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IP Holders Press For Access To WHOIS Data

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 7 years ago | from the what's-in-a-name dept.

The Internet 103

Stony Stevenson writes to tell us that the battle for access to whois data remains at a stalemate this week. "In a blog post on the Internet Governance Project's (IGP) Web site, Milton Mueller, Professor and Director of the Telecommunications Network Management Program at the Syracuse University School of Information Studies and a partner in the IGP, details the Final Outcomes Report of the WHOIS Working Group, published on Tuesday, and inability of the various stakeholders to reach any kind of consensus."

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FRIST PSOT (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20342461)

FRIST PSOT!

The truth about Slashdot (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20342473)


I am quite new to Slashdot but i already have a theory about slashbots in relation to university students. They are the quiet ones in your leatures, they are the ones who leave right away to go back home. They can not be found in the student bar, nor the cafe, the workshop or the library. They can be found in their rooms, alone, day after day, time passing them by. They are one of my housemates, everyday he sits in his room, door locked, never joining in with the rest of us, just grunting if we pass him by. Hes the one who befriends few, hes the one no body likes because he does not try, hes the one getting kicked out at the end of the year so i can nick his room.(Ignore this bit)

He hates emos, goths, hippies, preps, everyone. He hates all society, all sub cultures, their clothes, their music, everything about them because hes not a 'part' of it. He does not have friends, girlfriends, he does not go out and have fun, so he resents them. He hates them... Soon people stop trying to be friendly, they wanted to get to know him, they thought he was shy, no hes just mean, he just doesnt like anyone, so they reject him and he just hates them more.

He hates everyone, day after day on slashdot he posts hate messages against blacks/jews/gays/emos/goths/etc, he does not see people anymore, just things he hates. Other slashbots cheer him on, nurtures his hate, to the point he can never rejoin society.

He hates everyone, bitter twisted and warped.

This is your destiny.

Im getting the fuck out of here before it becomes mine.

Re:The truth about Slashdot (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20342727)

Even the God Smack Your Ass! guy is more interesting than you and he's pretty good at nailing first posts. Being a troll is bad, but there's nothing sadder than being a boring troll. That, would be you.

Re:The truth about Slashdot (2, Funny)

razorh (853659) | more than 7 years ago | (#20342751)

I hate you! and so does my cat! don't you snookems? yes you do, you know you do, you're a good little kitty aren't you?

Re:The truth about Slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20344063)

"He hates everyone, day after day on slashdot he posts hate messages against blacks/jews/gays/emos/goths/etc, he does not see people anymore, just things he hates. Other slashbots cheer him on, nurtures his hate, to the point he can never rejoin society."

Erm.. doesnt that mean he's effectively joined a subculture? You know, the thing you claim he hates? Sounds like he's found people with similar interests (I.E. hating everything). So he's not alone, eh?

What's your point again?

Re:The truth about Slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20344729)

I'd call you a troll but... this really does describe me. Especially the "going right home at the end of a day" bit. I pretty much never stayed late in college except when I had to mope around in the library to study for a midterm or final. The only people I really talked to often were my professors -- and only ever talked to them about the coursework. I'm now 27 and have no friends. But hey, that's fine, I choose not to have friends. I tried having a social life in highschool and all I ever got out of it were "friends" who eventually would stab me in the back ("I think I'll hang out with these drug addicts instead of you. Thanks for the last 3 years of loyalty, see ya."), or play extremely cruel pranks on me.

When genuine loyalty is unrequited, can you really blame me for becoming this way?

I can hear the rationale now... (5, Funny)

Red_Foreman (877991) | more than 7 years ago | (#20342493)

I imagine the board meeting went like this:

"Clearly, Simmons, everyone who has an internet connection is a potential criminal, and we need to keep tabs on these potential criminals in case they, at some point, intentionally break international copyright law."

"Here, here!"

"So we need access to this data, and if anyone opposes it - they must be hiding something other than just a guilty conscience."

"Besides, we're doing it for the children."

Re:I can hear the rationale now... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20343969)

I imagine the board meeting went like this:

No way, that was far too coherent. The slashdot blurb was virtually unreadable; since TFA isn't likely to be any better I see no reason to R (eye muss knot bee knew hear, looser). A whois lookup for my site [whois.net] does in fact reveal my identity, although the address and phone numbers are my registrar's, but the email addresses are correct (although the insightbb address won't work; I didn't pay my bill). My other site has all the info, although most of it is out of date with my old apartment (I bought a house), disconnected landline (I'm cell-only now) and email (I changed ISPs).

There is no way to make certain that whois data is current, or even correct. So considering that (and the unparsability of the blurb and presumably TFA as well) I'm having a hard time figuring out what the controversy is. Maybe if I'd used my host's "masking service" it would be easier; and note that my host is in an entirely different country than I am!

FUCK law enforcement; they have more than enough tools to do their dirty, sinful jobs.

-mcgrew

PS- OT, but I'm at work using IE6, and the slashdot headlines are invisible today, white on white (unless you highlight them). Also, I'd like someone to provide me with some reefer [kuro5hin.org] to compensate me for this fine but now illegal post! After all, I do own copyright on it, do I not? ;)

Re:I can hear the rationale now... (1)

F_Prefect (69773) | more than 7 years ago | (#20344351)

"Besides, we're doing it for the children."

You got that wrong, it because of the terrirst!

Re:I can hear the rationale now... (1)

caluml (551744) | more than 7 years ago | (#20344853)

I, a Briton, always assumed it was "Hear, hear", but as I've never seen it written down, I'm not sure. I see it written as "here here" more on here, but then again, I see "alot" of people "loosing" things on here too, so maybe I'm right.

Anyone know what's it's meant to be?

Re:I can hear the rationale now... (1)

OddThinking (1078509) | more than 7 years ago | (#20345297)

Hear, hear! [straightdope.com]

Re:I can hear the rationale now... (1)

chawly (750383) | more than 7 years ago | (#20350895)

Born a Briton, I always thought it was " 'ere 'ere ". As in " You can't do that there 'ere ".

Re:I can hear the rationale now... (1)

bl8n8r (649187) | more than 7 years ago | (#20344919)

This sounds much more effective if read in Monty Burns voice. Substitute Simmons for Smithers.

ICANN always insisted on "True Names" (1)

billstewart (78916) | more than 7 years ago | (#20345539)

ICANN only cares about one kind of IP, and it's Intellectual Property, not Internet Protocol - that's really been its goal since the beginning and the IP Industry are who ICANN mainly works for. One of the things it has always insisted on, and to some extent even the Internet Ad-Hoc Committee that preceded it did this, is that domain registration information needs to be collected and published so that if there's a trademark dispute, the trademark owners can send a process server to the ICBM address of the domain name owner, which means they want a True Name and True Address, regardless of any privacy implications or of the history of how the whois information is used. ICANN's rules for registries and for new global TLDs insist that registrars always have to collect privacy-violating amounts of allegedly-true information.


