Cyber Security Practitioner
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Volume: 4 Issue: 5
(May 2018)

gdpr public availability domain registration data whois data dilemma european unions general data protection regulation (‘gdpr) takes effect

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The GDPR, the public availability of domain registration data, and the WHOIS data dilemma

The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (‘GDPR’), which takes effect on 25 May 2018, will affect the way registrars and registries collect, retain and make available the registration data of domain registrants in WHOIS directories. As Dr Lutz Riede and Dr Gernot Fritz of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP explain in this article, it is the prevailing opinion that the public availability of domain registrants’ personal data in WHOIS directories violates the GDPR. Until the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers’ (‘ICANN’) proposed ‘Interim Model,’ which introduces revised specifications and a layered or tiered access model, has been implemented, there will be uncertainty as to whether accurate and complete data about domain registrants will remain available to law enforcement, rightsholders and other interested parties. Dr Riede and Dr Fritz discuss here the background to this problem, and how the situation could make it harder for law enforcement authorities to prevent cyber crime as well as for rightsholders to pursue fraudulent actions and IP infringements conducted over the internet.

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