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Current Issues

ICANN’s requirements for domain name registration data collection, access and accuracy for gTLD registries have undergone some important changes. Yet after more than 12 years of GNSO task forces, working groups, workshops, surveys and studies, the policy is still in need of comprehensive reforms that address the significant number of issues related WHOIS services.

Comprehensive WHOIS policy reform remains the source of long-running discussion and debate within ICANN related to issues such as purpose, accuracy, privacy, anonymity, cost, policing, intellectual property protection, and security, to name just a few.


WHOIS data, if its purpose is to be able to contact registrants, needs to be accurate. Various studies that assessed the quality of WHOIS data have collectively shown that the accuracy of the data needs to be improved. Learn more about Accuracy Issues.


Discussion of privacy laws, as they relate to the transfer of personal data, always accompanies WHOIS discussions. Learn more about Privacy Issues.

Privacy and Proxy Services

Privacy and proxy services are commercial services that have arisen to fill a market demand for those who wish to minimize the amount of information published in WHOIS. Privacy and proxy services are used to address many legitimate noncommercial and commercial interests. Learn more about Privacy and Proxy Issues.


The issue of purpose is essential from a data protection and privacy perspective. The purposes for which WHOIS data may be legitimately collected, maintained, and used should be stated in very clear terms. Learn more about Purpose Issues.

Public Comments

A vital element in ICANN's processes is the opportunity for Public Comment (PC) on each substantial piece of work before it is considered for approval. These topics can be operational (such as budget or strategic planning), technical (such as security reports and recommendations) or policy-oriented (such as Bylaw changes). Learn more about recent Public Comments related to WHOIS.