VeriSign begins to clean up its Whois act


The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) appears to have finally made its point to VeriSign regarding inaccurate information on its Whois database. ICANN released a letter of complaint, which gave examples of inaccurate information and threatened to terminate the registrar accreditation agreement if the situation was not remedied. VeriSign has since taken action.

ICANN complained that VeriSign "blatantly ignored" its obligation to fix inaccuracies in its Whois database despite repeated requests to do so. It pointed out that VeriSign had allowed registrations to be made using obviously inaccurate or erroneous data, offering the example of one imaginative registrant who claimed to be "Toto" from "the yellow brick road, Oz, Kansas".

Under the accreditation agreement, registrars must take reasonable steps to investigate inaccuracy and, where inaccurate contact information is found, take reasonable steps to correct it. The term 'reasonable steps' is not defined in the agreement, but ICANN has previously said that it should at least include promptly communicating concerns over the accuracy of the data to the registrant.

VeriSign has responded to ICANN's complaint by assuring it that the inaccuracies are being addressed and that three domain names have already been deleted as a result of registrants failing to respond. VeriSign has also implemented a more streamlined process to report inaccurate information so as to avoid these problems in the future.

Patrick Walsh, Matheson Ormsby Prentice, Dublin

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