What Data from the WHOIS Database Will No Longer Be Available

WHOIS Database: Less Information Available



Online innovation, mobile devices, and cloud-based technology all shape the way the world lives and does business. Younger generations are growing up with more powerful tools than experts previously dared to dream. Virtual worlds and augmented realities, along with global cryptography, are leaving many flabbergasted as to what kind of world will be possible within their lifetimes.

Therefore, it is important when major changes come to regulating the information that shapes the platforms people interact with on a daily basis. It has direct implications for copyrights and creators seeking to protect their hard work. Recent developments regarding registrar data now limits the scope of efforts against infringement. While these changes to the online environment did not exactly occur in a bubble, many would argue that not nearly enough attention has been afforded to what is examined here.

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On May 17, 2018, the Internet Committee for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) Board adopted Temporary Specification for gTLD Registration Data, which has had profound effects for online privacy. For instance, about a week later, on May 25, 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) administered by the European Union (EU) took full effect. The GDPR provides for new rules that govern personal data in terms of processing, collection, and retention of information.

Besides privacy policies, Internet users will notice the changes in the WHOIS Database. The WHOIS organization is the system that makes domain names and IP addresses available to the public. Some basic information that users have grown accustomed to become non-available data from WHOIS with the adoption of the Temporary Specification.

Data No Longer Available through the WHOIS Database


Among the information affected by the Temporary Specification are registrant and technical/admin data. Registrant data that is no longer available includes:

  • DNR contact names;
  • addresses;
  • contact email addresses;
  • fax and phone numbers.

Technical/admin data that is no longer available is as follows:

  • contact names;
  • contact email addresses;
  • fax and phone numbers.

Information that remains available are:

  • registrant organization;
  • State/Province and country.

WHOIS users can be enabled to contact domain name registrants, as well as technical/admin contacts, if certain procedures are followed. Registrars will need to provide a method for users to contact the registrant. Also, users will need to use a non-anonymized email (or web form) provided by the registrar.

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The ultimate implications of these temporary restrictions to information have more public impact than many people realize. For example, legal, security, media, and intellectual properties have all come to rely upon the WHOIS database. Registrars still collect registration information, but access is now restricted. Unavailable data from WHOIS is currently left up to registrars to determine how to administer. This could lead to quite a significant outcome. In the case of GDPR, restrictions apply to individuals but not organizations and do not distinguish between registrants within or outside of European countries.