The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) requires domain registrants to file their full name and contact info into WHOIS, the internet’s de facto yellow pages for websites, and one of the most searched database in the world. However, there are services out there that allow domain registrants to veil this information with a proxy’s contact information. There’s a legion of reasons behind doing so, however, the most reasonable and believable one is that everyone want their share of greater privacy. This, privacy pie, might soon be taken away.
The ICANN is planning to cap the privacy of websites it considers “commercial,” conceivably sharing the contact info of harmless site owners universally. ICANN’s decision could possibly have massive consequences for anyone who appreciates online anonymity.
The nonprofit organization posted an initial report on May 5, weighing up policy changes it could have for individuals who register their domains under proxy services.
ICANN Wants To Take Away Privacy Pie
ICANN’s proposed changes would make it facile for industry bodies to track copyright infringers by restricting WHOIS security rights, however it twofolds other privacy concerns.
For example, it could reveal private information of bloggers, activists and harmless writers out in the open. The policy change would leads to a number of privacy concerns such as harassment, spamming, doxing, death threats, by and large ruining their lives. An activist on any continent working for a cause and generating good amount of money will get harassed by opponents from the public sphere.
ICANN is trying to find the middle ground by thinking of cataloguing money-making domains into two separate categories: commercial and transactional. Commercial category will comprise of revenue generating sites including non-profits, while transactional category will contain e-commerce sites and profit organizations. Furthermore, ICANN is planning to cap the commercial category’s access to domain privacy. The proposal, as of now, is ambiguous, and if comes into being, any interested party will be able to request a registrar to disclose a domain owner’s privacy info without a court order.
The issue has been put up for public comment.
Domain registrar Namecheap, and the Electronic Frontier and Fight for the Future, two non-profits crusading campaigns for privacy and personal freedoms are calling for people to get ICANN into reconsidering their proposals and to add their own comments. Thousands have submitted their comments already. Comments will be closed by July 7, and will be up for review by July 21. Interested individuals can submit their comments to ICANN via email at email@example.com.