[LINK] EPIC Calls for Whois Privacy

Roger Clarke Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au
Thu Nov 1 13:07:07 AEDT 2007

EPIC Alert 14.22                                        October 31, 2007


[1] EPIC Calls for Whois Privacy

In a letter to the Board of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names
and Numbers (ICANN), EPIC expressed its support for changes to Whois
services that would protect the privacy of individuals, specifically the
removal of registrants' contact information from the publicly accessible
Whois database. As explained in Privacy and Human Rights 2006,
concealing actual identity may be critical for political, artistic, and
religious expression on the Internet.

The ICANN Whois Task Force completed its final report on Whois Services
in March 2007. In that report, a majority of members endorsed a proposal
called the "Operational Point of Contact" (OPoC). Under OPoC, every
registrant would identify a new operational point of contact and the
registrant's postal address, city, and postal code would no longer be
displayed. The operational point of contact's name and contact
information would be displayed instead, and it would replace the
administrative and technical contacts. A Whois Working Group, convened
to examine some of the implementation details of the OPoC, published its
report in August 2007. A public comment period on the report received
submissions until October 30,  2007. ICANN members are likely to vote on
the issue on October 31, 2007 during the Los Angeles ICANN meeting.

ICANN's current policy requiring the publication of personal information
violates the privacy rights of registrants and may violate international
laws and the privacy rights in the UN's Universal Declaration of Human
Rights. Both the Whois Task Force and the Whois Working Group agree that
new mechanisms must be adopted to address an individual's right to
privacy and the protection of his or her data.

In its comments, EPIC pointed out that this issue has remained
unresolved for seven years. While the OPoC proposal is not an ideal
solution, the Working Group's report represented  agreed in critical
areas, on several key points that advance the Whois discussion within
ICANN and provide clear guidance to the ICANN Board. EPIC suggested that
if the proposal does not move forward, then the Board should sunset the
Whois database. Thirty other groups and individuals endorsed EPIC's
letter to the ICANN Board.

ICANN Staff Overview of Recent WHOIS Activity:


EPIC's Letter to ICANN (Oct. 30, 2007) (pdf):


EPIC's page on WHOIS:


Privacy and Human Rights 2006:



Roger Clarke                  http://www.anu.edu.au/people/Roger.Clarke/

Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd      78 Sidaway St, Chapman ACT 2611 AUSTRALIA
                    Tel: +61 2 6288 1472, and 6288 6916
mailto:Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au                http://www.xamax.com.au/

Visiting Professor in Info Science & Eng  Australian National University
Visiting Professor in the eCommerce Program      University of Hong Kong
Visiting Professor in the Cyberspace Law & Policy Centre      Uni of NSW

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