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Why I want WHOIS privacy services to continue

2 min read

I just sent the following email to ICANN in relation to their proposal to restrict WHOIS privacy services:
 
Dear ICANN:
As a software developer and librarian who has maintained a variety of his own websites for over a decade now, I appreciate the value of WHOIS privacy services.

After my first child was born, I realized that having my home address and contact information readily available through WHOIS records was perhaps a little more transparency than I desired for the kinds of content that I was posting--mostly about open source projects, but occasionally veering into political discussions--and I paid for a PO box at the cost of approximately $120 per year simply to provide a layer of protection of that personal information.
When I realized that WHOIS privacy services were available for free through my domain registrar, it enabled me to save a not inconsiderable sum annually. While I could afford that luxury, I'm concerned that many others are not in such a fortunate position, and would thus either be more exposed on the Internet, or perhaps suffer a chilling effect in terms of their willingness to speak their thoughts freely through their own website.

Having been lightly doxxed in another venue, I am, of course, aware that there are other means to track down identifying information a person in a particular community, but keeping the option of WHOIS privacy services to make that task a little bit more work for the edgecase elements of our society is, I believe, the correct ethical stance for ICANN to take.
 
Thank you,

Dan Scott