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ICANN Montréal Meeting Topic: Whois Workshop

Posted: 15 June 2003
(Last updated: 1 August 2003)

Whois Workshop

A workshop on Whois issues was held in two sessions of the Public Forum in Montréal. The first session was held from 08:00 to 12:00 on Tuesday, 24 June 2003; the second session was held from 08:00 to 12:00 on Wednesday, 25 June 2003. The document below provides information on the agenda for the workshop.


Whois Workshop Agenda

Tuesday, 24 June 2003

Wednesday, 25 June 2003

Speaker Biographies

Background Materials (links to another document)

Whois Workshop Agenda

The Whois workshop is intended to initiate a period of discussion within the ICANN community on Whois and related privacy and other issues. The workshop is being held in response to a request from the GNSO Council, and in cooperation with the GAC's work program.

The workshop will take place on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings of the ICANN meeting from 08:00 to 12:00 each day. Webcasting and scribing will be provided. A web archive of presentation materials will be available in advance of the workshop.

Tuesday, 24 June 2003

The Tuesday workshop session will consist of a series of ten short tutorial-style presentations dealing with current Whois policy and practice. The presentations will be followed by a public comment and question/answer session for purposes of clarifying questions and comments. The panelists have been requested to make their presentations brief so as to accommodate the maximum amount of information on Tuesday morning.

The intent of these presentations is to provide factual information on Whois as it exists today. Broadly, this means:

  • An overview of what the Whois database is, including a brief technical summary.
  • A summary of ICANN contract requirements and policies surrounding Whois.
  • A summary of Whois or Internet related privacy rules and policies of various jurisdictions.
  • ICANN's experience with Whois complaints, from users, consumers, providers, and registrants.
  • The practical experience in providing Whois, how it is used and the issues or concerns faced by the panelists:
    • Registries and Registrars (both gTLD and ccTLD)
    • Business users
    • ISPs
    • IP interests
    • Consumers and Registrants
    • Other privacy interests (such as free speech advocates)
    • Law enforcement

Tuesday Presentations

08:00 - Opening Remarks (Paul Twomey, ICANN CEO)

08:05 - Presentations

1 - Overview of current policy and contractual obligations, etc. (Louis Touton, ICANN)

2 - Review of IETF work on Whois specification (Andrew Newton, VeriSign)

3 - Review of Whois for non-name uses (Ray Plzak, American Registry for Internet Numbers)

4 - Overview of registry-registrar relationships/differences across all TLDs (Bruce Beckwith, Public Interest Registry)

5 - gTLD registrar uses of Whois (Bruce Tonkin, Melbourne IT)

09:30 - Morning Break

09:45 - Presentations Continued

6 - Privacy & data protection considerations in using Whois (Diana Alonso Blas, European Commission, DG Internal Market, Media and Data Protection)

7 - ccTLD registry/registrar uses of Whois (Bart Boswinkel - .nl)

8 - Intellectual Property Rights uses of Whois (Jane Mutimear, Intellectual Property Interests constituency)

9 - Consumer-protection uses of Whois (Michael Donohue, Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development)

10 - Law-enforcement uses of Whois (Maneesha Mithal, United States Federal Trade Commission)

11:30 - Public Comment Period

12:00 - Close


Wednesday, 25 June 2003

08:00 - Opening Remarks (Sharil Tarmizi, GAC Chair)

08:05 - Panel 1: Balancing Public Policy Issues in the Current Whois System

Issues for Discussion:

  • Is the current Whois system working?
  • Can those who use Whois data obtain the information they need from other sources?
  • Can those who collect and publish Whois data balance the local law requirements against Whois requirements?
  • Can the privacy concerns be resolved by use of third party registration services? What are the implications of such services for people who need access to Whois data?
  • Can the concerns regarding the existing Whois database be overcome by increased enforcement of requirements in RAA? Does ICANN have the ability to properly police the RAA to the extent necessary to protect all parties' interests? How can such enforcement be facilitated?
  • Can the concerns regarding the existing Whois system be addressed by modifications of the RAA? Who should decide what modifications are necessary to balance privacy concerns against the competing public policy concern of accountability?
  • Should there be modified rules for "non-commercial" domain names to protect privacy while providing contact data on commercial domain names? Does that approach address all interested parties' needs? Could a special domain be created for non-commercial domain names that would have different Whois rules? How would one define commercial versus non-commercial?


