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Bank of America, N.A. comment on WHOIS

  • To: <whois-comments-2007@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Subject: Bank of America, N.A. comment on WHOIS
  • From: "Palmer Hamilton" <PalmerHamilton@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 24 Oct 2007 12:53:51 -0500

Bank of America, N.A. 
To:          Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers and
Re:         Comment of Bank of America, N.A./ access to WHOIS data


            Access to WHOIS data is very much needed in order to address
identity theft and other forms of internet fraud.  The proposed change
in access to this data could make it far more difficult for banks to
protect their consumers from identity theft and other forms of consumer
fraud.  As a result, Bank of America cannot support the proposed
limitation on access to this data.


            Should the GNSO Council determine to proceed with the
proposal to move to the Operation Point of Contact procedure, Bank of
America requests that the staff adopt the recommendation found in
Section 6.6 of the WHOIS Outcomes Working Group's Final Report a
"specific means of Access for the banking sector."


            During the Working Group's deliberations, the banking sector
submitted a proposal that would provide continued access to this data
for governmentally-chartered banks.  We urge that the ICANN staff
incorporate this proposal into any implementation plan adopted, in the
event the OPoC proposal is adopted.  Banks are uniquely positioned to
protect their customers from internet fraud.  It is essential that the
tools they need to do so remain in place.  


The banking sector's proposal provides a means, within an OPoC
structure, for banks to have access to this data.  The proposed
mechanism would preserve the privacy protections sought by the
proponents of the OPoC structure.  In fact, as discussed below, the
banking proposal is actually access though a law enforcement agency
("LEA") in the form of a bank regulator.  Governmental bank regulators
would have access to all WHOIS data, just like other governmental LEAs.
In turn, those governmental bank regulators could then establish a
procedure through which governmentally-chartered banks could participate
in order to deter identity theft and other fraud on consumers.  This
process would entail the bank regulators having access to the WHOIS data
and sharing that information, as needed, with governmentally-chartered
banks and their affiliates.


Thus, banks would be given direct access to the WHOIS data.  But they
would have access to it through governmental regulators in order to
protect bank customers.  The bank regulator would have to obtain
case-specific information from the bank prior to providing WHOIS data to
the bank.  The case-specific information would provide an audit trail to
confirm proper use of the information that might be obtained.  The
information could be obtained only via specific queries; no bulk queries
could be used.


The query-screening process would contain requirements in which the bank
would be required to submit the evidence of wrongdoing, state the
purpose to be confined to addressing that specific wrongdoing, and
identify an individual at the bank who is responsible for use of the
data.  If the required information is submitted, then access would be
algorithmetically programmable in a SW application without explicit
human intervention.  These applications would be maintained for use in
any audit process.


            Thus, should the GNSO Counsel proceed with the OPoC
proposal, Bank of America requests that the ICANN staff include the bank
proposal submitted earlier to the WHOIS Outcomes Working Group in the
implementation plan.  



Bank of America is one of the world's largest financial institutions,
serving individual consumers, small and middle market businesses and
large corporations with a full range of banking, investing, asset
management and other financial and risk-management products and
services. The company provides unmatched convenience in the United
States, serving more than 57 million consumer and small business
relationships with more than 5,700 retail banking offices, more than
17,000 ATMs and award-winning online banking with more than 23 million
active users. Bank of America is the No. 1 overall Small Business
Administration (SBA) lender in the United States and the No. 1 SBA
lender to minority-owned small businesses. The company serves clients in
175 countries and has relationships with 99 percent of the U.S. Fortune
500 companies and 80 percent of the Fortune Global 500. Bank of America
Corporation stock (NYSE: BAC) is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.



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