Whois as we have known it for decades will be phased out of gTLDs over the next couple of years, after ICANN approved changes to its contracts at the weekend.
The board of directors signed off on amendments to the base Registry Agreement and Registrar Accreditation Agreement after they were approved by the requisite majority of registries and registrars earlier this year.
The changes outline how registries and registrars must make the move away from Whois, the technical specification, toward the functionally similar RDAP, the Registration Data Access Protocol.
After the amendments go into effect, contracted parties will have about 18 months to make the migration. They’ll be allowed to run Whois services in parallel if they wish after the transition.
People will in all likelihood carry on referring to such services as “Whois”, regardless, rather than the official replacement term “Registration Data Directory Services” or RDDS.
The RAA amendment will also require registrars to provide full RDAP output, rather than relying on “thick” registries to do it for them.
None of the changes affect how much personal information is returned for domain ownership lookups.