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Parliamentary questions
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11 February 2020
E-000826/2020
Question for written answer E-000826/2020
to the Commission
Rule 138
Anna-Michelle Asimakopoulou (PPE)
 Answer in writing 
 Subject: Lack of access to WHOIS internet domain registration data

The ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) registration of domain names, which was previously publicly accessible through the WHOIS system, helped identify, contact and take legal action against registrants of internet domains operating illicit and fraudulent activities. In May 2018, ICANN adopted a temporary policy to ensure General Data Protection Regulation compliance, resulting in the WHOIS database no longer being publicly accessible. The policy requires that access is granted to entities with a legitimate purpose for such access. However, approximately 75 % of requests for access remain unanswered and almost all requests that receive an answer are denied.

In its report on the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights in third countries (SWD(2019) 452 final/2), the Commission recognised that intellectual property protection calls for effective access to domain registration data through the WHOIS protocol. The report states that ‘the ongoing review of the WHOIS protocol in ICANN should be swiftly concluded and implemented’.

1. What specific measures is the Commission planning to take to ensure this?

2. Does it support the creation of a centralised model?

3. Is it planning to provide additional clarifications to eliminate misinterpretations that have unnecessarily hampered access to internet domain registration data, and will it confirm the need for access to WHOIS as necessary for the public interest?

Last updated: 25 September 2020Legal notice - Privacy policy