Every year, millions of individuals, businesses, organizations and governments register domain names. Each one must provide identifying and contact information which may include: name, address, email, phone number, and administrative and technical contact.
This information is often referred to as “WHOIS data.”
The WHOIS service is not a single, centrally-operated database. Instead, the data is managed by independent entities known as registrars and registries. Any entity that wants to become a registrar must earn ICANN accreditation.
WHOIS data is key for fixing system problems, maintaining Internet stability, and enhancing the accountability of registrants.
Why should end users care
The “one-size-fits-all” disclosure of identifying information may also expose registrants, especially individual registrants, to potential spam, phishing, and identity theft. Also, due to its implication in privacy, data protection, policing, security, and malicious use and abuse, WHOIS matters to end users, especially individual registrants.