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Privacy The Internet Technology

ICANN Studies Secretive Domain Owners 101

Posted by kdawson
from the all-swords-are-double-edged dept.
alphadogg quotes from a Network World piece reporting on ICANN's study of the prevalence of proxy services that shield registrants' personal information from WHOIS queries. "Approximately 15% to 25% of domain names have been registered in a manner that limits the amount of personal information available to the public... according to the preliminary results of a report from ICANN... Domain owners who want to limit the amount of personal information available to the public generally use a privacy [proxy] service. ... [Proxy services] register domain names on behalf of registrants. The main objective of ICANN's study — which was based on a random sample of 2,400 domain names registered under .com, .net, .org, .biz, and .info — is to establish baseline information to inform the ICANN community on how common privacy and proxy services are." Spammers and other miscreants abuse the ability to register domains by proxy, in order to avoid being found; but ordinary users have a legitimate interest in keeping their personal information out of the hands of those same bad actors. What's the right balance?
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ICANN Studies Secretive Domain Owners

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  • by IBBoard (1128019) on Sunday October 04, 2009 @03:48AM (#29633539) Homepage

    The right balance is what .uk domains have - free information hiding for non-trading individuals, but information displayed for companies. They still have your information, but you don't have to show it to the world and you don't have to pay someone to hide it. As long as "squatting on a domain and pumping it full of ads" is considered "trading" then it's the perfect balance.

    • by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Sunday October 04, 2009 @03:55AM (#29633555) Journal

      In my opinion better balance would be based on if the individual is a person or a company. I do not want my personal information like name, address, phone number and so on all over the internet. Even if the site contains ads on it.

      On the other hand having your company info available in whois is quite an non-matter, theres public records available already and it doesn't break any individuals privacy.

      • by IBBoard (1128019)

        I didn't mean "sites with adverts should show details". There's a difference between "spam site that is purely adverts and paying searches" and "personal blog with adverts to support the costs" (although some sites making it a close-run thing with the number of adverts they try to plaster in there).

        Supporting your costs is just supporting your costs, where as squatters with sites full of junk are "trading individuals" because they're registering to either profit off the domain resale or to profit off the ad

      • by jonbryce (703250) on Sunday October 04, 2009 @04:33AM (#29633659) Homepage

        If you are trading on the internet, the EU's E-Commerce directive requires you to publish your contact details on your website.

        • Do they also specify how EASY that information is to find?
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Borov (1649649)
            Yup: "Article 5 General information to be provided 1. In addition to other information requirements established by Community law, Member States shall ensure that the service provider shall render easily, directly and permanently accessible to the recipients of the service and competent authorities, at least the following information: [...]" Check out the EU Directive [europa.eu]
      • by xaxa (988988) on Sunday October 04, 2009 @06:47AM (#29633957)

        That's almost exactly what UK domains have:

        $ whois [whatever].__.uk

                Domain name:
                        [whatever].__.uk

                Registrant:
                        Joe Bloggs

                Registrant type:
                        UK Individual

                Registrant's address:
                        The registrant is a non-trading individual who has opted to have their
                        address omitted from the WHOIS service.

        There's a box to tick when you register a .uk asking if you'd like your address hidden. You can't hide your name, but you could put "J Bloggs" and become a little more anonymous.

        Whether it breaks your privacy depends what you're doing with the site. I have a friend who has a fetish modelling site, she doesn't want to be traceable from it.

      • by Wowsers (1151731)

        having your company info available in whois is quite an non-matter, theres public records available already and it doesn't break any individuals privacy

        Maybe sole traders / partnerships / small businesses don't want spammers etc. to know their home addresses. Many small businesses are run from home.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Nuskrad (740518)
          Well every registered company in the UK needs to have a publicly available trading address anyway, which can be found on the Companies House database... though I believe this can be a PO Box to give some anonymity.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by rtb61 (674572)

        I can't help it, Oh Noes it's a telephone book, run away, run away. Show juts one add and it is commercial and you are responsible for that add, you showed it, you profited by it and you are not entitled to hide from the consequences of it and, that includes emails from that domain that contain an add in any way shape or form. You want net privacy, easy, don't get a domain name.

