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Nominet responds to privacy concerns

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  27 August 2002

Following concerns raised about its plans to publish the names and addresses of those who register .uk domain names (web addresses), Nominet UK has announced further measures to protect the privacy of individuals.

Individuals not wishing to have their address shown in Nominet's free on-line search facility (known as WHOIS) will be able to take advantage of an opt-out mechanism, which will mean that anyone looking up the domain name will be referred to the relevant ISP for further details. However, in line with UK legislation, the opt-out will only apply to non-trading individuals.

The revised WHOIS format will go live in two stages. From 1 October, the name of all registrants (domain name holders) will be published, together with the date on which the domain name is due for renewal and the name and web address of the registration agent (ISP). However, only domain names registered for those classified as businesses will show the address of the registrant at that stage.

From 1 December addresses will be published for all new registrations and existing domain names as they are renewed thereafter, unless the opt-out for non-trading individuals is activated by the registrant via their ISP or registration agent. This will apply irrespective of which Second Level Domain (including .co.uk, where the majority of .uk domain names are registered) the domain name falls under.

At no stage will telephone and fax numbers or email addresses be included for either businesses or individuals.

"While the principle of improving the scope of the WHOIS search facility remains, we have changed our plans to take account of the concerns expressed," said Lesley Cowley, managing director of Nominet UK, the national Registry for .uk domain names. "We would like to thank all those who contributed to this discussion for their input."

Nominet's WHOIS is the only authoritative source of information for .uk domain names and can be found at www.nominet.org.uk. This currently shows the organisation or individual to whom the domain name is registered, when that registration was made and when the entry was last updated.

For more information see the web site at www.nominet.org.uk/ref/whois4.html.