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Re: [ga] Bulk Whois Data Issue

Hi Jeff,

Thanks for the thoughtful reply. I think we're getting somewhere after
the longer posts, which might have cleared up some of the problems in
the shorter posts that were left open to wacky interpretations.

Here's my main point: there are benefits AND costs to privacy.

If one does an online search, one can verify this is a topic of huge
debate. For example, one scholarly papers is:


Or in pop-media:


(those particular articles aren't directly relevant to domain
registrant WHOIS info, but shows that there's passions on both sides)

No one is advocating that we be publishing private medical records in
the WHOIS. But, the arguments of some camps are at the opposite
extreme, saying no information whatsoever should be published about a
registrant (yet the proponents of this argument don't seem to realize
that it is at the opposite extreme, an absolute).

> for my own hobby, for instance.  Hence my or any other registrant
> has a right to their personal privacy.  The current data structure
> used
> in WHOIS records for a Domain Name registration is violating
> the 1st amendment right to my privacy and unduly restricting me
> as a result if I should choose to register a domain name(s)...

Now here's a chance to help me -- we've seen in Marilyn's post


just a few of the "costs" that would occur if there was absolute
privacy for domain registrants (in addition, the criminal element would
tend to value that ability to be anonymous much more than a typical

Folks on the "pro-privacy" camp should provide a list of the benefits
of greater WHOIS privacy.

On a pragmatic basis, if the benefits of the greater WHOIS privacy
exceed the costs, then I'd be more convinced that greater privacy is
> > If someone truly wants anonymity, they can appoint a lawyer or
> someone
> > else to hold the domain name "in trust" on their behalf.
>   Yes they sure can.  But such is also an undue restriction upon the
> potential registrant.

Even folks that want to become unlisted in the telephone book typically
pay extra fees to do so. Is every small cost an "undue restriction"? In
many states, it's illegal to drive a car without insurance. Is that an
undue restriction?

I've not advocated absolute disclosure, or publication of DNA/health
records -- the first amendment doesn't advocate absolute freedom,
either (it's tempered by various laws, like trademark infringement,
defamation law, etc.). There's a natural balance, with society weighing
the costs and benefits. Folks are giving up some more freedom these
days, for instance, when they visit the airports, due to costs
associated with terrorism. One isn't searched entering a public bus,
but is when boarding a public airline.
>   I am not advocating anonymity by any means.  Just simple personal
> privacy regarding personal information such as home address, home
> phone Number and personal E-Mail address.

I'd argue that basic information, such as name and contact info, are
quite sensible and balanced compromises.

However, as I said above, I'd be swayed more if folks can tell me what
possible benefits there are to being able to register a domain name
without providing such information. Marilyn, I and I'm sure many others
can easily supply examples of costs associated with blank WHOIS data,
but perhaps if others would supply some of the benefits, and try to
quantify them, we can move forward and undertand each other better.


George Kirikos

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