Court agrees with Tucows that some Whois data is redundant.
A German Court in Bonn has denied (pdf) ICANN’s request for an injunction against Tucows’ domain name registrar EPAG.
ICANN filed the injunction request last Friday, the day the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) went into effect. EPAG had notified ICANN that it no longer planned to collect data on administrative and technical contacts for Whois to comply with GDPR. ICANN has made it clear that registrars must continue to collect this data, even if they don’t have to publish it.
The stated goal of the injunction request was to force EPAG to continue collecting the data. But ICANN (and probably Tucows) also wanted to get clarity from courts about how GDPR impacts Whois.
In denying the injunction, the court agreed with Tucows’ position that the administrative and technical contacts can be duplicates of the registrant contact information, so it’s not really needed. There has not been a requirement that registrants provide different data for each contact type. In practice, it’s usually the same (with the exception of some hosts and registrars being named the technical contact).
ICANN says the German court ruling doesn’t provide it the clarity about GDPR and Whois is was hoping to obtain.
While ICANN appreciates the prompt attention the Court paid to this matter, the Court’s ruling today did not provide the clarity that ICANN was seeking when it initiated the injunction proceedings,” said John Jeffrey, ICANN’s General Counsel and Secretary. “ICANN is continuing to pursue the ongoing discussions with the European Commission, and WP29, to gain further clarification of the GDPR as it relates to the integrity of WHOIS services.