ICANN Should Curb Anonymous Domain Name Abuses

Daniel Castro August 12, 2015
August 12, 2015

E-commerce has revolutionized how businesses sell to consumers—including those involved in illicit activities, such as websites peddling illegal narcotics, pirated movies and music, or counterfeit handbags, writes Daniel Castro in CircleID. Why don't law enforcement officials do more to combat this problem? Partly because of the difficulty of identifying who is actually operating the websites. Some website owners choose to use a privacy and proxy service, which submits contact information for the service provider and is then responsible for relaying any inquiries to the actual registrant. Unfortunately, not all privacy and proxy services fulfill their duties, creating a serious problem for law enforcement agencies. Fortunately, many stakeholders have been working over the past few years to develop a proposal that would create more accountability for website owners. ICANN's Privacy and Proxy Services Accreditation Issues Working Group is still working out the methods by which it believes ICANN can achieve a more trustworthy Internet, but their efforts are commendable. The working group’s report does not advocate for either extreme position—total privacy or total transparency—but instead attempts to strike a balance between the two. Balancing privacy and public safety is critical to create a more trustworthy Internet.