The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) reiterated Wednesday to a working group at the Internet Corporation for Assignment of Names and Number (ICANN) that it “must make user privacy a central tenet of any new registration data system.”
The Expert Working Group is crafting a new domain registration database, but “can't seem to wrap its head around why privacy matters when it comes to domain registration services,” according to a blog post penned by EFF activist Nadia Kayyali, who points to the group's report on Next-Generation gTLD Registration Directory Services to Replace WHOIS.
The EFF has weighed in earlier in the process “because the existing WHOIS system itself is fundamentally flawed” Kayyali wrote, “and it's important that its replacement doesn't repeat the same mistakes.”
WHOIS's design, she said, originally didn't put limits “on who could make queries, for what purpose, or what they could do with the information” and hasn't changed much since the early 1980s when it was created.
She also pointed in alarm to another ICANN working group tackling another issue in which some members proposed “a complete ban on privacy services for websites that are used for a ‘commercial purpose,'” which they defined broadly “to include any sites that ‘handle online financial transactions for commercial purpose.'”
To make privacy a cornerstone of a new registration data system, the EFF said, “any new system should collect the minimum amount of data required for legitimate purposes, and make such data available only as needed to fulfill such purposes.”