WHOIS verification rules coming this year ?
It appears that ICANN wants to ensure that Mickey Mouse is no longer present as the registrant of domain names.
“Registrars could be obliged to verify their customers’ identities when they sell domain names under new rules proposed for later this year, according to ICANN president Rod Beckstrom in a letter to Lawrence Strickling of the NTIA”
Currently the new Registrar Accreditions Agreements are being renegotiated by ICANN and the registrar community after recent discussions with the Governmental Advisory Committee.
ICANN expects that the RAA will incorporate – for the first time – Registrar commitments to verify WHOIS data. ICANN is actively considering incentives for Registrars to adopt the anticipated amendments to the RAA prior to the rollout of the first TLD in 2013.
How ICANN will implement a WHOIS verification system is currently unknown.
Whois verification, which is often found at the top of the wish-lists of intellectual property and law enforcement communities have led to heavily debated discussions within the ICANN community.
Civil rights advocates believe that checking registrant identities will infringe on rights to privacy and free speech. While the Law Enforcement Agencies plead that the current WHOIS eco system leads to cyber crime.
It is expected that some recommendation from the WHOIS Policy Review Team will be used.
This team released their final draft last december and can be downloaded here.
One of the biggest changes in this recommendation is the change from a “thin” WHOIS to a “thick” WHOIS eco system. Verisign, the TLD operator for .COM/.NET who currently uses a “thin” WHOIS has said in a statement that they are neutral regarding any WHOIS decision.
It’s expected that at the end of March 2012 we will have more solid information on what will happen with the current WHOIS eco system. But the expectation is that the days of Mickey Mouse as a domain name registrant are numbered.