[At-Large] [WHOIS-WG] Thick Whois

Carlton Samuels carlton.samuels at gmail.com
Tue Jan 15 19:35:09 UTC 2013

With respect to gTLDS - purposely draw for distinction against ccTLDs - the
larger problem is philosophical; the Internet as commons, a resource
accessible to all peoples.  This is about whether we concede rules for the
commons that all must obey, regardless of provenance, location or how
exceptional - or worthy of exception - we think we are.

WHOIS is a perfect setting for the evolving tragedy of the commons.

In some ways the .cat business is a red herring, since it has all the
trappings of a private club and with restricted access. [I can't wait for
the contest surrounding the so-called 'private' gTLDs in this round.]

Current WHOIS policy commits registrars to collect and store certain pieces
of data, inclusive of personal data, from all lessees of domain names.  We
call lessees 'registrants' and that data collected the WHOIS 'data set'.

Current policy also compels registrars to make this data available on
request by one or other means.  The policy does not address use thereafter.
 And it expressly redlines access for ordinary Internet users; registrars
may not place any hindrance whatsoever to their access.

The WHOIS debate surrounds four (4) top-of-mind issues: Compliance, Accuracy,
Access and Enforcement.

For the arguments to take hold, these are now viewed thru the lens of
 certain 'rights' and 'freedoms', be those justiciable or notional.  Never
the collective responsibilities.

There is the right to privacy, to be left alone, to be anonymous and to be
forgotten. Like the moving finger of Khayyam's verse, to write and move on.
Except in this case, to be blotted from consciousness and from memory.

Or, concession granted, to be ignored.

Then there is the right to be informed. And by extending some arguments, to
be misinformed.

There is the freedom of thought, of conscience and of speech. The freedom
to freely access information, to impinge or impose one's presence on others
on the commons without let or hindrance.

All rights and freedoms are equal and indivisible.  Some channel Orwell in
disputation here. They contend some rights are definitely more equal than
others.  The little fellas, sometimes labeled 'usual suspects' are of a
mind here. They make a self-serving extension to this argument. They say
tell me what right or freedom it is. And I will tell you how much of it you
have! Of course, authoritatively speaking.

Some say registrants equal users, the universal set, indivisible.  They are
happy to equate/conflate the needs/objectives of all users with the
needs/objectives of registrants. And they implicitly accept all
needs/objectives as benign.

Free peoples everywhere have an unfettered right to redress of grievance;
the 'knowing' is the beginning for this process.

When these views - or their mashups! - are examined within the WHOIS
context, they together produce a frothy blend, all the way from the
philosophical thru the political, even to the far plainly contrarian edge.

Some tend to the philosophical belief that if one chooses to be on the
commons then there are no rules to which one could be compelled. So
therefore collection of any data whatsoever, regardless of intended use, is
a rank violation of rights and privileges to which one is entitled.  By
extension, one readily accepts inaccurate WHOIS data as indignant pushback
against an oppressive regime and scabrous imposition. As Sir Humphrey might
have said, a case for 'moral *manoeuvreability*'.

Others believe sure, collect.  But until we can guarantee
use/interpretation of the data, then demand for that data is overreaching.
 They equally fervently hold that to impose pre-screening of anything they
themselves would place on the commons for whatever purpose is a squalid
attempt to suppress the several freedoms to which they are born.

And no, we do not need a referee for this conundrum.

Here's the thing.  These arguments/beliefs/justifications will not go away
with another WHOIS data model or an implementation that allows
'differentiated access'. For long before we get to the access question,
there are the questions what to collect and why collect? Someone or thing
must decide what and why.  Even more acutely political, that agency must
account the context in which these questions must be asked.  That exists
today and the fight is joined.

For sure, the new dispensation that is wished comes with access questions.
 Yes, questions.  I can see the battle lines now.


Carlton A Samuels
Mobile: 876-818-1799
*Strategy, Planning, Governance, Assessment & Turnaround*

On Sat, Jan 12, 2013 at 12:05 PM, Patrick Vande Walle <
patrick at vande-walle.eu> wrote:

>  While on the subject, it is worth noting,  as Michele Neylon pointed out
> on his blog, that the .Cat Registry Whois Now Respects EU Privacy Laws
> http://www.internetnews.me/2013/01/10/cat-registry-whois-now-respects-eu-privacy-laws/
> Of course, the ICANN process to allow a contracted party to simply obey
> the law is  than optimal. It could be made less burdensome by simply
> including a one-liner in agreements stating that the the provisions
> regarding the WHOIS which are contrary to the local law are void.
> Anyway, this once again demonstrates that the current WHOIS system is
> broken, and that we need a replacement ASAP. The work on WEIRDS/RDAP is
> well advanced, as are several open source implementations.
> It will allow differentiated access. However, it is not up to IETF to
> draft the policies regarding this. One suggestion the ALAC could make is to
> start right away with designing the policy side. It will take time. So, the
> sooner the ICANN community begins, the sooner we will have a working
> replacement for the WHOIS that will, at the same time, both address the
> LEAs concerns and repect the fundamental rights to privacy and free speech.
> --
> Patrick Vande Walle
> Twitter: twitter.vande-walle.eu
> Facebook: facebook.vande-walle.eu
> LinkedIn: linkedin.vande-walle.eu
> On 10/01/13 16:52, Carlton Samuels wrote:
> This questionnaire with its answers reiterates the ALAC's WHOIS positions
> expressed at multiple times and in many places in this one place.
>  It gets my support.
>  Add the URLs to previous ALAC WHOIS Statements and its good to go.
>  -Carlton
> Chair, At-Large WHOIS WG
> ==============================
> Carlton A Samuels
> Mobile: 876-818-1799
> *Strategy, Planning, Governance, Assessment & Turnaround*
> =============================
> On Wed, Jan 9, 2013 at 6:14 PM, Alan Greenberg <alan.greenberg at mcgill.ca>wrote:
>> ALAC input was requested by the ongoing GNSO PDP on mandating a Thick
>> Whois for all registries. Although previous ALAC statements made it clear
>> that we were strongly in support of Thick Whois, we had not specifically
>> addressed all of the issues being discussed in the WG.
>> A draft reply can be found at https://community.icann.org/x/kIVZAg.
>> Comments welcome, but note that the target reply date was today. I have
>> said that ALAC would be responding but that we would be late, but quick
>> action would be appreciated.
>> A copy is also attached here for your convenience.
>>  <http://linkedin.vande-walle.eu>
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