    • The same is done in Canada. My personal domain name has hidden information (just shows registrar and DNS servers), whereas domains registered as belonging to a corporation have full information available. I believe this was changed sometime in the past five years -- as I clearly recall personal domain names having fully visible information back in 2004, and maybe even as late as 2007 or 2008.

    • by sumdumass (711423) on Sunday October 04, 2009 @04:28AM (#29633639) Journal

      A lot of company domain names are registered to individuals inside the company for some reason. I've had to deal with that many times over the years when a former IT person is listed as the owner and is the only one capable of making changes to it. Anyways, I don't think there is anything that could stop that from happening on purpose. A reason you might want to do it on purpose might be in order to get around the public knowing your associated with several different sights praising your products or pretending to sell them because they're the best.

      I got a domain once for the purpose of protesting some things on a local level. The more popular the site became, the more annoying it was. I used fake information (this was before it became against the law to do so) but kept the admin Email and contact phone number to a legitimate line. I got threats and all kinds of crap including the phone ringing at 2 am because someone wanted to disagree with something. I ended up paying a company to list themselves as the owner. It's what stopped the calls and crap. I've since given the site away to some like minded people who use it to this day.

      I can see why someone would want their info hidden.

    • by frisket (149522) <peter AT silmaril DOT ie> on Sunday October 04, 2009 @05:08AM (#29633727) Homepage
      I disagree. Leaving aside the squatters and ad-pumpers (I wish we could :-) the "ordinary user" should not be able to hide their identity. Hiding physical address details is an unfortunate but acceptable security restriction today; but hiding email, phone, and other contact data is just wrong. It's abused by thousands of companies to prevent people contacting them when their poxy products fail, or to hide their true ownership and identity. Registering a personal domain is one thing; registering a domain as a business should bring with it the responsibility to publish valid contact information and keep it up to date. It should be illegal for registrars to hide the identity of their business registrants.
      • by IBBoard (1128019)

        Registering a personal domain is one thing; registering a domain as a business should bring with it the responsibility to publish valid contact information and keep it up to date. It should be illegal for registrars to hide the identity of their business registrants.

        So the companies will just put in fake details instead and people still won't be able to track them down. The .uk system still shows details for companies, just not for individuals. If companies use it to hide details then their WhoIs record wil

        • by grimw (1253370)
          What if I'm a trading individual? I'm not giving my details to anyone but the person I'm doing business with. Get over it.
          • by IBBoard (1128019)

            If you're a trading individual then you're a company and you have to give out certain details anyway. Contact details are important to know who you're dealing with and where they are (or at least where they claim to be, which can then be checked up on as to whether it exists etc), plus a trading individual can buy a £60 PO Box if they're trading from home.

            If you're an individual then the content you're putting up on your site can have zero relevance to where you live. All adding your address and phone

      • by sjames (1099)

        Phone info should NOT be required, email is OK. I do NOT want a phone call from even a tiny fraction of the loonies to be found in a population of 6 billion people.

        I can see requiring it for businesses though.

    • by Rieke (1649703)
      How will check out if a domain is used commercial or not by this much registered domain names wich are registered in different countrys ?
      • by IBBoard (1128019)

        I don't know how they check, but that's what they do for UK (and apparently Canadian) domains. Yes, some companies might lie and say they're "non-trading individuals", but if you make the penalty sufficiently severe (like seizing the domain) then companies won't risk it and anyone who finds a mis-labeled domain (a trading domain marked as non-trading) can complain about it. At the end of the day, if you make it easy for people to say "this domain claims to be non-trading but isn't" then domains that are mis

    • First of all any dedicated spammer or other miscreant can fake contact data with some that is valid but not theirs. Second, you go after the IP not the friggin domain. That's just a label, not the source of the damage.

