant aspects of the
>>> issue. However, it will likely also be the only formal opportunity
>>> for the ALAC to state whether it recommends that a PDP should be
>>> initiated or not.
>>> I have not yet reviewed the document in sufficient depth to say
>>> whether I feel that it is complete, but on an initial review, it
>>> looks fine. My personal belief is that the ALAC should strongly
>>> support the initiation of a PDP on this issue.
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