The present document discusses several services that permit
registrants to avoid listing their personal contact information in
WHOIS. In the "proxy setting," a third party enters into the
registration agreement (and is, from the registrar's point of view) the
"registrant"; the site is then licensed to the "actual registrant."
This setting is regulated by section 22.214.171.124
of the RAA:
Registered Name Holder that intends to license use of a
domain name to a third party is nonetheless the Registered Name Holder
of record and is responsible for providing its own full contact
information and for providing and updating accurate technical and
administrative contact information adequate to facilitate timely
resolution of any problems that arise in connection with the Registered
Name. A Registered Name Holder licensing use of a Registered Name
according to this provision shall accept liability for harm caused by
wrongful use of the Registered Name, unless it promptly discloses the
identity of the licensee to a party providing the Registered Name
Holder reasonable evidence of actionable harm.
Frequently, these "proxies" are associated with registrars. In a
different setting, the registrar directly provides replacement contact
information to the registrant, without using an intermediary.
Intellectual Property Constituency points to section 126.96.36.199 of the
RAA (see above). "It is the IPC’s
the proxy registration services seek to fall within this provision. It
appears that the proxy registration services with which IPC
members are familiar operate under terms and conditions that permit
the disclosure of registrant contact data in the circumstances
contemplated by RAA 188.8.131.52. However, we have gathered only very
limited anecdotal data about how these services work in practice."
The Non-Commercial Users' Constituencypoints out in its submission that the standard proxy situation means that an additional, and possibly unscrupulous, intermediary is introduced into the contractual relationship between registrar and registrant. That party then has the ability to do whatever it wants with the registered domain name. The NCUC also points out that proxy services are not providing anonymity suitable to protect free speech. Domains By Proxy is discussed in detail; the NCUC concludes: "Therefore we submit that the proxy services offered at present are necessarily insufficient, since they cannot really protect registrants against mere legal threats, because of the liabilities incurred by those offering these services."
response to the survey points out that proxy services technically
do not provide anonymity, but pseudonymity, in that the intermediate
entity knows the end-user's identity, but publishes its own information
in the WHOIS registry instead. According to ALAC, "the chief problem with these "masking"
services is that they may unmask their users on slight provocation; an
allegation of wrongdoing is not the same as proof that unlawful
activity has occurred, and there are many ways to stop even ongoing
wrongdoing short of revealing the name of someone who may later turn
out to be innocent of all charges." ALAC also points to the
risks caused by the proxy situation.
ISPCP's input contained some pointers to proxy and similar services
that were quite helpful in assembling the following table.
Domain Name Service Agreement
||Acceptable use policy mentions
spam, intellectual property infringement as unacceptable. It remains
unclear what procedure is followed when complaints about an "anonymous"
domain name are received. "The benefit of anonymity will only be
revoked if you violate our usage policy, break the law or use it to
send out spam." Registrant is required to provide correct
contact information to registrar.
|Domains By Proxy||Terms
||Affiliated with registrar
||See "terms and conditions" for
descriptions of conditions under which personal information is made
accessible to third parties, or made public. Essentially: Legal
proceedings; protect DBP from liability; violation or infringement of
trademark, trade name, or legal rights. Also, other "illegal or morally
objectionable activities." Registrant is required to provide correct
contact information to registrar.
|IDdp||Terms and conditions
(See, in particular, Appendix for the ID Domain Privacy Service - IDdp.Net.)
|Affiliated with Key Systems GmbH
||Proxy-related terms are close to
Domains by Proxy's.
accuracy / anonymization page
||Encirca can put in place its own
contact details; "contact registrant" feature is provided. Not an
actual proxy service, in the sense that there is no intermediate
contracting party? No information on conditions under which anonymity
is lifted. Registrant is required to provide correct contact
information to registrar.
