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    Ted Byfied
    - ICANN: Defending Our Precious Bodily Fluids
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    A. Michael Froomkin
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    Milton Mueller
    - Ruling the Root
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    - The 'Unsettled Paradox': The Internet, the State, and the Consent of the Governed

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

    USA Goverment Relations US Government Fights User Privacy in DNS - Again
    posted by Mueller on Thursday February 10 2005, @08:38AM

    Many registrars have gotten complacent about reforming the Whois-Privacy relationship. After all, they can sell additional privacy protection to their subscribers for an extra $5-10. Seems like a perfect "market oriented" interim solution, as the so-called "bottom up" policy development process of ICANN figures out how to provide tiered access.

    Not so fast. The US Government is making it clear that when the bottom up policy development process starts going in a direction it has already decided it doesn't want, then measures will be taken. And as evidence, Enom has sent a message out to its resellers that .US has made a dramatic change in their policy saying:

    "The United States Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration ("NTIA") has recently completed its review of "proxy" or anonymous domain registration services by .us Accredited Registrars. At the conclusion of this review, NTIA directed NeuStar to phase out the offering of such services by Registrars or by any of its partners or resellers and to ensure that complete and accurate WHOIS data is provided for any existing registrations in .us."

    Although we disagree with this policy, we will comply and will require our resellers and sub-resellers to make the necessary changes. Therefore, we will prohibit the offering of eNom's ID Protect or similar services to .US registrations. This policy takes effect immediately and ONLY applies to .US registrations.

    The service will continue to be provided for existing .US ID protect customers until their ID protect expiration date or January 26, 2006, whichever comes first."

    This development is important not only for its implications for Whois policy, but also for its implications for ICANN's autonomy and its relationship to the US Government - something people in WSIS and WGIG ought to be taking a close look at. More about that later.

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      Related Links  
    · US Nat'l Telecom & Info Admin.
    · Neustar
    · ICANN
    · More USA Goverment Relations stories
    · Also by Mueller
    This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
    US Government Fights User Privacy in DNS - Again | Log in/Create an Account | Top | 8 comments | Search Discussion
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    DoC in violation of Privacy Act of 1974?
    by KarlAuerbach on Thursday February 10 2005, @02:22PM (#14649)
    User #3243 Info | http://www.cavebear.com/
    I wonder whether the diktat of the Dept of Commerce could be construed as an act that is contrary to the privacy obligations placed on the Department of Commerce by 5 USC 552a, the Privacy Act of 1974?

    By mandating the collection and dissemination of personally identifiable information the DoC has placed itself arguably in control of the information and thus subject to the Act.
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    by michael (froomkin@lawUNSPAM.tm) on Thursday February 10 2005, @05:51PM (#14650)
    User #4 Info | http://www.discourse.net/
    Trouble is, the US has agreed in several bilateral agreements recently that,
    Each Party shall require that the management of its ccTLD provides on-line public access to a reliable and accurate database of contact information for domain-name registrants.
    That's later in time, so even if the Privacy Act applied, this would likely trump it.
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
      by KarlAuerbach on Friday February 11 2005, @09:47AM (#14652)
      User #3243 Info | http://www.cavebear.com/
      Even if this is the case, the the Privacy Act could still require the DoC to publish information about the .us whois "system of records" such as the conditions under which it is operated and the disclosure conditions.

      In other words, a treaty/agreement that requires public access is not inconsistent with the obligations of the Privacy Act to publish information concerning the database and to maintain certain operational practices.
      [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    dot US and ICANN
    by Adam on Saturday February 12 2005, @08:37PM (#14653)
    User #2765 Info | http://www.too-much.tv/
    A shame the policy advisory committee and process that seemed secured when "redelegation" of US was being decided was not carried through.

    Karl, were you on the board at the time, why was it not fought for? I have heard that some ICANN staff (or ex staff) were uncomfortable with the outcome, not with NeuStar or anything like that, but the way NTIA placed .US separate from ICANN, treating it very differently from anyother ccTLD (but this may just be rumor.)

    Conditions under which .US operates, i.e. independent of ICANN and just about any guidance from ICANN or global community is interesting when considering discussion in WSIS and demands by many countries for a similar degree of sovereignty for their ccTLD. Been thinking about this for a while after all the WGIG stuff started last year and wondered if it were the sort of thing not to mention in those discussions. Funny old world...

    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    A differing view
    by wefa on Tuesday February 15 2005, @02:27PM (#14655)
    User #4074 Info
    I do not understand the fuss. Anonymous domains help exactly nobody.

    Among other things I do network security for a living. The internet is so incredibly full of criminals hiding behind anonymous accounts, domains and servers it's breathtaking. Yes, there is the occasional whistleblower or human rights group, but for every one of these there are hundreds, even thousands of spammers, phishers, swindlers, con men, carders, crackers, every despicable filth you can imagine. We have, again, reached a state where we can not, in good conscience, recommend our parents to connect to the internet - it's just too dangerous out there. Even organized crime gangs have entered the fray, big time. Instead of creating the often quoted global village we created the global crime district.

    I've been on the net since 1990. The openness of the global village we were all fascinated with and motivated by depended, to a serious degree, on everybody knowing their neighbour. Whois is one of the last remaining cornerstomes of that philosophy. Instead of trying to kill it, we should strengthen it, requiring truthfull entries and checks by registrars and registries alike, requiring proof of identity with new domains, true names, true and serveable addresses, correct email and phone contacts.

    One excuse for the privacy crusade against Whois, obviously, is the small guy. Him, oppressed by $bigmegacorporation do we offer an escape into anonymity. But, of course, this is nonsense, like treating hunger with pain killers. Instead of offering him an escpae route we should offer him a legal system that allows him to make a stand for his beliefs. Yes, Mr. Law Professor, that mostly means fixing horribly broken law systems around the world - including, most prominently, yours - that allow large entities to buy justice by bankrupting their opponents, and by countless similar tactics that are symptomatic for law systems that were tuned for the disputes between equals, and now fail horribly (or by design) when big guys try to (mass-)fry small fish.


    Christoph Weber-Fahr
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
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