ICANN has this evening gone live with its service that enables anyone to request private Whois data on any gTLD domain.
The Registration Data Request Service lets people request contact information on registrants that would otherwise be redacted in the public Whois due to laws such as the GDPR.
The press release announcing the launch seems to have come out an hour or two before the service actually became accessible, but it’s definitely live now and I’ve tried it out.
The system is defined largely by what it isn’t. It isn’t an automated way to get access to private data. It isn’t guaranteed to result in private data being released. It isn’t an easy workaround to post-GDPR privacy restrictions.
It is a way to request an unredacted Whois record knowing only the domain and not having to faff around figuring out who the registrar is and what their mechanisms and policies are for requesting the data.
After scaling back the extremely complex and expensive original community recommendations for a post-GDPR Whois service, ICANN based the RDRS on its now decade-old Centralized Zone Data Service, which acts as an intermediary between registries and people like myself who enjoy sniffing around in zone files.
The RDRS merely connects Whois data requestors — the default settings in the interface suggest that ICANN thinks they’ll mostly be people with court orders — with the registrars in charge of the domains they are interested in.
Anyone who has used CZDS will recognize the interface, but the requesting process is longer, more complex, and requires accepting more disclaimers and Ts&Cs. That said, it’s not particularly confusing.
At first glance, it looks fine. Slick, even. I’ve used it to submit a test request with GoDaddy for my own Whois data, specifying that whoever deals with the request is free to ignore it. Let’s see what happens.
The post ICANN’s private Whois data request service goes live first appeared on Domain Incite.