[ALAC] Fwd: [ISOC-AU-mems] itNews: 'Europe slams WHOIS data demands'

Holly Raiche h.raiche at internode.on.net
Tue Oct 2 06:21:12 UTC 2012

Hi Everyone

An email circulated on the Internet Society of Australia's mailing list - another aspect of the Whois accuracy debate

Begin forwarded message:

> Europe slams WHOIS data demands
> Juha Saarinen
> Oct 2, 2012 4:27 AM (10 hours ago)
> http://www.itnews.com.au/News/317528,europe-slams-whois-data-demands.aspx
> Extensive data retention proposals slammed.
> A European watchdog has opposed moved by the Internet Corporation for 
> Assigned Named and Numbers (ICANN) to force domain name registrars to 
> improve accuracy of the WHOIS database.
> Jacob Kohnstamm, chairman of the European Union's working party on 
> data protection, told ICANN's chairman and interim CEO in a letter 
> that the proposed changes to the organisation's registrar 
> accreditation agreements would likely run contrary to European 
> citizens' right to privacy.
> News blog Domain Incite, which published the EU letter, said the 
> changes included forcing registrars to re-verify domain registrant 
> contact data every year while retaining customer data for two years 
> after registration ends.
> The changes have been requested by law enforcement, according to 
> Domain Incite, and is backed up by the Governmental Advisory 
> Committee (GAC) of ICANN. Australia has a supporting delegate in the 
> committee.
> The WHOIS database provides public information about website 
> registration details including contact information and registration.
> It was originally designed to provide contact points for technical 
> and registration queries but has of late been accessed by law 
> enforcement to track down criminal activity on the Internet.
> "The fact that WHOIS data can be used for other beneficial purposes 
> does not in itself legitimise the collection and processing of 
> personal data for those other purposes," Kohnstamm wrote.
> The re-verification requirement was "excessive and therefore 
> unlawful", he said.
> Due to WHOIS databases having unlimited public accessibility, contact 
> details in them have been harvested on a large scale and abused for 
> spamming, the Working Group said.
> Thanks to the abuse, there is a strong incentive for people to 
> provide inaccurate contact details.
> ICANN had failed to address the spamming problem, making the proposed 
> solution a "disproportionate infringement of the right to protection 
> of personal data".
> A second proposal requiring extensive data retention based on wishes 
> from law enforcement was also deemed unlawful by the Working Group.
> Under ICANN's propsal, registrars would be forced to retain not only 
> registrants' personal information for two years after the 
> registration ceases, but also a raft of other data including phone 
> and email addresses not in WHOIS, credit card data and communications 
> identifiers such as Skype handles.
> Extensive logging with source Internet Protocol addresses and HTTP 
> headers, as well as dates, times, and time zones of communications 
> and sessions was also suggested.
> Acccording to Domain Incite, ICANN could impose the new requirements 
> despite EU objections, giving registrars in the European Union the 
> ability to stay out of the new requirements to comply with local 
> privacy laws.
> ICANN negotiations are currently being held on the topic have been 
> underway over WHOIS, whose information is often considered 
> inaccurate, obfuscated or non-existent.
> [It doesn't appear that ISOC-AU has previously had a policy on this:
> http://www.isoc-au.org.au/Submissions/SubmissionsByTopic.php
> [APF submitted re privacy and Whois:
> in 2010:
> http://www.privacy.org.au/Papers/WhoIs-RCI-101021.pdf
> http://www.privacy.org.au/Papers/WhoIs-RCI-Anal-1010.pdf
> in 2001:
> http://www.privacy.org.au/Papers/AuDA010321.html
> -- 
> Roger Clarke                                 http://www.rogerclarke.com/
> Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd      78 Sidaway St, Chapman ACT 2611 AUSTRALIA
>                    Tel: +61 2 6288 1472, and 6288 6916
> mailto:Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au                http://www.xamax.com.au/
> Visiting Professor in the Faculty of Law               University of NSW
> Visiting Professor in Computer Science    Australian National University
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