There are alternative ways to handle trademark disputes, and there's been a lot of scope creep in how various special interests want to use the whois information since it's there, whether that's the RIAA who want to find the owner of a website that has allegedly-copyrighted MP3s on it or cops and spooks who want to find out who's published some thoughtcrime on the web.


The original purpose of whois information is to be able to contact the people who run a domain so that broken things can be fixed and bills can get paid. Contacting somebody doesn't mean you need to know their True Name, ICBM address of their house, pager, and home phone number - it means that you've got an email that reaches somebody who'll do something, a name or title to include in the message, and if there's a phone number that can reach somebody appropriate or a fax number to get them a message, it's there. So names like "Admin Contact" and email addresses like "DomainRegistration@example.com" are perfectly adequate for that. If you need to have a bill sent on paper to generate a company invoice, as opposed to sending the bill by email, then you also need a paper address, but it can certainly be a mailbox at a mailbox store rather than the home address of the registrant, because it's for sending bills, not subpoenas or SWAT teams. There are politicians and net.politicians who want to change this, but they're not only interested in violating your privacy, they're clueless about the real functions of whois.


If you don't provide contact information that's complete enough to fix a problem, then either the problem doesn't get fixed, or it gets fixed in ways that don't have your input.

  • If your billing information doesn't have a working paper address and the email information doesn't reach you, that means that next year you won't see the bill, and you'll lose the domain for non-renewal, and bummer for you, unless you've used some alternative payment mechanism like paying in advance or checking your bill at the registrar's web page. It shouldn't be treated like it's a crisis either way for the registrar; if you don't care, they don't need to care, and some of them will provide more alternatives for handling billing and payment, and others of them will make money selling expired domain names to ad-banner domainsquatters.
  • If the nameserver for your domain isn't working, then people aren't going to be able to access your domain. It's useful to have a technical contact to fix that, and if your email isn't working because your nameserver is broken, it's useful to have a phone number or fax, or at least an email address somewhere else like GMail. But if you haven't provided that information, then bummer for you, it stays broken. That's not ICANN's problem.
  • The interesting problem is disputes over domain name ownership, and ICANN's somewhat sensible position is that *they* don't want to have to be in the middle of domain disputes in ways that get them sued or cost them lawyer time, and they don't want the registry or registrars to have to do that either - they want that to be a problem between domain name owners and people who want to take the owners to court. It's a lot easier for them to do that if the Administrative Contact for a domain is a legal entity in some identifiable jurisdiction. But they could set the UDRP policies to say that if you're not providing adequate contact information, they'll let somebody who follows the appropriate processes take your domain name away and bummer for you. That would still give the trademark owners a way to beat nasty infringers or rip off perfectly legitimate names while preserving your privacy.


It's possible to provide complete accurate legally-correct whois information that's entirely useless - bogus information isn't always "John Smith", the street address of Yankee Stadium, and a phone number of +1-212-555-1212. I occasionally track down spammers for entertainment, and there was one of them that the street address was in Greenville Delaware - it had a mailbox number at the address of The Company Corporation [corporate.com] , which for the last 100+ years has been the canonical place to do a cheap convenient corporation setup in Delaware. So if I wanted to sue the spammer for violating CAN-SPAM, I'd be suing their corporation, not the individuals, and the corporation presumably doesn't have any real assets except the sunk cost of a $149 corporate shell and any uncashed mail orders sitting in their mailbox from suckers trying to by Nigerian Enhancement Pills, and probably has fairly ficticious owners as well. Corporations can protect their privacy, but they don't want you to.

Article Summary (5, Informative)

David Chappell (671429) | more than 7 years ago | (#20342529)

The article summary is vague to the point that one is unsure what the subject of the article is. The "IP holders" of the title are trademark registrants of companies which help trademark registrants identify possible infringement. The Whois data referred to is not the public data to which we all have access. Rather it is the names and addresses of the actually domain name registrants in those cases where the domain registrar is acting as a proxy and has placed its own contact information in the public Whois database. The dispute is about who should have access to this secret data and under what circumstances.

Re:Article Summary (3, Insightful)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 7 years ago | (#20342687)

Personally, I think private domains should be illegal. A contact name and physical address, if not phone number and working email, should be required of every domain owner. If this "real estate" on the internet is so valuable, make the disclosure regulations match physical real estate.

Now get off my lawn...

Re:Article Summary (4, Insightful)

Neil Watson (60859) | more than 7 years ago | (#20342941)

I think domain owners deserve some privacy both from shady marketers and from Internet crack-pots.

Re:Article Summary (0, Offtopic)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 7 years ago | (#20344199)

Ah, well, you see... in actual fact... it turns out... that is to say... oh dear...

Re:Article Summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20344473)

Funny, the shady marketers and internet crack-pots rely on secrecy to continue their trade.

Re:Article Summary (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20344977)

Simple - charge 1 cent per whois lookup, that would be the end of people trying to craw the whois databases for email addresses.

home owners don't receive such privacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20345689)

As much as I often wish that home owners received protection of their name and contact info (and even mortgage amount!) from shady marketeers and real-life crack-pots, why should owners claiming property ownership on the Internet receive special protection? "Because its the Internet so everything's different!" -- phbbt

Re:Article Summary (4, Insightful)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 7 years ago | (#20342957)

The usual problem here is the Internet is not in the USA it is global - so which Police, which Government should have access to this information?

Re:Article Summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20344521)

I believe that the suggestion is that everybody should have access to it. Have we really fallen so deeply into authority worship that people automatically assume that only the police should have access to information?

Re:Article Summary (4, Insightful)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 7 years ago | (#20343005)

I think that's taking it a bit too far. Personally, I think they should roll out something similar to UK domains across on to .coms as well.

With a .uk then you have to show your details unless you are a non-trading individual. If you are such an individual (like me, who run sites as hobbies) then you can opt out of having your details shown and it's free and done by Nominet, not the individual companies you buy domains from.

While I can see a reason for companies not to be able to hide their details (it gives you a definite address for them that you can then match to a trading location, assuming its real), I think individuals have a right to not have their details easily available on the 'net for anyone with a vigilante inclination to be able to find and abuse.

Re:Article Summary (1)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 7 years ago | (#20343463)

Lack of transparency leads to fraud. It's not your personal little thing, its global publishing. It shouldn't be anonymous, there should be accountability, you should be able to know at all times who you're dealing with, and there should be no need to get the approval of a non-judiciary body on foreign soil before you do.

But then, I also think the world needs a lot more vigilante action. I'd probably engage in some myself.

Re:Article Summary (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 7 years ago | (#20343541)

Lack of transparency leads to fraud....It shouldn't be anonymous, there should be accountability, you should be able to know at all times who you're dealing with,..


