CSTI

WHOIS Data:  A Fundamental Tool for Protecting Internet Security, Commerce, and Consumers

Security experts, law enforcement, researchers and others rely on accessible WHOIS data to protect networks, fight crime, and investigate online abuse. Companies and consumers also rely on accessible WHOIS data, directly and derivatively, to determine who they are buying goods or services from.

WHOIS data has been freely and publicly available since the beginning of the internet as we know it. But due to an overly broad misinterpretation of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the availability of WHOIS data to the general public is at risk, threatening the safety and transparency of the internet.

The Coalition for a Secure and Transparent Internet (CSTI) was formed to educate federal and international policymakers and stakeholders on the critical importance of open access to WHOIS data, and to advocate for appropriate policy decisions to protect this crucial tool.

We invite you to learn more about how you can assist in preserving access to this essential information and help keep the internet safe and secure.

WHOIS Data 101

As the world becomes more interconnected, and information flows freely between different networks and over geographic boundaries, WHOIS data helps preserve the essential notion that the internet is a safe and secure place to do business.

Policy and Advocacy

To maintain internet security and transparency, CSTI believes U.S. federal legislation is needed to require registries and registrars to provide open access to WHOIS records that are accurate, non-anonymous and accessible in bulk.

Resources

CSTI aims to educate about the critical importance of open access to WHOIS data. We have collected informative resources including white papers and technology podcasts, as well as a comprehensive set of materials from ICANN.

Recent News

‘New Lobby Against EU’s Domain-Name Privacy Rules Sparks Congressional Interest’

Eight months after Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation sent shockwaves across the tech industry, a new lobbying organization aiming to scuttle one of its most disputed provisions is gaining traction on Capitol Hill.

Since beginning its life last fall, the Coalition for a Secure and Transparent Internet has picked up the support of The App Association, the Motion Picture Association of America, the Recording Industry Association of America, the Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies, the Center on Illicit Networks and Transnational Organized Crime, and several other high-profile groups.

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‘EU Privacy Rules Hobble Online Sleuthing’

Cybersecurity stakeholders are pushing U.S. lawmakers to rescue WHOIS, a tool for identifying internet domain ownership that’s been hamstrung by the European Union’s privacy regulations.

Why it matters: WHOIS has been a public address book for domain owners since the earliest days of the internet. A bevy of online investigators — from law enforcement authorities to human rights groups to cybersecurity researchers — have long relied on its data. But the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) deems the information in WHOIS to be too personal to share without a thorough consent agreement.

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CSTI to Host 2/7/19 Briefing: “How the Loss of Open, Accessible WHOIS Data is Turning the Open Web Into the Dark Web”

Since the dawn of the internet, law enforcement and security experts have relied on open, accessible bulk WHOIS data to protect networks, fight crime, and investigate online abuse. Companies and consumers also use on WHOIS data, directly and derivatively, to determine from whom they are buying goods or services. WHOIS data is the contact and technical information that registrants provide when setting up a domain name, much like the white pages of the internet.

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About CSTI

CSTI advocates before U.S. and EU policymakers, ICANN, registrars, registries, and other stakeholders about the importance of open access to WHOIS data.