The latest Webnames.ca domain news newsletter refers to a letter sent by the INTA to Vint Cerf of ICANN.
There is a trend to eliminate the viewing of, or reduce the use of, Whois data (the identity and contact info of domain name registrants). While I am sensitive to privacy issues about individual registrants, it is important that Whois information be available.
The letter should be read in its entirety, but it says in part:
… we respectfully request that it resolve to preserve access to registrant contact data in Whois and to improve the accuracy of that data so that violations of law and threats to the health and safety of the public may be addressed in an efficient manner.
Whois serves a vital role in remedying fraud on the Internet. Its uses include: law enforcement, consumer protection, and the protection of intellectual property rights. Trademark owners value Whois data in order to resolve domain name disputes (e.g., cybersquatting) and learn the contact details for owners of websites offering dangerous counterfeit products. Only with access to accurate and up-to-date Whois data can the Internet be a safe environment that can be relied on with confidence.
Whois not only facilitates the investigation of legal violations on the Internet, but serves a basic function in making the rule of law apply to the Internet by providing information necessary to serve notice and institute legal action against violators.