[At-Large] [WHOIS-WG] Fwd: WHOIS Policy Review Team Final Report

Patrick Vande Walle patrick at vande-walle.eu
Wed May 16 06:55:01 UTC 2012

On 15/05/12 17:07, Carlton Samuels wrote:
> Your position condemns ordinary users who are hurt by bad actors to do
> without the basic information to initiate redress of grievance.
>  Undoubtedly WHOIS information to a class of better informed
> interlocutors could likely be fruitful.  But information
> discrimination of the kind suggested against victims of dissolute
> behaviours adds insult to injury. Count me out.

A fully open, public WHOIS condemns honest domain name registrants to be
hurt by bad actors, like spammers. Being harassed on the phone, and see
personal details exposed for all to see. 

I have no doubt experts in cybercrime would find the useful clues in the
WHOIS.  I am all in favour of giving them access to the information they
need, as long as they clearly identify themselves, the work they do and
be transparent  who they work for, have a code of conduct, etc.   
However, I consider that exposing the private details of millions of
honest individual domain name  registrants to chase a few thousand
criminals, who would fake their contact details anyway, is
disproportionate from a human rights POV.

Note also that other registries, mostly ccTLDs, have privacy policies.
Yet, they do not have more issues with counterfeiting and spam than the
main gTLDs have.  What is disappointing  is that ICANN  (both the
corporation and the community) does not want to question the model they
use and learn from best practices developed elsewhere.

Lastly, we should really distinguish between data collection and data
display. The current  ICANN WHOIS policy does not. Collecting private
details is legitimate.  Displaying them to everyone is not. I doubt
there are many countries where one can consult the car registration
database or obtain the details of an unlisted phone  number without
showing the right credentials to access that data. Why should the domain
name database be any different ?
> All aside, I am curious as to the identity of the individual allegedly
> of outsize influence "who have a business interest in an
> open-to-anyone WHOIS".  

This is more a gut feeling based on past posts that the result of an
investigation. Frankly, I would have absolutely no issue if people made
a living in fighting spam, counterfeit goods or generally investigate
criminal activities.    As long as this is transparent to the rest of
the community.  Indeed, I think Evan's suggestion to publish SOIs is a
good starting point.  I have not done so, because I am not in a
leadership position, but I would have no issue to do it, if required.
Maybe this should be extended to all members of the WGs.


More information about the At-Large mailing list