[GTLD-WG] [CPWG] Fwd: Capital Hill Briefing - What is WHOIS: Understanding One of Our Most Critical Cyber Assets
carlton.samuels at gmail.com
Tue Oct 22 18:04:23 UTC 2019
Might be useful to know or even be mindful of the players here - and how
this might impact the contours of the Phase II work!
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From: Winterfeldt IP Group <info at winterfeldt.law>
Date: Tue, 22 Oct 2019, 11:28 am
Subject: Capital Hill Briefing - What is WHOIS: Understanding One of Our
Most Critical Cyber Assets
To: <carlton.samuels at gmail.com>
On Thursday, October 17, the Coalition for a Secure & Transparent Internet
(CSTI) hosted a briefing on Capitol Hill entitled, “What is WHOIS:
Understanding One of Our Most Critical Cyber Assets.”The briefing was an
opportunity for Congressional offices to hear from federal law enforcement
officials and coalition members on how they use WHOIS, which serves as a
database for information about domain name registrations and registrants,
to protect consumers online.
The event was timely given the ongoing negotiations underway at ICANN
regarding a revised WHOIS model that can restore access to a vital resource
for law enforcement, intellectual property owners, businesses and consumer
advocates alike. Access to WHOIS data has been limited since the
implementation of GDPR (European data protection regulations) in May 2019.
Per an April 2019 letter from the National Telecommunications Information
Administration (NTIA), the division of the U.S. Department of Commerce that
oversees the U.S. Government's interest in Internet policy matters, the
Administration has targeted next month’s ICANN meetings as a deadline for
seeing “substantial progress” toward a resolution of a WHOIS access model.
Jae Chung, Assistant Special Agent in Charge, Pharmaceutical, Chemical &
Internet Investigations Section of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration
and Jason Gull, Senior Counsel, Computer Crime & Intellectual Property
Section, U.S. Department of Justice, detailed how WHOIS is used by their
offices to pursue criminal enterprises on the Internet. Chung and Gull
spoke to the fact that their investigatory and legal work, respectively,
has become increasingly challenging and time-consuming in light of the
limited access to and redaction of WHOIS registration data. Both U.S.
Government speakers also discussed the important role that third-party
organizations and investigators play in identifying bad actors online
through use of WHOIS data.
Coalition representatives from the National Association of Boards of
Pharmacy (NABP), Kroll, and the Motion Picture Association of America
(MPAA) spoke on a second panel as to how their use of WHOIS data in order
to protect their Intellectual Property has been extremely hampered by the
EU GDPR and further explained why consumers are less secure online as a
result of these increased enforcement challenges. In particular, the lack
of ready access to WHOIS data can result in delays and complications in
connection with identifying and taking action against infringers, meaning
that consumers are more likely to be misled or defrauded on a variety of
levels. For example, consumers who think they are accessing authentic goods
and services may be directed to pirated entertainment content or
counterfeit pharmaceuticals, resulting in financial loss or even health and
The briefing was well-attended by staff from the U.S. House of
Representatives, Senate, and Executive branch offices interested in hearing
more about how access to WHOIS data benefits consumers, legitimate
businesses and law enforcement, as well as the harms, risked when access
is limited. These advocacy efforts with Congress and the Administration
will continue in order to ensure awareness regarding the important role
WHOIS plays in corporate brand enforcement, consumer protection, and
cybersecurity responsibilities. For more information on the importance of
WHOIS, the impact of GDPR, and opportunities for advocacy to restore access
to WHOIS, please reach out to Winterfeldt IP Group at
internet at winterfeldt.law.
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