  • George Papapavlou (EU), GAC Whois Working Group Member


  • Antenor Correa (Brasil), GAC Representative
  • Alan Wong (Hong Kong), GAC Representative


  • Registrar: Thomas Keller, Schlund + Partner AG
  • Registry: Jeff Neuman, NeuStar
  • Privacy Advocate: Diana Alonso Blas, European Commission, DG Internal Market, Media and Data Protection
  • ISP: Sarah Deutsch, Verizon
  • IPR: Christian Wichard, World Intellectual Property Organization
  • Consumer Interests: Michael Donohue, Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Third-Party Registration Provider: Paul Stahura, eNom
  • Law Enforcement: John LoGalbo, United States Department of Justice

09:20 - Transition to Panel 2

09:30 - Panel 2: New Approaches to Whois Policy and Practice

Issues for Discussion:

  • Should there be tiered access to all Whois databases? Does this approach balance all interested parties' needs? What types of information would be available in the various tiers and to whom would each tier be available?
  • Could tiered access be administered by a commercial entity in contract with the registries and with ICANN?
  • Should there be tiered access in only a few TLDs - those with non-commercial domains? Who would police the charters to keep the commercial domains out?
  • Should there be government administration of the entire Whois database? Should there be government administration of all commercial gTLDs? Should there be government administration of a new TLD for non-commercial registrations to ensure privacy?
  • Should there be government standards for data collection or civil/criminal penalties for non-compliance? How would such provisions be enforced globally?
  • Should there be new gTLDs offered with stricter vetting of registrants (like .PRO or .EDU) in exchange for higher levels of privacy protection for Whois information? If so, who should administer these new gTLDs?
  • Should there be notification to registrants when their data is requested? If so, when and how much information should be provided to them?


  • Robin Layton (US), GAC Whois Working Group Member


  • Tom Dale (Australia), GAC Representative
  • Pablo Hinojosa (Mexico), GAC Representative


  • Registrar: Ross Rader, Tucows
  • Registry: Willie Black, Nominet
  • Privacy Advocate: Alan Davidson, Center for Democracy & Technology
  • ISP: Henning Grote, Deutsche Telekom
  • IPR: Steve Metalitz, International Intellectual Property Alliance
  • Consumer & Law Enforcement Interests: Maneesha Mithal, United States Federal Trade Commission
  • Bulk-Access Registration Provider: Margie Milam, MarkMonitor
  • Law Enforcement:
  • Pat Beardmore, United Kingdom Office of Fair Trading

10:50 - Transition to Public Comment

11:00 - Public Comment Period

12:00 - Closing Remarks (Paul Twomey, ICANN CEO)


Speaker Biographies

  • Diana Alonso Blas

    Diana is Legal Affairs and Policy Officer at the Data Protection Unit of Directorate General Internal Market of the European Commission, in Brussels. This unit is responsible for the monitoring of the application of the European Data Protection Directive as well as for the Secretariat of the Article 29 Data Protection Working Party. She is in charge of issues such as Internet, e-commerce and privacy-enhancing technologies. Before joining the Commission, Diana has worked at the Dutch and Belgian Data Protection Authorities and at the Interdisciplinary Centre for Information Technology of the university of Leuven, always in the field of European and international data protection.

  • Patrick Beardmore
  • Patrick Beardmore is the Computer Forensics Investigating Officer for the Office of Fair Trading, UK, which uses WHOIS as a tool for law enforcement. He is responsible for digital evidence within the Cartels Investigation branch, and provides the department with advice and support regarding consumer protection and Internet issues. He is a member of the LACORS (Local Authorities Co-Ordinators of Regulatory Services) Focus Group for E-commerce/E-crime and the UK Internet Crime Forum.

  • Willie Black
  • Willie Black is Executive Chairman and founding director of Nominet UK, the national Registry for all .uk domain names. Previously Dr. Black worked toward the development of the not-for-profit Registry model. Now as Executive Chairman, he is responsible for spearheading Nominet's strategy and policy development and is actively involved in the international discussions on the future of the Domain Name System. Nominet publishes names and addresses on its WHOIS but not email addresses or telephone/fax numbers; it also allows an opt-out for non-trading individuals.

  • Tom Dale
  • Tom Dale is the General Manager of Regulatory Policy with the National Office for the Information Economy (NOIE), an Australian Government agency. He is also the Australian delegate to the GAC. NOIE is responsible for all domestic and international domain name policy issues, including WHOIS, and has policy responsibility for online privacy and e-security. NOIE liaises closely with the ccTLD administrator for .au – auDA - on WHOIS issues.

  • Alan Davidson

    Alan Davidson is Associate Director at the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT), a Washington D.C. non profit group working to promote civil liberties online. He works broadly on policy issues surrounding Internet privacy, security, and free expression. CDT has been a long time member of ICANN's Non Commercial Constituency and was a part of the 2001 NGO and Academic ICANN Study group evaluating the at large representation system. He has spoken and written about the privacy concerns raised by WHOIS and the need to find a balanced ICANN WHOIS policy.

