ICANN issues report on WHOIS – only 23% is accurate – seeks comment

In a The Register article Kieren McCarthy digests a new ICANN report on the status of the WHOIS system*. According to their methods, only 23% of domains are registered to valid addresses. However, PO Boxes – used by many to hide private residence information – failed their test.

Kieren note that the last time a full study of Whois accuracy was commissioned – in 2005 – it was reported that only 5 per cent of domain names contained “missing or patently false information.”

That report was dismissed by those in the know as being wildly inaccurate because it didn’t look into the accuracy of information, but only whether it appeared normal. Today’s report discovered roughly the same 5 per cent of nonsense information but found a far greater percentage of wrong or false information by looking at the actual data itself.

ICANN is obliged under its Affirmation of Commitments with the US government to maintain the Whois service as well as “assess the extent to which WHOIS policy is effective and its implementation meets the legitimate needs of law enforcement and promotes consumer trust.”

The public is invited to comment on the report –  submit your own thoughts – here.

*In November 2006 ISOC-NY held a public forum – “The Future of WHOIS” – on just this issue.