FC: Ben Edelman's report on intentional errors in "whois" database

From: Declan McCullagh (declanat_private)
Date: Mon May 13 2002 - 21:49:39 PDT

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    Here's the previous study that Ben sent to Politech
    "Ben Edelman: 4,525 different domains lead to one porn site"
    FYI the House Judiciary crime subcommittee is supposed to vote this Friday 
    on HR 4640, a bill "to provide criminal penalties for providing false 
    information in registering a domain name on the Internet":
    From: "Ben Edelman" <edelmanat_private>
    To: <declanat_private>
    Subject: Intentional & Widespread Whois Errors - Some Specific Examples
    Date: Mon, 13 May 2002 11:56:46 -0400
    In the context of this week's Congressional hearings on the accuracy of
    Whois data [1], I thought your readers might be interested in some specific
    examples of the problems at issue here.
    With that motivation, I've prepared a listing of 988 domains registered by a
    group calling themselves "NicGod Productions" and "Domains For Sale."
    They're like ordinary domain warehousers in that they seem to seek to sell
    their domains for a profit, and they're like Tina's Webcam [2] in that they
    tend to register domains allowed to lapse by prior registrants.  But they're
    quite different in that they don't register the domains in their own name;
    instead, they use a mixture of names and organizations including, for some
    425 names, "Alan Ginsberg" (a deceased American poet).  They also don't
    register the domains with their own street address; instead, they use a
    variety of addresses from as many as nine different countries, and they seem
    to use voicemail and fax-forwarding services to receive requests to purchase
    domains in their inventory.
    I'm certainly not the first to notice NicGod's activities; they've been
    UDRP'ed at least 27 times [3], and the OECD wrote up a jarring report of
    their experience with these folks [4].  But my recent work goes a notch
    further in that I've documented what I believe to be a substantial portion
    of NicGod's inventory -- including, for example, schools
    (armenianschools.com, californiastateuniversity.com), government sites
    (flintpolice.org, winthrop-police.com), and medical information
    (doctorjohn.com).  For each domain, I've extracted data from archive.org,
    Alexa, Google, and Yahoo to speak to the domains' prior contents & uses as
    well as their popularity.
    My results are available at:
    Ben Edelman
    Berkman Center for Internet & Society
    Harvard Law School
    [1] Thursday, 9:30am, <http://www.house.gov/judiciary/schedule.htm>
    [2] <http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/people/edelman/renewals/>
    [3] <http://www.udrplaw.net/DomainForSaleDecisions.htm>
    [4] <http://www.oecd.org/pdf/M00027000/M00027316.pdf>
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