Domain Organization ICANN to Reveal Business Owner Identities
In a move that many are protesting, the ICANN organization which makes many of the rules for the World Wide Web is presently considering a move that will require websites with “business activity” to dox their owners. They will no longer be allowed to use privatized information, they will have to display their real name, address, phone number, and so on, for all the world to see, under the new rules.
Numerous companies, including NameCheap, are protesting this move. For NameCheap, it will affect their business. They fear that perhaps less new domains will be registered if they cannot offer the same identity protections they offer now. They’ve even launched a website to deal with the issue specifically.
Of course, there are many cases where the information that is there won’t get hold of the person who owns the website. It can simply be filled out in a vague or misleading way such that someone trying to reach the person who owns the site would not be able to do so. It’s no different than an anonymizing service except it doesn’t cost anything to maintain.
The sentiment of the bill is that for the most part anonymity does not contribute positively to trade on the Internet. Therefore, for the most part, goes the sentiment, business should not be allowed to be anonymous.
But even businesses who do not need to be anonymous don’t want to see such rules passed. It just paves the way for more censorship, is their feeling, and it should be contested just as any other rollback of privacy. After all, there’s no evidence that removing these privacy protections will contribute positively to trade on the Internet either.
Entertainment Companies Pushing for Change
The biggest reason this is being considered is that US Entertainment companies want it to be easier to sue sites online for piracy. This is in spite of the fact that they can already get the information they need through a subpoena if a court agrees that they have a reasonable lawsuit for copyright infringement. In any case, one industries’ needs might not a good reason to change the rules for everyone, say opponents. Further, and most importantly, doing this adds nothing to their power to recoup funds or any such thing.
The new rules will not apply to every single business website, but eventually, goes the logic of the opponents, there may be no privacy left on the Internet if things like this are allowed to happen. Anything that limits privacy has to be fought with the same vigor goes their thinking.
It seems that entertainment companies have a history of pressing for changes in the law to benefit themselves. It is one business model, but perhaps not the most effective, as demonstrated by bands who have instead made use of the Internet to further their content.
Images from Shutterstock.