Re: [nc-whois] Summary: Comments on Accuracy.
To be clear,
Thomas, are all of the submission included in this summary or are some of
the submissions included?
At 03:18 PM 11/16/2002 +0100, Thomas Roessler wrote:
>Here's a - not really - brief summary (in chronological order, with
>some exceptions) of comments sent to comments-whois which concern
>reasoned remarks on the accuracy topic. I hope this is useful both
>as a tool for our future discussions, and possibly as direct input
>into our report. Note that, since we have received many and
>sometimes quite extensive comments, I may easily have misunderstood
>or missed some points. So, please correct me where I'm wrong.
>Thomas Roessler (mobile) <email@example.com>
>John Berryhill points out that the TF's interim report does not
>define a standard for inaccurate contact data. As an example, he
>points to a UDRP case in which the complainant claims that a
>telephone number provided in the WHOIS is "inaccurate" because it is
>not listed for the respondent. He also points out that the
>requirement for an "accurate" telephone number implies the
>requirement for the domain name holder to have a telephone number.
>Also, Dr. Berryhill raises the concern that "bad contact data"
>complaints can be raised systematically and in an abusive manner, in
>order to harass domain name holders.
>John Berryhill points out that the current practice (and the task
>force's interim report) does not address the - common! - use of role
>accounts (like "Hostmaster Role Account") for WHOIS contact data.
>In fact, the current RAA language requires that WHOIS contact data
>(as opposed to registrant data) contains the contact's "name."
>This comment, received from Jefferson Nunn (CIO, Internet Solutions
>Group) elaborates on a number of privacy objections against any
>requirement that /valid/ telephone numbers of individuals be
>published in the WHOIS service.
>(It is questionable whether this concern is indeed in the scope of
>considerations on data accuracy.)
>This document contains personal comments from Michael D. Palage on a
>number of topics raised by the task force's interim report. In this
>message, only those concerning the WHOIS data accuracy portions of
>the report are summarized or quoted.
>(1) Graduated sanctions and the possible application of automated
>filters when domain name registrations are placed. The comments
>hold that "imposing graduated fines and mandating business practices
>(filters) contradicts ICANN's role as a technical coordination
>body". Further, the comments point out that these "recommendations
>are not supported by any data to demonstrate the technical nor
>commercial viability of these automated mechanisms on small, medium
>and large-scale registrars. In fact these recommendations would
>appear to contradict established case law that has held filters
>place an unreasonable burden on registrars. See Worldsport Networks
>Limited v. Artinternet S.A. and Cedric Loison. "
>(2) Possible problems to honest domain name holders caused by a
>rigid enforcement of the present challenge-and-cancellation
>procedure for correcting inaccurate WHOIS data. It is suggested
>that, instead of completely deleting the domain name from the
>registration system, the domain name is only removed from the zone
>(3) The inclusion of thick registries with the accuracy
>recommendations made in the task force's interim report. These
>comments are too extensive to be summarized in this document.
>(4) Mr. Palage describes a possible abuse scenario of a policy
>which would mandate the deletion of all domain names associated with
>a specific set of bad contact data (I.A.4.d of the interim report).
>The problem occurs when registrant or contact information for a
>domain name has been wrongly replaced by contact information about
>an existing entity which is not related to this specific domain
>name, but may occur in the context of other registrations.
>This comment from Srikanth Narra was forwarded to the comments site
>indirectly. The comment specifically provides a third world
>perspective on WHOIS accuracy, and points out that with registrants
>from developing countries, the only contact information which can be
>given in an accurate manner is often the postal address. However,
>postal service to the relevant regions may be extremely slow and
>unreliable, which makes verification of a postal address within 15
>These comments from the International Trademark Association support
>the interim report's suggestions on WHOIS data accuracy.
>This comment was submitted by Jeff Williams. He writes: "Further
>our [INEGroup] members decidedly believe that only an admin. E-Mail
>and phone number contact that is of that Admin.'s. choice that are
>working phone Number and E-Mail address."
>This comment includes, as "recommendation 2", proposed language for
>a Names Council resolution on WHOIS accuracy issues. The resolution
>suggests the creation of a standardized "Whois Accuracy Inquiry
>Notice" which would be translated in as many languages as possible.
