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Man asks ICANN for “list of all domains”

Kevin Murphy, September 20, 2010, 20:29:00 (UTC), Domain Policy

A man has used ICANN’s freedom of information procedure to ask for “a list of all registered domains”, forcing the organization to politely decline.
Barry Carter wrote (pdf):

Per please provide me a list of all registered domains (including all public registrant information). If you are unable to provide this information, please let me know why.

As you might imagine, with the number of registered domains in the gTLDs and ccTLDs numbering in the hundreds of millions, that’s what you might call a Big Ask.
ICANN’s response (pdf) patiently explains that it doesn’t have such a list and that assembling one would constitute an unreasonable request under its Documentary Information Disclosure Policy.
Still, worth a shot, eh?

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Comments (6)

  1. Deke says:

    Under the Freedom of Information Act of the U.S., they have to, don’t they?

    • Kevin Murphy says:

      ICANN is not a government agency, so it is not bound by FOIA, to the best of my knowledge.
      Plus, they simply don’t have access to the data.

  2. […] not the first person to use the DIDP to make such a strange request. One Barry Carter asked for the same list last September, and was similarly […]

  3. […] A:  Nope.  Such a list would be millions and millions of names long.  In fact, some guy asked ICANN for such a list and they denied the request. […]

  4. William says:

    I don’t think it’s an unusual request. It’s not unusual for software development and database professionals routinely work with databases containing tens and hundreds of millions of records. It would be a large file, but not prohibitively so.
    This information has to exist somewhere, why should it be so hard to obtain?

    • Kevin Murphy says:

      It’s maintained by hundreds of organizations, often government affiliates, in hundreds of countries, often in non-standard formats. Assembling the database would be more politically than technologically problematic.

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