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Re: domains, registrars, and whois contact info. defaulting to hidden? Yes, because ...

Quoting Michael Paoli (Michael.Paoli@cal.berkeley.edu):

> [on-list - because ... why not?]

Good idea.

> domains, registrars, and whois contact info. defaulting to hidden?  Yes,
> because ...
> Yes, I think I mentioned it elselist earlier - but can't find it presently.
> I think it's mostly law of unintended consequences.

Sure, sounds plausible enough.

Separately from that, since it was mentioned in passing, a few words
about why I -personally- always put nothing but real, direct information 
into the three public whois contacts for my domains (those being
Registrant aka domain owner, Technical Contact, and Administrative
Contact -- a fourth one, Billing Contact, being inherent in a domain
record but traditionally not shown as part of the public whois data):

The main use-case for public whois contact information is making sure
you can be reached to (1) advise you about problems with your
domain/DNS, or (2) contact the domain owner & operators over legal and
similar concerns (including 'I'd like to give you a truck full of cash
for your domain').  IMO, it is A Good Thing to be reliably reachable for
those purposes.  

On a related matter, the domain contacts' e-mail addresses also are the
places where notices such as 'your domain is up for renewal' get sent.
Therefore, IMO it's highly advisable to have some diversity _among_ 
a domain's contacts, i.e., to list at least two different individuals
with e-mail addresses unlikely to be both unreachable at the same time
for the same reason.  (This is mostly unrelated to the public aspects of 
the whois service.)

Many BerkeleyLUG readers are probably wondering what the Gehenna 'whois'
is -- partly because Microsoft Windows has never included a whois client
program, and because MacOSX includes only the usual console
implementation of /usr/bin/whois, hence most desktop users are oblivious
to the existence of whois, or have encountered only Web gateways to it.

I'd be glad to show BerkeleyLUG members the public contents of the whois
records for linuxmafia.com or unixmercenary.net (my domains) -- except
my registrar is screwing that up, at the moment.  ;->

> EU copyright law and proposed changes also come
> to mind ... similar for Australia and some of their rather
> boneheaded bits of law (some companies are leaving).

Coincidentally, the .au domain (Australia) is one of the few where
domains' expiration dates are suppressed from the public whois
information.  Which means that my weekly script to check friends'
domains for pending expirations cannot check .au domains.  The reason
why the national domain shots Australian domain owners in the foot, in
that fashion?  To protect their privacy, of course.

Many people have been opining that the days of public whois service are
numbered.  Reasons:  (1) Difficult to monetise, even if you offer it
only via a Web gateway.  (2) As mentioned, most Windows and Mac users
haven't even heard of it.  (3) Like any _informative_ service, it
inherently raises privacy issues, without compensating revenue (see
point #1).

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