Congress Introduces House Resolution Calling for Action on WHOIS Access

On Thursday, February 27, 2020, Representative Bob Latta (R-OH) introduced a House Resolution calling for Congressional action on WHOIS access. This is the first act by the U.S. Congress focused on WHOIS access since the implementation of the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in May 2018.

Rep. Latta’s action comes in response to a joint letter signed by 40 organizations calling on Congress to act to restore access to WHOIS for critical law enforcement, cybersecurity, and consumer protection work.  The letter was spearheaded by the Coalition for a Secure and Transparent Internet (CSTI), which is working to secure a US legislative response to the global redaction of critical domain name registration data historically used to combat human trafficking, child abuse materials, fake news and other threats to democracy, fraud, counterfeiting, online piracy and other malicious online activity.   Signatories of the letter include key associations and stakeholders like the Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies, Center on Illicit Networks and Transnational Organized Crime, Coalition for Online Accountability, and The Toy Association, among many others.  

In a related development, the EU Parliament is asking the EU Commission for a written response on WHOIS issues, including some pointed questions about how ICANN's current WHOIS policy is interfering with protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights.  Taken together, these developments add much needed pressure on ICANN and the ICANN community to accelerate efforts to implement a standardized system of access/disclosure to non-public WHOIS information.  

Winterfeldt IP Group participates in CSTI as an observer, and helps support the coalition’s work particularly by helping to keep CSTI informed and up-to-date on ongoing ICAN policy development work relating to WHOIS access.  Members of Winterfeldt IP Group’s Global Brand Owner and Consumer Protection Coalition (GBOC) have special access to contribute to the CSTI initiative and stay abreast of CSTI-related developments, in addition to all of the other Internet policy work GBOC performs on behalf of its members (spanning both ICANN and non-ICANN matters).  

For more information about this topic, or to inquire about joining GBOC, please contact any of the following team members.

Brian J. Winterfeldt,brian@winterfeldt.law

Griffin M. Barnett, griffin@winterfeldt.law

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