Domain Name Commission Limited (DNCL), the group that oversees New Zealand’s .nz country code domain namespace, has sued (large pdf) DomainTools over its collection of .nz Whois records.
It’s the publication of historical data that seems to have drawn the ire of DNCL. It recently added an Individual Registrant Privacy Option (“IRPO”) to allow some .nz registrants to keep their information private. But their historical information is available at DomainTools even once they add privacy.
DNCL reached out to DomainTools last year in an effort to resolve the issue, but it wasn’t happy with the progress it was making. It filed the lawsuit last month and is requesting a preliminary injunction against DomainTools.
The lawsuit comes at a bad time for DomainTools. It is currently coping with the fallout of GDPR, which has restricted the company’s access to Whois records across most top level domain names overseen by ICANN.
A representative of DomainTools declined to comment due to the ongoing litigation.
Drat, they beat me to it. I have long had them in mind for their collection of data. I think I shall have a fresh look.
Every Respondent to a UDRP should look carefully through the Complainants evidence and see if the Complainant has Breached the GDPR ,as I am sure many have in past. The use of WHOIS data from DomaintTools has F’d me in past and I hold grudges.
And by “” see if the Complainant has Breached the GDPR”” I mean to look at the User (Complainant) and the Supplier of such Data.Likely may have GDPR case against both.
Andrea Paladini says
Mass harvesting of WHOIS was already against ICANN terms of service, so it was unclear to me how Domain Tools was allowed to collect and resell Whois data.
I sent an email to Ammar Kubba to have an explanation, to know if they have a contract or a license with ICANN for the “commercial use” of those data or what, no response at all from him.
Now with GDPR their “harvesting” is being (finally) limited.
I’m surprised that no other Registries, especially at national level (cc), have sued Domain Tools as well so far … but things can quickly change, and at that point their (unlawful IMHO) data harvesting, and probably DomainTools itself, will be doomed …
No offense guys, but it’s karma … you reap what you sow … 🙂
100% spot on. I think we shall see more lawsuits against DomainTools and others.
“Mass harvesting of WHOIS was already against ICANN terms of service,”
People and registrars were complaining about the harvesting of data as far back as 2003 when Jay owned the company.
Ammar and Tim knew all this when they bought the company. They figured no one would ever sue them.
Greed and the ignoring of others’ privacy finally caught up to them. But, we also know that nothing will ever come of the NZ lawsuit.
What really eats at me is that I helped them accumulate all of that data by using the DT search tool.. And, then they turned around and increased my monthly fee from $ 15 to $ 99. Naturally, I dropped them.
It is too early to say that karma will get them over NZ. But, it will eventually.
Andrea Paladini says
“Ammar and Tim knew all this when they bought the company. They figured no one would ever sue them.”
Never say never … 🙂
The internet runs on DomainTools.
The internet might break without DomainTools.
Richard Funden says
It runs just fine without them.
sohail roshni says
Yeh it would run on domaintools if their service was free.
Interesting that Perkins Coie LLP represented the registry as that is a conflict of interest. Domaintools has used Perkins Coie extensively in the past.
This sums it up: https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2018/01/ninth-circuit-doubles-down-violating-websites-terms-service-not-crime
Terms of service of a website or computer service that is accessible to the public is not a crime to use and visit. Ninth circuit would overturn this case if Seattle courts got it wrong. The case law is clear! This looks really bad for Perkins Coie, how do they spoon this out… they have no case.
John McCormac says
Perhaps by taking a parallel case against Domain Tools Holding SARL in Luxembourg? That puts it within the EU jurisdiction and also EU registries may join such a case since arguably the data of EU citizens is involved.
Thanks that is very good !!!
Andrea Paladini says
As far as I can see DomainTools is now owned by DCL Group S.A., a Luxembourg’s holding which also owns EuroDNS.
One of the main founders of DCL Group S.A. is Xavier Buck, who is also co-founder of Domain Invest with Frederick Schiwek.
They can run but they can’t hide …. 🙂
JOHN UK says
Does anyone know .please, who the US based Lawyers were who acted for the NZ Registry ?. Also whilst posting, was there a similar case involving Nominet the UK Registry ?.