Last week the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) Assistant Secretary David Redl spoke at the Internet Governance Forum in Washington, D.C. about the impact the GDPR has had on Whois.
Redl highlighted the fact that the GDPR is a victory for scammers and impediment for law enforcement and intellectual property owners. He goes on to state that the US Government is working with the European Data Protection Board to address this matter.
Here are his full comments in regards to Whois:
"The most pressing issue facing ICANN right now is updating the WHOIS service in light of the European General Data Protection Regulation, or “GDPR.” The WHOIS is a service that, prior the GDPR’s effective date in May, provided public access to domain name registration information, including contact information for the entity or person registering the domain name.
This WHOIS information is a critical tool that helps keep people accountable for what they put online. Law enforcement uses WHOIS to shut down criminal enterprises and malicious websites. Cybersecurity researchers use it to track bad actors. And it is a first line in the defense of intellectual property.
Unfortunately, European authorities have indicated that the collection and public provision of domain name registration data violates the GDPR. Because of this, as of late May, domain name registries and registrars have stopped providing important domain name registration information contained in the WHOIS. This is an unmitigated victory for the spammers and scammers that plague consumers and businesses.
NTIA and the highest levels of the U.S. government are engaging with the European Data Protection Board, the European Commission, and European Member States to provide clarity and guidance to the community as it works to facilitate access and accreditation to WHOIS information, which is now private. This access mechanism is critical to meeting the needs of law enforcement, cybersecurity, and rights protection. NTIA will take a lead role in the process to develop this access mechanism and will fight hard for the important governmental and commercial equities in the WHOIS service."