February 13, 2017 In the world of domain names, data privacy is a controversial subject opposing those who are pro-privacy and those who are pro-transparency. The core of the problem lies in WHOIS specifications. Historically, the ICANN policy supported two types of WHOIS, a “thin” WHOIS limited to a certain number of details concerning the identity of the sponsoring registrar, the status of the registration, and the creation and expiration dates of the registration. The second type known as a “thick” WHOIS includes a broader set of data including contact details of the registrant, as well as the administrative and technical contacts.
According to a new ICANN policy which came into effect on 1 February 2017, Verisign must make a thick database and migration tools available to all registrars by August 2017. These tools must enable the registrars to transfer their Whois data to the database both by EPP and in bulk.
Registrars will then be required in the period from 1 May 2018 to 1 February 2019 to transfer their “thick” WHOIS data for all registered .com, .net and .jobs domains to the Verisign registry. The official purpose of this new policy is to standardize WHOIS specifications towards a “thick” format and to centralise the publication of WHOIS information to Verisign.
We can now expect the .com, .net and .jobs Whois to be more transparent, particularly regarding contact information.