Attn Webmasters: Save Domain Privacy, Stop ICANN from exposing WHOIS data.

Originally published by the NAAIJ on June 25th 2015 under a Creative Commons 4.0 Attribution International License

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The folks over at Namecheap have sent me a timely e-mail about a campaign of the utmost importance. When you do get to the site, If you’d rather not give your phone number, click the ‘Send E-Mail’ button instead. Once this is done, check your E-mail for a confirmation message, in it will be a link from ICANN. You need to click this and confirm you want to comment.

This campaign is supported by Namecheap, The Electronic Frontier Foundation and Fight for the Future. You can count the NAAIJ in as well.

Here are some quotes on the serious concerns some of the more prominent voices in the tech community are saying

“No WHOIS privacy provider wants their service to be used to conceal illegal activity, and the vast majority of domain owners are not criminals. Using a WHOIS privacy service is no more suspicious than having an unlisted phone number. These new proposed rules would wreak havoc on our right to privacy online. ICANN is moving quickly, so we should too – contact them today and tell them to respect our privacy.”

Richard Kirkendall, Namecheap CEO & Founder

“Domain name privacy protects us from spammers and enables freedom of speech. We’ve got to protect it.”
Holmes Wilson, Co-founder, Fight for the Future

“Some IP rightsholders and law enforcement authorities would like to use ICANN to shortcut the due process of law and other domestic legal safeguards. The weakening of WHOIS privacy services is an example of this, and that’s why we’re speaking up to defend the privacy of domain owners.”

Jeremy Malcolm, Senior Global Policy Analyst, Electronic Frontier Foundation

Here is the e-mail I received.

Hello Nigel,

Did you know that your privacy rights are currently under threat? ICANN is considering introducing a rule that would impact all netizens. If you care about your online privacy, this is a big deal.

Under new guidelines proposed by MarkMonitor and other organizations who represent the same industries that backed SOPA, domain holders with sites associated to “commercial activity” will no longer be able to protect their private information with WHOIS protection services. “Commercial activity” casts a wide net, which means a vast number of domain holders will be affected. Your privacy provider could be forced to publish your contact data in WHOIS or give it out to anyone who complains about your website, without due process. Why should a small business owner have to publicize her home address just to have a website?

We think your privacy should be protected, regardless of whether your website is personal or commercial, and your confidential info should not be revealed without due process. If you agree, please contact ICANN right away and demand your right to privacy and due process. Let them know you object to any release of info without a court order. There’s no time to waste — the close date for comments is July 7, 2015.

Visit our new site and we’ll guide you through the process of calling or emailing ICANN. Thanks!

— Team Namecheap

Nigel Todman is an Independent Journalist, Technical Consultant, Social Activist, Web Developer and Computer Programmer from Ontario, Canada. Add him to Facebook and/or Follow him on Twitter E-mail: veritas [at] vts-tech [dot] org [PGP]

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