[At-Large] Impressions from the Whois-Review

John R. Levine johnl at iecc.com
Wed Feb 2 20:11:28 UTC 2011

> I cannot accept that there cannot be a balance between the right to privacy
> and the right to know for those harmed by an act traceable to a domain.

There certainly should be a balance.  But when there are a billion 
Internet users, and thousands of individual vanity domain registrants, it 
is silly to argue that the two interests are of the same weight and also 
to argue, as many have over the past decade, that vanity registrants must 
not be put to any extra or effort at all if they don't want to be treated 
the same as the businesses and organizations that register the vast 
majority of domains.

I also have to say that it is not helpful when people make claims, as 
we've seen recently, that WHOIS is useless for tracking miscreants, which 
is false, or that it's only used to research trivial misbehavior, which is 
equally false.  It is also unhelpful when people refuse to recognize the 
scale of the modern Internet, in which web hosts routinely turn down 
thousands of domains every day for anti-social behavior.  The real 
surprise is that they don't make more mistakes than they do.

All of my own domains have accurate WHOIS info.  I use a post office box 
to receive my mail, so they don't show my home address, which I don't 
think is an unreasonable burden.

John Levine, johnl at iecc.com, Primary Perpetrator of "The Internet for Dummies",
Please consider the environment before reading this e-mail. http://jl.ly

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