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Why are you doing that Whois search? DENIC wants to know

Kevin Murphy, February 6, 2018, Domain Registries

In a taste of what might be coming under EU privacy legislation, DENIC wants you to jump through some new hoops before it lets you see Whois data.

When doing a Whois query on its web site today, the German ccTLD registry first asks you to answer the question: “How do you justify your legitimate interest in accessing the whois data?”

It’s a multiple-choice question, with an extra field for typing in your reasons for doing the query.

Possible answers include “because you think that the use of the domain raises a legal problem”, which appears to be for trademark lawyers, and “because you want to collect information about the domain holder for business purposes”, which appears to be for domainers.

Denic whois

There’s no wrong answer that will deny you access to the Whois record you want to see, but users are warned that their use of Whois data is only to be for “legitimate purposes”, under pain of legal action.

A DENIC spokesperson told DI that the new system was introduced today “for statistical reasons”

“Its aim is just to get a better idea of the DENIC whois usage pattern and of the extent to which different user groups are utilising the extended service,” she said.

The move should be viewed in the context of the incoming General Data Protection Regulation, an EU privacy law that becomes fully implemented in May this year.

While there’s been a lot of focus on how this will effect ICANN and its harem of contracted gTLDs, it’s easy to forget that it affects ccTLDs just as much.

By conducting this mandatory survey of real Whois users, DENIC will presumably be able to gather some useful data that will inform how it stays GDPR-compliant after May.

DENIC gets approved for registry escrow

DENIC is now able to offer data escrow services to gTLD registries, in addition to registrars.

The non-profit company, which runs Germany’s .de, said it gained ICANN approval for the registry escrow function June 6.

Back in March, ICANN approved it for the registrar escrow services.

All ICANN-accredited registries and registrars are contractually obliged to deposit their registrant data with escrow agents in case they go out of business, go rogue, suffer catastrophic data loss, or otherwise screw up.

Nine companies have been approved by ICANN for registry data escrow so far.

Two of others are based in Europe, but DENIC claims to be the only one that offers full compliance with the more stringent German and European Union data protection regulations.

DENIC approved as ICANN escrow agent

Kevin Murphy, March 24, 2017, Domain Registries

German ccTLD registry DENIC has been given ICANN approval to provide data escrow services to registrars.

It becomes the seventh company to receive this accreditation, the second in Europe after the UK’s NCC Group.

Denic The company said it signed its ICANN contract and first registrar, Global Village, at the ICANN meeting in Copenhagen last week.

DENIC said the ICANN contract is unique in that it is governed by German or Swiss law, rather than Californian.

It also said that it is in compliance with European Union data protection legislation, which is much stricter than the US equivalent, for the first time.

The deal with ICANN does not extend to data escrow services for gTLD registries, but DENIC said it is working on such a deal.

All registrars are required by their ICANN accreditation to escrow registrant data, to protect customers from catastrophic business failures or de-accreditation.

German domains see severe downtime

Many domains ending in .de, Germany’s country-code TLD, have seen downtime today, after something went wrong at Denic, the registry manager.

Details are sketchy at the moment, but it appears from chatter on the DNS-Ops mailing list that several instances of the .de zone stopped serving addresses this morning.

It appears that the affected servers were responsible for .de domains beginning with F through Z, so facebook.de would have worked, but heise.de would not.

The German slice of Twitter has been going a bit nuts with comments, and the German press is already on the case.

This is obviously a huge headache if you’re German or do business in Germany — I hate to think how many transactions could have been disrupted by the downtime — and I expect Denic will take a lot of flack at home over the coming days and weeks.

The problem, however, does appear to have been fixed. SANS estimates the outage as a little over an hour.

Google Translate turns ccTLDs into .com

Kevin Murphy, May 12, 2010, Domain Tech

I’ve found Google Translate an invaluable tool for researching overseas news stories, but it’s a pain in the neck for reading about domain names in foreign languages.

The service seems to have developed the habit of turning all freestanding ccTLDs into “.com”.

For an example, head over to Norid and turn on Norwegian-to-English translation (or, if you don’t have the Google Toolbar, use Google Translate on the web).

Every instance of “.no”, Norway’s country-code domain, is translated into a .com, more specifically “. Com”.

Ditto for German. Translate this story about Denic’s troubles today to see all instances of “.de” translated into “. Com”.

However, the front page of Afnic sees .fr translated to “. Com”, leaving .re, for the Reuinion Islands, untouched.

I should point out that the service leaves domain names alone, so nic.fr is still nic.fr. But you’ve still got to wonder what Google’s designers were thinking.