The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers ("ICANN") has taken steps to deal with the chronic problem of false contact information in domain name registration records. Determining the true owner of a dot-com domain has long been one of the biggest hurdles faced by those seeking to prevent unlawful online activities such as trademark and copyright infringement, obscenity, illegal gambling, invasion of privacy or defamation. Domain names are registered online without any check of the information provided by the registrant. For the most part, registrars have not been willing to take steps to deal with complaints of false registration information (also known as "who-is" data).
Earlier this month, ICANN announced that it will get tough on false contact information and on registrars that fail to respond to complaints about inaccurate and incomplete Who-is data. ICANN says it will implement a streamlined process for receiving and tracking complaints. It will also begin to more strictly enforce its own policies and registrar agreements, which require prompt action to deal with false information. In a letter dated September 3, ICANN gave VeriSign, one of the largest domain name registrars, formal notice of 17 incidents of false who-is data in its records. ICANN threatened to take steps to revoke VeriSign's accreditation if it does not take immediate steps to correct the problems, some of which date back to February 2001.
For a copy of the ICANN policy announcement, visit:
To view the letter sent to VeriSign by ICANN, with some entertaining examples of patently false who-is information, visit: http://www.icann.org/correspondence/touton-letter-to-beckwith-03sep02.htm
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