Free access to the WHOIS could soon belong to the past

Known to allow anyone to obtain a minimum of information about a domain name and its owner, the WHOIS (for “who is”, “is” in French) is in danger. The EWG, a group of experts of ICANN, the US company that assigns domain names, has indeed been instructed to consider replacement of the WHOIS. And free access (and free?) Is in danger if the recommendations of this group were to be followed.

“The current model of the WHOIS should be abandoned”

Reflexively used by many companies and individuals wishing to do a quick search on a domain name WHOIS is a handy tool. Whether it is the creation and expiration dates of the domain name, information about the web host, the name of the person or company that owns the domain name, or address even its number phone, the WHOIS is a must for many users. But the present system, free, and maybe even free, could change.

The EWG, a group of experts formed by the CEO of ICANN itself, was in fact responsible for reviewing the WHOIS aging system to better adapt to the changing industry and the arrival of hundreds of different TLD. The group therefore “clean slate” of the past while seeking what the data requirements on domain names. After questioning many actors linked to the sector, the EWG has “concluded that the current model of the WHOIS, which gives each user a public and anonymous access to the data (often imprecise) domain names should be abandoned.”

“Certain data accessible only to authenticated seekers”

An abandon that would sound like a real slap if it were to be applied, especially as the authors of the study indicate that they recommend “a paradigm shift in which the TLD data will be collected, validated and disseminated for authorized purposes only with some data accessible only to authenticated seekers, who are then responsible for the proper use “.


These recommendations are still lacking details, however, the group says it has not yet completed its deliberations and is waiting for public feedback by 12 August. We must therefore expect new recommendations in the coming months.

Yet if the recommendations of the EWG were to be followed, critical in controlling the ICANN web would do more vivid. Certainly, in recent years, the organization has tried to be less dependent on the US, but the problem remains. On the other hand, these changes will surely satisfy WHOIS companies who appreciate little that their information is visible to all in a single click.