usTLD Recommendation for Privacy Plan
Public comment period open February 26, 2021 – April 5, 2021 (extended)
The usTLD Stakeholder Council (“Council”) and Registry Services LLC, the Administrator for the usTLD, sought public comment on the Council’s statement of usTLD Recommendation for Privacy Policies that calls for privacy services to be allowed for .US domain name registrants.
Registry Services LLC operates registry services for the usTLD pursuant to a contract with the Department of Commerce. Currently, that contract does not allow for the provision of privacy services. When a registrant buys a domain name, registry policy in line with industry standards require registrars to obtain and provide to the registry, the registrant’s contact information, including name, physical address, email address, and phone number. For usTLD registrants, all of this information is currently required to be publicly available in the WHOIS database, a searchable directory that holds all the contact information for domain name registrants.
The usTLD WHOIS database is freely searchable by anyone with access to the internet to acquire WHOIS contact information whether they have legitimate interest or only seek to abuse the information gained . In these times of increased awareness of the dangers of identity theft and other threats, many registries and registrars offer privacy services to their registrants. A privacy service may list alternative, reliable registrant contact information in WHOIS or mask the data using approved best practices and standards, while keeping the domain name registered to its beneficial user, the registrant.
At the 2015 usTLD Stakeholder Town Hall, stakeholders identified the lack of privacy services as a key issue suppressing domain name registration in the .US TLD. On this issue, the Council developed the Privacy/Proxy Services Review for the usTLD Report and made recommendations for the .US Registry Based Privacy Service Plan. This work concluded in 2017 and was submitted to the NTIA.
In 2020, the Council produced and approved a statement of continued support for the adoption of a usTLD Privacy Service Plan. This statement of support will be submitted to Registry Services, LLC, with the intent to submit to the Department of Commerce following a review of the results of this public comment period.
The Council sought public comments on the following questions:
- Do you support the implementation of a policy to allow for privacy services for .US domain name registrants?
- Do you support the implementation of privacy services to all domain holders regardless of commercial status?
- View Comments
The usTLD Stakeholder Council received five public comments on the proposed usTLD Privacy Service Plan.
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