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

    This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
    False registration contact information would be a crime | Log in/Create an Account | Top | 39 comments | Search Discussion
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    Re: The need for integrity in registration details
    by Richard_Henderson on Monday May 06 2002, @07:09AM (#6159)
    User #3269 Info | http://www.atlarge.org/

    The House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Internet & Intellectual Property has set May 16th as a date for a hearing on the WHOIS database. Chairman Coble (R-N.C.) and Ranking Democrat Berman (Cal) are calling for legislation to tighten up on registration fraud.

    Last December they contacted 50 registrars and asked them about their policies for ensuring that information entered in the WHOIS database was accurate.

    They are worried that fraudulent registrations harm the public in a variety of ways.

    They subsequently criticised the fact that few registrars responded and said that they should not thumb their noses at a Congressional Hearing.

    I suggest that any information you want to submit on fraudulent registrations should reach them earliest.

    I'm not necessarily sure about their underlying motives for this legislation, but I am happy for any information of registration fraud to be aired in the public domain.

    Apparently the legislation is not targetted at registrars themselves, but just those who registered bogus Whois information. If convicted, they would face a fine and up to 5 years in prison.

    In the light of concerns about registrars submitting their own fraudulent registration details in the .info Sunrise, however, there is clearly a growing concern among legislators that ICANN's agreements are either too flimsy to prevent this kind of fraud, or are not implemented properly by ICANN.

    Registrars who attracted criticism in the .info Sunrise included Spy Productions (who admitted inserting fake Trademark details for their customers), Yesnic (whose registration details were successfully challenged at WIPO), as well as a number of others including some with seats on the Afilias Board.

    The fact that ICANN continues to promote and grant accreditation to companies who have cheated the internet public, is an indictment of the "culture of corruption" that ICANN seems willing to accommodate, and a demonstration of the need for Registrars and Registries to be clearly separated from any ICANN executive positions (except advisory ones).

    The classic example of WHOIS abuse was the well-documented "Lorenz" case : where the Afilias CEO Hal Lubsen declined to act (or even explain himself) after his company DomainBank had charged $15000 to sponsor 93 Sunrise applications for William Lorenz.

    The Afilias rules for registrars stipulated that four trademark data fields had to be valid before the registrations were submitted. Lorenz - who targetted Lubsen as a joke - had entered "NONE" in each of these data fields for Trademark name, Trademark Country, Trademark Number, and Trademark Date.

    Nevertheless, Hal Lubsen's company decided to take the money, submit the names, and abuse the Afilias rules (even though Lubsen was at the same time CEO of Afilias).

    Then Lo - and - behold ! Afilias accepted these applications, even though they were invalid in every respect and the WHOIS was transparently corrupt.

    That was not the end of the story.

    Lorenz - in an unexpected move - then requested 23 times to DomainBank and Afilias, that his registrations should be cancelled so that the names could be released in time for the .info Landrush. The joke was over.

    Both Afilias and DomainBank declined to take any action, even though the ICANN Agreement gave them the right to delete them.

    Ironically, only about half of Lorenz's money actually went through. It is my understanding that DomainBank are now pressing Lorenz for payment of the remainder (with the possibility of legal action lying ahead for the hapless Lorenz).

    As to their astonishing claim to take yet more of Lorenz's money so that he can obtain absolutely zilch, their effrontery leaves me speechless.

    DomainBank knew the rules.

    In my opinion, DomainBank broke the rules.

    DomainBank failed to inform Lorenz that they would be breaking the rules when they took his money.

    DomainBank and Afilias declined to cancel the registrations when he requested, in which case they would have had ample opportunity to recoup
    their losses again in the Landrush or thereafter.

    In declining to cancel these registrations, they not only ignored the breach of rules, but denied customers like myself the right to procure the names in the Landrush, for which chance I had paid good money.

    One such example was Uganda.info, which I had paid non-refundable money to pre-register. I hold DomainBank and Afilias responsible for the money I lost over this name, as between them they broke the Registry/Registrar rules and declined to put right their wrong actions when requested to do so (over 20 times) even though it was specifically within their powers to do so according to their ICANN agreements.

    These at least are my opinions. I would be prepared to amend them or withdraw them if the Afilias CEO Hal Lubsen ever bothered to explain why he thought it was acceptable for DomainBank to take money for a product they could never - according to Lubsen's own Afilias rules - provide!

