.Ca is getting a whois overhaul. Perhaps the rest of the domain world can use it as a framework.
There have been a number of suggested changes to ICANN’s whois framework. But Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) is making changes to its .ca country code on its own. Canada-based domain registrar Tucows (AMEX: TCX) is reporting that CIRA will make sweeping changes to its whois policies on June 10:
-Whois registrant data will be made private by default. It will be “opt-in” if registrants want their information public.
-Whois data for corporations and organizations will be public by default with an opt-out in certain circumstances. (This may mean that domains with an organization as the registrant will not get privacy).
-.Ca domain registrants can be contacted via a contact form on CIRA’s web site
I’m generally in favor of keeping domain registrant data public. But CIRA’s new policy reminds me of an idea I proposed a while back: “masking” e-mail addresses in whois.
Essentially, all domain names would be assigned a masked email address such as email@example.com. This would be a forwarding address to the registrant’s actual email. This would serve a couple purposes:
1. ICANN could track whois spammers
2. If the email forward bounced, ICANN would know that the registrant had invalid information and could inform their registrar
I think we’ll see changes to whois privacy rules for non-country code domains in the future. But the future may be a ways off.