[At-Large] Withdraw the gun database

Karl Auerbach karl at cavebear.com
Fri Jan 25 02:22:43 UTC 2013

On 01/24/2013 03:46 PM, Derek Smythe wrote:

> * Domain WHOIS details are being likened to gun registration details
> and the assertion made that guns are dangerous, domains are not.

Not quite.  The discussion has been on the fact that in a lot of places 
gun registrations are being made private.  And because guns are orders 
of magnitude higher on the relative scale of capacity to cause injury or 
death than are domain names that it makes sense to give the public more 
access to gun registration data than to domain registration data.

Sure, one can brew up intricate cases where a domain name is used as one 
element in a scheme that leads to human injury.  But the sequence of 
causative events between domain name and injury in such schemes is 
rather greater than is for the typical gun related injury.

The phrase typically used in law is "proximate cause" - use of a domain 
names are rarely the proximate cause of violent damage to a human body. 
  The same can not be said for guns.

The proponents of the current wide-open whois seem to be suggesting that 
the entry of a spam email into a person's mailbox is an injury equal to, 
or even greater, than that of a bullet entering a human body.  I hope 
that the error is on my side, that I am mis-reading their positions.

In the situations you cited in which domain names were an element of an 
unlawful action there appear to have been plenty of unlawful things 
going on: you use words like "fraudulent" and "defrauded" - these acts 
are themselves actionable with or without use of a domain name.  My 
suggestion is that you attack the root cause of specific events - such 
as the misrepresentation of material facts to someone who relies upon 
those facts to their detriment - rather than discarding the privacy of 
innocent domain owners everywhere.

Yes, the systems of investigation and of enforcement that we have today 
are slow, cumbersome, and expensive.

But rather than throwing all that to the dogs, which seems to the goal 
of some, we should try to create improved procedures.  And to that end I 
have suggested some concrete processes.

It does seem that among those who are on the "open whois" side that 
there are many who are unwilling to disclose their own identities while 
trying to obtain the identity of another, to make implicit accusations 
of wrong doing without making those accusations explicit or backing them 
with evidence, or to enter into a binding up front terms of service 
agreement that imposes enforceable obligations on their use of data that 
is obtained.  Such an imbalance is contrary to my sense of justice and 
due process.


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