Domain names: Whois disclosure system

Following the implementation of the new European Data Privacy Regulatory Framework (GDRP) in 2018, access to the Whois domain name system has become a challenge.

In the context of ICANN 75, there have been many discussions around the Whois Disclosure System (WDS), which aims to create a system that, on the one hand, is EU GDPR compliant and respects data protection rights; and on the other hand, is able to create an easy way for trademark owners to request registration data from ICANN accredited registrars.

To balance the needs of trademark owners with the data protection obligations of registrars, this system would be accessible through an ICANN account, through which a user can file an application, which sends a notification through the system to the registrar. ‘registration. However, registrars would not be required to participate in this system, and so it would only work for registrars who agree to participate. Furthermore, a mere request for registration data would not imply that the information will be provided, since the registrar may, in whole or in part, deny the request, but in doing so must provide the reasons for the denial. Additionally, if the registrar requires additional verification of identity or legal basis from the requesting party, this must be done outside of the system.

This early setup of the system raises some interesting questions as to whether it might succeed in the future. First, the fact that it is not mandatory for ICANN-accredited registrars limits its use to those who choose to participate. Additionally, as previously stated, there is no guarantee that the information requested will be disclosed, and in the event that the information disclosed is not sufficient for the requesting party, further communications must be made outside the system. With regard to data protection issues, there are assurances that once records are closed and the retention period expires, all personal data relating to an application will be purged from the system.

In conclusion, this WHOIS disclosure system is a very first step towards a system that can facilitate the disclosure of registration data in a centralized and efficient manner, but to ensure the success of this system, there are still questions that need to be answered. .