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Proposed Change to ICANN Domain Anonymity Rule Worries Privacy Advocates


by Dennis Fisher

A proposed change to the way that registrars treat the private contact details for domain owners could make it easier for anyone to get information on people who use proxy services.

The potential change comes in the form of a document from a working group of the Generic Names Supporting Organization at ICANN, the group that oversees Internet names and numbers. The working group is considering a number of changes to the way that privacy and proxy services operate, are accredited, and handle requests for registrant details from various organizations.

Proxy services are used by individuals and organizations to register domains without disclosing their personal contact details. The services allow registrants who operate sites with sensitive or controversial content, politically motivated content, or who don’t want their details published for various reasons to protect themselves. These services will disclose contact details under some circumstances, such as at the request of a law-enforcement agency. But the ICANN working group is looking at the question of whether commercial sites should be allowed to use these services.

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