Which is why I think there's no real need to extend it to companies as well.

With my .uk domains, you still get to see my name on the registration, you just don't get to see my address. Assuming I live in the UK* (which I do) then why do you need to know whether I live in London or Manchester? And even worse, why do you need to know which number of which street in which smaller town outside Manchester or London I live at?

* .uk domains are actually open to any registrant from any country, but personally I think that's just an oversight of Nominet and that national domains should be for residents only, unless it's some small place that'll never use them like Tuvalu and its .tvs.

Re:Article Summary (1)

the_womble (580291) | more than 7 years ago | (#20346573)

.uk domains are actually open to any registrant from any country, but personally I think that's just an oversight of Nominet and that national domains should be for residents only
So a British citizen resident elsewhere who runs a UK oriented site (i.e. me), should not get a .uk domain?

What happens if someone with a .uk domain ceases to be resident in the UK? (me again).

Would you also ban people setting up British companies (which is quick and cheap) purely to own a bunch of .uk domains?

Residence qualifications are too difficult to enforce fairly.

As far as privacy goes, I agree that Nominet's policy is right. I do not hide my details, but then I do not particularly want to.

Re:Article Summary (2, Interesting)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 7 years ago | (#20347107)

There's always borderline cases, but from a quick skim of their rules then I think Canada has it right. As long as you've got a presence in the country (citizen or company) then you have a reason to have a domain. I had an old domain that got snapped up by an American from New Jersey, though. Why would they have need to have a .uk presence? Surely a .com or even (logic forbid) a .us would be more applicable.

I could agree that citizenship would be difficult to enforce (although I guess the Canadians do it somehow) but residency should be easy enough and very fair from the point of view of the residents - you just need a valid address in the UK. Again, you could fake it, but then you get screwed when they try to send some required information to you.

Re:Article Summary (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 7 years ago | (#20346969)

Just realised that first sentence doesn't make sense.

Which is why I think that companies should show information but individuals should still be allowed to obfuscate it.


makes more sense and is what I meant.

Re:Article Summary (2, Insightful)

jcnnghm (538570) | more than 7 years ago | (#20343113)

Spoken like someone who doesn't receive fake renewal notices for tens of domains a month from shady vendors, all gleaned from the whois records. I wish private records had existed when I first started registering domains, they won't do me any good at this point. What is unacceptable about contact via proxy?

Same standard as corporations would be fine. (3, Insightful)

raehl (609729) | more than 7 years ago | (#20343245)

In most US states, each corporation is only required to maintain a registered agent address on file with the state, so anyone who needs to contact your organization can do so. The registered agent can be anyone, so for example, you might have your lawyer be your registered agent, and anyone who wants to know who owns the company has to go through him.

We've currently got the same system with domain names - your registrar can act as your registered agent, serving as a barrier between the public and you. If someone has a legitimate need to contact you, they can do so through your registrar. If not, they can't. I don't see any reason to change this.

Re:Same standard as corporations would be fine. (1)

f1055man (951955) | more than 7 years ago | (#20345899)

Incorrect. Most states that aren't tax dodges (I'm looking at you Delaware) also require some combination of annual reports, corporate bylaws, and pincipals (often just managing partner). Of course access is limited to these documents due to the nature of government IT. Some states provide net access to scanned corporate filings, others have paper indexes.

Corporations have to disclose more than that (2, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | more than 7 years ago | (#20346875)

Incorrect. Most states that aren't tax dodges (I'm looking at you Delaware) also require some combination of annual reports, corporate bylaws, and principals (often just managing partner).

Yes. I've been data-mining that data for SiteTruth [sitetruth.com] , and it's amusing. No two states have the same format, although there's some similarity. Delaware provides less free info than most states. Some states have deliberate weaknesses in their data. Nevada, for example, doesn't require that changes in corporate officers be reported, so many out of state Nevada corporations have the same guy at a corporation service listed as President.

But that's OK. We're working on recognizing certain common patterns. Like "Incorporation state in low-disclosure states list AND NOT in business directories as having operations in incorporation state AND NOT in SEC Edgar AND NOT registered as foreign corporation in state where doing business IMPLIES slimeball".

Anonymous businesses deserve low search rankings. We're making that happen.

Re:Article Summary (2, Interesting)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 7 years ago | (#20343315)

I don't think the comparison to real estate is very apt. There are enough differences such that we can't randomly apply parts of the real estate paradigm to it without thinking it through. This type of "real estate" doesn't have clearly defined neighbors, aaa.com can be a gawdy site and still not hurt aab.com because almost nobody would think to assocate the two as neighbors.

I also think that while being anonymous has some problems, having your information out there where anyone can get it can invite trouble. Upset the wrong person with a certain message on your site and you might get a stalker or worse.

Re:Article Summary (1)

ccs.gott (1144593) | more than 7 years ago | (#20343321)

See, I am not so sure about that. While I hate that people can put up Phishing sites, I don't want the government to have any more control over us than it already has. Also, how would they enforce it? That would be a big strain on taxpayers, much like "The War On Drugs." Why support more government regulation?

Fully Agree. (-1, Offtopic)

Toad-san (64810) | more than 7 years ago | (#20343331)

Fully agree.

Re:Article Summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20343439)

Personally, I think private domains should be illegal. A contact name and physical address, if not phone number and working email, should be required of every domain owner.

The contact name and address are listed for the domain owner in a proxy situtation. Remember, it's the registar that owns those domains, not the anonymous coward behind them. If you think this difference is just a loophole, you're wrong.

Re:Article Summary (2, Interesting)

Stanislav_J (947290) | more than 7 years ago | (#20343813)

There already are legal procedures in place to balance personal privacy and security (keeping any miscellaneous yahoo from accessing your info for wrongdoing) with the needs of law enforcement. If someone has sufficient evidence that a particular domain holder is up to no good, then they can go before a judge and get a court order for the information to be released. That is how it is SUPPOSED to work in our system. If they don't have sufficient evidence to start with, then it is the proverbial fishing expedition and should not be allowed. It shouldn't be that hard -- after all, if their website is accessible, and clearly is in violation of some law, that should already be sufficient grounds and a slam dunk to get the info. Almost all registrars provide private domain registration, but also will happily cough up the goods if handed a legal order of some sort. That's the balance. Prosecutors can easily get the legal justification for what they want if they would bother to do so -- they just increasingly don't want to bother.

Unfortunately, in this day and age of warrentless wiretapping and the like by the Feds, I imagine investigators at every level are starting to press for wider powers and latitude in this area. They probably think "the Big Boys(TM) don't have to jump through all these hoops, so why should we have to?" Just another way in which the Bushies are cultivating a culture of "anything goes" when fighting the bad guys, and slowly eroding respect for the priciples and checks and balances that have protected us for so long.

