Domain Name Contact Information is Public Information
When you register a domain name, current policies require that the contact information for your domain name registration be included in a public database known as WHOIS.
- Why and how is my information made public?
- What information is made public?
- How personal information is abused?
- What you should know
- Voice your opinion
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the nonprofit body responsible for accrediting domain name registrars, requires all accredited domain name providers (including Network Solutions®) to make your contact information publicly available.
WHOIS information is used in several ways:
- Registrars (domain name providers) use it to validate requests to transfer a domain name registration to another domain name holder (registrant) or registrar.
- Many individuals and businesses use it to find out when a domain name registration they want is due to expire.
- Law enforcement agencies use it for investigations into illegal activities on the Internet.
- Intellectual property rights holders use it to contact individuals or companies that may be violating their intellectual property rights.
The public WHOIS database is accessible by anyone, 24 hours a day, and includes the following information:
- Domain name holder's name and address
- Address, phone number, and e-mail address of the domain name WHOIS Administrative and Technical contacts
- Date of the domain name registration
- Date of the most recent update to the domain name record
- Date that the domain name registration will expire
- Host name and IP addresses for the domain name servers
If you currently have a registered domain name and want to see what data is displayed to all Internet users, visit the following WHOIS link and enter the domain name.
As the Internet has grown, abuse of the WHOIS database has increased. WHOIS information has been:
- Used for the purposes of sending unsolicited commercial e-mails, also known as spam.
- Mined and sold to third parties for marketing purposes.
- Accessed by individuals with malicious intent, such as hijackers, spammers, and stalkers, and those trafficking in identity theft. Recent Federal Trade Commission data indicates 23.7 million Americans have been victims of identity theft in the last five years, including some 10 million people in the last year alone. In 2003, individuals lost an average of $1,868 per incident totaling $3.8 billion.
When you register a domain name, your personal contact information is accessible to anyone via the online WHOIS search tool that is available on the Web sites of all accredited registrars. While these sites typically allow searches to be performed one domain name at a time, some sites are susceptible to automated “mining” of the information by high-speed computer queries.
ICANN requires all accredited domain name registrars to make a complete copy of their WHOIS data — domain name contact data for all of their domain name customers — available to third parties that sign a contract known as a bulk access agreement. Once the agreement is signed, individual third parties become licensed to access all of the registrar's WHOIS data for an annual fee.
What Network Solutions is Doing to Protect My Personal Information
The new Private Registration feature is available to all Network Solutions customers who want to protect their personal information. With a Network Solutions Private Registration, you receive alternate contact information displayed in the public WHOIS database. A newly created e-mail address, postal address and phone number assigned to you by Network Solutions will appear as the contact information in the public WHOIS database for your domain name registration. This minimizes the amount of spam, junk mail, and telemarketing calls you receive and protects against identity thieves and unauthorized attempts to transfer the domain name registration. To find out more about Private Registration, click here.
Network Solutions implemented a security feature that requires users who request WHOIS information to enter a graphical code. Because only humans can read the code, this limits harvesting of WHOIS data by automated queries (“bots”).
Network Solutions' online Account Manager lets you assign multiple Administrative and Technical contacts for a single domain name account, and choose which of these contacts appears in the public WHOIS database. Account Manager also allows you to set up alternate contact information expressly for the public WHOIS database. These account permissions can be changed easily without sharing passwords or affecting your account. To designate an Account Contact to appear in WHOIS, you must first establish a Network Solutions User ID for the contact, using a valid e-mail address.
Domain name registrants are required by ICANN to keep their WHOIS contact information accurate and up-to-date or risk having their domain name registrations revoked. Also, inaccurate account information may result in Network Solutions being unable to contact you in case of a question or problem with your account.
Network Solutions is lobbying for the elimination of the Bulk WHOIS access requirement by ICANN. If our proposal is accepted, the requirement to make Bulk WHOIS information available to third parties will be eliminated.
Actions You Can Take to Protect Your Personal Information
You can make your domain name registration private with a Network Solutions Private Registration. Private Registration will display alternate contact information in the public WHOIS database so that your personal data is not available to the public. By adding Private Registration, an alternate e-mail postal address and phone number will appear in the public WHOIS listing. This will deter spammers, telemarketers, identity thieves and others who mine the public database. To find out more about Private Registration, click here.
ICANN requires domain name providers to make a complete copy of their WHOIS data available to any third party via a bulk access agreement. Individuals can, however, opt out of Network Solutions Bulk WHOIS through Account Manager by following the instructions below.
Using the Network Solutions online Account Manager tool, you can assign multiple Administrative and Technical contacts to the same account and choose which of these contacts appear in the public WHOIS database. Each user has a unique password, and you can add or revoke user permissions at any time.
You can also establish alternate accurate secondary contact information for yourself in WHOIS. To do this, you must first set up a separate Network Solutions User ID for that purpose. A valid e-mail address is required.