Bank of America, N.A. comment on WHOIS
Bank of America, N.A. To: Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers and GNSO Council 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.