[thechat] WHOIS & public info?

Erika Meyer emeyer at lclark.edu
Wed Aug 14 17:33:00 CDT 2002

I was recently flamed (moi??) on another list for referring to whois
information on a domain registrant in response to a question.

I had this idea in my head that info in WHOIS is public info and
would be okay to pass on publicly... but in retrospect, thinking
about it, it seems less cut & dried.

I'm not sure domain registrars make it clear that the info is
publicly accessible, and as I recall, you *must* provide an
address... so if you have no PO box or office address, you must
either provide a home address or fake it.

And thinking about it further, I, a person who makes it a practice
not to make my home address public, when I look up my domain info, I
see my (previous) home address listed.

So now I feel bad about having referred to the WHOIS info on a public list.

But my brain keeps fighting itself... "this was so easy to find, it's
public info" (says one side) "but it doesn't mean the registrant
knows this" says the other side.

And as I poke around, I see a few well known personalities, the type
of people who might worry about stalkers, with what appear to be home
addresses listed publicly on WHOIS.

Now I'm not sure what to think about the information on that
database... except I think that it's irresponsible of the hosting
companies not to make it clear that any info you give them is going
to be publicly available.

Any thoughts?


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