You are mixing apples and oranges (as are the US Congress and ICANN, so at least you're in * company). WHOIS goes back to when it was critical to have offline or alternative online access to a node if it failed. Currently if my-kewl-widgets.com goes dark it matters not a whit to anyone but me and my customers. Even by the most conservative estimate a large majority of registered domain names essentially lead to dead-ends insofar as the functioning of the DNS (which is perhaps ICANN's proper perview, and certainly not that of the USG) is concerned.|
If you want to buy widgets from me and want to ensure that I am who I say I am, WHOIS is not the way to do it. I can enter the same information there that I publish on my website and it will be equally accurate, or false. You would be better off to see what contact info is on my site and then check it via various free online yellow pages. That could be fake too, but at least I had the decency to actually purchase a real phone number, and you can actually try to phone it.
If I really want to sell widgets and be trusted I can get a MicroSoft or similar Certificate for my site, I can otherwise attempt to prove my identity via various means, or I will lose your business to amazon.com whom you presumably trust, and whom has no doubt by now started selling widgets alongside their garden furniture (JUST IN: neon watering gnomes).
I've sold all manner of things (sorry, widgets are on backorder) online for more than a decade accepting all major credit cards (and should you be waylaid most all of them indemnify you 100% financially against online fraud, and I'll lose my merchant account, so don't sweat the small stuff) and I don't use accurate WHOIS info. I have never had a sense that this has hurt me financially and I doubt the current bill will make any dent in that whatsoever. BTW, the UK has quite consistently been my third largest source of customers, I can give you a Bank of England account number for deposit should you wish to pay by that method, and I still don't have a VAT number.
Using WHOIS as a commercial identity verification system is putting a square peg into a round hole and even the USG doesn't have that big of a hammer (never mind that they're trying to crush a flea).
And please explain how Rick Wesson and other registrars are going to do all this verification for nothing. They just want to sell anonymizers (no doubt soon to be available at amazon.com). -g