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Whois to be Scrapped?

chicago dyke's picture

I am not a techie and I have no idea if this is a good or bad idea. Your thoughts? From the Globe:

"The Whois database is in fact the best, most well-recognized tool that we have to be able to track down who in fact you are doing business with," said Bohannon, the trade group's general counsel, adding that alternatives such as issuing subpoenas to service providers take more time and cost money.

Nonetheless, some privacy advocates are proposing scrapping the system entirely because they can't agree with the people who use the system on how to give domain name owners more options when they register — such as designating third-party agents. Privacy advocates say individuals shouldn't have to reveal personal information simply to have a Web site.

The so-called "sunset" proposal is expected to come up Wednesday before a committee of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN, a key Internet oversight agency.

It will have a tough time winning approval — and could create chaos. But the fact that abandoning Whois is on the table underscores frustrations among privacy advocates that ICANN appears on the verge of launching new studies and deferring a decision yet again after some six years of debate.

Like I said, I'm no techie and I don't really understand the issues, or, um, even how to use Whois. Still, I know people who do and it seems helpful to them. So I think at least some would be sad to see it go.

Is there a replacement?

No votes yet


Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

Whois works a little bit like nexis-lexis, only you don't have to be a lawyer (or pay a fee) to use it.
Thus, TPTB are uneasy with it. I'm not good with whois but my SO is a network administrator; it can be used to find out who in a multiple (over 250) user organization is *the* one downloading the verboten content (usually pr0n, but sometimes also nowadays who's bit-torrenting and thus tying up bandwidth that, technically, ought to be going to other applications like, say, the telemedicine feed) -- but more importantly unless you are way savvy it can be used to find out who you are as a purveyor/provider of content (correct me if I'm wrong, lambert -- isn't this how somebody here, and somebody at Eschaton, identified Tena's stalker a few years ago?)

"Privacy advocates" say they dislike it, but these are not the same people who dislike FISA.

It's a tough situation. On the one hand you don't want to have to let the world know that you post from the (e.g.) public library in Plainview, Texas when you're advertising a weight-loss plan over the Internet, but on the other hand you'd much rather conceal that you're trolling chat rooms at 11 p.m. Eastern Standard Time from a high school library in Covina, California. Especially if you're an undercover FBI geek pretending to be a 14-year-old looking for a hookup.


Woody--Tokin Librul's picture
Submitted by Woody--Tokin Librul on

source or tool for legitimate research, which has previously been available for those acquainted with its use, is a form of censorship. It's like closing libraries. It's disempowering, and intimidation of a kind. Crap like that both worries me and psisses me off.

Me? A Quick Study, But A Slow Learner