Brand protection company claims registrars aren’t cooperating, but there are two sides to the story.
Tucows CEO Elliot Noss has responded to claims made by brand protection company AppDetex over access to Whois data.
AppDetex has raised concerns that domain name registrars are not responding to or are denying requests for Whois data when it has a legitimate interest. It made its first claims just before the ICANN conference in Panama this summer and timed its second complaint for just prior to ICANN 63 in Barcelona this week.
In its most recent complaint to ICANN (pdf), AppDetex said that registrars were only “fully complaint” to 2.5% of its requests.
In response (pdf), Noss called AppDetex out for its own non-compliance.
AppDetex has submitted (as of this letter) 1273 requests for Registrant data to Tucows-family registrars. Up until October 9th, 2018, we responded with our requirements template to all of them and had not received a single reply. The claim in their letter of contracted party failures to respond in a reasonable time frame is outrageous as they have failed to further their own requests for months.
Additionally, it seems that Facebook and AppDetex have been submitting automated queries without sufficient human review. Noss points to requests for data on “lincolnstainedglass.com” and “grifflnstafford.com” as examples. These were likely included because they include something visually similar to “insta” in them. Facebook has trademarks for Instagram.
We are also concerned that, given the clear lack of human-review and due care presented by the requests we have received from AppDetex, they are simply creating algorithms to identify potential infringements and demanding personal Registrant data for these potentialities wholesale. The examples we have noted above—and many others—could have been easily identified by AppDetex prior to submitting to Tucows if they had included the reason that the domain was suspected to be infringing, rather than the mere assertion that it “misuses one or more of the following trademarks” and then listing seven trademarks. We require that requests for personal data include the reason for the valid request.
Tucows, the second largest domain name registrar, has been one of the registrars leading the discussion on the EU’s GDPR. Earlier this year it launched a site for parties to request access to masked Whois information.