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Almost half of ccTLDs may block some Whois data

Kevin Murphy, November 20, 2017, 10:29:51 (UTC), Domain Services

Almost half of ccTLDs are planning to hide parts of Whois results from public view in response to incoming European Union law.

That’s according to a recent informal survey of the members of CENTR, the Council of European National Top Level Domain Registries, detailed in a letter to ICANN (pdf) last week.

According to the survey of 28 ccTLDs, 13 of them (46.4%) said they plan to “hide certain data fields” in response to the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation.

GDPR forces companies to give EU citizens more rights to control how their data is used, which includes the publication of Whois data.

While the sample size is small, the results are probably indicative of the direction of the industry.

The industry and community is still struggling to reconcile longstanding Whois practices and contractual requirements with the new law, but a consensus seems to be forming that Whois as we know it is not going to survive.

Hiding data fields such as contact information to general Whois users, while making it available to verified law enforcement, may be one part of becoming GDPR-compliant. It’s what two Dutch gTLD registries are already doing.

The CENTR survey also found that smaller numbers of registries are planning to throttle Whois queries and revise their agreements in response to GDPR, which comes into full effect next May.

The survey was carried out in June. Given the speed at which discussions in the community are progressing, I would not be surprised if the same survey carried out today would produce different results.

Comments (3)

  1. Joey says:

    Wouldn’t enabling whois privacy by default be a better solution? At least a domain owner could still be contacted then. Would have to be an agreed to by the registrars of course but it protects them too.

  2. Luc says:

    Most of the pertinent contact fields are already hidden on many ccTLD whois records. For example, most don’t publish email address, many don’t publish registrant name.

    I agree with Joey. This is just stupid. Privacy whois can easily hide the private contact information without cutting off contact with owner.

  3. Theo Geurts says:

    Around 66 ccTLD operators do not even run a port 43 WHOIS server.

Leave a Reply to Joey