      This is nothing more than a blatant attempts by the Intellectual Property lobby that has co-opted ICANN (Ironic, but an organization that was tasked with making new TLDs hasn't done so in a decade and as of right now, new TLDs are two years away from whenever you ask, just as they have been si

    • I sort of like this balance as well. An awful lot of useful data about who's funding which astroturfing effort has come from looking at DNS records.

    • by noundi (1044080)

      The right balance is what .uk domains have - free information hiding for non-trading individuals, but information displayed for companies. They still have your information, but you don't have to show it to the world and you don't have to pay someone to hide it. As long as "squatting on a domain and pumping it full of ads" is considered "trading" then it's the perfect balance.

      I slightly disagree. The right balance is complete anonimity unless one is suspected of having committed a crime, at which point only a court may order the service provider to expose your information. The same way all online crime vs. anonimity should be treated, from copyright violation to bank fraud.

      • by IBBoard (1128019)

        Why should companies be allowed to trade anonymously online? You can't trade anonymously in a street, and having registered addresses gives a known location for the company. I'm always suspicious of companies who anonymise their domain registration - if they're happy to take my money, why aren't they happy for me to know that they're legitimate and not just a front?

  • In the event... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    where someone's personal information needs to be found out, can't it be found out via a court order if a crime is suspected?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sopssa (1498795) *

      where someone's personal information needs to be found out, can't it be found out via a court order if a crime is suspected?

      Yes and the privacy services almost always state this in terms of service too, as well as removing the service in case of spamming and so on.

      Spammers and others just use fakes names anyway, so privacy registration doesn't change anything regarding that, but providers better privacy for real people.

      • Assume it is a given spammers use fake names and addresses. Then, what if we require private registration services to verify names and addresses?

        An address can be verified by sending a postcard through the mail. As for verifying one's name, perhaps the driver's license ID number or something? (Or state ID number, if one lacks a license.)

        Since a state ID number can be verified online in some states, it would tie someone to the domain, even if it's identify theft. (Let's hope that's not the case.)

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by supernova_hq (1014429)
          Assuming everyone who registers a domain lives in the US....
        • by sopssa (1498795) *

          I'm not sure how the license ID number system works, but since I'm not in the USA it means I would have to scan my passport and send it to some registrar where some random guy will check it and which maybe leads to identify theft too. I'm not comfortable with that, and besides that it's just stupid to send a scan of your passport over email or internet. How long would it take that someone would start doing identify theft with such system?

          • I didn't think about the identify theft issue. I was thinking that if someone stole someone else's ID card, they could commit identify theft using their ID number, in terms of using someone else's name in the private registration part.

            But yeah, good point. What if the private registration company commits identify theft against the individual? I don't know.

    • where someone's personal information needs to be found out, can't it be found out via a court order if a crime is suspected?

      That is what my provider does. It is in the user agreement that if a court order is presented to them they honor it.

      I often interact with unsavory persons to the point of having to carry a weapon, legally of course. I really don't need to sleep with one eye open, too. If law enforcement needs to get a hold of me they have the option to do so.

  • by Blejdfist (1617297) on Sunday October 04, 2009 @03:55AM (#29633559)
    I have registered a few domains by proxy, but the only reason is to have my e-mail address hidden so those pesky spammers won't scrape it of the whois entry.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I'm the same way. The address that I used for my domains got so passed around from spammer database to spammer database, that I ended up just having the forward of the account go to /dev/null. So, the few domains I have are done by proxy, and the E-mail that is the contact does not get 5000 emails for your usual crap a day, not to mentional the occassional threat by a spammer to use usernames as From: addresses if I don't pay some guy with e-gold within 3 days.

