WHOIS Under Fire

Things turned ugly at a meeting of ICANN — the body responsible for overseeing the registration of internet domain names — in Los Angeles today.

The meeting revolved around a motion seeking to change the nature of the WHOIS registry, which provides information about the registrant of a given domain name. The registry is frequently used to combat spam and web content piracy. The proposal would have established an avenue for registrants to provide a proxy in the registry instead of their own personal information.

The proposal was voted down 17-7, though there is hope for reviving it. A third option, known as "Motion 3," would allow "sunsetting" of the WHOIS requirements, an ambiguous phrase which some have interpreted as a move to scrap the registry entirely.

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