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MPAA: Making Domain Registrant Info Public Better for Privacy

Posted by: , 06:11 UTC, Sat November 24, 2018

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MPAA argues making personal information of domain owners public actually helps privacy
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Image/Photo Credit: g4ll4is @ Flickr, CC

Hollywood's copyright lobby says that it will actually help privacy more if the information for domain registrants, also known as WHOIS data, were to be forcibly made public.

The US National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has been requesting public input on how consumer privacy, especially in the digital environment, can be improved.

In response to new privacy directives coming out of the EU, ICANN, the body that manages the domain name registration system, have already made changes that would ensure WHOIS data is, by default, private.

Domain registrants welcomed the change, as WHOIS data has been regularly abused for spam and fraud purposes in the past, and registrant's personal details, including their phone number and address, were previously visible to anyone with Internet access.

This, however, has made the MPAA and other anti-piracy bodies uneasy, as it would make it harder to for them to identify the owners of piracy websites.

But instead of saying this as the reason why they are against limiting access to WHOIS data, the MPAA instead pivots back to the privacy issue, by arguing that making WHOIS data public actually helps privacy.

The MPAA argues that with public WHOIS data, Internet users can more easily look up the domain ownership information for websites, and this extra piece of information will help them decide their privacy interaction with the website, such as what kind of personal data they would be comfortable sharing with the site.

"Continued access to WHOIS data will help consumers identify domain name registrants and web site operators when necessary, advancing the NTIA’s user-centric outcome of transparency," the MPAA's submission read.

The MPAA also dismissed the privacy concerns of website owners.

"The risk to registrants is also comparatively small, as they, too, have long operated with these types of obligations and the information they must provide is relatively mundane data used to contact them," the MPAA writes.

And once again, the MPAA invoked more serious crimes in their bid to make their anti-piracy efforts easier.

"This overbroad application of the GDPR is already hindering the ability of law enforcement agencies and others to investigate illicit behavior — including sex trafficking, unlawful sale of opioids, cyber-attacks, identity theft, and theft of intellectual property," warned the MPAA.

[via TorrentFreak]


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