Input to Expert Working Group on gTLD Directory Services Why is the Whois Broken?

Kathy Kleiman kathy at
Thu Aug 22 12:02:13 UTC 2013

*//*We submit the following comments (below and attached) to the EWG on 
the question of Why is the Whois Broken.

*/ */Kathy Kleiman
Tamir Israel
Milton Mueller
Roy Balleste
Robin Gross
Avri Doria
Marie-Laure Lemineur
Peter Green
Edward Morris
All members of the NCSG/*

Why is the Whois Broken?*/

We in the NCSG respectfully raise the question that the EWG asserts in 
its Executive Summary that the Whois is broken, but has not told us 
/*why */the Whois is broken or /*what went wrong */with 
it.**Accordingly, the EWG process appears to be missing the diagnosis of 
the problem/*, leading to a proposed Interim solution that we 
respectfully submit is fundamentally flawed for making the basic 
underlying problems of the existing Whois *//_*worse*_//*, not better.*/

>From our perspective, as Registrants and the group that represents the 
millions of noncommercial and nonprofit organizations, small and large, 
in the ICANN process, the Whois problems clearly include:


    Over-Collection of information (address in particular is completely
    unnecessary when there are better and faster ways to contact the
    Registrants via email and phone)


    Over-Publication of information (publication of Whois data to anyone
    who wants it for any purpose -- regardless of legal proof for


    Collection of personal data about people in organizations,
    businesses, hobby groups, nonprofits and individuals that is
    personal in nature and protected by law including name, physical
    address, phone numbers ( including otherwise unpublished cell phone
    numbers) and email addresses (also otherwise unpublished), all data
    protected by law in many countries, including all with data
    protection laws (countries now spanning Europe, Asia and North
    American, including the UK, Germany, France, Italy, S. Korea, Japan
    and Canada.


    Exposure of domain name Registrants, by virtue of the publication of
    this data to all (and its availability to law enforcement and
    hostile governments) to harassments, threats, intimidation and
    violence by virtue of their speech online, not their threat to the
    security and stability of the Internet and domain name system (DNS).


    Use of the Whois data outside of original scope and purpose. The
    original collection of Whois data was for technical reasons, e.g, to
    rapidly find a contact to help resolve a technical problem of the
    domain name. That's a purpose within the scope and mission of ICANN.
    The expansion of the Whois (or any other name giving to the
    re-packaged data) to solve, resolves, threaten and exploit any type
    of Internet domain name speaker for any type of reason goes far
    beyond the technical mission and scope of ICANN into a worldwide
    content regulator and business licensor. That's not what we
    established ICANN in 1999 to do, and we urge the EWG to reevaluate

The unlimited access to Whois data -- and the newly defined and proposed 
dramatically expanded new gTLD directory services data -- allows 
unlimited abuse of the Registrant data including for stalking, spamming, 
harassment, intimidation, browbeating and threats against Registrants 
having everything to do with content of the Registrant's communication 
or attractiveness of the Registrant's name.

/*Before the EWG embraces such a departure from the purpose of Whois, it 
must a) review and thoroughly understand the abuse of Whois data today 
(why the Whois is broken from a Registrants perspective), sort out and 
state precisely what its purposes for operating are, and what solutions 
must be taken to avoid making the matter worse. */

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