Re:Article Summary (1)

Egdiroh (1086111) | more than 7 years ago | (#20343881)

working email

Which must include a host name, which will include a domain name, which must be registered with a working email address, which must include a host name, which must include a domain name, which must be registered with a working email address, ...........

I love when the definition of a system implicitly requires a first system to exist without ever specifying that system or what to do should that first system go away.

Re:Article Summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20344381)

No, that's just wrong.
They should be held with the domain registrar, only to be handed over to someone like law enforcement.
They should not be on a public 'spam me' list.

Re:Article Summary (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20344589)

Tough luck, psycho. MY ISP protects me from people JUST LIKE YOU by hiding my contact information.

Oooh, you don't like my website? You think somebody ought to "teach me a lesson"? You think you should be able to run around silencing opposing viewpoints, maybe shooting a pro-choice blogger here and there, or beating up someone whose politics you don't agree with? Maybe you don't like a pro-evolution scientist and think that God told you, through your dog Flipper last night, to go kill the guy?

Tough nuts, psycho. You can't find out where anyone lives, so you can go to hell. And they can tell you to do so with impunity, knowing that there's not a damned thing you can do about it. That's a beautiful thing, psycho. It's one of the things preserving freedom of speech (and by extension our way of life).

The system is working EXACTLY the way it's supposed to, and your own posts have demonstrated why it's so important. Now go up your meds...

Re:Article Summary (1)

macdaddy (38372) | more than 7 years ago | (#20347817)

I tend to agree with part of this sentiment. However I strongly believe that non-private WHOIS details makes it significantly easier for domains to be hijacked. With a domain owner's name, address, and telephone records is would be fairly easy for a cracker to social engineer control of the domain away from the real owner through the registrar. Think that never happens? Just as the original owner of sex.com. It's a real problem without a real solution. The only work around right now is to not give out any identifiable information about the real domain owner. Do you need the real contact details? Sue. Acquire that information through the legal discovery process which is subject to judicial oversight and scrutiny. This will give the potential domain victim some means of finding out who sought out his information after the fact since the plaintiff will have to identify themselves to the court to file the case.

Vagueness (4, Funny)

benhocking (724439) | more than 7 years ago | (#20343055)

The article summary is vague to the point that one is unsure what the subject of the article is.
My first thought was that the holders of internet protocol addresses wanted access to all of the data stored about them in the WHOIS database. I had to actually RTFA (the horror!) to figure out that IP meant intellectual property and not internet protocol.

Re:Vagueness (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20343227)

Shut up, faggot. You aren't funny.

Re:Vagueness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20345495)

Just so you know, you weren't the only one.

Internet Protocol (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20342599)

Why would the IP assigners be after the Whois data when they already hold it?

I kid, I kid

Realistically, I hope that the whois data is kept private
Cause the alternative smells bad... really bad...
Then again I can just look it up myself anyway, why can't they?

What would be some implications of Intellectual Property holders getting "less than restricted access" to the whois system?

BS (3, Insightful)

wytcld (179112) | more than 7 years ago | (#20342689)

"If there is no reform they can continue to sell privacy to their users using proxy registrations, making profits that far exceed those they make on normal domain name registrations," said Mueller.
The registrars I've used charge nothing to substitute their own details for the registrants in the public WHOIS response. And their "profits far in excess"? On the $15-a-year fees, they're welcome to any profit they can take.

Why do people like Mueller always lie?

Re:BS (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#20342839)

The registrars I've used charge nothing to substitute their own details for the registrants in the public WHOIS response. And their "profits far in excess"? On the $15-a-year fees, they're welcome to any profit they can take.
Ditto. One site I maintain currently is using shared hosting, and the hosting provider [drak.net] (blatant plug for ya, Jen!) charges like somewhere around $15 a year for domains that they maintain (bundled with the account, so there's no separate charge), and like $8.75 a year for domains that you maintain. They charge nothing to use their own details for the registrants in WHOIS. There are companies that have formed businesses around selling unlisted domains [hostsite.com] , but their fees aren't much different than that $15.00 a year that seems to be the going rate these days.

So I don't know who's making money selling private domain names, but it doesn't seem to be any of the abovem, because none of them charge extra.

Re:BS (3, Insightful)

value_added (719364) | more than 7 years ago | (#20342877)

The registrars I've used charge nothing to substitute their own details for the registrants in the public WHOIS response. And their "profits far in excess"? On the $15-a-year fees, they're welcome to any profit they can take.

Well, I'm sure there's sellers on eBay that don't charge for shipping, but the ones I've dealt with always do. ;-) Godaddy charges $6.99 [godaddy.com] per year for private registation.

As a side note, people on DSL (cable?) connections may want to a whois lookup on their own address. I was miffed when I discovered my personal info published. Asking my provider to mask the private information required a formal request, but unlike some registars, they did it for free.

Re:BS (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20342899)

Many registrars charge significantly less than the $15/year you are paying, dependnig on the TLD they are purchasing, and presumably would have to pay more for services such as proxy registration. I'm not really sure how you were modded insightful since all you do is use your personal experience, which is 1 person out of a potential 6 billion and then rag on a man you've never met and know little about. But i guess this is slashdot, and if you applies to you, it must be universally true.

Not just for IP. (4, Interesting)

bladel (104002) | more than 7 years ago | (#20342707)

While I consider myself anti-authoritarian, I recognize that there are some situations in which law enforcement and other parties have a legitimate right to pierce the anonymity of private registrations. If someone is operating a site hosting child porn or other illegal materials, the registrar should be required to give up the registrant.

Also, consider the case where a domain / site has been hijacked (or reverse-hijacked) by a thief hiding behind proxy services at a different registrar. The victim and victim's registrar cannot reliably identify them, and the Registry Operator won't get involved outside of invoking arbitration.

So keep the lawyers out, but establish some authority (Internet version of a FISA court) that can pierce anonymous registrations.

Re:Not just for IP. (1)

OdinOdin_ (266277) | more than 7 years ago | (#20342783)

This is a poor way to achieve that goal. It would be much better for a private registry to be available to government by all responsible parties managing IP addresses to be able to tie each and every IP address back to the bill payer.

I think law enforcement agencies should have the right to lookup the current bill payer information 24x7 for any active IP address within a matter of minutes, this doesn't necessarly mean that the general public should have access to this facility, they can keep the current system of voluntary submission of correct information. It is true that this doesn't stop the harden crimincal element but bill payer information is generally very accurate and much more traceable back to someone who is related to the activities on the account in some way the ISP/colocation facility will make sure of that.

Re:Not just for IP. (4, Insightful)

autocracy (192714) | more than 7 years ago | (#20342981)

I just wanted to comment that you are truly insane, and that there should be no urgency for the government to request "real" details of an IP that can't be handled by means of a warrant. There's a reason for that concept.