(See, in particular, section 3.)
||Not an actual proxy service;
service includes an NSI provided, spam-filtered email address that
forwards to any email of the registrant's choosing; a NSI answered
Private registration service can be terminated upon
claims of trademark infringement or violation of other legal rights,
for compliance reasons, or upon threat of litigation. Correct contact
||FAQ ID Protect
||"Dynamic eMail system";
"information held by affiliate." No clear information whether this is a
proxy and under what conditions registrant's actual contact information
is made available. Correct contact information required.
|Katz Global||Terms of
Acceptable Use Policy.
|Advertise cash-paid services;
accept e-gold. "Domains will be registered and owned by Katz Global
Media." Terminate hosting account for apparent or implied violation of
law. Seem to target adult, gambling (where legal), anonymous speech;
reserve right to stop or cancel anything that might be harmful to them.
Also offer offshore hosting.
|Silent Register||Terms and Conditions.||enom reseller?
||Proxy service; requires correct
contact information. Reserve right to disclose contact information when
required by law; proxy service terminated when named as defendant in
litigation; proxy service terminated when verified spam complaint
|Terms of Service
||Proxy service. Self-description:
"Don't spam. No objectionable or questionable activity. No adult
entertainment. If you do any of the above we reserve the right to sell
your domain." Formal terms are close to Domains by Proxy's.
|1001 discrete resources||Limitations
||Proxy service. "We
offer 100% discretion to our clients so long as they abide by our limitations."
Offer various offshore services. Reserve right to cancel registration
at any point of time.
|alpina1.net||Terms and Conditions||Tucows reseller.
||Recommend e-gold as a payment
method. Suggest domain registration via informal e-mail. Suggest
that "Tucows do not support 'privacy registrations' in case
someone claims the WHOIS is incorrect." Lots of broken links.
|anonix||Acceptable Usage Policy
|General approach: "We accept
payment by money order, and require no contact information whatsoever."
Act as proxy for domain name registrations; require one piece of
contact information then. "Will not act as a go-between or arbitrator,
nor accept any legal responsibility." Revoke & refund as last
|hiddenregistration.com||affiliated with Tucows reseller Wholesalenics||"Contact information provider":
Offer postal and e-mail addresses that can be used for WHOIS purposes.
Customer continues to deal with registrar directly.
Since the terms under which Domains By Proxy lifts anonymity appear
to have been a model for other players in the industry, we reproduce
them here for reference purposes:
a. You understand and agree that DBP has the absolute right and power, in its sole discretion and without any liability to You whatsoever, to either: (i) close Your account (which means You then become the Registrant of the domain name registration); (ii) reveal Your name and personal information that You provided to DBP when required by law, in the good faith belief that such action is necessary in order to conform to the edicts of the law, or to comply with a legal process served upon DBP; (iii) resolve any and all third party claims, whether threatened or made, arising out of Your use of a domain name registered by DBP on Your behalf; or (iv) take any other action DBP deems necessary:
· In the event you breach any provision of this Agreement or the DBP Anti-Spam Policy;
· To protect the integrity and stability of the applicable domain name Registry;
· To comply with any applicable laws, government rules or requirements, subpoenas, court orders or requests of law enforcement;
· To comply with ICANN’s Dispute Resolution Policy;
· To avoid any financial loss or legal liability (civil or criminal) on the part of DBP, its parent companies, subsidiaries, affiliates, shareholders, agents, officers, directors and employees;
· If the domain name DBP registers on Your behalf violates or infringes a third party's trademark, trade name or other legal rights;
· If it comes to DBP’s attention that You are using DBP’s services for purposes of engaging in, participating in, sponsoring or hiding Your involvement in, illegal or morally objectionable activities, including but not limited to, activities which are designed, intended to or otherwise: (i) appeal purely to the prurient interests of third parties; (ii) defame, embarrass, harm, abuse, threaten, or harass third parties; (iii) violate state or federal laws of the United States and/or foreign territories; (iv) involve hate crimes, terrorism and child pornography; (v) are tortious, vulgar, obscene, invasive of a third party’s privacy, racially, ethnically, or otherwise objectionable; (vi) impersonate the identity of a third party; (vii) harm minors in any way; or (viii) relate to or transmit viruses, Trojan Horses, access codes, backdoors, worms, timebombs or any other code, routine, mechanism, device or item that corrupts, damages, impairs, interferes with, intercepts or misappropriates any software, hardware, firmware, network, system, data or personally identifiable information.