As domain name authority the Internet Corporation for assigned Names and Numbers (Icann) begins an investigation into privacy policies relating to the 'Whois' database, the company behind the new .biz domain said Icann's problems don't stop there.
Privacy campaigners have long complained about the degree of abuse access to this information provides, coming down particularly hard on .com registrar Verisign, which is allowed to resell the data to marketing companies.
The survey-based investigation is to help Icann "assess whether changes should be considered to the current Whois policy", potentially denying direct marketers access to information that can be used for spamming purposes.
But Jeff Ganek, chief executive of Neulevel, the company responsible for the recently ratified .biz registry, said that problems with the .com domain and registry extend beyond the database. "The .com domain is being run on a 20 to 30 year-old infrastructure that can only supply limited security and functionality," he explained.
Ganek said that most of the problems, particularly with the database, stem from the fact that the system is mainframe-based and any updates are done through batch processes once or twice a day "or sometimes not a all".
"The .com system is rife with problems that allow for numerous crashes, failed database updates and a general lack of security giving way to piracy and the fraud of domain names," he added.
Ganek pointed out that the .biz domain infrastructure makes use of encryption technology to secure database information. "You need a reliable platform to protect the integrity of your trademarks," he said. "When Icann handled the trademark allocation process for .com it allowed for plenty of underhand trademark attribution and hijacking."
He added that the authority was too slow off the mark to rectify the situation. "Sure, there needs to be some order and some authority to establish foundations and competition on the internet, but if Icann can't manage the job, a new body will take over," he warned.
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