addresses, which must be valid, phone numbers and physical
addresses which also must be valid. I personally think
it's both absurd and dangerous to make this information
so easily available. Once again the right to privacy
of law-abiding individuals is being abridged supposedly
to help catch lawbreakers. Since this information would
be provided under a court order, making it publicly
available just invites abuse.
scammers, stalkers and the idle whacko can easily get
this information. And it's a nice start on identity
theft, too. However, for most people, the most likely
result is an increase in the amount of spam you get.
But, much worse can and has happened.
what solutions are there? Basically there two ways to
protect your privacy if you are a private individual
without access to a legal entity such as a company to
own the domain name (note that if it is a company, you
must provide accurate information. This only moves the
problem to a slightly less personal level).
you could lie. No, that's not one of the ways. Unwise
and illegal too, and you are a law-abiding type, right?
So, first, a proxy registration is one alternative.
you make a binding legal agreement with a company which
will register the domain name as if they owned it and
then provide their own information to meet the requirements.
For each domain, they will set-up a special email which
they will monitor and forward to you, usually after
spam filtering, if you want them to.
of course, retain your data and will also monitor physical
mail. You will be notified of first class mail which
appears to or could be legal documents or if registered
or couriered mail arrives. They will, for a fee, ship
such to you, if you agree and pay. Generally such items
would be sent by courier. Phone callers will be directed
to use the email or physical address shown in the WhoIs
course, under subpoena or other specified conditions
they will provide your details. You will have full rights
as owner - as long as you behave and don't violate the
other alternative, usually called "private registration",
is a little different. Here your name would still appear
as registrant. You would provide the names of the admin
and technical contacts. But the address, email and phone
number would be provided and monitored by the organization
handling the private registration in essentially the
same manner as a proxy registration. Thus with this
alternative you remain in full legal control of your
domain name since it is registered in your name rather
than the name of a proxy.
the face of it this second alternative sounds better,
but your name is hanging out there on view and you may
have valid reasons for not wanting that (perhaps the
company you work for takes a dim view of moonlighting,
or you have had a stalking problem or are doing something
perfectly legitimate but don't want your name linked
to it).In that case, a proxy registration is the only
case you're thinking you can hide out and do whatever
sort of bad stuff behind a proxy or private registration,
don't even dream about it. These outfits take it very
personally if you misbehave and the legal agreements
spell it out.
you decide to pursue a proxy or private registration,
make very sure that you are working with a legitimate
company with a track record. A domain name can be a
very valuable possession. Both your registrar and, if
it's a separate organization, the entity that does the
proxy or private registration must be quality, legitimate
outfits. Registrars offering extremely low prices which
are way out of line with the going rates - unless it's
a special - just might be after your credit card and
identity. Also, this time, actually read the agreement
and TOS so you do know what you're doing and what could
happen under what circumstances.
why I'm writing about this? Well, it's because I'm getting
more and more spam and I started doing some research
on possible solutions. And I figured, I wan't the only
one looking to do something about the problem. And then,
I discovered that some registrars will provide free
proxy or private registration with your domain name
purchase. So think about it and do some checking before
you buy a domain name. Your privacy is a precious possession.
Keir. Richard teaches, trains and consults,
on and off-line. And he writes a lot. Visit http://www.AboutWebHosting.info
for articles, information, resources and links related
to web hosting and domain registration and http://www.Building-eCommerce-Websites
for more on eCommerce in particular.