The privacy of those who use commercial content on their domain names (even paid banner advertising to cover the hosting or domain fees qualifies a domain), is once more at risk, because ICANN wants to prevent domains from getting registered anonymously as soon as the domain contains commercial content.
ICANN is mainly urged by law enforcement agencies to introduce new regulations to the public WHOIS database. A special attention is given to services that allow anonymous registration of domain names. These services allow information such as name, address, telephone number or email address of the true domain owner to be kept secret. Most domain owners who use this service enjoy it so that their data cannot be abused by spammers. Similarly to SOPA, this private-sector organized privacy is not only an eyesore to law enforcement agencies, but also those who favor the restriction of privacy due to their very own interests, including companies such as MarkMonitor, LegitScript and especially companies in the entertainment industry who are suddenly crying out loud for more transparency in order to be able to pursue infringements more effectively.
Thus, ICANN has launched the “Privacy & Proxy Services Accreditation Issues Working Group” (PPSAI WG) who recently presented a report, which proposes the following prohibition:
“Domains used for online financial transactions for commercial purpose should be ineligible for privacy and proxy registrations”.
In the past, courts have ruled that an affiliate link or banner advertisements will classify a domain as “used for commercial purposes“. Moreover, we are deeply concerned about the fact that in the event of a dispute, it will no longer require a lawsuit to reveal the true identity of a domain owner.