Canada To Protect The Privacy Of Domain Name Holders…. YEAH!

I just came across this story that has some great news if you are Canadian and have a .ca domain. Starting June 10th, all the Whois information (click here for an explanation) for .ca domains will be hidden from view. Why is this significant? Here’s a concrete example. Mary Smith decides to start a baking company out of her home. So she registers marysbaking.com so that she can get some extra exposure. If I do a whois lookup for marysbaking.com using whois.net or any number of other domain lookup tools, this is what I might find:

WHOIS information for: marysbaking.com:

Registrant:

Mary Smith
123 Any Street
Anytown, WA 96052-333
US

Domain name: MARYSBAKING.COM

Administrative Contact:
Mary Smith mary@marysbaking.com
Mary Smith
123 Any Street
Anytown, WA 96052-333
US
+1.555-555-1234

Technical Contact:
Mary Smith mary@marysbaking.com
Mary Smith
123 Any Street
Anytown, WA 96052-333
US
+1.555-555-1234

Given that this is Mary’s home address, this is a huge invasion to her privacy. It basically means that as the system currently stands, spammers, scammers, and stalkers can use the information in any way they see fit. Just think of all the bad stuff that could happen. But on June 10th, they’re out of luck in terms of getting this info. That’s because Canada has a privacy law called the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (or PIPEDA for short) which regulates how private-sector organizations collect, use and disclose personal information in the course of conducting business. This change brings those who register .ca domains as well as CIRA (the organization who oversees .ca registrations) into line with PIPEDA making Canada the leader in this area.

As always, there is a catch:

“Canadians who already own domain names won’t enjoy the same luxury of privacy right away. Given that their Whois data are already available on third-party websites, there’s little the registration authority can do to reign in that information.”

That kind of sucks, although there is a way around that. Some registrars such as Domainsatcost.ca have a privacy feature that gives you that sort of protection now. If you have a .ca domain, you may want to check to see if your registrar offers this feature.

This is one more reason why it’s great to be a Canadian.

3 Responses to “Canada To Protect The Privacy Of Domain Name Holders…. YEAH!”

  1. It’s better to be clever than a Canadian; you can, of course, put any kind of false contact information in your ‘who is’ once your domain is registered.

    It’s not crucial that a registrar have your accurate phone number/address.

  2. Sure you could do that, but there are valid reasons for having real info there. Plus CIRA requires you to have accurate info according to this document:

    http://www.cira.ca/en/documents/2007/PRP-rant-agreementv1.7.pdf

    Check article 3 for what I am talking about.

  3. jennylu Says:

    Thanks for enlightening me. I’m an australian and i don’t know if laws like that are in force over here. I’ll have to check it out.

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