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Two more points on WHOIS privacy

  • To: comments-ppsai-initial-05may15@xxxxxxxxx
  • Subject: Two more points on WHOIS privacy
  • From: Noah Gray <noahgray@xxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 03 Jul 2015 12:47:20 -0700


Thank you for considering carefully the issue of WHOIS domain name privacy.

In the past, I have created ARG’s, Alternate Reality Games, which involve 
creating real-world puzzles for players to solve in order to unravel a 
fictional mystery. A core tool in an ARG is mystery and careful release of 
information. If it wasn’t for WHOIS privacy, I could not run these games 
knowing that the clandestinity would be broken, and that I’d absolutely receive 
dozens of phone calls and visits from players thinking my address and number 
are just another “clue” in the game. Moreover, I wouldn’t like employers or 
clients to know that I make these games, who might assume it takes up work time 
owed to them.

Secondly, even when creating sites for my business, with my personal 
information on it, I have used WHOIS privacy to withhold information. You just 
don’t know when you are going to become a target of a hate group online, or who 
you will catch in the crossfire if you do. Websites can be taken offline, or 
information removed, to try to thwart attackers, but WHOIS information can’t be 
so easily redacted if the privacy options go away. Furthermore, the address I 
have on file may be only a rented room or suite within another family’s home. 
It would be extremely disruptive to my relationship and tenancy there if they 
or their children received stalking, visits, vandalism or worse because of my 
actions online (such as defending minority or women’s rights in a Twitter 
comment from an account which links to my online portfolio).

I’m not an advocate for so-called American-style “free speech” on the Internet 
or anywhere else. Giving up some anonymity for safety might be required. But 
right now, if these protections go away, the negative affect on women and 
minorities will be large but the affect on their attackers will be negligible. 
People with hateful views that are popular online or in the world at large will 
not fear having their names known, while people who oppose them will have to 
fear the wrath of the majority that support the hateful views. It simply gives 
more power those who already have it, and takes it from those who have little.

Thank you for reading and good luck in this process.


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