Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), has recently announced the launch of the first phase of a new WHOIS information website. WHOIS is an online directory service, which people can use to find who is behind a particular website or domain. Previously, WHOIS data was scattered around many different websites, making it very difficult to get a complete understanding of the whole database.
ICANN is launching this new website (whois.icann.org) with the aim of tackling this issue and creating a centralized location for the complete WHOIS information. It provides a clear and easy-to-understand explanation of how to access existing WHOIS information on registered domain names and a way to easily identify and raise data accuracy issues, and helps in combating spam and fraud.
It can also help network administrators, registry operators, domain name registrants, etc. in finding and fixing system problems, maintaining Internet stability, determining the availability of domain names, combating spam or fraud, identifying trademark infringement and enhancing accountability of domain name registrants. WHOIS data is sometimes used to track down and identify registrants who may be posting illegal content or engaging in phishing or other fraudulent activities.
The site is currently in beta and people are invited to view the site and provide comments via feedback forms. The same will be integrated into the website in due course.
The site at present provides a brief overview of WHOIS (its history and instructions on usage), a record of all WHOIS related policies (with current issues) and a feedback mechanism for the general public. To get involved in the process, one can also volunteer to serve on a Working Group to address policies and other issues facing the entire Internet community and its stakeholders.
One can also find a list of current issues being discussed, a list of upcoming issues that will be available for comment in the near future, and a list of issues for which the Public Comment period has recently closed.
ICANN plans to launch an integrated search function in January 2014 as part of the site’s second phase. Considering the huge and rapidly growing amount of data on the Internet, this website is a major step at being able to organize the Internet’s content more effectively, while also providing a forum for users to contribute to the development of this system.
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