>After receiving a notification of potentially false or inaccurate
>whois data, registrars would be required to send this notice to
>registrants, "in the language(s) of the registration agreement,
>along with links to translations of the WAIN in other languages". As
>a change to current policy, a domain name would be put on hold
>indefinitely after a period of 30 days. (Current policy: Deletion
>after 15 days.) The registrar would not be allowed to either renew
>the domain name or remove it from hold status until the registrant
>has provided documented proof (supposedly on the accuracy of present
>or corrected WHOIS information; this is not clear). Additionally,
>third parties submitting WHOIS accuracy complaints would be required
>(1) to provide contact information so the registrant can possibly
>initiate legal action in cases of bad faith complaints, and to (2)
>state that the submission "is not intended to interfere with the
>lawful operations of the domain name registrant or registrar".
>The proposed resolution then goes on to recommend a number of
>possible ways for implementing this suggestion.
>This comment was submitted by Bhavin Turakhia on behalf of Directi,
>an accredited registrar. Several possible difficulties which may
>make it hard to reach a registrant within a 15 day time line in case
>of an accuracy complaint are listed. A 45 day time line is suggested
>as being far more appropriate. Also, it is suggested to place
>problematic domain names on registrar-hold instead of deleting them.
>Mr. Turakhia also points to the comments submitted by Mr. Palage
>(see the summary of msg000012.html above).
>This comment, submitted by Tim Ruiz on behalf of GoDaddy Software,
>mostly focuses on the accuracy issue. Mr. Ruiz objects against the
>recommendation that registrars should use automated mechanisms to
>screen out incorrect contact data, on the basis that the task force
>report does not consider "the cost of these tools, and the problems
>associated with the accuracy of these tools themselves." Also,
>according to this comment, "pinging email domains, automating the
>dialing of phone numbers, etc. have another set of technical
>obstacles and costs that make them impractical to implement and
>unreliable." Mr. Ruiz objects against the current 15 day time frame,
>and suggests that a 45 day period may be more reasonable. He also
>requests that the terms "willful" and "blatant" (which are
>currently used in the task force's language on inaccurate whois
>data) be clearly defined, in order to avoid subjective judgments
>from entering into these considerations. "Such a vaguely defined
>policy will be difficult, if not impossible, to enforce," Mr. Ruiz
>writes. Finally, Mr. Ruiz articulates his belief that the "3
>strikes policy" suggested by the task force is unnecessary: "The
>current RAA simply needs to be enforced, and ICANN has recently been
>working toward that goal."
>In addition to these comments, Mr. Ruiz states his support for the
>comments submitted by Mr. Palage (see the summary of msg000012.html
>This comment, submitted by Laurence Djolakian on behalf of the
>Intellectual Property Constituency, expresses that constituency's
>support for the interim report's recommendations on the accuracy of
>This extremely comprehensive 12-page comment was submitted by Ross
>Wm. Rader on behalf of Tucows. This summary attempts to identify
>the most important key points; I strongly recommend reading the full
>As far as the accuracy section of the interim report is concerned,
>Tucows suggests these questions for the task force's consideration:
> >What has the [task force] done to measure ICANN's recent
> >enforcement activities as it relates to Whois and how much does
> >this effect the problems that you are trying to deal with in the
> >area of accuracy? Would it be safer to say that mandatory periodic
> >re-validation of Whois data has been identified as one potential
> >technique for improving data quality? Or, has the Task Force
> >investigate the other options fully and discounted them? If so,
> >what options were investigated and why were they discounted?
>Additionally, the submission includes comments on the individual
>recommendations contained in the interim report. As far as the
>enforcement of current policies (I.A) is concerned, most of these
>comments concern specific questions around the impact of a possible
>implementation of the interim report's requirements. Concerning
>A4b, a distinction between "willful submission" and "blatant
>disregard" is highlighted. Concerning A4c, the submission asks for
>specific standards concerning documentary proof of accuracy of data
>There are also concerns on the graduated sanctions system suggested
>in the task force's report: It is asked whether the interim report's
>recommendations intent to shift the primary responsibility for WHOIS
>data accuracy from the registrant to the registrar. Concerning
>B4C1b (collecting the fine from funds deposited by registrars with
>registries), the feasibility and desirability of this particular
>approach is questioned.
