February 28, 2003

Task Force to call for creation of Whois helpdesk?

Antonio Harris of the GNSO Whois Task Force brings up the question of unlisted whois records.

"A policy similar to "unlisted" telephone numbers could be applied. This would mean that the demands on registrar's resources would increase as law enforcement agencies, intellectual property lawyers and network operators, ISPs, etc. would require access to the "unlisted" information, and thus a "request for data desk" become a need for each registrar?"

Back when I was working for an ISP, we actually had someone who's job it was to deal with inquiries about certain subscribers - we called it our general counsel. That was the only way that someone could get the home phone number of one of our subscribers.

There are simply no legitimate uses of the whois that cannot be satisfied through other means. Subscriber information can be accessed via a number of legal means by a number of parties. ISPs stopped using domain whois as anything but a long shot the second that marketers started giving away domain names with a Happy Meal purchase. These "uses" of the whois really amount to the abuse of customer information by those that are too lazy to do their own homework.

Who registered this domain name? Here you go sir, would you like fries with that?

The thinking just isn't going deep enough on this question. A review of the whois task force's discourse simply shows that they continue to look at treatments for the whois - not at the issue of privacy within the whois. Fries with chocolate frosting is what they're serving (along with the incredulous observation that Tucows has "desupported" the report because we didn't agree with some small part of it....)

This will definitely get some more attention over the weekend - Becky and Steve said a lot that needs further digestion before comments are forthcoming.

Posted by ross at 12:30 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack