I know Canadian WHOIS data is public, what I said was that could be, and perhaps will be, challenged under our privacy laws and/or via a complaint to the Privacy Commissioner [privcom.gc.ca] whom you may know is quite a strong advocate for privacy. You wrote:|
I have no financial interest -- I'm not a mass consumer registrar. Sorry for my confusion. You had previously said (emphasis mine) here [icannwatch.org] that:
(I know that I offer it [a WHOIS privacy service] free to some of my own customers, and I don't sweat it one bit). which implied to me that you don't offer it free to some other customers. Even offering it free could be seen as akin to a loss leader and a financial benefit could or does accrue to you in other ways. And I should say that while I have a personal interest in this issue for the reasons already stated, I have no financial interest beyond being a registrant who doesn't want to pay for privacy, or even have to ask for it for free. Privacy should be the default.
The benefits of accurate and public WHOIS simply outweigh the downside. Just like some folks think mistakenly that "free speech" is an absolute right -- that is incorrect. You'll quickly find yourself in jail for uttering "Fire!" in a crowded movie theatre. Please list the benefits of an accurate and public WHOIS, you keep saying that but I'd like more details, and to whom those benefits accrue (BTW if they receive a benefit, and it outweighs the benefit of privacy, why aren't they the ones paying for it?).
Sure WHOIS is handy for spammers and stalkers, but since when did their rights trump mine (is one death worth it, there have been various cases of people being injured already, so it's probably only a matter of time, but of course the right to life isn't absolute either). And it's handy for IP lawyers to go on fishing expeditions, but I fail to see how that trumps privacy. And WHOIS is of use for the enforcement of law, but in that case the WHOIS could be private and they could get a warrant or other court order on a case by case basis, I don't see where law enforcement should be able to go on fishing expeditions either (or are you in favour of them opening everyone's mail or front door as they see fit?). A good analogy is here in BC where there are thousands of illegal marijuana grow-ops set up in homes and other buildings. They often consume an inordinate amount of elecricity. The police went to BC Hydro (our electrical utility, as in hydro-electric) and asked to parse their records. Our Attorney General said approximately No way, go get a warrant for individual account records on a case by case basis. Apparently even the rights of police aren't absolute.
The ski mask analogy is just silly, of course no right is absolute, but there may be instances in which ski masks (or similar) are allowed on airplanes (EG: during the recent SARS outbreak). It's all in the context. The late Yippie! Abbie Hoffman was given the "Fire!" in a crowded theatre argument from a member of a large audience when speaking about free speech. He shouted "Fire!" and wasn't arrested, though he did get a good laugh. If you want a better analogy, read this [theregister.co.uk] one by John Berryhill, who is almost always good for a laugh. I know it's like an appeal to authority, but if Slashdot [slashdot.org] is any indication, at least most of the propeller heads seem to be on my side of the argument. -g