    • by smoker2 (750216)
      I hold a .sh domain and whois just says the domain is not available. You have to go to the registrars site and search from there, where it gives my personal details EXCEPTING my email address and phone number. So scraping is not possible, unless they want to snail mail spam me, which apparently is far too much work as I have never had postal spam resulting from it. I also hold some .com domains, and although my email and phone are listed directly, my email is @gmail.com so spam is dealt with at that end.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by vlm (69642)

        So scraping is not possible, unless they want to snail mail spam me, which apparently is far too much work as I have never had postal spam resulting from it.

        Lucky you... Until I renewed for like 10 years, and was annually renewing, for a few months around renewal time I got postal junk mail try superficially to "renew" but it was actually a transfer request.

        Specifically I got endless junk from DROA

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domain_Registry_of_America [wikipedia.org]

        "In 2003, the Federal Trade Commission reached a settlement with the company for practices such as transferring domain registrations to their service under the guise of domain renewal, a practice known as domain s

        • by nedwidek (98930)

          DRoA is still scum. Still in business. And still sending those damned letters. Their address is a UPS store PO Box.

          Yes, one of my domains is up for renewal in a few months.

  • no matter how you look at it, either way is abusable.

  • by iYk6 (1425255) on Sunday October 04, 2009 @04:35AM (#29633663)

    Nobody yet has mentioned the easiest, most reliable method of registering a domain name anonymously. Just enter fake information in the database. As long as it isn't obviously fake, like Fuck You at Fuck St, Fuck, 11111, it won't get deleted. And you don't have to worry about the proxy company selling it, or accidentally giving it away to hackers.

    This of course won't solve the credit card has your name problem, but you can get anonymous debit cards from most grocery stores.

    • by X0563511 (793323) on Sunday October 04, 2009 @04:56AM (#29633693) Homepage Journal

      Of course, the email addresses you enter MUST be valid and accessible, lest you ever want to do various things such as transferring domains.

      • by smoker2 (750216)
        No they don't. I can create an alias, register the domain, then when the process is done, I delete the alias. If I want to admin the domain such that the email becomes vital, I just recreate the alias temporarily. What do you mean by "transfer" ? I can make any changes I like to my DNS records without needing email (and have been doing for over 10 years).
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by S.O.B. (136083)

          If you've been managing DNS records for over 10 years and you don't know what's meant by "transferring domains" then you really don't know what you're doing and should "transfer" your domains to someone who does.

        • by X0563511 (793323)

          When you move a domain from one registrar to another (for any reason) the process involves sending an authorization key to the admin contact email, and along the way approve/deny and other such materials are sent as well.

          This is a mandatory process that ICANN has instituted.

          That you've never done this means you've never had problems with your current registrar, and have never aquired a domain that was already under a particular registrar.

    • Re:100% anonymous! (Score:5, Informative)

      by sumdumass (711423) on Sunday October 04, 2009 @05:02AM (#29633699) Journal

      It also doesn't solve the problem that providing fake information to domain registrars is a felony in the US [copyright.gov] and probably a couple more countries. In fact, if you commit a felony that is somehow connected to a domain with fake registration information, your sentence is automatically increased by 7 years or doubled whichever is less.

      I'm not sure I would recommend doing that. And if your in a country where it isn't illegal, then make sure the registrar isn't or it could suck you into the law there. I'm not sure they would extradite you or anything, but a warrant could sneak up on you down the road when attempting to get a better job or visiting certain countries or if the cops in your own country get a boner for you and want to use it as an excuse to take you down town once a year and hold you for several days seeing if anyone wants to extradite you. I was once held for 3 days on 4 or 5 unpaid parking tickets from 10 years prior that happens 5 months after I sold the car.

      • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Looking at the fine Act linked above, the felony provision seems to apply to incorrect registrant contact info for web sites that violate a copyright or trademark. Does that penalty apply to somebody hiding their true contact info for a non-infringing site? Better ask a lawyer, but I'd say "No." Domain registrant proxy services have not been lawyered out of existence, which supports my theory. (Doesn't it?)

