NEW YORK, NY – There has been so much back and forth about the loss of ‘Who Is’ data that its been difficult to fully keep up on it. The ordinary availability of this critical industry information is expected to cease next month on May 25, 2018 when the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) becomes fully enforceable (it already went into effect this year but there is no recourse till May 25).
However, today I received a meaningful update from the Internet Commerce Association (ICA) and I would like to share some basics with readers.
Here is the gist of what is happening as dooms day May 25, closes in.
ICANN is trying to get what is called a “moratorium” (like a temporary restraining order or prohibition of its implantation) while it figures out what to do about this mess.
We appreciate the guidance provided by the Article 29 Working Party on this important issue and have accepted an invitation to meet with the WP29 Technology Subgroup in Brussels on 23 April for further discussions,” said Göran Marby, ICANN president and CEO. “However, we are disappointed that the letter does not mention our request for a moratorium on enforcement of the law until we implement a model. Without a moratorium on enforcement, WHOIS will become fragmented and we must take steps to mitigate this issue. As such, we are studying all available remedies, including legal action in Europe to clarify our ability to continue to properly coordinate this important global information resource. We will provide more information in the coming days.”
The basic argument, which has been drafted by ICANN’s Business Constituency group (BC), with input from the ICA, is that access to ‘Who Is’ information is a basic right, just as access to trademarks, corporate records, and real estate databases allow the public to view this type of information. That prioritising peoples ‘right to be forgotten‘ by removing such access – violates people’s basic ‘right to know‘ regarding public data.
This is a fantastic argument because it’s true. I see no reason why the general public can research a corporation, trademark or property, yet not have similar access to the registration of an Internet address. This does not make sense in my opinion.
So the fight to maintain some sort of ‘Who Is’ information database continues.
There are suggestions that certain steps may be required to continue to view the ‘Who Is’ information but who will be able to register for this access and for what reasons registration or authorization will be permitted are all involved in this critical debate, and I for one hope that some sort of realistic compromise will come about to allow this information to remain freely available as it is necessary for a long list of reasons I need not reiterate here.