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Group uses FOI to demand entire .nyc Whois database

Kevin Murphy, June 3, 2015, 09:56:17 (UTC), Domain Registries

Former .nyc hopeful Connecting.nyc has requested a dump of the entire .nyc Whois database using freedom of information legislation.

According to a blog post, the group has filed a request under the New York Freedom of Information Law for all 75,000 Whois records.

Connecting.nyc says it wants the data in order to plot every .nyc registrant on a map of the city to see “if the name purchasers were spread evenly over the city or concentrated in a particular neighborhood or borough. And if they were from a particular social or economic strata.”

It says it has spent 10 weeks asking for the data via email but has been rebuffed.

Under ICANN Registry Agreements, registries are under no obligation to offer bulk Whois access. Registrars are supposed to allow it under their accreditation agreements, but are allowed to charge huge sums.

The .nyc space does not allow private registrations. Its Whois data is all publicly accessible and could conceivably be mined via sequential queries.

The new gTLD is managed by Neustar but assigned to the City of New York, making it essentially government-owned.

It will be interesting to see whether Whois access falls under FOI law. Many other geographic gTLDs have government links and may fall under their own respective FOI legislation.

Connecting.nyc once intended to apply for .nyc itself, but is now a sort of self-appointed community watchdog for the gTLD. It’s an At-Large structure within ICANN.

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Comments (2)

  1. Brian says:

    Wow 10 weeks,

    This information is really not that difficult to acquire.
    Step1 : Request the .NYC zone file via ICANN’s CZDS (centralized Zone Data Service)
    Step2 : Use this information to script .NYC’s public whois server

    Given they probably use rate limiting so it may take some time but it’s definitely easier than filing requests via FOI or waiting 10 weeks for information that in theory is already public

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