This summary covers the DNSO GA mailing list’s (and related) discussions and news between April 16, 2002, and April 22, 2002.
Please feel free to forward this summary as you believe to be appropriate.
Deadline: 7 days until E&R-day
(i) Names Council telephone conference on April 18. The telephone conference’s original agenda is available from [www.dnso.org]. An MP3 encoding is available from [www.dnso.org]. Also, Alexander and Thomas posted a short note collecting some of their recollection of a key section of the call; Alexander later sent a more precise transcript of what was said there. [www.dnso.org], [www.dnso.org].
Roger Cochetti of the gTLD registries’ constituency suggested various changes, too; during the discussion of these, strong disagreement between DNSO constituencies became visible on a number of key points.
Here are some pointers into the MP3 file: The really interesting part begins about 53 minutes into the recording, when Cochetti started to make his suggestions for changes. In minute 55, it was discussed for whose benefit ICANN should work (part of recommendation #1): Originally, it said “the public” (suggested by Cary Karp, also from the gTLD registries), after the BC edits “the Internet’s users”. The gTLD registries considered the previous language “disturbingly vague”, because “ICANN represents a cooperative effort between registries, registrars, and registrants,” working for the benefit of all these parties. In minute 62, the list of ICANN’s contractual enforcement missions was discussed. Between minutes 71 and 82, recommendation #9 was on the table: Who should drive consensus process? The gTLDs’ suggestion was that the “affected stakeholders” of the original text (or “all stakeholders” according to the BC edits) should be replaced by the “stakeholders principally affected”. In minute 82, the gTLDs suggested to strike recommendation 11, which included the recommendation that the DNSO should remain intact (“in function” after BC edits). Seek to 82:15 in order to hear the key comment on this, which was also transcribed by Alexander. 104 minutes into the call, you can finally hear some discussion of what the gTLD registry and IP constituencies think about ICANN policy; this is also contained with Alex’ transcript.
(iii) CNN vs. cnnews.com. As a follow-up to the previous week’s discussion, James Love forwarded a message he had received from Louis Touton. In that message, Touton explains that the cnnews.com registrar had filed a “Registrar Certificate” with the court in question, in which it “tenders to the Court complete control and authority over the registration for the CNNEWS.COM domain name registration record.” [www.dnso.org]
(iv) Whois. Danny Younger started a discussion on whois (and, in particular, bulk access), by forwarding a message posted by Tim Ruiz to the registrars’ list. In that message, Tim writes that “in this day and age of privacy concerns it’s a little insane that registrars are required to make their customer data available to the public in bulk. One-offs through a web interface are one thing. Requirements for bulk access, including open ports, to the data are just too much.” [www.dnso.org]
In a follow-up message, Joanna Lane claims that “disclosing personal data in the whois is unlawful in the 15 member nations of the European Union.” (Note that reality is more complex than that.) [www.dnso.org]
To that, Joop Teernstra responded that “there is a fundamental tension between two positions and ICANN is being asked to come up with a reasonable compromise. Perhaps registrars should provide the service of a PO Box address,” so “parties with a legitimate reason to contact the registrant could be given the details on a case-by-case basis.” [www.dnso.org]
In a reply to Joanna’s message, William Walsh wrote that, assuming Joanna was right, “all this will do is require ICANN to not accredit European registrars. The whois data is, and ought to remain, public, without exception,” William believes. On bulk whois, he notes that “the downside to not allowing bulk whois access is that it will bring back the massive automated mining of the whois databases again.” [www.dnso.org]
In a different branch of the thread, Ross Rader suggested that the “opt-out” clause of the whois policy should be examined and possibly revised. He pointed to an earlier proposal Tucows had circulated. [www.dnso.org]
In a long essay posted Saturday afternoon, George Kirikos elaborated on various arguments for and against public whois access. As one example, he takes the OCDE.org case (see [www.oecd.org] for details), and writes: “Ultimately, what moved things forward towards a favorable outcome was that the registrant was being forced to put TRUE and PUBLIC contact information into the WHOIS database.” He concludes that having “absolute privacy become standard would only encourage and embolden those who seek to commit abuse.” He also notes that there are, generally, “no absolute rights to certain privileges,” but that privileges come with responsibilities. After discussing some more arguments from different mails in the thread, George asks about what a compromise between the different positions could look like. He suggests that, for the administrative contact (which could be replaced by a dedicated “legal” contact for that purpose), there “should be enough details to be identified and legally served a process,” but that these details should be minimized. No other contact information should be needed for the public.”Having a third party to be the administrative contact could work,” he also suggests. He finally makes an economical point, and suggests that those who find their privacy important should assign some value to it, and then look if they can’t find a third party willing to be their admin-c for an adequate fee. [www.dnso.org]
In an earlier message from that day, Michael Froomkin also takes up the idea of the third party, and notes that the procedure available to have a third party listed in the WHOIS is “expensive, since not routinized, and has nasty potential legal consequences (they can steal your domain name) unless you draft a contract (which is expensive), and even then gives them the power to do it (which would take an expensive lawsuit to win back). Saying, ‘use a lawyer’ as your nominee ignores the happy reality that most people don’t have a lawyer on retainer, and the unhappy reality that most people couldn’t afford what most lawyers might charge.” [www.dnso.org]