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© 2003 Public Interest Registry Whois Workshop Introduction to Registry/Registrar Issues Presented by Bruce W. Beckwith VP, Operations June 23, 2003 Serving the Public Interest
© 2003 Public Interest Registry Serving the Public Interest Background In the “early days”, whois was used by network operators (ISPs, web-hosters, infrastructure providers) to identify domain holders – in case of email problems, DOS attacks, etc. The data collected in whois was rudimentary – registrant, administrative, technical and billing contacts
© 2003 Public Interest Registry Serving the Public Interest Background (continued) Data elements historically collected in whois: –Registrant (though no telephone number or email address) –Administrative Contact (usually web- hoster or ISP) –Technical Contact (usually ISP) –Billing Contact (sometimes registrant, sometimes web-hoster, depended on retail model used to register domain)
© 2003 Public Interest Registry Serving the Public Interest Background (continued) In 1999, ICANN required registrars to provide both web-based and Port 43 access to whois –Not all registrars have an operational whois – the requirement is detailed in the RAA –Most of top 10 gTLD registrars limit queries per IP address – maintain that this protects customers & system overload Bulk Whois access also required –Registrars must make available their list of registrants (who do not “opt-out”) for a fee “not to exceed US $10,000” –Of the top 10 TLD registrars, only a fraction offer bulk whois with contracts that conform to the ICANN contractual requirements (most include provisions that are not “in the spirit” of the contracts)
© 2003 Public Interest Registry Serving the Public Interest Background (continued) In 2001, ICANN required registries to provide both web-based and Port 43 whois –Registries with “thin” data – VCNR and PIR (at start) only show minimal data PIR is converting from “thin” to “thick” throughout 2003 –Registries with “thick” data show full registrant record – same as registrars –GNR (.name) was able to change ICANN contracts to offer minimal data (to protect their registrants – individuals)
© 2003 Public Interest Registry Serving the Public Interest The Data Registrars manage the registrant (customer) relationship –Collect domain name record details at registration –Manage the updating of the data –Furnish it to “thick” registries –Provide access via Whois Registries simply provide access via Whois –if.com/.net, then “thin” display –if.org (in transition),.info,.biz, new sponsored gTLDs, then “thick” display
© 2003 Public Interest Registry Serving the Public Interest Issues Many interests now want to keep whois status quo: –IP community – to protect marks –Law Enforcement – to help investigations –Network Operators – in case of attacks Many interests want to restrict whois data: –Privacy Advocates – protect PII –European Union - protect PII and data export –Registrars – retain customers/market share –Registries – PII concerns, not to violate EU restrictions
© 2003 Public Interest Registry Serving the Public Interest Some Misconceptions Spam is only based on domain registrations –If you post to public mailing lists, “bots” harvest your email address –If you purchase anything on-line and the retailer does not have a policy against spam, your email address will be sold Bulk Whois is the major source of email addresses for spammers –Since so few registrars offer Bulk Whois files, spammers use other methods to harvest email addresses
© 2003 Public Interest Registry Serving the Public Interest Some Realities The registry zone files are used to identify changes to each TLD –The best source for spammers & others Via contractual requirements, registrars and registries must make data freely available to anyone –Enables data mining/harvesting of Whois records
© 2003 Public Interest Registry Serving the Public Interest For Further Discussion Allow zone files to be restricted to legitimate uses –Necessary for IP, ISPs, network operators, etc. –Today, registries must comply with any request – cannot decline a request for free zone file access Limit whois access for legitimate purposes –Most queries can be addressed by “domain available” or “domain not available” response –Requires education to community –Requires interested parties to define “legitimate purposes” Engage community in refining the purposes for whois in this changed world and environment –Much has changed since “the early days”, registrar competition in 1999, registry competition in 2000
© 2003 Public Interest Registry Whois Workshop Introduction to Registry/Registrar Issues Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org June 23, 2003 Serving the Public Interest
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