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New Whois Policy Would Help Infringers, Crooks, Scammers
Old 03-21-2007, 03:19 PM   #1 (permalink)
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A proposed change in the WHOIS policy would protect crooks, scammers, spammers, infringers and other wrongdoers from being tracked down -- and charged or sued. Under present rules, registrants of URL's are required to provide their names and contact information to WHOIS. Victims, law enforcement, and their attorneys can look up the true responsible parties through WHOIS searches. The new rules would allow scammers and pirates to hide behind 3rd parties, and thus make it difficult or impossible for victims to track down perpetrators. It would be especially difficult, probably impossible, because registrants are expected to use 3rd party "fronts" in scam-friendly countries like Russia. Full article with other insights at:
Re: New Whois Policy Would Help Infringers, Crooks, Scammers
Old 03-22-2007, 07:27 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Thi sucks for honest, non-spamming, non-phishing users of the internet which is 99.999999% of us. Spammers are already a multi-billion dollar drain on legitimate corporate capital to protect assets.

Forget who said it but they just need to "follow the money". Every entity that registers has to have some means of electronic payment to register. Everyone selling something has to have a way to receive payment. Follow the money and incarcerate them for 10 years in Anartica with zero access to anything electronic. By the time they get out, technology will have passed them by.

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Re: New Whois Policy Would Help Infringers, Crooks, Scammers
Old 03-22-2007, 11:24 AM   #3 (permalink)
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One of the problems with the current registry system is that the list of registrants is completely public. That means spammers can access those lists and send spam to the owners of each domain. This happens to the tune of billions of spam emails per year. But they go even further and mail various solicitations to the owner's of domains.

One example of this, was Verisign. They were the owners of Network Solutions, one of the major registrars and the one that once had a monopoly on the .com extensions. A few years back Verisign mailed to all domain owners who weren't registered with them a letter that suggested that their domain name could be lost if it their renewal was not made in a timely manner. It came complete with the form for you to renew. But what many people didn't realize was that in the small print it was actually a transfer of the registration of the domain name to them as the Registrar and away from your current registrar. Several of the other big Registrars such as GoDaddy sued them and Verisign agreed not to do it any more, but admitted no guilt. Here is an article about that situation.

So what can protect registrants of domain names from these kinds of spam and less than forthright solicitations? Many have had their domains hijacked by people who got the ownership info from the WHOIS. Who will protect all of us who own domain names? That is why ICANN has considered allowing for the ownership information to be private. These privacy services are already in effect, by the way, and have been for several years through registrars like GoDaddy. Once one makes the registration private one stops getting most of the spam that is sent to domain owners. If someone does need to find out who actually owns a domain there are procedures in place for that disclosure.

So there are many interests here and there needs to be protection for everyone.

By the way, using a domain name is not the way that most spammers send their spam emails. They often send the spam through drone machines that have been hijacked all over the world. In other words, people all over the world have computers that have been compromised with trojans that allow them to be a relay for spam emails. Each machine can send a number of emails each day and the number is small enough that most people won't realize there machine has been compromised. That is why it is so important that the machine be fully protected by firewall, anti-virus, etc.

Another widely used method is through open relays that are found at many web sites. This is usually a form on a website that the user can fill out and click a button to have something sent to them by email. If these forms are not programmed properly, anyone can use the form to send spam mail which appears to come from the domain where the form resided. None of the above methods of sending spam have anything to do with who owns the domain. The domains are owned by legitimate businesses but because of errors, software glitches, bad programming, etc, they can be gateways for spam.

Again, as you can see, there are many issues here. ICANN is trying to address these to make the web as safe as they can make it, but there will have to be compromises made to protect the most number of users possible.

As you suggest, tracing the money trail is a good way that can be used to find who owns a domain. The sad reality is that most domains that are used for illegal purposes only exist for a few days and then are gone and the money trail is gone with it. By the time law enforcement knows there is a problem the domain is already gone and the money is gone.

Anyway, food for thought.


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