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ICANN Is Proposing To Terminate WHOIS Privacy And The Deadline Is July 7th

Domain Privacy

ICANN is an organization that we can call the domain name senate, they are the ones regulating pretty much everything that has to do with domains.

While there have already been some weird propositions from them in the past this one is probably one of the dumbest yet. What they want to do is make every WHOIS record (information of the domain holder) public.

You might say hey, what’s wrong with that, my domain information is already public? While that is true in most cases, as around 80% of the domain holders info is public, a lot of businesses and other individuals want their info hidden so they are using the so called domain proxy services that hide their true identities.

Basically to shorten this a bit, proposition by the “working group” of ICANN says:

Although the WG agreed that the mere fact that a domain name is registered by a commercial entity or by anyone conducting commercial activity should not preclude the use of P/P services, there was disagreement over whether domain names that are actively used for commercial transactions (e.g. the sale or exchange of goods or services) should be prohibited from using P/P services. While most WG members did not believe such a prohibition is necessary or practical, some members believed that registrants of such domain names should not be able to use or continue using P/P services.” – the full PDF can be found here – PDF from 5th May.

The real “shadow” enforcer for this to take an effect is hidden in the organization Center for Copyright Information that is run by the likes of RIAA, MPAA and internet service providers such as Time Warner Cable, Verizon, Comcast and AT&T. Some of you might even remember their Copyright Alert System (CAS) with their “Six Strikes” rule. What they want is for every domain that is “commercially” run, even if you have your own blog and put some ads on your website to pay for the hosting, that would already fall under their interpretation of a website run for commercial purposes. So if you would have your domain info hidden with privacy to hide your own personal data such as your name, address and telephone number you would be in jeopardy.

What this would bring is just a limitation on your rights and exposing you to the public if you run a blog/website that exposes crimes, corruption, manipulation, … limiting you and further making you just puppets run by the mega corporations and organizations, as the sole reason for this change is to please large companies to make it easier to carry out their copyright complaints, lawsuits and shut down whistle blowers.

As the EFF’s Malcolm and Stoltz said: “The ability to speak anonymously protects people with unpopular or marginalized opinions, allowing them to speak and be heard without fear of harm,” the two said. “It also protects whistleblowers who expose crime, waste, and corruption.

Just for your information, there are other ways for you to protect your personal information: using a different email that doesn’t expose you, phone number and a PO Box for your address for example, but ICANN does from time to time attempt to validate the information provided and if they are unsuccessful they can seize the domain. So if WHOIS privacy gets shut down we can be pretty sure there will be more of these domain verifications, at least on the domains that are already on the “watch-list” by the likes of RIAA, MPAA and corporations who want to shut down truth-seekers.

There have already been thousands of comments submitted to ICANN over this nonsense “let’s make everything public” rule.

To get the public more aware a domain name registrar NameCheap has created a website named Respect Our Privacy that explains the policy and what you can do to help.

Save Domain Privacy submitted a great example as seen below, showing how proxy services provide their own contact info to the public WHOIS database instead of domain owners info. If ICANN’s proposal goes through all of the domain WHOIS info would be visible.

No Privacy and Privacy WHOIS


This ridiculous rule needs to be put to sleep once and for all as it’s just unwise to have your full name, address, phone number and email address out there in WHOIS records for anyone and everyone to access and even take advantage off. There isn’t much time left as the deadline is set at July 7 to send our comments to ICANN (comments-ppsai-initial-05may15@icann.org).

Support the cause with signing a petition or use the phone and email tool at Respect Our Privacy to stop this madness. As the campaign on website says: “Respect our privacy. Don’t expose WHOIS data.”


About the author

TLN

  • concerndcitizen

    This is what they do in communist countries, so the thugs can hassle the good people.