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[nc-whois] issues with uniformity

Just in case it's helpful, here's a brief list of my favorite issues
with WHOIS data format and element uniformity.

1. Format framework

- Technical standardization: XML or e-mail header like formats (*)
  are obvious candidates.
  (*)	registrant-name: Thomas Roessler
  	registrant-email: roessler@does-not-exist.org

  Anyway, what to choose is not our decision or discussion: Stick to
  specifying requirements, do not go into technical details.

  Key requirements: Easily parseable; data fields must be able to
  take non-ASCII content. Possibly desires for alternative values in
  different scripts (think about countries where two kinds of
  scripts are in use; think "western names" in China)?

  Consult, in particular, with ccTLD managers from countries using
  non-Latin scripts in order to understand this.

- Doesn't this enable inappropriate mass data gathering through the
  query-based interface?

  This boils down to the "keep it crappy as long as privacy isn't
  solved" kind of argument.

2. Data elements

- Clearly a policy question.  Use framework identified above to
  implement this.

- Current environment: Thin registrar whois services have the "RAA
  data set", thick gTLD registry whois services have the slightly
  extended data set also identified in WIPO's ccTLD best practices.
  ccTLD whoises: zoo.

- Some registries may have good reasons to have different kind of
  data elements: .biz has provision for extensions, .name has
  different WHOIS model; future sponsored gTLDs may wish to have
  still other changes [additional data elements useful for their
  communities, for instance].  ccTLDs certainly have to respect
  national law. (See, for instance, the .de compromise which in
  particular concerns the selection of data elements.)

- Interaction with the fundamental WHOIS privacy question: "Who gets
  access to *WHAT DATA ELEMENTS*?" vs.  "What data elements are
  needed in order to fulfill WHOIS' function?"

- Not clear that a uniform balance can be found.

Thomas Roessler	(mobile)	<roessler-mobile@does-not-exist.net>

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