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Is WHOIS going to die in May 2018?

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Posted on August 28th, 2017 by Damien Jordan in Industry News

WHOIS test result

Is the end of WHOIS near?

May 25, 2018 marks the day when the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will officially go into full effect. The consequences and impact this new privacy regulation will have on the way companies, businesses and industries handle personal data in the EU is quite pronounced. This also includes the domain industry.

What is WHOIS?

WHIOS is an Internet service that provides information about a domain name. Domain names are registered through companies called registrars. These companies have been accredited by ICANN (The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Number) to register new domain names. When a new domain name is registered, the registrar has to make the registration information publicly available. That information can then be looked up using our WHOIS lookup service.

What information does WHOIS contain?

The WHOIS records are different between registrars. However, there is a mandatory information that they should contain – name of the registrar, creation date, last update date and expiration date of the domain name. The name servers are also included. Three contacts are listed as well – the registrant, the admin and the technical contact. The contact information includes a name, organization, address, phone number and e-mail address.
Note that the contact information in a WHOIS record can be hidden using a “private registration” service that some registrants offer.

What is GDPR?

GDPR is a regulation that has been designed to protect the privacy of the EU (European Union) citizens and residents. Please note, that it will apply to all companies that handle data associated with EU residents, not just companies based in the European Union. The regulation was adopted on April 27, 2016 and replaces the data protection directive (officially Directive 95/46/EC) from 1995.

The goal is to unify the data protection regulations throughout the EU, as well as minimizing data collection and increasing the transparency.

Why does the industry already fear the GDPR so much you might ask? Well, the fine for not complying with the new regulation can be up to €20 million ($24 million) or 4% of the company’s annual turnover. That is why domain companies are on alert now.

What should be done by domain companies?

It is clear that all contracted parties associated with ICANN will be affected by this. What is unclear, however, is what information should be collected by default when providing domain registration to a customer? Should this data be published then? All those and many more question are to be answered in an Abu Dhabi meeting in October this year, where ICANN and other contracted parties will debate over them.

How to obtain WHOIS information while still available?

WebSitePulse.com provides a WHOIS lookup tool that will help you obtain WHOIS information about a certain domain. Click this link to go to the tool. This is the screen that will welcome you:

Websitepulse's WHOIS lookup tool

To test domain name simply type it in the blank field and click the Test Now button. If you are an unregistered user you will only be able to choose one of three monitoring locations – New York, Munich and Melbourne.
However, if you decide to create a 30-day Free Trial account with us, you will be able to use all our 40 monitoring locations to conduct the test.

As a conclusion I would like to emphasize on how important personal information privacy is. A new regulation was long needed and the GDPR is very soon to go into effect. However, a lot is still unclear in regard to how this will affect the WHOIS information – what information should be required by default, who should have access to it, etc.  We will keep you updated once more information is available on the matter.

Damien Jordan

Enjoys life to the fullest. Appreciates all that is beautifully made - quality matters. Cars and photography are the passions filling his spare time. Enjoys going out with friends as this is his way of relaxing.

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