Commercial entities will not be excluded from buying domain privacy services, ICANN’s GNSO Council has confirmed.
The Council last night voted unanimously to approve a set of recommendations that would make it compulsory for privacy and proxy services to be accredited by ICANN for the first time.
The recommendations govern among other things how privacy services are expected to behave when they receive notices of trademark or copyright infringement.
But missing is a proposal that would have prevented the use of privacy for “transactional” web sites, something which caused a great deal of controversy last year.
The newly adopted recommendations clearly state that nobody is to be excluded from privacy on these grounds.
The Council voted to adopt the final, 93-page report of the Privacy and Proxy Services Accreditation Issues (pdf) working group, which states:
Fundamentally, P/P services should remain available to registrants irrespective of their status as commercial or non-commercial organizations or as individuals. Further, P/P registrations should not be limited to private individuals who use their domains for non-commercial purposes.
The minority view that web sites that process financial transactions should not be able to use privacy came from intellectual property, anti-abuse and law enforcement community members.
However, opponents said it would infringe the privacy rights of home business owners, bloggers, political activists and others.
It could even lead to vicious “doxing”-related crimes, such as “swatting”, where idiots call in fake violent crime reports against rivals’ home addresses, some said.
It also turned out, as we revealed last November, that 55% of US presidential candidates operate transactional web sites that use privacy on their domains.
Two separate registrar initiatives, one backed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, started letter-writing campaigns that resulted in over 20,000 comments being received on the the PPSAI’s initial report last July.
Those comments are acknowledged in the PPSAI final report that the GNSO Council just approved.
The adopted recommendations (which I’ll get into in a separate article) still have to be approved by the ICANN board of directors and have to undergo an implementation process that puts the rather broad policies into concrete processes and procedures.