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    Highlights of the ICANNWatch Archive
    (June 1999 - March 2001)

    Privacy 'ICANN strikes a blow against UCE'
    posted by michael on Thursday April 03 2003, @04:33AM

    Fred Showker writes "As an avid UCE (spam) fighter, and proponent of the "ISP Anti-UCE Initiative" I applaud ICANN for adopting a 'consensus policy' regarding the accuracy of WHOIS domain name data which could result in businesses losing their domains.

    It's long overdue, and very welcome if it can, now, be enforced. BRAVO, ICANN! At last!"

    "ICANN's new policy requires that all registrants be contacted annually by their registrar to ensure all data on the WHOIS database is correct. If the registrant fails to reply the domain could be cancelled.

    It certainly won't be the cure, but at last it's a step in the right direction toward "accountability" for domain owners.

    This coupled with our "ISP Anti-UCE Initiative" should help reduce as much as 75% of the evil spam being sent.

    However the Board expresses two concerns.


    The board is concerned:

    forcing registrants to disclose their details compromises online privacy. This will obviously not cause any particular anxiety to the intellectual property, law enforcement and consumer protection communities


    Domain holders who's purpose is legitimate, honorable online activities will have their contact information disclosed at their web sites anyway.

    Complaints will come ONLY from those engaged in unlawful, or covert activities which do not comply with the traditional ruled of netiquette (etiquette).

    The board is concerned:

    may well affect the business community who in the past have often suffered from a failure to keep consistent and accurate contact details for registrar/registrant communications.


    As with any license, registration, account or affiliation, failure to keep accurate contact information has expected ramifications. Again, those who are not serious will fall by the wayside at NO FAULT of ICANN nor the Registrar. Renewal of licensing is the license holder's obligation.

    If organisations fail to respond to their domain registrar they risk their domain names being placed 'on hold' (temporarily deactivated) unless and until they provide updated information. Ultimately, the registrar has the contractual right to delete domain names where no response is received. A deactivation will result in the organisation's web site becoming unavailable

    BRAVO... this is the rule we (Anti-UCE promoters) needed all along.

    Those engaged in subversive, illegal, or covert activities WILL NOT return to provide accurate information -- they have no desire to be held accountable for their actions. Their intentional falsification of the Whois data is for the sole purpose of eluding discovery, identification and possible litigation. This will rid the online universe of a host of undesirable, antisocial and potentially dangerous online players. "

    [Editor's Note: This came in well after April 1st, so it appears to be meant seriously. If so, I'm afraid I have to say that I think Mr. Showker has let his enthusiasm for a good cause run ahead of the facts and good sense. Karl Auerbach's musings on whois and privacy say most of what needs saying. I'll just add that the suggestion that anyone of good faith puts their contact info on their homepage could only be written by someone who (1) thinks that the web is the only Internet application that uses domain names, when in fact there are lots of domain names that are used only for other things; and (2) is utterly unaware of the possiblity that people might use a web page for things that might subject them to personal danger, including the espousal of upopular (or in some nations illegal) opinions. -mf]

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  • musings on whois and privacy
  • Fred Showker
  • More on Privacy
  • Also by michael
    This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
    'ICANN strikes a blow against UCE' | Log in/Create an Account | Top | 9 comments | Search Discussion
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    ICANN's policy has nothing to do with UCE
    by Mueller (muellerNO@SPAMsyr.edu) on Thursday April 03 2003, @05:22AM (#11416)
    User #2901 Info | http://istweb.syr.edu/~mueller/
    I'd like to introduce the author of this piece to some of the "domain names" used by the 50-odd spammers I heard from just today:

    xxx@123.com (I got 6 or 7 messages from this one)



    OK, look up the first domain name and it's an ISP in Chile. Look up the second....well you can't because it is in South Korea. Look up the third and you learn that it is "available for registration."

    Accurate WHOIS data does nothing to stop spam.
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    The policy is something different...
    by tlr ({roessler} {at} {does-not-exist.org}) on Thursday April 03 2003, @06:24AM (#11418)
    User #34 Info | http://log.does-not-exist.org/

    The author of this story unfortunately gets part of the policy wrong. The consensus policy does not imply that non-response to the annual notice will, by itself, be reason for the cancellation of a domain name: That particular policy is about an opportunity to fix data.

    On the other hand, general accuracy provisions are already part of the existing policy -- which was, in fact, part of the NCUC's earlier dilemma...

    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Accuracy does not imply publication
    by vbertola on Thursday April 03 2003, @11:04PM (#11422)
    User #3435 Info | http://bertola.eu.org/
    The author of this article (as many others, unfortunately) in my opinion fails to see the difference between collecting accurate data and publishing them to the whole world. There is no doubt that accurate data are to be collected to hold domain owners accountable for what they do with their domains(*). But this does not mean that such data should mandatorily be made available to anyone in an anonymous and free way, as it happens today. This is not just plainly illegal under lots of legislations - it is highly dangerous (and I won't repeat Karl's considerations here). Authorized law enforcement agencies should get access to such data - but not any self-appointed "street justice".

    And by the way, there's no need to identify the owner of a spam-advertised website if what you want to do is just to promptly shut the domain name (and thus the website) down.

    (*) Some argue that there may be cases where completely anonymous domain registration is desirable, and while I see some merit in this, I think this should be carefully limited to such cases. Accountability is necessary for any kind of legislation - and the sociopolitical system where you don't have legislation (anarchy, aka the law of the jungle) is usually not one of the best ones to live in.

    --vb. (Vittorio Bertola)

    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    EU citizen concerns
    by KonstantinosKomaitis on Thursday April 03 2003, @11:26PM (#11423)
    User #3552 Info | http://www.icannwatch.org/
    It looks as if once again ICANN has failed to deal with all the serious privacy concerns surrounding the WHOIS database.
    Me and I think I speak also on behalf of all European citizens, am particularly concerned with all the loss of privacy that is taking place because of the way the WHOIS is functioning. In Europe there are strong data protection laws that ICANN seems not to take into account. It is bad enough that there is a lack of options when it comes to the kind of information that will be visible in the WHOIS database. Even though for commercial sites and for intellectual property owners the WHOIS may work as a very usefull enforcement tool, at the same time however no one seems to take into account the simple Internet user, that at the end of the day is the one who supports the Internet.
    I can not seem to understand why ICANN does not follow the example of Nominet UK, which has adopted an opt-out scheme for individuals. According to Nominet's new amendments individuals who own a site for purely personal purposes will have the ability not to make their personal information available on the WHOIS. While realistically it is rather difficult to meet the ideal of a personal endeavour and it is difficult for a registrar to pre-determine which sites are personal and which are not, The fact remains that some information must not be open to the public.
    I just find it difficult to understand ICANN's approach and why it doesn't take into account the privacy of the simple Internet user.
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]

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