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    WHOIS Report Punts on Privacy | Log in/Create an Account | Top | 13 comments | Search Discussion
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    As it always was
    by phoffman@proper.com on Thursday February 06 2003, @09:39AM (#11099)
    User #2063 Info
    "...certainly, the general drift within ICANN over the years has been to treat whois data as an enforcement tool..."

    That is what whois was being used for long before ICANN came into existence. When something related to a particular site was hurting the Internet, you used whois to find someone to contact. It worked incredibly well, and continues to work well for this.

    Why should whois data be private? In almost on country in the world is business identification data kept private. Further, if you want privacy from whois searchers, you can either lie or honestly list someone else who will hold your data private from snoopers.
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re:As it always was
    by dmehus on Thursday February 06 2003, @10:24AM (#11102)
    User #3626 Info | http://doug.mehus.info/
    For once, I agree with the final report from the GNSO's Whois Task Force. If you own a domain name, you are leasing a piece of *public* property for your own personal or commercial interests. In order to ensure that you do not abuse this privilege [of owning a domain name], you should be *required* to provide accurate and reliable contact information. I am a big supporter of privacy rights, but this is one area where I believe privacy is not a right. As far as spamming goes, that's just a fact of life. Use an e-mail forwarding service such as MyPrivacy.ca (http://www.myprivacy.ca/). Regarding solicitations by telephone or facsimile, let's face it -- you would still get those even if your contact information was private. So, instead of whining about WHOIS information, support a national "do-not-call" or "do-not-spam" registry. In my view, that's the *real* way of stopping that type of smut.

    Best,
    Doug
    Doug Mehus http://doug.mehus.info/ [mehus.info]
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re:As it always was
    by daminal on Thursday February 06 2003, @11:57AM (#11103)
    User #3687 Info
    The Internet has long since evolved away from a model where whois for domains is usefull for solving real technical problems (except for inaddr.arpa). I am also bewildered by the notion that a domain name registration is a business identifier - There are a tremendous number of registrations that have nothing whatsoever to do with 'business'.

    Also, lying in your contact info under current rules is grounds for losing your registration.

    Having a 'privacy proxy' adds cost and complexity, and also means that the contact info is useless for the purpose of solving technical problems, so why bother?

    If it wasn't for the tm mafia, public contacts whould have gone away a long time ago, and technically oriented people could continue to concentrate on the exception, inaddr.arpa, that really *is* critical for solving technical problems.
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re:As it always was
    by KarlAuerbach on Thursday February 06 2003, @12:08PM (#11104)
    User #3243 Info | http://www.cavebear.com/
    You mention that business identification is usually available to the public. Two points on that:

    1. Many domain name registrations, even those in .com, are not used for business purposes at all. If publication of whois data is based on business activity then that foundation doesn't exist for those names used for non commercial purposes.

    2. In nearly every State of the US many businesses organized as corporations can, and do, hide the identity of their principals. For example, here in California a closely held corporation (i.e. owned by only a few people) takes a bit of effort to penetrate. Another state, Delaware, allows even bigger corporations to act with a degree of anonanimity. And of course, with corporate hierarchies, with corporations owning corporations, particularly if some are foreign, it can be exceedingly impenetrable.

    But back to the basic issue of why whois should be private.

    Having a domain name is one of the keys to becoming a sophisticated user of the net - something beyond the typical AOL level of userhood. And as the net moves beyond being a toy and is integrated into peoples lives, having this beyond-AOL status will become increasingly useful to whatever activities that people chose to do.

    So we can't dismiss this issue of privacy any longer on the basis that it is an issue relevant only to a few.

    Among the widely accepted general principles of privacy are principles that data ought to be collected only for a specific purpose (in this case DNS registration.) Another principal is that data ought to be used only for that purpose (i.e. not to be used by spammers or trademark people - those are not uses consistent with the purpose for which the data was gathered.) That latter principal is violated by publication of whois to just anybody who wants to take a peek.

    There is indeed usefulness in whois data - but there ought to be some pre-conditions to obtaining access.

    First is that the person who wants to take a look ought to leave a calling card - an identity, contact information, and some authenticator so that we can believe the identity and contact. With the possible exception of law enforcement access, this information ought to be available to the data subject - it is reasonable for someone to know who has been peeking at their data.

    Second, the person who wants to take a look must demonstrate that there is a legitimate reason for him/her to take a peek. This can be mechanised to make it easy for those who tend to know in advance that they will need to occassionally take a look - for instance, ISP people in operations centers can have pre-arranged credentials that serve to both identify and to indicate that the person acts ina role in which access is usually well grounded.

    In the case of trademark people - their desire to access is based on an accusation that the data subject is engaged in unlawful use of a domain name. To my mind that kind of accusation requires that they demonstrate to a neutral magistrate with actual proofs of actual acts that their trademark rights are being harmed and that there is a reasonable basis to believe that the harm comes from the accused domain name.
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re:As it always was
    by tbyfield (reversethis-{moc.xinap} {ta} {dleifybt}) on Thursday February 06 2003, @09:19PM (#11109)
    User #44 Info
    it seems like you're conflating a bunch of different issues and arguing with straw men. (1) functional contact information is not necessarily a surveillance/enforcement tool: it isn't hard to imagine a privacy-oriented proxy service that *expedites* contact with a registrant. (2) as for 'hurting the internet,' back to usenet with you, where you can read up on the venerable distinction between 'abuse *of* the net' and 'abuse *on* the net': TM infractions, real or perceived, are not abuse *of* the net. (3) i didn't say that whois data should 'be private,' whatever that means -- obviously, *someone* knows that info; the questions have to do, rather, with the latitude users, registrars, registries, and others might have to make access to that data difficult. (4) not all registration info is 'business identification data.' if D&B want to publish a commercial company's info, fine, or if guidestar wants to public a noncommercial organization's financials, that's fine too -- but that doesn't automagically disappear the many, *many*, MANY domains registered by individuals for personal use.

    cheers,
    t
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
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