        • Re:100% anonymous! (Score:4, Informative)

          by sumdumass (711423) on Sunday October 04, 2009 @12:37PM (#29636351) Journal

          It seems your right. Further examination of the law indicates that the false information is illegal on it's own only when tied to trademark and copyright violations.

          However, the sentencing enhancements (see section g) [cornell.edu] seem to apply to any felony committed that can be tied to false domain information. I'm assuming this could be tied to failures to report taxable income that becomes a felony (under reporting sales from the site), to committing felony fraud or anything else that the domain could be linked to.

          The domain proxy services wouldn't necessarily cause a violation of this law. That's because you are contracting the proxy service to purchase-register the domain on your behalf in which they promise to allow you the control and ownership rights to. The information wouldn't be false, it would just be complicated or obscured but still accurate and readily availible.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Baron_Yam (643147)

        When I registered a domain for my small company, I used out-of-date address information and haven't updated it in a decade. The only accurate information is the (Hotmail) email address so I can change the DNS server addresses if necessary.

        If anything ever comes of it, I can just say, "Oh, yeah, forgot to update that..."

        There's no need for my contact information to be made mandatory by law. All countries have stupid laws on the books... this is one for the U.S.A.

    • Re:100% anonymous! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by sakdoctor (1087155) on Sunday October 04, 2009 @05:07AM (#29633723) Homepage

      I copied this idea from Microsoft.com and put: Administrator, Domain
      as my name for my small business site.

      Sometimes I even get physical mail with "Dear Mr Domain Administrator..."

    • I've done this for years. I also use a separate email address for the domain registrar so I know when someone is referencing it.

      Yes, I'm a "bad person" and violating all sorts of policies, but the policies are flawed. Requiring people to have accurate information should have also includes a requirement for registrars to hide this information from the public for free. Until that change is made, I'm going to continue to violate these terms of agreement. It's like having to pay extra to have an unlisted number

  • by wjh31 (1372867) on Sunday October 04, 2009 @05:23AM (#29633765) Homepage
    I purchased the domain for my site [lifeinmegapixels.com] through my web host, as a result if you look up the domain on whois all you get are the details for the host rather than me.C ould it be that the number is so high because of the average joe registering through a site that puts its own details forward to the likes of whois, rather than because the majority of people are intentionally trying to hide their details. Hanlon's Razor [wikipedia.org]. Or have i just completely mis-understood this.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by herojig (1625143)
      Most ISPs in India/Nepal operate like this as well. It's not true you can't change domains or that you don't own the domain, it just means that you have to go through your provider to make any changes. Not a big deal, just an email.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by sopssa (1498795) *

        Until the domain gets popular enough and there comes a disbute between you and the host.. Domain ownership is solely based on that information.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by sjames (1099)

        That depends on the quality of the ISP. Some will just do the transfer. Others will auto-renew you at an outrageously high annual rate, then refuse to transfer the domain until you pay the balance. That is, they will hold the domain hostage.

        The cheaper the hosting, the more likely they will hold your domain hostage if you try to leave.

        • by herojig (1625143)
          HA! I guess there are crooks and shadies everywhere. At least here, most folks are honest and would not think to hold you hostage...and they will also not give out your personal information without your consent. Here, everything is done on a personal level, from buying bananas to getting your website hosted. I think that makes a difference in QOS.
          • by sjames (1099)

            HA! I guess there are crooks and shadies everywhere. At least here, most folks are honest and would not think to hold you hostage...and they will also not give out your personal information without your consent. Here, everything is done on a personal level, from buying bananas to getting your website hosted. I think that makes a difference in QOS.

            Agreed. Unfortunately, here in the U.S. it's hard to even implement that business model (I've tried). All you ever hear is how someone somewhere else is offering the "same thing" for a dollar less (with absolutely no support and every dirty trick in the book to nickle and dime you to death after the fact).

