An Overview of ICANN

ICANN Privacy

ICANN has been highlighted in the news over the past few months, so we wanted to provide an overview of ICANN and some issues and policies surrounding the organization.

ICANN, or the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, is the group responsible for the Domain Name Registry. In July they proposed new rules that would force website owners to reveal their address and restrict the use of proxy services. This would apply to domain holders with “commercial” sites in particular. It’s a concern, as it represents a significant threat to the owners’ privacy since anyone can search the database and access this private information.

Currently, people who own domains can use proxy registration to hide their identities, and avoid having themselves listed in the WHOIS database (a public online directory that lists who owns what domain, and  contains personal information about these owners). Proxy registration allows for a certain level of privacy and safeguards these users’ information.

The period of comment on these WHOIS-related changes just closed on September 6, so ICANN gained some attention this week as the EFF continued to express concern over these proposed policies. The Irish Times also reported last week that ICANN is holding its October meeting in Ireland, which reflects the US-based organization’s move towards a more global reach.

We’re concerned about the privacy implications of some ICANN-related policies, and will be keeping an eye on how things develop.

What Can You Do?

Tell ICANN they need to take privacy more seriously.

Read the EFF’s arguments on this topic.

Learn about proposed changes to WHOIS.