[At-Large] whois, weirds, and slaves

John R. Levine johnl at iecc.com
Sun Jan 20 01:18:42 UTC 2013

> The 2nd amendment was all about the colonists protesting ...

Colonists?  The Bill of Rights was ratified in 1791, a decade after the 
revolution was over.  The 2nd is about southern militias that put down 
slave rebellions.  Read about it here:


We can certainly agree it has no relevance to anything ICANN does.

> What is being developed by the IETF is the WEIRDS protocol which, 
> amongst other things, will allow differentiated access to Whois data. 
> This will allow those who want to exercise their legitimate right to 
> privacy to do so, ...

Sorry, no, that's not what WEIRDS is doing.

For one thing, WEIRDS is really about redoing WHOIS for IP addresses.  As 
the group was being chartered, a bunch of people showed up, loudly 
demanded that we do names as well, and then predictably disappeared 
without doing any work.  (Not quite all, one or two guys are toiling away, 
but given how poorly the names community understands the issues, I doubt 
there will be much progress.)  So WEIRDS is unlikely to produce anything 
for names.  We knew this would happen, so the charter specifically allows 
the IP address work to go ahead while the names spin their wheels.

Even if it does, the differentiated access is nothing new.  Try looking up 
six names in a row at Godaddy's WHOIS server, and you'll find that it 
starts providing much less info in each response, unless you're connecting 
from an IP for which they've relaxed the rate limits.  The WEIRDS stuff 
just provides a cleaner way to do what existing WHOIS servers do with 
per-IP rate limits and CAPTCHAs.

And please keep in mind that the IETF has exactly zero interest in getting 
involved in policy disputes, so we'll design a way that a client can pass 
credentials to a WEIRDS server, but not what the server does with those 
credentials.  This project is to provide a spec that the RIRs and perhaps 
name registries can use to do what they do now, but in a way that scales 
better and is easier to script.


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