  • Sarah Deutsch
  • Sarah Deutsch is Vice President and Associate General Counsel for Verizon Communications. Her practice covers legal issues in the area of global Internet policy, including liability, privacy, intellectual property policy and Internet jurisdiction. She currently represents Verizon on a variety of Internet issues ranging from digital rights management, the Hague Convention, Council of Europe Cybercrime Convention, Europe’s IPR Enforcement Directive, ICANN, and legal issues arising from Internet-related legislation and litigation. She has served as Private Sector Advisor to the U.S. Delegation to the World Intellectual Property Organization 1996 Conference on the WIPO Copyright Treaties, and helped negotiate for the passage of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

  • Michael Donohue

    Michael Donohue is a Consumer Policy Analyst at the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), an international organization helping governments address the economic, social and governance challenges of a globalised economy. OECD stresses the necessity for accurate and available WHOIS data in building consumer trust as well as preventing consumer fraud by aiding law enforcement. OECD also believes that ccTLDs and gTLDs should be accountable under ICANN regulations, all contact data for commercial registrants should be available to the public, and mandatory suspension of domain names of registrants who supply false information. The OECD's most recent work on domain name issues discusses the importance of WHOIS data, and is available at

  • Envir Fraser

    Envir Fraser is the Senior Manager for E-Business in the Department of Communications, South Africa. He is the advisor to the GAC representative. The Department of Communications is responsible for the development of public policy in the Information and Communications Technology in South Africa. Internet and electronic commerce issues are the most recent additions to the responsibilities of the Department.

  • Henning Grote

    Henning Grote works for Deutsche Telekom AG, Europe's largest telco. As Deputy Director of DT's Network Information Center, he is responsible for technology scouting and developing technology strategy in this area. He represents DT's Registrar in ICANN's gTLD Registrar Constituency and is DT's delegate to DENIC, Germany's ccTLD Registry Cooperative and culmination of Germany's ENUM trial. DT's NIC operates a public WHOIS for the registrar branch, and in other respects DT uses WHOIS for operational purposes, such as its LIR.

  • Pablo Hinojosa
  • Pablo Hinojosa is the Director of Multilateral Affairs for the Federal Telcommunications Commission in Mexico (COFETEL). In this position he is responsible for COFETEL’s participation in international fora, particularly ICANN, and serves as the representative of Mexico to the GAC. Additionally he assists the Chair of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Telecommunications & Information Working Group (APEC-TEL) and has authored the project: “Universal Access of Telecommunications Services in Mexico.”

  • Tom Keller
  • Tom Keller is with Schlund + Partner AG, a large webhosting company based in Germany. As one of the biggest ICANN Registrars in Europe, Schlund is directly affected by the conflict of European data protection laws and ICANN’s contractual obligations for registrars with regard to WHOIS. He has been involved in the process of building the registrar from the very beginning, and is responsible for all related ICANN matters in the company. He has represented Schlund inside the Registrar Constituency, as well as being a member of DENIC’s Technical Advisory Committee as well as the European representative of the Registrar Constituency in the GNSO Council.

  • Robin Layton
  • Robin Layton is the Associate Administrator for the Office of International Affairs (OIA) of the Commerce Department's National Telecommuications and Information Administration (NTIA). NTIA formulates and articulates Administration policies on information and communications technologies and represents the Department in international and regional telecomminications policy fora, such as the ITU, CITEL, OECD and APEC. Ms. Layton is the accredited representative for the United States to ICANN's Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) and serves as the convenor of the GAC Working Group on Whois.

  • John LoGalbo
  • John LoGalbo is a Trial Attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS). Prior to joining the Justice Department, Mr. LoGalbo was the Vice President of Public Policy for PSINet Inc., a global Internet service provider. CCIPS coordinates international issues arising from computer and intellectual property crime in numerous regional and multilateral fora on behalf of the U.S. Department of Justice. CCIPS chairs the Group of Eight (G 8) Subgroup on High Tech Crime and was active in negotiations of the Cybercrime Convention at the Council of Europe.

  • Steven Metalitz
  • Steven Metalitz is a partner in the Washington, DC law firm of Smith & Metalitz LLP. He has served as counsel to the Copyright Coalition on Domain Names (CCDN) since its establishment in 1999. CCDN consists of trade associations, organizations of copyright owners, and copyright industry companies concerned about policy issues in the domain name system. He is also Senior Vice President of the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA), and Executive Vice President of the Intellectual Property Constituency (IPC) of the ICANN Domain Name Supporting Organization. He was previously President of IPC until November 2002, and was a participant in the DNSO/GNSO WHOIS Task Force.

  • Margie Milam
  • Margie Milam is the General Counsel of eMarkmonitor, Inc dba Markmonitor, an ICANN accredited registrar based in Boise, Idaho. MarkMonitor is a provider of corporate domain registration and brand protection services for corporations and law firms. Through a Strategic Alliance with LexisNexis, MarkMonitor offers a suite of value-added services that utilize WHOIS information in connection with the monitoring of the Internet for intellectual property and law enforcement purposes.