Re:Not just for IP. (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 7 years ago | (#20343137)

Exactly. If there's a reason why someone wants your contact details when you don't have them public (or have opted out of showing them if you're an individual with a .uk domain) then what's wrong with proving they have a reason before they can get them?

Okay, maybe it doesn't need to go quite as far as a full police warrant, but some degree of arbitration and complaints with the registrar that complies with a code of conduct should be a reasonable compromise. In theory.

Re:Not just for IP. (1)

bladel (104002) | more than 7 years ago | (#20345855)

Some of you folks have put a lot of faith into the Registrars, that they will work with law enforcement to help resolve these issues.

What you may not realize is that many of the 1000+ ICANN-accredited registrars are actually individual domain speculators, not companies reselling registrations. So, in effect, the entities causing the problems and those responsible for oversight are often one in the same.

Re:Not just for IP. (1)

OdinOdin_ (266277) | more than 7 years ago | (#20350879)

I'm saying that a warrent should not be necessary to find out who the bill payer is, if anything that should be on public display for anyone you communicate with to audit. The detail of the bill payer for your internet service should be no more private than then details of the bill payer for your telephone service.

The main problem with the Internet is by the time a law enforcement agency has obtained consent fron a judge to find out further information the criminal has moved on, this makes law enforcement during the act impossible and gaining consent for something basic like the bill payers details is expensive to the tax payer.

Now if you were talking into the realm of wire tapping and traffic monitoring and divertion, I would be with you on the requirement for a warrent I don't see having accountable identity across the internet as an invasion of privacy since I never saw the Internet as an anonymous medium in the first place.

Re:Not just for IP. (3, Insightful)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 7 years ago | (#20342969)

If someone is operating a site hosting child porn or other illegal materials, the registrar should be required to give up the registrant.


Unfortunately, one problem with this comes down to defining "illegal materials". By who's laws should that be dictated? There are some countries where child porn is considered more or less acceptable, and plenty of countries where the age of consent is something other than what it is here. All that the owner would have to do to claim that they are not in violation of the law is either have their registered domain or their hosting in a country where whatever they are doing is OK.

Subpoena (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20345577)

The internet registrar certainly knows who is paying the bill. And even if it's paid via proxies, those proxies know who foots the bill. These folks aren't that hard to track down, and if you have a legal case against them, you can simply subpoena them for the details.

In other words, that information is quite available to anyone who wants to get it via legal process. It is not, however, available to every crackpot, stalker and internet rent-a-cop who wants it for no particular reason. And that, frankly, is exactly how it SHOULD be.

If they have a case, they can get the information. If they do not have a case, they have no business getting that information. What were they going to do with it, anyhow?

WILDCAT IS ON TEH SPOKE (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20342733)

wildcat is on teh spoke

Gonna get modded offtopic (-1, Troll)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 7 years ago | (#20342743)

Ok seriously slashdot....wtf is going on with your front page? I only have access to IE at work (use Firefox at home), and your page fucks IE with a sideways spiked baseball bat.

FIX YOUR FUCKING CODE.

Re:Gonna get modded offtopic (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20342781)

I know!

What is this, amateur hour?

Re:Gonna get modded offtopic (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20342787)

FIX YOUR FUCKING BROWSER.

Ye, we all know /. isn't perfectly standards compliant but compared to MSIE it is wonderful. So if it works in other browsers then I'd wager it is IE not /. causing the problem.

Re:Gonna get modded offtopic (-1, Offtopic)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 7 years ago | (#20342813)

I know IE is causing the problem...the only thing is for a VERY VERY long time, slashdot worked PERFECTLY FINE with IE...then, one day, for seemingly no apparent reason, it fucked itself.
A few weeks later, for seemingly no apparent reason, it fixed itself. And now, (once again) a few weeks later, for seemingly no apparent reason, it fucked itself.

Seriously. What the hell.

Re:Gonna get modded offtopic (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20342801)

Though I never use IE I just experimented with loading slashdot on it and it looks fine. Chill out dude. Have a cup o' joe, all will be fine.

Re:Gonna get modded offtopic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20343107)

Goobered up on me too. IE 6. Front page has articles names and header styles showing up as white on white. Only thing different that I did recently is clear my browser cache.

I still oppose anonymous registration (3, Informative)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 7 years ago | (#20342873)

I've said this before, and I'll say it again. Registrars are a big part of the spam problem. And the fact that they will sell (or provide freely) registration obfuscation services to withhold meaningful registrant contact data shows that many registrars are still in bed with the criminal spammers.

Come on, if you really have some reason to keep your registration data private, there are better ways to do it than letting your registrar do it for you. You could just as well get a PO box and use a free email account somewhere, which would accomplish the same thing but still have some degree of accountability. As it is, registrars have been able to withhold the contact information for their clients and there's been no accountability anywhere.

Re:I still oppose anonymous registration (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20342959)

And the fact that they will sell (or provide freely) registration obfuscation services to withhold meaningful registrant contact data shows that many registrars are still in bed with the criminal spammers.

Much better that they give away the information to anyone and everyone who asks so you can get all sorts of junkmail and spam.

You could just as well get a PO box and use a free email account somewhere

So in other words, if I don't want spam, I have to go out of my way not to get it. Thanks, buddy, for a while I was having a hard time there figuring out who exactly was in bed with the spammers.

Re:I still oppose anonymous registration (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 7 years ago | (#20346593)

So in other words, if I don't want spam, I have to go out of my way not to get it. Thanks, buddy, for a while I was having a hard time there figuring out who exactly was in bed with the spammers.


Thats an interesting comment from someone who doesn't want to share their identity with slashdot.

More significantly, though, is that most people (at least that I know of) don't ask for the spam they already receive. Indeed, I have taken many steps to try to stop the spam that comes into my various email addresses, and that has not helped. So I don't see why someone would expect to be aided in avoiding spam for free. And the fact that to you this somehow equates to me intentionally helping the spammers is an interesting conclusion to say the least.

Re:I still oppose anonymous registration (3, Interesting)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 7 years ago | (#20343257)

You could just as well get a PO box...

Taking my former blog site as an example:

I run a private little website as a hobby.
I pay $25 per year for hosting (reasonable quality host, 75MB disk space and 3GB monthly bandwidth, email, the lot).
I pay £3.69 per year (~$7-$8) for a .co.uk domain or $9 per year for a .com.

Total normally: about $35 per year, tops.

The Registrars follow your "must show details" and I suddenly have to pay £58 per year (~$120) to get a PO Box, or twice that if I don't want to have to keep checking it but instead have it delivered to my real address? (UK PO Box prices [royalmail.com] )

Total with PO Box: at least $150 to $250!

I think the only thing I can say there is "WTF? Hell, no!" That's a ridiculous amount of expense compared to the website itself.

Re:I still oppose anonymous registration (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 7 years ago | (#20346217)

How about a compromise, then.

