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Cyber cop wants Whois privacy shake-up

Kevin Murphy, March 7, 2010, 13:32:28 (UTC), Domain Policy

Registrars should be made to police Whois so cops can take down illegal sites faster, even if domain name prices have to go up as a result, ICANN’s Government Advisory Committee has been told.

Speaking at the GAC hearing on new gTLDs in Nairobi this afternoon, Paul Hoare of the UK’s Serious and Organised Crime Agency called for a “global method of domain take-down and removal”.

Registrars should be obliged to vet registrants’ Whois details for accuracy, and ICANN should be obliged to vet registrars, he said.

Proxy privacy services could continue, he said, but police want a single, global agreement that ICANN would sign with registries and registrars, modelled on the existing RAA contract.

Such an agreement would make it easier for police to quickly have sites taken down based on breaches in the terms and conditions.

Hoare said he was speaking not for the UK but on behalf of “global law enforcement”, which he said wants “mandatory minimum standards” rather than voluntary codes of conduct.

“The price of domains may rise to cover this cost,” he said.

Police seem to have the same problem with proxy registration services as trademark groups, which regularly complain that cybersquatters hide behind proxy services at tiny registrars with opaque take-down policies.

Comments made during today’s GAC meeting may or may not be reflected in the final GAC communique, which isn’t due for a few days.

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