ICANN’s Plan To End Commercial Website Anonymity Creates Real Problems

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An anonymous reader notes that ICANN is closing the comment period for its plan to prevent owners of commercial websites from keeping their personal details out of a site’s public-facing registration information. Digital rights groups are taking the opportunity to explain how real harm can result from this decision. The Online Abuse Prevention Initiative posted an open letter to ICANN pointing out the rise of doxing and swatting: “Our concern about doxing is not hypothetical. Randi Harper, a technologist, anti-harassment activist, and founder of the Online Abuse Prevention Initiative, was swatted based on information obtained from the Whois record for her domain. The only reason law enforcement did not draw their weapons and break down Harper’s door was that she had previously warned her local police department about swatting.” Cathy Gellis at Popehat refers to the situation surrounding Charles Carreon, the man who antagonized The Oatmeal (Matthew Inman’s webcomic) and issued legal threats to those who called him out. “In that case the critic had selected a domain incorporating Carreon’s name in order to best get his point about Carreon’s thuggery across, which the First Amendment and federal trademark law allowed him to do. … Unfortunately, the registrar immediately caved to Carreon’s pressure and disclosed the critic’s identifying information, thereby eviscerating the privacy protection the critic expected to have, and depended on, for his commentary.” Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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ICANN’s Plan To End Commercial Website Anonymity Creates Real Problems

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