Since your blog was likely a not-for-profit entity, and you probably weren't selling anything through it directly, what if we used profit as a distinction for registration data?

If your website exists to sell something, then the data must be public. If it does not sell anything, then the owner can chose to have it obfuscated.

This way, anti-spam people such as myself can find out where the spammers actually are, and people who are not selling anything online have nothing to worry about. It would be somewhat analogous to registering a business with your state department of commerce, in that it would only apply if you are in it for money.

Re:I still oppose anonymous registration (2, Informative)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 7 years ago | (#20347009)

As I mentioned in another comment, I'm all for companies having their details published but not individuals. Companies have a need to be accountable. Individuals can be traced through their registrar for legal issues, but aren't accountable in the same way.

Profit is a bit of a bad example, though. Anything that is the face of a company or other such sales person is more reasonable. Something along those lines covers the spammed drugs sites and the like, but allows for bloggers and individuals to 'make a profit' through affiliate links and AdWords etc.

I doubt seeing details would help work out where spammers are, though. All they'll end up doing is providing false details. ICANN say they'll terminate domains where they can't contact the owner, but how many times do they actually try to contact them?

Re:I still oppose anonymous registration (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20348645)

And it would be a waste of money. UK PO boxes aren't private. Anybody can go to the post office and ask for the address of the PO box owner. Oddly, few people know this.

Fully agree. (1)

Toad-san (64810) | more than 7 years ago | (#20343359)

Fully agree.

Any legitimate business in my town requires a license. That license requires a point of contact (real person), and a real valid address.

There are no "anonymous" businesses. Why should there be?

So why should there be an "anonymous" domain holder?

Re:Fully agree. (1)

Ajehals (947354) | more than 7 years ago | (#20344035)

Because domain holders are not necessary businesses.

Using your logic unlisted phone numbers would presumably also need to be scrapped as they are something businesses have.

Companies should have their information available to the public, but individuals should be able to do whatever they wish.

Re:Fully agree. (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 7 years ago | (#20346315)

Companies should have their information available to the public, but individuals should be able to do whatever they wish.


I'm willing to agree to that compromise. What if it was required for any domain that exists to sell something to release its WHOIS data, while those who exist for non-profit (non-sales) purposes can keep their identities obfuscated?

Re:Fully agree. (1)

Ajehals (947354) | more than 7 years ago | (#20348091)

I would stick to my first definition, any site run by an organisation should identify itself as such, any site run by an individual should be free to use an agent or other organisation to handle communications for them. That way you have some transparency. (Although you could still abuse the system by claiming a corporate site is personal, it is a compromise I would accept.)

Re:I still oppose anonymous registration (1)

Sancho (17056) | more than 7 years ago | (#20343457)

I keep my registration information private to avoid spammers (both the e- variety and the snail- variety.) There is a noticeable volume of e-spam that I get to the published technical contact address for one of my domains--an address which I don't use for anything else.

The thing is, generally speaking, there's no reason for random people to need that information. If the government needs it, they can get it. If someone wants to contact me for legitimate reasons, my registrar will let me know. Otherwise, having that information available is nothing more than a liability.

Re:I still oppose anonymous registration (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 7 years ago | (#20343891)

The thing is, generally speaking, there's no reason for random people to need that information.


I want to agree with you on that. And if there was no such thing as internet crime or rampant spam, I would be able to to. Unfortunately, with the way that domain registration is abused for nefarious purposes, there needs to be some sort of accountability. If the registration data is not made available, then the public has no way to know who the actual owner of a site is. Likewise, if you are receiving spam from a given domain, it would be nice to be able to at least make one whole-hearted attempt to contact the owner of the domain to request that they remove you from their spamming list. If you have no actual contact information, it becomes impossible to do that.

Therefore, the intentionally obfuscated identity data becomes a shield for the operator of the nefarious site in question.

Re:I still oppose anonymous registration (1)

Sancho (17056) | more than 7 years ago | (#20344087)

There are lots of issues in this world where we have to weigh privacy and individual rights against larger problems facing the world. I, like many others, tend to err on the side of privacy and individual rights. In this case, I feel stronger about it than in many, since spam, while an annoyance, is certainly not life-threatening in 99.9% of cases.

If there were no spammers, stalkers, or other problems on the Internet, I would have less of a problem with giving out my address. So I guess it works both ways.

Re:I still oppose anonymous registration (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 7 years ago | (#20346501)

since spam, while an annoyance, is certainly not life-threatening in 99.9% of cases


Actually, I think my disagreement with you on that statement is probably the root of our disagreement on the issue itself. The bulk of spam that I receive is attempting to sell prescription drugs at a discount over the internet. I do view that as a life-threatening issue for two reasons:

First, assuming that the drugs are what they claim to be, there is inherent danger in selling them without a prescription. If the purchaser were to use them incorrectly, or if they were to go for sale elsewhere afterwards, they could cause life-threatening problems.

Second, at the prices they are selling them for, the drugs are likely counterfeit. Indeed, large caches of counterfeit drugs have been intercepted by border protection agents that were sold or intended for sale by mail-order or internet "pharmacies". The counterfeit drugs can pose potentially greater risks than the real drugs, because the user is likely to have no idea of the true identity of the compound they purchased. (I just like to hope that the counterfeit drugs are sugar pills, but there's no way to guarantee that much luck).

Re:I still oppose anonymous registration (1)

Sancho (17056) | more than 7 years ago | (#20346763)

Actually, I think my disagreement with you on that statement is probably the root of our disagreement on the issue itself. The bulk of spam that I receive is attempting to sell prescription drugs at a discount over the internet.
That's pretty interesting. I've gone through my spam folder (I archive all of it) and I can categorize it thusly:
36% viruses
32% stock spam
20% drug spam
5% Bayesian poisoning
7% unknown

So perhaps we're both applying preconceptions unfairly.

First, assuming that the drugs are what they claim to be, there is inherent danger in selling them without a prescription. If the purchaser were to use them incorrectly, or if they were to go for sale elsewhere afterwards, they could cause life-threatening problems.
But this is a risk that the buyer takes upon himself. If they re-sell them, they are committing another crime, which ought to be punished as such. But to me, that seems irrelevant, anyway, because on legal issues, the government can get the WHOIS information that you're seeking. If these people aren't being prosecuted, make sure that the blame is assigned appropriately.

Also, the type of people likely to buy the drugs that these spammers promote are not the type of people who are likely to try to figure out if it is a legitimate dealer. The subset of people who are willing to buy the drugs, willing to find out if it's legitimate, and knowledgeable about the workings of the Internet (with respect to the WHOIS database, specifically) is going to be even tinier.

I suppose that if private registration was unavailable, then vigilante justice could be used, but that would also probably be illegal.

