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Whoisn't: Blocking identities on the Whois database

This past week, a Whois task force met to discuss whether or not to keep registration information private. The current system started back in the 1980s when the Internet was used primarily by a small group academics and government researchers who already knew each others' personal information. (You've likely used Network Solutions, which maintains a slick interface to the Whois database, to search for registrants in the past.)

An international task force is now lobbying for a substantial change that would completely hide registrants' information. Blocking personal information would obviously make it much more difficult for journalists -- not to mention police officers and lawyers -- to contact web site owners.

Hearings are scheduled next week in Lisbon before the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, which is the international organization that oversees Internet addresses.

Resources:
ICANN's most recent announcement on the proposed changes
Summary of previous Whois announcements made by ICANN

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