            • by herojig (1625143)
              It's a societal thing this commerce stuff. I believe the story of how sane a society is told every time something is bought, sold, or traded. In Nepal we work with fractional margins yet still have a cup of tea and a chat over any deal.My only guess is that it's a matter of respect and child-rearing.
              • by sjames (1099)

                There is probably something to that. A part of the issue is a race to the bottom. Given enough people who are willing to stoop lower and customers who are willing to do business with them, those with a stronger moral/ethical code (more respectful and respectable business people) are forced from the market entirely. The problem is made worse when truth in advertising laws are largely ignored so that the less ethical player can get away with deceiving customers into doing business with them rather than with m

  • Reputation (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    If you claim to be a reputable business as a payment facilitator on the Internet, don't hide behind a proxy service for your domain name.
    A few days ago, I was looking at epassporte.com for a virtual credit card. I ignored them when a lookup on their domain showed they are hiding behing Moniker Privacy Servies.

  • namecheap (Score:4, Interesting)

    by JimboFBX (1097277) on Sunday October 04, 2009 @05:41AM (#29633803)
    My only experience with domain registration is with namecheap (and I highly recommend them). It (for free) has a tool called whoisguard which puts all your personal information as a random string of numbers and letters @whoisguard.com (it also has a free dynamic DNS client so people with non-fixed IPs can update as needed). The e-mail itself still forwards to your real e-mail address, but that random string can get updated weekly to prevent it being sold. Simple to say, I never got a single bit of spam.

    Funny thing is, I called up namecheap to verify they were legitimate before registering with them and their answering machine gave me the impression that it was a one-man operation. I'm curious if they really are.

    In contrast, I used to intern for a business that did register with their real contact information. Besides getting fax spam and e-mail spam, we also got a scammer who used Sprint TTY to try to get us to order 6 laptops through Dell and mail them to New Jersey.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 04, 2009 @05:45AM (#29633817)

    Way back when technical contacts used to use whois data to call each other when there was a problem. Domain contacts were people that actually knew something about networking or system administration. Today this use is pointless. The typical domain owner doesn't manage there network or the systems hosting their web pages. What it mutated into was ICANN helping trademark owners or MAFIAA organizations being able to more easily sue people.
    Note that some of the CCTLD owners haven't been strong armed into signing away their authority to ICANN yet and keep contact info out of whois. For example tonic.

  • I've had about 20-30 domains registered over several years, and I've never used private domain reg, and still it's very rare that spam gets through in my inbox in Gmail, which I have used several years as well. Maybe I'm just lucky or the gmail spam filtering works very well.
  • by damn_registrars (1103043) <damn.registrars@gmail.com> on Sunday October 04, 2009 @08:29AM (#29634355) Homepage Journal
    ICANN is about to start selling gTLDs. With the gTLDs go all the TOS and AUP authority that ICANN at one point pretended to enforce on .com, .net, and .org (last I heard those three are not yet for sale). Just wait and see how much more spam you'll get when they sell .drug, .pill, .viagra, etc...

    So what they think they are accomplishing by studying obfuscated domain registration data now, I would like to know. Because soon the vast majority of all WHOIS data in the world won't be worth crap or even have consistent or meaningful requirements.

    Part of me wonders if this "study" is just a preliminary step towards them eventually selling all the rights to .com, .net, and .org so they can pull a huge one-year profit, and subsequently tell those of us who ask them to do their jobs (in registrar accreditation) to STFU.
  • With all the nut jobs out there, who wants to have their private street address listed in a public database ?

  • I already have no privacy on the web. If my government decides they want to eavesdrop on my communications through my ISP, they already do it without a warrant.

    If I have no privacy, nobody should have any.

    I say everyone who hangs a shingle (domain) on the web site should be accountable for it and their names a matter of public record.

