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[comments-whois] Whois TF Interim Report: Comment

The Whois TF recommends:

A. 4.
"(b) ICANN should remind registrars that "willful provision of
inaccurate or unreliable information" is a material breach of the
registration agreement that should lead to cancellation of the
registration unless there are extenuating circumstances, and that this
breach can be detected on the face of the data submitted if it is
blatantly false. (It is extremely unlikely that someone would submit such
contact data other than willfully.)
In these circumstances there is no need to attempt to contact
the registrant before cancellation, and no need to wait 15 days. Once this
willful conduct is brought to the attention of registrars, the
registration should be subject to cancellation.

(c) ICANN should clearly state that "accepting unverified
'corrected' data from a registrant that has already deliberately provided
incorrect data IS NOT [not "may not be," as the advisory states]
appropriate." Accordingly, registrars should require that registrants not
only respond within 15 days but that the response be accompanied by
documentary proof of the accuracy of the "corrected" data submitted, and
that a response lacking such documentation can be treated as a failure to
respond and thus grounds for cancellation of the domain name

This is most consumer unfriendly. And it is also registrar unfriendly.
The consumer is at the mercy of the registrar, who can decide that your
must have a postal code, and must be able to provide evidence that it is
now correct, which may be pretty hard to get if there are no postal codes
in your country. Not to mention willfull abuse of the above suggested rule
to cancel domains for which cancellation third parties may pay a price,
e.g. if they have a WLS slot on the domain.
The registrar is at the mercy of people who find it a nice hobby to report
(real or imagined) incorrect (or incomplete) whois data to them. And the
registrar has to handle all the paperwork of the documentary proof.

People may accidently make mistakes that look "willfull". People may
willfully put in incorrect data for fun, but without any intent to mislead
or avoid the law. An example, I might register number19.org and put in the

Number Nineteen
   Domain Manager   (Postmaster@number19.org)
   31 6 55 81 82 16
   Treublaan 14
   Zeist,  3705 CZ

This means anybody can find and contact me, by email, phone or snail mail.
They can even pay me a visit. The details are correct, and
Postmaster@number19.org would work if I owned that domain. What if I now
get a message to prove that the registrant "Number Nineteen" exists? It
doesn't. And My first name is not "Domain". And my last name, you guessed
it, not "Manager". I simply did not want my name associated in any easy
way with the domain. So I entered "wilfully" information that makes it
more difficult to find out who is behind the domain. Not to obstruct the
law: They can find me. Not to make it impossible that the trademark owners
(if any) of "number 19" may let the lawyers write me an angry letter: The
letter will arrive in my mailbox. But perhaps for some privacy and
anonimity? I might be a Baptist minister who is also a convinced nudist,
trying to avoid that the Baptists find my holiday pictures and the people
of my yearly holiday camp those where I wear my religious uniform. Is this
illegal? Is it misleading? I'd rather qualify this as like not wearing a
nametag at a large conference. Should you lose your name for that?

So who or what does this proposal seek to help?

In any case, it is very hard to implement, given the different structures
of names and addresses worldwide. And it puts every domain owner at risk
of being forced to go through complicated and bureaucratic provision of
proof of name or address details (and how do you prove your email is

Since chances for mistakes are serious, no domain name should EVER be
cancelled without giving the registrant the chance to correct them.
Paperwork to proof it, is too great a burden.

And 15 days to correct whois data is quite short, given the fact that many
people do not read email or snail mail when on vacation. Usually they are
not near their phone either then.

So who actually wants this new rule? And why?

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