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WHOIS Privacy for .Ru Domains Causes Panic

The Russian Registry (Ru-Center) is considering plans to allow .ru domain owners to maintain anonymous registrations, otherwise known as WHOIS privacy. This will allow users to hide their personal details from public access.

According to Andrei Vorobiev, head of the Public Relations at Ru-Center, they planned to maintain public access only to the domain owner’s email. All other confidential information will be allowed to be hidden.

This development is most likely associated with the new Russian law on personal data which came into force on 30th January this year. It requires the written consent of all parties for the inclusion of personal data in public facilities.

It was quite amusing to read Jay Westerdal’s take on this development, which was reposted on Slashdot. That kind of sums up the inaccurate information, fear and doubt you often see in relation to developments in Russia these days.

To be fair to Jay though he must have misread the Russian, online translators can be dangerous sometimes eh? Feel free to PM me Jay if you need some confirmation in the future.

My response would be similar to the user bigbigcompany, who comments on Jay’s post,

[WHOIS privacy] has been common in com/net/org for years now – check out the ‘domain privacy’ options like whoisguard, domainsbyproxy etc services offered by all the com/net/org registrars, like GoDaddy. They just propose to give that sort of privacy system legal recognition in .RU in future.

Exactly.

I also don’t believe that ICANN are against WHOIS protection systems either. Their main concern though, in light of the RegisterFly fiasco is that the registration data is kept intact in case of a Registrar going bankrupt. RegisterFly operated their own custom WHOIS privacy system called ProtectFly, when they started having trouble this left ICANN with no records of domain ownership.

To resolve this issue in the future they have suggested that domain ownership details be kept in an independent third party system, to be accessed if these circumstances arise again.

However Ru-Center is not just a simple ICANN accredited Registrar, they are also the administration company for .Ru. Much in the same way as Nominet allows users to opt-out of publicly displaying their WHOIS data for .uk domains, they are looking at establishing their own system, or recognising similar arrangements with their resellers.

So calm down everyone, hardly the next cold war…

About Nick Wilsdon

Nick Wilsdon works as a Content and Digital Strategy Consultant He manages online campaigns for the UK's leading telecom, finance and FMCG brands.

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