What is the purpose of the public database containing the data of the owners of each domain name and what data should be displayed in the same? This is the question that was one of the central debates of the last meeting of ICANN (Internet regulator maximum) held in Marrakech between 26 and 30 last April.
The database of domain names, known as Whois contains information on the name of the person or organization owner of the domain, contact details and technical information of the domain. Under the current structure of ICANN, all accredited by that body registrars are required to collect and publicly display such data through the Whois.
The Whois is essential to initiate investigations against many of the illegal activities taking place on the Internet such as cybersquatting, spamming, phishing fraud through music piracy, child pornography … because it allows tool or at least provides clues to the identity of those who carry out these activities.
However, ICANN has echoed the views of certain groups who claim that their personal data appear not published in this database, claiming the possibility that it is possible to register a domain without revealing who they are or where they are . They argue that the purpose of the “Whois” system should be limited strictly to resolve technical and non-legal issues, and it is possible to have other means to identify those individuals who commit illegal activities, without being necessary to publish personal data of each holder domain.
The balance of interests is not easy, as there is usually a reluctance justified by many individuals to make their data accessible by the general public. To which also added sometimes a difficult fit with the different national laws on data protection. However, with the growth of Internet the number of activities involving the violation of law and the rights of others is widening, so certainly it is necessary to maintain efficient mechanisms for investigation and identification of offenders subject.