  • Maneesha Mithal
  • Maneesha Mithal is Assistant Director for the Federal Trade Commission’s International Division of Consumer Protection. Her expertise includes Internet fraud, the WHOIS database, Internet jurisdiction, and alternative dispute resolution for online consumer transactions. She has served on the U.S. delegations of the OECD Committee on Consumer Policy, the OECD Information, Communications, and Computer Policy Committee, the APEC Electronic Commerce Steering Group, and the Hague Conference on Private International Law. The FTC is especially concerned in consumer protection, privacy, and law enforcement issues. The FTC testified before the U.S. Congress in May 2002 and stressed the need to improve the accuracy of the WHOIS database so fraudsters can quickly be identified and prosecuted, while still carefully considering privacy interests. The FTC’s testimony is available at

  • Jane Mutimear

    Jane is a partner in the London office of international law firm Bird & Bird. She specialises in intellectual property litigation and advice, with a particular focus on trade marks and passing off, but also including patents, copyright and design rights. Her client base stretches from large multinationals to small e-commerce start-ups. Jane has spoken and written on a wide range of intellectual property issues, including internet related issues. Jane is a member of AIPPI (International Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property), INTA (International Trade Mark Association), PTMG (Pharmaceutical Trade Marks Group), TIPLO (The Intellectual Property Lawyers Organisation) and an associate member of ITMA (Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys)

  • Jeff Neuman
  • Jeff Neuman is the Director of Law and Policy at NeuStar, Inc. He is responsible for the oversight of intellectual property law and policy matters, information technology licensing, and is the external liaison for both NeuStar and NeuLevel, Inc. with ICANN, the Generic Names Supporting Organization, as well as the country code names supporting organization. He is also the current Chairperson for the gTLD Registries Constituency of ICANN and a representative from the gTLD Registries Constituency of the Generic Names Supporting Organization Council. He has testified before the Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property of the Committee on the Judiciary, and the U.S. House of Representatives Oversight committee regarding "ICANN, New gTLDs and the Protection of Intellectual Property."

  • Andrew Newton

    Andrew Newton is a research engineer for VeriSign Naming and Directory Services. Andrew was the principal engineer for VeriSign's Referral LDAP Service (an experimental LDAP-based prototype for providing whois services), and has been working on issues surrounding whois and directory services protocols for VeriSign for over 6 years. He is an active member of the CRISP working group and other IETF activities

  • George Papapavlou
  • George Papapavlou is head of the unit ‘Internet-related services’ in the European Commission. His current responsibilities include Internet naming and addressing and cybercrime, but he has also been involved in the European intellectual property and personal data protection initiatives. His work has involved being co-author of the Directive on the protection of personal data (1995), the Communication on illegal and harmful content on the Internet (1996), the Regulation on a .eu Top Level Domain Name (Apr 2002), and the Communication on Computer Crime (Jan 2001). Additionally he authored the Green Paper on public sector information (Jan 1999) and the Framework Decision on Attacks Against Information Systems (Jan 2002).

  • Ross Rader
  • Ross Rader is the Director of Innovation and Research for Tucows Inc., an ICANN accredited registrar and leading distributor of digital products and services to Internet Services Providers. Ross is also Tucows policy delegate to ICANN and represents the company within the GNSO. Tucows considers WHOIS to be a valuable resource that must continue to be offered in a manner that balances the needs of all relevant stakeholders.

  • Paul Stahura
  • Paul Stahura is the founder and CEO of eNom, Inc. eNom became ICANN accredited just after the initial five "test-bed" registrars and is now the registrar-of-record of over 2 million domain names, making it one of the top five largest registrars. eNom maintains a "reseller" business model and has established a network of over 5,000 resellers, some of whom have independently initiated 3rd-party WHOIS proxy services. eNom itself has such a service in development. Paul has contributed to WHOIS policy since his initial involvement in the domain name space in 1997.

  • Johannes Christian Wichard
  • Johannes Christian Wichard is Head of the Legal Development Section at the Arbitration and Mediation Center of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). WIPO is an international organization responsible for promoting the protection of intellectual property throughout the world, and currently has 179 states as members. Over the past five years, WIPO has played a leading role in making recommendations and implementing solutions to the problems arising out of the interface between Internet domain names and intellectual property rights, including WHOIS issues. Having administered more than 20,000 domain name cases, the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center is the leading provider for domain name dispute resolution services and has extensive experience with the practical implementation of the current WHOIS system.

  • Alan Wong Chi-kong

    Alan Wong Chi-kong is currently the Director of Information Technology Services Department (ITSD) of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. The ITSD is responsible for the development and management of the computer systems of government departments and the information infrastructure of Hong Kong. It is the government's technical advisor on IT matters. The ITSD also plays an important role in enabling citizens and businesses to adopt and use IT securely.

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