Is Providing Accurate Whois Info Really That Important?

from the just-wondering dept

Yesterday, Carlo noted that lots of folks were rushing to lay claim to the domain name — but how many do you think handed out fake personal info? A concern of the US government for years has been that people didn’t have accurate info associated with domains that they owned — even to the point that ICANN once said they would start deleting domain names with false contact info. The US government has been studying the matter, and has concluded that 2.31 million domain names have been registered with “patently false” information. Another 1.64 million had “incomplete information.” Of course, this is all based on a sample size of… 900 — so some might argue about whether that’s a fair sample. Still, is this really (a) surprising or (b) that bad? There are two main reasons why it’s happening. First, the whois database has long been a great source for spammers. Having info there means you’re going to get spam and snail mail junk mail — so it’s no wonder that people put in false info. Second, keeping that info up-to-date is a pain if you move regularly. Many people set it up and then never change it — not thinking it’s very important. That’s because it’s not very important. Meanwhile, with firms that claim to offer “anonymous” domain registration freely giving up your personal info, isn’t it just easier for people to fake it? Why is it so important to provide accurate information to register a domain name?

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Comments on “Is Providing Accurate Whois Info Really That Important?”

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Anonymous Coward says:

No Subject Given

Whats the point of keeping updated correct information in your domain whois? The people you’ve registered the domain with, obviously have your credit card details or other personal information required when you first registered it. What reason would anyone else have, to contact you for? If you wanted to be contacted, you would have your information readily available to people. And if you don’t want to be contacted, why should you be required to post your address to the WORLD WIDE PUBLIC INTERNET, free for any (loony/psycho) person to use for their enjoyment/gains.

I want a telephone, but I don’t want my phone number posted in the public telephone books… for the same reasons that wouldnt want any of my information posted to the public internet whois.

Anonymous Coward says:

Why it's so important to provide accurate contact

Because ownership of a network object — whether
it’s a domain or an ASN or something else — means
that the person(s) involved are not merely using
the Internet, they are *operating* the Internet.
That requires taking full personal responsibility.
Anyone who isn’t up to that does not deserve the
privilege of running (a part of) our Internet.
(Note carefully: I have no problem with anonymous
*use* of the Internet; in fact, I fully support it. But “use” != “operation” and those who do
not fully comprehend the difference should not
be permitted the privilege of doing the latter.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Why it's so important to provide accurate cont

“operation of” and “control over” are also two different things.

One performs a function and the other exercises authoritative or dominating influence over.

Why should the one performing the function, be limited to how that function is done when in fact, those who operate the internet have no dominating control over it’s existence.

…semantics are wonderful, aren’t they!

Brian Bartlett says:

No Subject Given

I keep mine up to date on all three of my domains and don’t see a problem with it. First off the SPAM argument is a non-starter in my book. The amount of SPAM I get across all three of those domains is far less than I get in one day on, say, my Hotmail account. As for the US government knowing about me that bothers me not at all as I’ve had zero privacy with respect to them since the day I entered the service. (We’ll leave it right there.) I simply consider keeping my WhoIs information current right up with the level of keeping, say, my DMV or property tax information current. Expectations of privacy, especially in the context of the internet, are illusory at best. Get yourself a tinfoil hat if you think you have it today. You don’t.

Anonymous Coward says:

"anonymous" registration is a myth, anyway + a spa

You do realize that supposedly-anonymous domain
registration is no such thing, right?

That anyone armed with appropriate legal authority
can lay their hands on it — probably without
notice to you?

That your registrar — and thus their employees —
have access to your “real” data. What stops them
from selling it, in bulk, to…anyone? What stops
their employees from selling it under the table?

And how good do you think their security is? Do
you think it’s good enough to defeat everyone who
might have an interest in acquiring that data?
If you do, what basis do you have for that belief?

“anonymous” registration merely presents the
facade of privacy; it’s really nothing of the kind.

As to spam: yes, registering a domain and putting
your real address on it may expose you to (more)
spam. If you have decent anti-spam measures in
place, then this shouldn’t be an issue. Consider
it part of the cost of having a domain, and if you
don’t like paying that cost, then do your part to
stop spam — because it benefits all of us.

If you can’t handle that, then you’re probably not
ready to be a (partial) operator of the Internet.

Jamie (user link) says:


Ultimately someone needs to be held accountable. Although I agree that privacy is important, if there was no mechanism for accountability then there would be rampant problems.

I good example of this is the wikipedia and other open source movements. When more than one voice can be used to discribe a problem or a solution, we ultimately all gain from a more complete answer.

If we can all see the person responsible for a website, we all have a better chance of getting our message across. for example: I love your website, but I don’t love your spam.

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