    Without the 4 data fields the registrations would not be valid. Then why charge Lorenz for names he could never have? They have indeed now been challenged by the very people who agreed to register them (Afilias) in contravention of their own rules!

    Notwithstanding the fact that Lorenz acted like a joker in this affair, and seemed to target Lubsen for his joke, the facts illustrate the way in which ICANN and Registry agreements can be flouted without any comeback.

    It is also deeply disappointing that after seven months of requests, Hal Lubsen has never once broken his silence on this affair. These are serious concerns and yet he refuses to enter into any dialogue.

    If the Afilias CEO refuses to discuss matters which go to the heart of registration integrity and valid WHOIS information, what hope is there for the ordinary customer who relies on the integrity of .info and the registration processes.

    Afilias Director Robert Connelly resigned over the .info Sunrise fiasco, saying that Landrush customers were being abandoned, and calling the whole affair "an abomination".

    No wonder legislators are finally taking an interest.

    It's logical.

    ICANN and its dependent industries (who largely finance it) have failed to regulate themselves.

    Richard Henderson

    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re: The need for integrity in registration details
    by Richard_Henderson on Thursday May 09 2002, @12:06PM (#6223)
    User #3269 Info | http://www.atlarge.org/

    That's exactly the point. If they KNEW that they were doing something contrary to their own registration criteria (as clearly expressed in the Registry/Registrar agreement), then what possible right have they got to charge Lorenz when the product is confirmed as invalid?

    To try to gain money by offering services that break the rules and are therefore incapable from the outset of delivering a product... that seems bizarre beyond belief... I'd argue that it might be called fraudulent in a court of law.

    When you combine that with the fact that DomainBank is run by the man who is also Afilias CEO (the other party in the Registry/Registrar Agreement) the circle seems to be complete! In both his capacities, Hal Lubsen had an absolute duty to uphold the contractual rules.

    What on earth possessed him to preside over a process which abused his own rules?!

    And if DomainBank now intends to pursue the hapless Lorenz in court, and try to extract money for their own impossible invalid product (which THEY broke the rules by submitting) then we are about to view one of the great comic episodes in US law, and (almost beyond belief) Afilias are about to sink to even more unfathomable PR depths!

    What is truly staggering in all this is that Lubsen via e-mails to Afilias and DomainBank denied over 20 requests to delete these names (for which $15000 had been taken) and that - after eight months of repeated invitations - Hal Lubsen and his company have never once offered any explanation as to why they chose to submit 93 names, all of which required eligible Trademark data for name, country, number and date -

    - and which were all submitted by DomainBank and registered by Afilias (for a profit of $15000) with the data - Name:NONE Country:NONE Number:NONE Date:NONE

    Is it just conceivable that the parties involved at the Registry and the Registrars were prepared to abuse their own clearly constructed contracts and rules, in order to obtain money under false pretences?

    To take money for a product you are contractually unable to deliver would appear to be "false pretences" to me.

    Richard Henderson

    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    • 1 reply beneath your current threshold.
    Re: The need for integrity in registration details
    by Richard_Henderson on Friday May 10 2002, @11:06PM (#6242)
    User #3269 Info | http://www.atlarge.org/
    QUOTE from Hal Lubsen in the Afilias Press Release of 15th August 2001:

    Hal Lubsen, Afilias' CEO, said, "It is unfortunate that some individuals have misused the Sunrise period in an attempt to abuse the process."

    So why did his company take $15000 to submit 93 names which broke all four mandatory data field rules?

    And why did Afilias still register the names?

    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re: The need for integrity in registration details
    by Richard_Henderson on Saturday May 11 2002, @12:11AM (#6243)
    User #3269 Info | http://www.atlarge.org/

    Afilias Press Release 6th December 2001:

    "We believe we will be able to clear the .INFO domain of Sunrise registrations that were improperly submitted," said Hal Lubsen, Afilias' Chief Executive Officer.

    Um... but Hal... the 93 names your company DomainBank charged $15000 to submit... were... "improperly submitted"... by your own company!

    The Afilias Registry/Registrar rules stipulated that credible data had to be submitted in the four Trademark data fields - for Trademark name, Trademark Number, Trademark Country, Trademark Date. This was mandatory.

    Hal Lubsen's company submitted 93 names with no information in any of these data fields.

    He was the Afilias CEO. He knew his own rules. He acknowledged the problem in the Afilias press releases.

    But his company still took $15000 for names which were (to use his own wordsa) "improperly submitted".

    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
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