As to the other spam I get, with stock spam, almost all of the same arguments apply. Frankly, if you take stock advice from random sources, you probably shouldn't complain when you fall victim to a pump-and-dump scam. Bayesian poisoning is irritating, but not something to get too upset about, and we won't be able to stop virus traffic[1] by stopping conventional spammers.

I hate to sound uncaring, but I just can't believe that enough people a) buy drugs from spam, b) would look up the WHOIS information if they could, c) get bad drugs that cause problems, and d) pass those drugs on to other people (i.e. aren't just taking the risk upon themselves) in order to justify banning private registration.

Re:I still oppose anonymous registration (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 7 years ago | (#20347713)

That is certainly a well thought out response. I haven't categorized my spam as thoroughly as you have, and to be fair I pay more attention to the drug and software spam than any others, so I may be overstating their presence. It could also be possible that because of the email addresses that I check most often (in .edu domains) I see more of those than one may in a different TLD. Somehow I doubt we'll get the spammers to reveal that to us.

As for your reasoning for the number of people who could be aided by the spammer's registration information being available, I may not have been sufficiently clear as to my reasoning on the issue.

I don't expect that someone who would be willing to buy the questionable drugs would be savvy enough to check the WHOIS data. Rather, I want the WHOIS data available for those of us who are receiving the spam, are savvy enough to utilize it, and concerned enough about the problem to want to take action to bring an end to it. I am concerned about both the safety of the public as well as the integrity of my own inbox.

From what I have noticed in terms of trends, a large amount of drug and software spam can be traced back to a very short list of irresponsible registrars and ISPs (mostly in other countries, unfortunately). If the WHOIS data were honestly made public, it could be possible to work towards stopping the problem. As an example, much of the spam I see points to domains that are registered to an individual who alternately claims to live in Tahiti or Finland. Its rather difficult to get either countries' law enforcement to care when there's only a certain set of data to even suggest this person lives there, and the registrars are willing to cover this person's trail continuously.

Hence my name on slashdot - 'damn_registrars'

Re:I still oppose anonymous registration (1)

Sancho (17056) | more than 7 years ago | (#20347873)

As an example, much of the spam I see points to domains that are registered to an individual who alternately claims to live in Tahiti or Finland. Its rather difficult to get either countries' law enforcement to care when there's only a certain set of data to even suggest this person lives there, and the registrars are willing to cover this person's trail continuously.
The cynic in me doubts that having real information would get much more accomplished. I guess there's probably a bit more paperwork involved in getting the real information, and if the registrar is in another country, it may be impossible. I can give you that. But I'm not convinced that the problem it solves (and the few people that the problem affects) is worth the loss of legitimate anonymity. I guess that on this point, we'll have to agree to disagree (to use an overused expression.)

Thanks for not being inflammatory :)

Re:I still oppose anonymous registration (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 7 years ago | (#20348101)

The cynic in me doubts that having real information would get much more accomplished.


I guess I can also say that from my own experience having the data for domains available has been definitely useful on at least one event. As I mentioned before, the email addresses I use most often are in .edu domains. At one point years ago I was being spammed relentlessly by a west coast company (avtechdirect.com) that wanted to sell us computers at 'educational' discounts. By using both the nslookup data to discover their ISP and the WHOIS data to find their contact information, I was eventually able to aid in shutting them down.

Obviously I cannot be 100% sure that what I did lead to their being shut down, but along the way, they had to change ISPs (at least once) and their original email address was shut down as well. Being as I complained to both their ISPs and their email provider (as well as their secretary of state), I like to think that I may have helped it along.

One concession I offered up in another posting on this article was to offer anonymity only to those who are not opening domains for commercial / sales purposes. I could personally care less if I can get the WHOIS data for someone's private blog. I just want to see the factual data made available for those who are using the internet to make a buck (legit or otherwise) so that we can get through to real people with real information when needed.

More so, you have brought up some valid points as far as access to the WHOIS data. From my perspective it seems that the concern is that the number of people who would use the WHOIS data for not-good purposes (spam, in particular) may well outnumber the people who want it for well-meaning purposes (such as spam reporting). I wish I had a good answer to this issue beyond what I have suggested earlier for dividing the anonymity along profit / non-profit lines.

However, my own experience is that if a registrar is given the ability to mask obfuscate the WHOIS data, they will likely find something else to hide behind if they are doing it for nefarious purposes. And by the time any authorities are involved, the no'er-do-well in question has already moved on and there really is no longer any value in the previously obfuscated data.

they need to stop the WHOIS spam first... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20342945)

I use unique email addresses for almost everything online (slashdot.org@mydomainname, etc) so that I can track and block spam effectively. 99% of my spam (about 3000 per month that makes it to my spam folder in Gmail) is sent to technicalContact@mydomainname or administrativeContact@mydomainname or something similar that I have used in registering domains.

I'd be happy if they could just keep my email address private without charging extra for that.

Why change what already works? (3, Insightful)

WalkingBear (555474) | more than 7 years ago | (#20343657)

There is a perfectly good system in place (at least in the US) for people who have a legal right to access the private information of a domain registrant. It's called due process.

If you think someone is infringing on your trademark, committing fraud, or some other illegal or actionable offense, then you go before a judge and request the court issue a demand for that information.

Yes, it's expensive. Yes, it's a pain in the posterior. Yes, that is as it should be. The more difficult you make it to pierce the rightful barrier of privacy of an individual, the stronger that barrier is and the less capricious that piercing can be.

The courts are the place to go to acquire this information. The Markets make it profitable for legitimate companies to not hide that information.

Seems that's a pretty good system to me.

Re:Why change what already works? (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 7 years ago | (#20343973)

There is a perfectly good system in place (at least in the US) for people who have a legal right to access the private information of a domain registrant. It's called due process.


I see a couple problems with this.

First, its (at least very nearly) impossible to impose US law elsewhere. If your problem is with someone who registered through a foreign registrar, you'll likely never be able to force them to release the data by any action through the US system.

Second, the US system is of course not very quick, to say the least. There is a very long list of registrars in this country, and if you were to start actions against registrar AAA, and the domain owner caught wind of it, they could just switch to registrar AAB, and continue down the alphabet while you keep having to play legal whack-a-mole to try to get the data released. And thats assuming that they don't tire of the game and switch to a foreign registrar, at which point of course you're back to my previous point.

Re:Why change what already works? (1)

WalkingBear (555474) | more than 7 years ago | (#20344055)

The registrars will have billing records for the time period in which the infraction occured. That's all the courts care about, and ultimatly, all that's actionable.

Even if someone moved a domain to a different registrar, you would still go to the original registrar for the information.

As for the international issues, you would have to, I assume, work with the State Dept to contact the authorities in whatever country the domain was registered in for that information.

You'd have to do so anyway once you had the information to prove ownership of the domain and prevent a defense of "I was phished and they used my info for their nefarious plots".

