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The Whois Database May Finally Get an Overhaul

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data abstraction

Credit: Beacon Data Systems

A volunteer group at the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has released a report on the Whois database that points out the problems with the database, the parties responsible, and some potential solutions, writes Beau Brendler, chairman of the North American Internet user advisory committee to ICANN.

The report estimates that only about 22 percent of the database is accurate, which it attributes to the out-of-control privacy and proxy services market that enables registrants to hide their information for a fee. There is no record of how many private registrations there are.

"Many of the problems [with Whois] could have been solved previously, and can in the future, with proper leadership and enforcement of policies already written and incorporated into the contracts of companies that sell domain registrations," Brendler says.

He cites the report's timeliness, noting that more than 2,000 new top-level domains will soon be incorporated into the Internet. "We cannot afford to allow that meta-infrastructure to take shape the way the current Whois policy has, which in retrospect looks like a combination of bribes, paper clips, tape, and gum," Brendler argues. He also partly attributes the inertia of Whois policy development in the last 10 years to the "misrepresentation of domain anonymity as a life-or-death free speech issue."

From Internet Evolution 
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