During the Annual INTA 2019 Meeting, a panel was held on the EU General Data Privacy Regulation (GDPR) and the temporary removal of data for the WHOIS directory. IPMT Partner David Taylor spoke on the following GDPR issues and their impact on global brand protection.

When the GDPR came into force back in 2018, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) implemented a temporary policy which resulted in a majority of global registrant data being hidden from public view in the WHOIS directory. This temporary policy cannot extend beyond one year, and is intended to be replaced by a policy agreed through an Expedited Policy Development Process (EPDP).

Panelists reviewed relevant recent developments having an impact on IP owners’ access to WHOIS data. They also discussed enforcement impact and solutions, future challenges, and strategy. Specific areas of focus included;

  • the outcome of the EPDP,
  • the impact the lack of WHOIS data has on the prevalence and persistence of IP-related domain name abuse,
  • and the challenges of a lack of public access to domain registrant data in enforcement strategies and practices.

David provided some initial background to the developments over the last year since GDPR became effective and how ICANN has applied GDPR to domain name registrant data. He highlighted the practical differences brand owners see today as well as the difficulties encountered in obtaining disclosure of the now-redacted registrant details, providing a breakdown of the low disclosure rates despite the legitimate interests of brand owners.