  • by Animats (122034) on Sunday October 04, 2009 @12:58PM (#29636561) Homepage

    Reality check:

    • In the European Union [sitetruth.com] and in California [sitetruth.com], anonymous businesses are illegal.
    • The listed registrant owns the domain. If you're using a "privacy service", you don't own the domain; you're just leasing it from the privacy service. Customers of RegisterFly, the domain registrar that collapsed, found this out the hard way. [registerflies.com] Many customers lost domains in that collapse.
    • Google considers "private registration" [blogspot.com] as a factor in determining whether a site meets their "quality guidelines". Google can't be as tough on this as they should be, though, because Google's revenue model, AdWords, requires a large number of ad-heavy sites. Bing could be tougher; it's too soon to tell.

    We take an even harder line on anonymous businesses at SiteTruth [sitetruth.com], considering them "bottom feeders".

    Realistically, putting your real name and address in WHOIS info doesn't hurt you unless you're a crook. My real name and address are on all my domains, and I get maybe one phone call every two years, perhaps a letter or two a year, that seem to come from WHOIS data. I had one threat, back in the 1990s; he's out of business and I'm still here. Any e-mail spam is being filtered out by the usual filters. If you're paranoid, get a P.O. box; that's legal.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by JimboFBX (1097277)
      A domain registrar has no excuse for failing. All of their transactions are virtual, require no man power, and always bring in profit. Their overhead is renting out the cheapest building in town (or paying the mortgage on the home they live in) and paying a modest ISP fee that can easily be scaled with the amount of business they get.
    • by gmhowell (26755)

      Realistically, putting your real name and address in WHOIS info doesn't hurt you unless you're a crook.

      "You have nothing to fear if you aren't breaking the law" is a pantload. The problem is that the legality of many actions is dubious. Certainly every company has laws on the books that reflects no moral or legal rational and should be struck down.

      I'd like to risk a flamebait mod, but since I don't know if you are referring solely to businesses, or also including individuals as well, I'll let it go.

  • Proxy for privacy (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bl968 (190792) on Sunday October 04, 2009 @07:08PM (#29639293) Journal

    As a network administrator I feel that proxy services should be prohibited.

    If my customers are having a problem reaching your web site, then I use whois to find the person to contact to resolve the issue. This is necessary more often than you might thing due to routing issues. I can call my upstream ISP if the problem is on their end, but if not you may need to contact your ISP so that the problem can be worked on from both ends.

    Any domain not listing the actual contact information for the individuals responsible for the domain should be dropped from the db. There are other ways to handle contacts which would not require emails to be displayed. It's that simple. Whois information identifies the mailing address for the registered owner of the domain, and the full contact information for the technical and administrative contacts. For most cases that should be the domain administrators at your hosting company. If you opt to place your own information in those fields, then your information should be made available.

  • Spammers hide their info. If you're running a legit domain, post your owner and admin contact info. It's part and parcel of running a domain, same as a license plate is part and parcel of driving a car, or your name, signature, bank address, and account number on any checks you write.

    This isn't a "why keep the info private if you have nothing to hide" issue - it's about transparency and holding people accountable - and not just spammers. The requirement for valid info would go a good ways towards reducing the amount of spam, which benefits everyone.

    Putting in valid contact info also means that a proxy can't hold your domain hostage if you want to transfer it. If it's worth nothing, there's no harm in putting in correct info, and if it's worth something, there's risk in putting in bogus info. Either way, it's one more party to go through, one more link in the chain that can screw up. Not worth the hassle to make your contact info private.

  • More importantly ! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by unity100 (970058) on Monday October 05, 2009 @07:29AM (#29642961) Homepage Journal

    a lot of people use those proxy services in order to shield their personal data from their repressive governments in other countries. a proxy in u.s. will not give out data to random repressive country # 2318765, when they ask for the details of the dissenter that is running a blog. its very important for people who live in less civilized countries, for making a stand and changing things.

Your own mileage may vary.

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