Groups hurt by lack of public Whois data would like to push back against EU legislation that has shut off most access.
Advocates for open Whois records are shopping a bill in the U.S. that would force domain name registrars to publish Whois information, countering the impact of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Milton Mueller of Internet Governance Project has a copy of the proposed legislation titled “Transparent, Open and Secure Internet Act of 2018”.
For a while, it has been apparent that the only way for GDPR’s impact on Whois to be counteracted is for legislation in the United States. Without it, registrars have an incentive to over-comply with the nebulous requirements of GDPR. Their biggest fear is heavy fines from the EU.
But if there’s a law in the U.S. that forces them to publish Whois information, they’ll have to think twice before taking the major step of blocking all Whois contact information from public viewing.
The proposed bill goes further than previous Whois policy and even demands that domain names used in any sort of commerce (including a parked page with ads) do not use a Whois proxy service.
It’s not clear that the bill’s authors have found any sort of audience on Capitol Hill. Even if they do, the final bill is likely to be watered down in many respects.
Good, and I hope that it comes to pass. In 5 years or so perhaps the EU will not exist anymore and thus such GDPR will fall also.