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    This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
    A Congressional Vote of No Confidence for ICANN | Log in/Create an Account | Top | 29 comments | Search Discussion
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    Re: whois accuracy, US House Subcommittee
    by Anonymous on Thursday February 05 2004, @12:36PM (#12929)
    Forgime me, but I do appreciate Rick Wesson's testimony
    before the US House Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property.
    And I am not Intellectual Property lawyer, I am even not a lawyer.

    As an individual, I will never ever buy anything on the Internet unless the selling company complies with a fundamental rule: by publishing on its website (main page) its legal name, VAT number, association number, company number, postal address, telephone, fax and email, working business hours and the law under which it operates. Which I will double check in the WHOIS of the domain name extension. If the TLD extension is not providing complete WHOIS, I will ignore all companies operating with domain names under that extension.

    In summary, if you are a company selling services or goods to me you better understand what I care about: make sure to market with a well known legal flag in your extension, and ensure that the TLD Registry operating that extension makes WHOIS data available. Having tools to check validity of zip codes, phone numbers and city name is precisely giving means to a user to not be fooled.

    If there is something to be done by governments with regard to Internet, is to enforce on their own nationals or residents: companies, organizations, governmental institutions the rule to publish on the first page, easy access, all pertinent information related to the legal existence of those entities. To make populations aware they have to be cautious, to teach that there is a second source to double check: WHOIS at TLD extension.

    Two examples.

    On the Denic's main page, www.denic.de , right corner, same size of font as anything else, there is Impressum and Kontakt. The company number is in Germany, there is a long list of phone numbers and faxes, they operate under German an European law.
    When I query whois.de for [company-name].de, I get an answer.

    On the Niue's main page, www.nic.nu, there is nothing, besides the name ".NU Domain Ltd" and several tariffs in Euros. Is that an English or an Irish company? Nope. One shall dig into "Terms & Conditions", read until Article 12, to discover maybe a hint:

    "Unlawful Use" will be determined based on the laws of the jurisdictions of .NU Domain Ltd or WorldNames, Inc. (the United States and the States of Massachusetts and Delaware).

    When I query whois.nu for [company-name].nu, I get an IP adress of a name server.

    Do you still expect me to buy with my credit card number from any business operating with a domain name under .nu extension?

    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re: whois accuracy, US House Subcommittee
    by fnord (groy2kNO@SPAMyahoo.com) on Thursday February 05 2004, @06:04PM (#12931)
    User #2810 Info
    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

    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re: whois accuracy, US House Subcommittee
    by KarlAuerbach on Friday February 06 2004, @03:20PM (#12946)
    User #3243 Info | http://www.cavebear.com/
    As a consumer I too try to avoid network based vendors who do not adequately reveal their contact information.

    That revealation ought to be, however, a voluntary act by the vendor, not something forced upon it (and every other domain name purchasor.)

    While I thought that Rick's testimony could have used at least one more proofreading, I am personally quite familiar with the rush and pressure under which those kinds of things are written.

    As far as Rick's product ideas go - Were I a vendor of products on the net (and let's assume that I'm a good vendor who has published my own contact information), it does seem to me to be "a good thing" to have tools that check up on those to whom I am granting credit. (And yes, by accepting a credit card I am granting credit - the banks require that I put my own assets on the line to cover many aspects of bad transactions.)
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re: whois accuracy, US House Subcommittee
    by Mueller ({mueller} {at} {syr.edu}) on Saturday February 07 2004, @11:40AM (#12950)
    User #2901 Info | http://istweb.syr.edu/~mueller/

    This comment is confused. Identification information can be put up by businesses, and it can even be required by law, as it already is in some jurisidctions. But that is a requirement that applies to BUSINESSES, and the contact information can be on the WEBSITE, not WHOIS. Not all registrants of domain names are businesses. Not all are even operators of web sites.
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
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