Home > News > ICANN Debates WHOIS Database • Bookmark   • Newsletters   • Register Search Options


ICANN Debates WHOIS Database

ICANN Debates WHOIS Database
Get XBIZ News
Jul 21, 2005 6:00 AM PDT    Text size: 
LUXEMBOURG – A report presented at ICANN’s four-day meeting in Luxembourg addressed the longstanding issue of privacy on the WHOIS database, a topic of debate that has dogged ICANN since 1999 and resulted in the formation of several task forces to study the issue and search for solutions.

ICANN ombudsman Frank Fowlie presented a report during ICANN's July 11-15 meeting in Luxembourg City, revealing that a large portion of complaints received by ICANN are directly related to grievances over the WHOIS database, which is maintained by more than 400 domain name registrars and in some cases provides detailed and publicly accessible information on domain registrants.

However, over the years and along with the rapid proliferation of domain name registrations, the standard WHOIS domain search has lost much of its accuracy and credibility as more and more registrars maintain their own private databases to keep the information safe from competing registrars.

Questions raised at the summit last week questioned whether ICANN should continue to govern the database, or if the registrars themselves should take charge.

"It's been an excruciatingly slow process, and I think it will continue to be so," Steven Metalitz, a member of the WHOIS task force, said. "ICANN is not a venue where quick decisions are possible.”

According to Fowlie, businesses and law enforcement want the information public so they can pursue trademark infringers, spammers, phishers and others who exploit the Internet for unlawful purposes.

But registrants have argued against having their personal or business information made available to outsiders, saying they want to protect themselves.

The Federal Trade Commission also has been pushing the issue of a WHOIS overhaul, claiming that the database is filled with “inaccuracies” and has significantly hindered its ability to fight consumer fraud on the Internet.

Some solutions offered include having the registrar named as the owner of the website instead of the actual owner. But ICANN has waffled over whether this violates ICANN’s governing power. A recently proposed solution is to make technical contact information public and the rest private and retrievable through the registrant’s registrar. And while that decision appeases one side of the argument, law enforcement and the FTC argue that accessing information through registrars could cause significant delays in obtaining domain-owner information.

Over the past years, ICANN has grappled with the WHOIS issue by forming three task forces in 2003 to study how to improve the database system while also addressing privacy worries. Those three task forces have since merged into one.

More ways to get XBIZ News:  RSS Feeds  |  E-Newsletters  |  Desktop Widget  |  Mobile
Looking for porn star news and behind-the-scene videos? Check out XFANZ.com !


The Skinny on the New DMCA Requirement

The requirements under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) have changed, but the sky is not falling. We have, even as a law firm, been hit with an unbelievable amount of spam sent out by law firms... More »

2017 Outlook: Legal Matters Around the Corner

The adult entertainment business’ legal community recently weighed in the top issues that companies and the industry, as a whole, should be concerned about. XBIZ asked industry attorneys to discuss... More »

Fraudulent Brazilian Trademark Registrations Running Rampant

Although you might not think often about protecting your trademark rights in Brazil, you need to — even if you don’t yet have a single Brazilian customer. Scammers are constantly looking for... More »
Stay informed of the latest industry developments. Get XBIZ newsletters delivered to your inbox. Subscribe today!
Enter email address:

* To manage existing subscriptions click here.

Submit your press release to
multiple news outlets with 1 click.
Subscribe to RSS news feeds or
add free content to your website.
Access XBIZ news and articles
with your mobile device.
Subscribe to XBIZ Premiere magazine, the industry's leading adult retail trade publications, delivering the most timely and comprehensive business news and information to producers and retailers of adult products.


The European Summit

Mar 04 - Mar 07
Barcelona-Sitges, Spain

The TEA Show

Mar 05 - Mar 06
Hollywood, CA

Phoenix Forum 2017

Mar 23 - Mar 26
Tempe, Arizona


Mar 31 - Apr 02
Denver, CO.
Everyday thousands of business professionals browse XBIZ's industry directory for quality products and services. Not listed yet? Your company could be losing potential new business. Submit your company today!
Use XBIZ RSS feeds to stay informed of the latest industry developments or as a content syndication tool for your website!