At the request of the GNSO Council, ICANN has initiated a series of WHOIS studies. These studies resulted from lengthy policy debate about recommending certain improvements to WHOIS. The GNSO Council recommended that ICANN initiate a series of fact-based studies of WHOIS to provide a foundation for further policy-making. For the latest developments on these WHOIS Studies, please see http://gnso.icann.org/en/group-activities/other/whois/studies.
WHOIS studies now underway were selected by the Council as topical areas that would benefit the most from thorough data gathering and analysis prior to further policy development. Currently-approved WHOIS studies include:
WHOIS Misuse: This study examines the extent to which public WHOIS data is misused to address harmful communications such a phishing or identity theft.
WHOIS Registrant Identification: This study uses WHOIS data and content associated with domain names to classify entities that register gTLD domain names, including natural persons, legal persons, and Privacy and Proxy service providers.
WHOIS Privacy and Proxy Services Abuse: This study examines the extent to which gTLD domain names used to conduct alleged illegal or harmful Internet activities are registered via Privacy or Proxy services to obscure the perpetrator's identity.
WHOIS Privacy and Proxy Relay and Reveal: A survey is underway to assess the feasibility of conducting an in-depth study into communication Relay and identity Reveal requests sent for gTLD domain names registered using Proxy and Privacy services.
It is hoped that results from these WHOIS studies will provide current, factual data to inform future community discussions regarding WHOIS policy.