WHOIS Comments from the Domain Name Rights Coalition
Once again, we have to ask who the beneficiary of WHOIS data should be? Currently, those who are advocating total and complete loss of privacy for those who happen to enjoy the convenience of a domain name, are those who desire the information for prosecutorial purposes. The use of a technically oriented database originally meant solely to contact system administrators to ensure their DNS services were working properly, to instead become a prosecutorial tool is problematic on both legalistic as well as technical levels.
Given the advent of blogging, the rise in use of the Internet by political dissidents in many oppressed countries, censorship imposed by certain regimes, SLAPP suits, and other means of keeping information from Internet users, the robust use of commentary and criticism becomes of greater import. Mandatory revealing of a commenter's personal information is obviously a significant issue that is not addressed by most who desire to use the WHOIS database as a prosecutorial tool.
Further, for those of us who have small businesses located in our homes, being stalked or otherwise harassed due to their personal information being freely available to anyone, using solely the threshold of desire rather than by showing need, should not be a cost of doing business. I have personally received postal mail threats and have been stalked using information contained in the WHOIS database.
Compromise on this issue is essential in a way that balances the desires for prosecutorial tools with maintaining the robust marketplace of ideas that the Internet began as, and is returning to. Formulation 1 attempts this compromise. While not perfect, Formulation 1 is, by far, the more balanced solution and should be implemented as such.
Mikki Barry President Domain Name Rights Coalition