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Struggling ICANN comes up with temporary solution to comply WHOIS with GDPR


As the deadline for GDPR was nearing, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) came up with temporary solution to comply WHOIS with GDPR.

WHOIS is an internet protocol that is used to query databases and obtain information about registration of a domain name. ICANN asked for a year to fully comply WHOIS data privacy with GDPR, but the request was declined.

“Unless there is a moratorium, we may no longer be able to … maintain WHOIS. Without resolution of these issues, the WHOIS system will become fragmented … A fragmented WHOIS would no longer employ a common framework for generic top-level domain (gTLD) registration directory services,” argued ICANN.

The domain registration organizations who miss the GDPR’s 25 May 2018 enforcement deadline, will be fined up to €20 million or 4% of annual revenue. To avoid the penalties, ICANN announced “Temporary Specification for gTLD Registration Data”.

So, with the temporary solution, the Registry Operators and Registrars will still collect the registration data like registrant, administrative and technical contact information.

The new thing is that most of the personal data wouldn’t be available publicly. If the users want to access non-public data, they’ll have to request the Registrars and Registry Operators, with mentioning the legitimate and proportionate purpose. The request will be submitted via an anonymized email or web form.

The temporary solution will be applicable to all the registrations, and will cover the data processing arrangements between ICANN, Registry Operators, Registrars, and Data Escrow Agents.

“WHOIS is an important system, and preserving it allows it to continue to act as a key tool in the ongoing fight against cybercrime, malicious actors, intellectual property infringement, and more. This Temporary Specification, which is based on the Proposed Interim Compliance Model, aims to prevent fragmentation of WHOIS and ensure that WHOIS continues to be available, to the greatest extent possible,” said Cherine Chalaby, Chair, ICANN Board of Directors.

Also read: Microsoft and Intel collaborate with BDO and IntraEdge to launch GDPR Edge

The Board of Directors at ICANN are still looking for a permanent solution.

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