On February 11, 2020 the EU Parliament submitted questions to the EU Commission on outstanding WHOIS access issues, stating:

The ICANN registration of domain names, which was previously publicly accessible through the WHOIS system, helped identify, contact and take legal action against registrants of internet domains operating illicit and fraudulent activities. In May 2018, ICANN adopted a temporary policy to ensure GDPR compliance, resulting in the WHOIS database no longer being publicly accessible. The policy requires that access is granted to entities that have a legitimate purpose for such access. However, approximately 75 % of requests for access remain unanswered and almost all requests that receive an answer are denied.

The Commission, in its report on the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights in third countries (SWD(2019) 452 final/2), recognised that intellectual property protection calls for effective access to domain registration data through the WHOIS protocol and states that ‘the ongoing review of the WHOIS protocol in ICANN should be swiftly concluded and implemented’.

  1. What specific measures is the Commission planning to take to ensure this?
  2. Does the Commission support the creation of a centralised model?
  3. Is the Commission planning to provide additional clarifications to eliminate misinterpretations that have unnecessarily hampered access to internet domain registration data, and will it confirm the need for access to WHOIS as necessary for the public interest?