It's not a perfect world, but I much prefer a world where the bar on piercing the veil of privacy is high enough that it takes a very serious issue and willingness to put alot of work and money into the system to jump it.

It should never be a trivial task. My privacy is anything but trivial.

Re:Why change what already works? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20345159)

So what? If the registration information is mandated to be open and accurate, then you still run into the same problem when trying to get a legal remedy for something regarding a website that is foreign to you.

Courts too slow? Too bad. Cry me a river. If you need to pursue legal action, then its your problem.

Ya think? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20344083)

If there is no reform they can continue to sell privacy to their users using proxy registrations, making profits that far exceed those they make on normal domain name registrations," said Mueller.
No kidding.

The words extortion and antitrust come to mind.

I favor anonymitiy (1)

computerman413 (1122419) | more than 7 years ago | (#20344131)

I think registrations should be anonymous. I'm very much in favor of an anonymous Internet altogether, aside from who the domain registrar is. If the government has a problem with something, tough shit. They have plenty of ways to get what they want. They only need to know who the registrar is, and they can be served with a warrant for information on who paid for the domain. The registration contact info can be faked anyway.

I don't know.... (2, Interesting)

kaitou (789825) | more than 7 years ago | (#20344669)

As someone who owns a few relatively popular sites (+20k uniques daily) there have been times when people take a disliking to the sites and decide to harass me using my personal information, as I do not use whois protection (didn't use it in the beginning, and with whois history being easily accessible, it's rather pointless to start now), but a situation I am in right now is making me thing that the ownership information should be public. At least for .com, .net, .org and so on. .name which I believe is 'meant' for individuals could permit whois masking.

What happened is this. A friend of mine who also ran some relatively popular sites suddenly passed away. As his mother wasn't very knowledgeable about the internet at large, a person who had access to his servers at the time of his death decided to 'rescue' his sites, copied the data to his own servers, and then impersonated my friend, to transfer ownership from his Dotster account, to an ENOM account in the thiefs' name. He tried to do this with another name that was registered via Network Solutions, but they were "less helpful" in that.

Since he has WHOIS protection on all of his domains, it has been an uphill battle, to try and reclaim the work that my friend put in, from the thief. We tried working with GoDaddy and ENOM, but they have no interest in helping, after giving us a run around and telling us to indemnify them from any fault they may have had in it, ENOM ruled that this was an ownership dispute and not a transfer dispute and as such not something they want to deal with. GoDaddy who has been taking his money for years now has not even locked his old account, despite our efforts, so the thief keeps looking through it to find names he likes and moving them out. Both ENOM and GoDaddy are supposed to have internal dispute resolution departments, but neither is willing to take even a cursory look at such a cut and dried case of theft. There is no way my friend could've authorized his domains be moved more then a month after his death. (Sadly, I found out about this late, and had no easy way of reaching his mother for a while, so this happened before I was able to get in contact with them).

My friend is dead, we have his death certificate, we have the legal documentation that his mother is the executor of his estate (a horrible position to be in already), and we've been working since April now to try and reclaim at least part of what my friend has been working on throughout his life. The people who've worked with him on his other sites have been sitting on the fence, working more with the thief then with us, as the thief lets them pretend that they own those sites, and while they know he is wrong, they don't really think we will win.

At this point we've filed a UDRP motion on the basis of a common law trademark, since the domain is the business name my friend ran for eight years, but we can't do anything about the other sites that haven't been up for long, or domains that he never got around to using. There is no court of law that has jurisdiction here, because we don't know where the thief is based, and there is no guarantee that UDRP will see things properly, since they mainly look at it in trademark terms. When he was served with UDRP papers, the thief mirrored the site to another one of my friends old domains, and has the mirror running now, increasing his traffic that way.

If public ownership information had been required, I would like to think that people like the thief that we are dealing with would be more reticent to commit such acts of fraud with impunity. And some sort of a dispute process where registrars have to actually check what happened, and be able to resolve it. This should've been solved by GoDaddy who would be able to see that given that the account owner passed away, and the changes were made afterwards, that this is a pure case of fraud and told ENOM that the transfer was fradulent.

Re:I don't know.... (1)

kaitou (789825) | more than 7 years ago | (#20344791)

er
$post =~ s/thing/think/;

Sorry missed that even on a preview.

Re:I don't know.... (1)

celle (906675) | more than 7 years ago | (#20346043)

Congratulations! You just described the world in annoying, backstabbing detail. You're going to have to sue the registrars if you want anything done. Make it really embarrassing and point it out to the central authority. The alternative is a private manhunt.

That's not an anonymity problem. (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 7 years ago | (#20346633)

That's not an anonymity problem. That's an authentication problem.

One of the problems with all this "domaining" is that there are far too many domain transactions. The registrars that are "domain-tasting friendly" are worst about this. GoDaddy and ENom, with their multiple pseudo-registrars and affiliates, are heavily into domain-churning sideline businesses [clubdrop.com] . They also have EULA terms much worse than the more legitimate registrars.

This isn't a WHOIS problem. It's a bottom-feeder registrar problem.

Re:That's not an anonymity problem. (1)

Reaperducer (871695) | more than 7 years ago | (#20347533)

Ah, good. I'm glad you've sorted it out then. All he had to do is tell GoDaddy that it's an authentication problem, and everything will be magically better and the world will be filled up rainbows and unicorns.

Prig.

Where's the summary? (1)

HockeyPuck (141947) | more than 7 years ago | (#20346911)

Gimme a break. In the summary:

"In a blog post on the Internet Governance Project's (IGP) Web site, Milton Mueller, Professor and Director of the Telecommunications Network Management Program at the Syracuse University School of Information Studies and a partner in the IGP, details the Final Outcomes Report of the WHOIS Working Group, published on Tuesday, and inability of the various stakeholders to reach any kind of consensus."
So the best you could do is to spend the Entire quote putting in this guy's title? This isn't the SCO case, whereby all /. readers know what's going on. How about actually mentioning something about his opinion. You could have just said,

"Milton Muelle, a partner on the Internet Governance Project weighs in on the ability of the various stakeholders to reach any kind of consensus. [Include what the IGP is...]"

If there is demand, someone will sell it. (1)

Kaenneth (82978) | more than 7 years ago | (#20347095)

If the registation companies are no longer allowed to provide obfuscation, then numerous 3rd party services will open, most run by the same people who run the registrars.

Re:If there is demand, someone will sell it. (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 7 years ago | (#20347745)

If the registation companies are no longer allowed to provide obfuscation, then numerous 3rd party services will open, most run by the same people who run the registrars.


It's already happened. Some time ago, the nefarious registrar going by the name 'PacNames' started their own obfuscation service 'ShieldedWhois.com'. Strangely enough, I only saw one customer for that service, and they were repeatedly contacting me with great offers on software and v1@gr/\ ...
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