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[dow1-2tf] NCUC Statement on Whois Notification

  • To: <dow1-2tf@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Subject: [dow1-2tf] NCUC Statement on Whois Notification
  • From: "Milton Mueller" <Mueller@xxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 01 Feb 2005 11:31:48 -0500
  • Sender: owner-dow1-2tf@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Statement of the Noncommercial Users Constituency on Whois Task Force
1/2 Recommendation: Improving Notification and Consent for the Use of
Contact Data in the Whois Service

1. Constituency position
Noncommercial domain name users welcome efforts to ensure that domain
name registrants are better informed about the publication of their
private contact information via the Whois system. Public, anonymous
access to private contact information poses a number of risks to
registrants and may violate their rights to privacy. Until this
situation is reformed, conspicuous notification is essential.

The text we reviewed contains an error. Under point 3, the sentence
"Registrars must obtain a separate acknowledgement from registrars that
they have read and understand these disclosures" should read
"Registrars must obtain a separate acknowledgement from _registrants_
that they have read and understand these disclosures."

NCUC strongly supports the requirement to set aside the notification
and to require a distinct and separate acknowledgement from registrants
that they are aware of the exposure of their private information. We
observe, however, that for customers registering multiple domain names
in the same transaction, only one such acknowledgement should be
required. The constituency would like to make sure that the same
notification and acknowledgement should take place during renewals.

We strongly support the statement "The wording of the notice provided
by registrars should, to the extent feasible, be uniform." Because of
the highly competitive nature of the registrar business, registrars
an incentive to downplay or obscure the privacy implications of
registering a domain name because they fear it may deter customers from
signing up. The specific wording of the notification, therefore, should
not be left to the discretion of registrars. We suggest that the wording
be developed by staff subject to the approval of the GNSO Council, and
translated as literally as possible into different languages by an
independent party. This language should then be incorporated into the
Registrar Accreditation Agreement.

2. Method for Reaching Agreement on NCUC position

NCUC's Chair drafted and circulated via email a constituency statement
on its discussion list, soliciting input from its members. A minor
addition to the draft, concerning renewals, was suggested and agreed and
incorporated into the constituency statement. All comments were
supportive except for one, which  emphasized the additional burden on
registrants of the additional process.

3. Impact on Constituency.
While there is some recognition that the registration process might be
slightly more complicated as a result of the proposed change, all member
organizations but one considered the benefits of more prominent
notification and registrant awareness to outweigh any burden.

Dr. Milton Mueller
Syracuse University School of Information Studies

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