opinions, everybody's got one...
Saturday, November 20, 2004
Two Radically Different Approaches to Privacy and Incorrect Domain Names
A friend is setting up his first web site, and asked me for some advice about hosting, choices of blogging software, and what information he should provide during the registration of a domain name.
One of his big worries and concerns was that his home address would display in the whois information for the site.
I suggested that he contact the host and domain registrar whom we had thought would be a good match for him, to see if they offered the private registration that some registrars do provide. The host responded, saying that they did not offer the type of "registration by proxy" that some other registrars did, and suggested that after he signed up for their service, that he could go in, and change the address to something other than his billing address.
I wonder what they had in mind.
When I saw that the Canadian Internet Registration Authority had come up with a New Standard for Domain Name Whois Privacy, I wondered why the registration of commercial addresses (.com) couldn't be handled in the same manner.
As pointed out in a recent engadget post, "The Fraudulent Online Identity Sanctions Act presumes that anyone who has tried to protect his or her privacy by faking the WHOIS info in a domain name registration is willfully infringing copyright or trademark."
The Bill imposes the possibility of some pretty serious criminal penalties for including false information in the whois record for a site. Yet, many people do, and have done so to protect their privacy for a number of seemingly very legitimate reasons - the protection of privacy or the ability to anonymously exercise free speech.
Yes, people do sometimes (perhaps often) purposefully provide false whois information as part of an attempt to commit fradulent acts. But the Canadian solution may be closer to a reasonable solution than the one offered by the U.S. House of Representatives.
My friend is going to change his whois information to his work address, so that he doesn't come home to find his wife and home and neighborhood invaded by someone who may have disagreed with an opinion stated on his new website.
Message on a T-Shirt
A thirteen year old in Middletown has been ordered to cover up his T-Shirt because of a political statement on it.
The front of the shirt reads 'The Real Terrorist Is In The White House', and has been called a distraction by school officials.
Free speech can be a distraction. It's a burden that living in a society where people can express their opinions brings us.
Seems like the display of this garment in public presents an opportunity to talk about topics such as democracy, free speech, political power, the processes of government, and many more.
Or the squelching of intellectual curiosity, and the drowning of rational debate and discourse.
The T-Shirt doesn't sound like the type of harmful distraction that maliciously yelling "Fire" in a theatre would be, but rather that of a young mind trying to understand.