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Domain Registration: Why You Need Private Whois Service
by: Stanley Spencer
Privacy is the control of ones own personal information, control over what others know about one, and control over how others may use or exploit the personal information. Policies and practices for protecting privacy aim towards minimizing the collection of personally identifiable information. Therefore, the basis of privacy is anonymity, where no personally identifiable information is collected. Making compulsory, the disclosure of personally identifiable information, as under current WhoIs policies for domain registration, cause privacy to be undermined

For free speech, privacy is critical. For instance, if people are forced to disclose their identity, they are reluctant to fully express their ideas on account of fear of persecution.

The protection of anonymity further enhances the one-to-many characteristics of the Internet through which an individual's speech can reach a global audience.

Privacy and data protection laws may apply to domain registrars' WhoIs services and registrars' participation in thick registry WhoIs services in various countries, particularly in the European Union's member states.

Current ICANN regulations require that the Private contact information (WhoIs Info) of each domain registration be included in a publicly accessible Database.

The WhoIs database is the collection of information gathered by a domain name registrar from domain name registrants.

The purpose for which the WhoIs system is accessed includes:

1. To find out whether a specific domain name is unregistered and currently available
2. To identify the person or organization responsible for a domain registration or website on the Internet
3. To support technical operations of Internet Service Providers or network administrators, including assistance in tracing sources of Spam or denial of service attacks
4. To collect names and contact information for the purpose of marketing
5. To aid government law enforcement, other than intellectual property

When a WhoIs search is conducted, the information that is currently available about the domain name registrant leads to the name and address of the domain name owner.

However, when a domain name is registered, the personal contact information such as name, address, email address, and even phone number might be made freely available.

The domain registrant would not know who collected his/her WhoIs data, the reason for which the information was collected, and how the collector is likely to use the information

This implies that the private information is displayed and made available to whoever wants to see it, at any point of time.

Now it is possible to protect ones private WhoIs information by switching the "public" domain registration to a "private" unlisted registration through a private whois service.

A private whois service protects the private information and shields against its misuse. Hence, one is protected against:
- Spam,
- Identity Theft,
- Data Mining,
- Name Hijackers,
- Etc.

It works in a similar way to having ones phone umber "unlisted" and it prevents people from gaining access to ones address, phone number and other such private information.

A private whois service works by:
- Protecting the private information
- Relaying important communication
- Providing greater control

Protecting the Private Information

This implies that the private contact information is not exposed and is held confidentially, and protected by the Domain Privacy Protection Service. Instead of the individuals contact information, their contact information is displayed to provide with the highest level of protection against spammers and identity theft.

Relaying Important Communication

Without a private whois service, those involved in spamming can obtain email addresses through harvesting and then use these for sending spam mails and redistribution to marketing firms. The email addresses can stay on record with various spammers and marketing firms for several years. With a private whois service, the visible email address is constantly changing, so it will change within a specific period of time and the previous address will not work for the spammer. The Domain Privacy Protection Service secures and maintains the real email address on record so that important information regarding the domain is received.

Providing Greater Control

The individual or organization subscribing to the private whois service retains full legal ownership and control over the domain registration. It is possible to sell, renew, transfer and change settings to the domain name just the same as otherwise. The domain control panel provides real-time access to easily manage the domain name.

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