[At-Large] Issue Report on Thick Whois

Antony Van Couvering avc at avc.vc
Wed Nov 23 05:08:15 UTC 2011

Thin Whois is an historical abomination - it was slipped through by Network Solutions as a way to keep all the customer data for themselves when their monopoly was broken up. 

It is bad for legitimate searchers, because registrars may or may not be findable or helpful

It is bad for privacy, because registrars are less secure -- plus I'm sure some of them have been mining their own whois data and either using it themselves or spamming.  

It's very bad for registrants (assuming anyone in ALAC cares) because in a business failure, your records of what you own, in what name, etc., are all gone. 

Whatever your policy position, a thick Whois is better because then policy can be applied to it.  


On Nov 22, 2011, at 8:22 PM, Alan Greenberg wrote:

> While this may be considered an interesting thread by some, it is WAY 
> off topic.
> The question on the table is not whether DNS is the right vehicle, 
> whether Whois is the right methodology, nor how public or private 
> Whois should be. The question on the table is whether .com , .net and 
> a few others should use "Thick" Whois or "Thin" Whois (as currently 
> defined/designed). And more immediately, whether the Issue Report 
> just published focuses on the correct issues related to this sole topic.
> For the record, At-large and ALAC do consider issues relevant to 
> Registrants. If we didn't, we would not have championed the 
> Post-Expiration Domain Name Recovery (PEDNR) PDP. The benefits of 
> PEDNR will accrue primarily to Registrants, with end users benefiting 
> primarily as a result of websites, e-mail addresses and other uses of 
> domain names not disappearing unexpectedly. However, many of us who 
> are involved in At-Large do tend to take an end-user perspective on 
> issues where it is judged that registrant rights are at odds with the 
> rights/needs of the general non-registrant user or the public interest.
> Alan
> At 22/11/2011 08:57 PM, Karl Auerbach wrote:
>> On 11/22/2011 03:53 PM, Evan Leibovitch wrote:
>>>> Sonme of us believe that there ought not to be a domain name whois at all;
>>> That "us" is almost exclusively registrants, a set of vested interests
>> That's a rather pejorative way to dismiss the privacy concerns of over
>> 100,000,000 registrants.
>>> within ICANN whose voices are heard through their own representative
>>> constituencies. That we now have such a lack of compliance in (and respect
>>> for) WHOIS indicates that such interests have held sway so far.
>> That's one conclusion.  The other, and the one that I believe is more
>> accurate is that many people, perhaps even a majority, who have domain
>> names believe that their relationships with their registrars are none of
>> ICANN's business.  The word for that is "privacy".
>> I am amazed with the notion that the ALAC, which purports to represent
>> "the internet user" is so unquestioningly willing to require that the
>> privacy of those users be sacrificed to satisfy the prying eyes of
>> anyone who wants to look 24x7x365.
>> I put forward a balanced equation that under which those who want to
>> look at Whois have to make a demonstration of harm and leave their name.
>> That's not as good or as balanced in which that demonstration of harm
>> is adjudged by a disinterested third party, but at least it's a lot
>> better than the system we have today.
>> So why don't even want to consider a system in which someone who wants
>> to look at Whois has to leave his name, make a claim, backed by
>> evidence, that a legally cognizable harm has occurred, and leave some $$
>> on deposit to cover the costs to the registrant in case that claim turns
>> out to be made with fraudulent intent or with reckless disregard of the
>> truth?
>>> But this is At-Large, whose members have no voice elsewhere within
>>> ICANN.
>> And whose fault is that - Internet users once had a real voice, a real vote.
>> Most people who use the Internet and don't own domains do not, in my
>>> experience, share the sentiment above.
>> OK, let's put it to a vote.  Oops, there's no mechanism to do that.
>> Most people these days don't bother with domain names any more - they
>> use Facebook or other social net logins.
>> And it is sad that even Facebook has better privacy protections for its
>> users than ICANN does for domain name registrants.
>> I welcome the opportunity to confirm
>>> or refute this, but as yet I haven't found one non-domain-owning individual
>>> who believes that such a regime to be suitable. And I've asked many.
>> Maybe you should ask people whether they are willing to have their - or
>> their family's - names, addresses, phone numbers, affiliations, and
>> business relationships put into a worldwide database?
>> Do you have children?  Have you ever considered that parents might
>> consider the Whois to be a Megan's Law List in reverse - in which ICANN
>> requires parents to publish publish the names and addresses of
>> prospective victims to predators?
>>        --karl--
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