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03 Sep 2007
Last week I wrote a note the ICANN WHOIS privacy battle, and why nothing's likely to change any time soon. Like many of my articles, it is mirrored at CircleID, where some of the commenters missed the point.
One person noted that info about car registrations, to which I roughly likened WHOIS, are usually available only to law enforcement, and that corporations can often be registered in the name of a proxy, so why can't WHOIS do the same thing?
If we were starting from a blank sheet of paper, it would certainly be possible to set up a registration system with registrants represented by proxies. But we don't have a blank sheet, we have the existing WHOIS. All of the existing WHOIS proposals have, as I laid out in my previous article, been completely one-sided. The privacy crowd gets to redact some amount of information, while those of us who actually use WHOIS get nothing whatsoever in return. Why is anyone surprised this is not a winning proposal?
The biggest problem with WHOIS is that much of the data is wrong, and (unlike cars and corporations) there are no meaningful consequences if a registrant lies. If the OPOC proposal were combined with changes to ensure that the data behind the OPOC were real, that could lead to a deal. But the idea that someone should be responsible for even minimal verification of the OPOC itself, much less the rest of the info met with horror. It's too much work! It's someone else's problem! So, no surprise, no deal.
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