>As a follow-up to the previous submission by Tucows, this comment
>contains specific comments on the questions asked in the interim
>report. Tucows argues that (1) it is not clear that the mechanisms
>proposed in the interim report actually lead to the desired
>results, and that (2) it is not demonstrated that "failures in the
>enforcement mechanism require a more structured approach complete
>with fines and sanctions". On the basis of these observations, it
>is concluded that an implementation of the structure described in
>the interim report would be "unreasonable." The task force is urged
>"to recommend that the community determine first if enforcement of
>the current contractual provisions will lead to an improvement of
>Whois data accuracy. "
>In response to the task force's specific questions, the comment
>takes issue with a number of the recommendations: With respect to
>the inclusion of thick registry operators with the proposed
>recommendations, Tucows points out that thick registries are
>custodians of data provided by registrars, and do not have
>contractual relationships with the registrants themselves. An
>argument is made that recommendations 1-3 (improvements to the
>complaint mechanism) will not help to increase data quality "in the
>majority of records", based on the large number of registrations,
>and an estimate that the number of complaints actually received will
>be several orders of magnitude smaller. Tucows is not aware of any
>"technically competent means" to implement recommendation 4a
>(screening for obviously bad data), and doubts that - even if such a
>technology exists - it would actually achieve the requirements
>behind the recommendation. Additionally, Tucows notes that such
>screening may drive bad-faith registrants further underground,
>making enforcement even more difficult; further discussion of this
>is recommended. The comment also cautions that recommendations 4b-d
>should not be pursued unless "appropriate and affordable technology
>has been demonstrated to solve the problems described." A policy
>that registries, registrars and/or resellers periodically remind
>registrants of their accuracy obligations is considered an
>appropriate recommendation; however, specific implementations
>should not be recommended. Tucows recommends that the task forces
>explores the idea "that Registrants should be required to verify the
>accuracy of the data that they have provided prior to allowing the
>Registrant to undertake significant modifications or actions with
>their domain name." "Further, ICANN should support the development
>of cross-registry/registrar contact object management standard."
>The comments objects against the proposed sanctions program, and
>argues that only "a proactive program geared toward ensuring that
>Registrants uphold their obligations can ultimately achieve the
>goals of the Task Force."
>The comments further express support for recommendation C1 of the
>accuracy chapter. Tucows has not evaluated the cost of implementing
>this, but expects it to be moderate.
>C2 and C3 are rejected as being technically and economically
>unpractical, and would "require the implementation of manual and
>automated systems that have not yet been developed. ... We strongly
>believe that implementation of these recommendations would have a
>significant impact on the capability of our organization to compete
>This extensive comment was posted by Karen Elizaga on behalf of the
>gTLD registries constituency. doc00004.doc contains a useful
>summary of these comments, followed by a number of individual
>contributions. Within the scope of the present document, I can only
>try to identify a number of key points; reading the full comments is
>Concerning the accuracy complaint process, it is suggested that
>complainants should themselves provide accurate contact information,
>i.e., there should be no possibility for anonymous complaints. It
>is suggested that a quick loss of names should be limited to the
>"worst" cases, and that small mistakes (like a one-digit mistake in
>a zip code) should correspond to longer response periods. Registries
>should not be subject to the proposed 3-strike policy since they
>don't have a direct contractual relationship with the registrant.
>A4a is characterized as being virtually impossible due to the cost
>and complications (including a slow-down of SRS transactions) which
>would be caused by an implementation of the automated filtering
>suggestions. A comment contributed by Chuck Gomes generally
>questions whether accuracy of WHOIS information can be enforced on a
>Concerning A4e, the abuse scenario introduced by Mr. Palage is
>mentioned. The practical applicability of the proposed sanctions
>program to intermediaries is questioned, due to the lack of a direct
>contractual relationship with ICANN. More details are provided in
>mark-up of the text, contained in doc00005.doc. In this mark-up,
>the gTLD registry constituency in particular takes up a couple of
>points mentioned in other comments: The risk of bad faith complaints
>(see Berryhill, above); possibly replacing cancellation of
>registrations in case of inaccurate data by registry hold.
>This comment, submitted by Rebecca J. Richards on behalf of TRUSTe,
>emphasizes the importance of accurate and available WHOIS
>information for TRUSTe, and expresses support for the accuracy
>recommendations in the task force's interim report. This comment
>literally copies some parts of the IPC comment.
