Do we still need Whois Privacy Protection?
Regardless of any changes to the Whois system, Whois Privacy will remain a valuable service to registrants worldwide. Even when the public Whois “goes dark”, it is certain that there will still be a gated Whois, where registrant data will be made available to parties with a legitimate interest. So, while the audience for registrant data may no longer be the entire public, it will still be sizable. This is where Whois Privacy comes in — if privacy is active on a domain, the personal data in the registration record will remain protected from those with access to the gated Whois. The service also provides a way for third parties to contact the domain owner via the privacy service email address displayed in the Whois output, an option that will not be provided as part of GDPR data protection. In addition, the personal data associated with a domain that is protected by Whois privacy will not be shared with registries.
Now, there will always be the occasional, ostensibly savvy registrant who’s tempted to simply supply false information, seemingly avoiding the need for Whois Privacy altogether. This is something we would never suggest. For legal reasons, ownership disputes being one example, it’s important that the domain contact information be accurate. Additionally, the registration agreement that all domain owners accept as part of registering a domain through an OpenSRS Reseller confirms that all information provided will need to be accurate, current, and reliable. These are ICANN imposed conditions, and registrants risk having their domain suspended or cancelled if these requirements are not met.