NTIA’s David Redl asks ICANN to review GoDaddy’s blocking access to Whois records

The U.S. government has sent a letter to ICANN asking it to review GoDaddy’s (NYSE: GDDY) activities around blocking access to Whois records. Through David Redl, who heads the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, sent the letter to ICANN’s board today asking it to look into the matter.

The timing is strange because, coming in May 2015 via EU’s General Data Protection Regulation, Whois be rendered dark next month as the regulation comes into effect

The Redl letter reads:

First, the actions taken by GoDaddy last month to throttle Port 43 access and to mask the infonnation in certain WHOIS fields are of grave concern for NTIA given the U.S. Government’s interest in maintaining a WHOIS service that is quickly accessible for legitimate purposes. NTIA is concerned that GoDaddy’s approach of throttling access and masking infonnation will be replicated by other registrars and registries, compounding the problems these actions create.

While NTIA is sympathetic to the need to protect customers from bad actors and malicious activity, we think that the actions taken by Go Daddy are inconsistent with the
multistakeholder approach ofICANN and potentially conflict with ICANN’s Registrar Accreditation Agreement. 1 NTIA encourages you to investigate the actions of Go Daddy as a contractual compliance matter, but also consider an ICANN cross-community discussion on the issue. Such conversation could result in a solution that addresses GoDaddy concerns, while still meeting the needs of the legitimate users of Port 43.

ICANN has also been asked to consider if companies other than the registrar should be able to make DNS changes at the registry:

With the growing sophistication of domain names registrants and third party content delivery networks seeking to offer enhanced security features, including deploying DNSSEC, NTIA sees merit in examining the roles other parties could play. One example is the feasibility and impact of allowing non-ICANN accredited registrars to offer services that manage specific DNS resource records, such as MX or NS records, directly with a registry.

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