>These comments, submitted Rick D. McMurtry on behalf of Turner
>Broadcasting System, by Bob Scherer on behalf of Time Inc., by Erin
>Hennessy on behalf of Warner Music Group, and by Lee Paul on behalf
>of Time4 Media, Inc., emphasize the importance of access to WHOIS
>data and their accuracy for various parts of the AOL Time Warner
>group (occasionally using precisely same wording throughout several
>of the submissions, occasionally providing specific anecdotal
>evidence of problems encountered in the past), and generally support
>the accuracy recommendations contained in the interim report.
>This comment was submitted by Troy Dow on behalf of the Motion
>Picture Association of America. The statement expresses the MPAA's
>support for the accuracy recommendations contained in the interim
>This comment was submitted by Mark Bohannon on behalf of the
>Software & Information Industry Association. The comment emphasizes
>the importance of legitimate uses of WHOIS data in language which
>closely follows (or even copies) the IPC and TRUSTe comments, and
>expresses support for the task force's accuracy recommendations.
>This comment was submitted by Rick Wesson (Alice's Registry). Mr.
>Wesson hopes to publish statistically significant research in the
>future in order to prove the hypothesis that the vast majority of
>domain registrations don't have accuracy issues. Concerning the
>graduated sanctions program, it is noted that "at the time the
>document was authored, there existed no methodology to test the
>assertion that graduated sanctions could improve the accuracy of the
>data published in the whois."
>This comment from Marc Schneiders specifically addresses the interim
>report's accuracy recommendations, which are called consumer and
>registrar unfriendly. Issues pointed out include: The potential for
>abuse of the complaint process in order to harass registrars or
>registrants; the possible use of "role account" type names (like xyz
>domain manager) for the registrant information, coupled with
>accurate addressing information; challenges with actually
>implementing accuracy requirements on a worldwide basis. The 15 day
>correction period is identified as too short, on the basis that
>registrants may, for instance, be on vacation for such a time
>This comment was submitted by Michael Erdle on behalf of the
>Internet Committee of the Intellectual Property Institute of Canada.
>The comment is not an official position of the IPIC.
>The five-page attachment to the message contains elaborate comments
>on the accuracy recommendations in the interim report, and answers
>to the specific questions asked by the task force. Within the scope
>of this document, I'll try to identify a number of key points;
>reading the full comments is strongly recommended.
>Conceptually, the comment splits data accuracy into two distinct
>sets of concerns: A need to improve overall data quality, and a need
>for corrective measures in specific cases of inaccurate data.
>Concerning the measures suggested to improve overall data quality
>(like using existing technical measures for screening registrant
>information), the comment calls for a careful evaluation of the
>"limitations, efficacy and appropriate scope of use" of these tools,
>before any implementation of the recommendations. It is warned
>that, due to the danger that automated tools may inevitably contain
>errors themselves, and that errors may happen outside the scope of
>responsibility of the registrant, no domain name should
>automatically be canceled exclusively based on automatic screening.
>The comment observes that the terms "obviously incorrect" and
>"blatantly false" are not defined in the report, "and arguably
>cannot be defined with any precision." Similarly, the question is
>raised who should make the judgment whether incorrect information
>has been "deliberately" submitted by the registrant.
>Periodic e-mail reminders are identified as a good idea "to attempt
>to prevent inaccuracies, however, if a registrar is notified of
>false information, it will have to take active steps to contact the
>registrant by whatever means possible to verify the information."
>The comment warns that, given a significant number of domain name
>registrations with outdated WHOIS data, the measures suggested in
>the interim report may create a potential for abuse against bona
>Concerning the graduated sanctions program, the comment asks who
>would be responsible for actually identifying patterns of
>non-compliance. Provided that ICANN would document complaints,
>identify patterns, and take action, the recommendations "appear to
>be of use," if combined with appropriate safeguards.
>Concerning the steps suggested in C (items for possible
>re-negotiation of the RAA), only step 1 is found to be beneficial
>(re-validation of WHOIS data upon renewal).
>This comment contains an additional note from Bhavin Turakhia,
>pointing out that changes to telephone numbering schemes (like one
>currently taking place in Bombay) may lead to inaccurate data on a
>large scale without bad faith on the registrants' side, leaving
>postal mail as the most reliable mechanism for contacting
>registrants. In the Bombay example, however, Mr. Turakhia notes
>that no back and forth communication through postal mail would be
>possible within 15 days.