ICANN is soliciting comments on two important whois issues. (The whois database explains who owns and runs each domain name.) Today is the last day to comment.
Issue one: Does whois data need to be accurate? Currently, someone can anonymously report an inaccuracy in the whois database, causing an email to be sent to the registrar, causing an email to be sent to the person who registered the domain, giving them a week to correct the information and get it taken away. Bret Fausett thinks this is too short.
Issue two: Should whois data be available in bulk? Currently, ICANN requires registrars to make full dumps of whois data for all domain names available for no more $10,000. Of course, all registrars chose to charge $10,000. This basically guarantees that the whois information is only available to spammers and marketers with the money to pay for it, and not researchers or people like you and I. I think that registrars should be required to make the data available to researchers and archivists.
Finally, Karl Auerbach thinks that there’s little point in having a whois database available at all. All it does, he feels, is reduce privacy. Kathryn A. Keiman points out that the whois database has chilling effects for people like human rights activists and others who fear people hurting them.